Having spoken to a number of businesses in recent weeks, we know that many of you are concerned about how you will manage work loads when your offices re-open as most staff will have accrued a significant amount of holiday by the time the current restrictions are eased.
Various professionals in the HR sector are already predicting that the majority of people will be anxious to ensure they have a 'proper' holiday fairly soon after the formal return to office working i.e. September / October, so we have pulled together some ideas on how to plan for and manage this situation going forward that you may find useful:
Previously Booked Holidays
If the employee no longer wants to take time off as a holiday booking may have been cancelled because of the coronavirus, as the employer you can still tell them to take the time off.
Equally, if the employee wants to change when they take time off, they will need to secure your agreement first. This can be both for employees working from home or employees who are furloughed.
Resumption of Normal Working
Whenever that may be! Most employees will have accrued a fair amount of holiday during the lockdown period. Please remember that you have the legal right to ask/tell employees when they can take holiday or decline requests for holiday if it does not suit the needs of the business.
For example, one client of ours has told staff that he will close the office for a week in May (even though everyone is working at home) and that everyone should use their holiday entitlement for that period i.e. 5 days. He is trying to manage the total amount of accrued holiday going forward as his business won't be able to withstand a lot of employee holiday when normal trading resumes. He intends to continue working during the May closure and will provide a pared down service to his clients. He is legally able to do this as long as he gives his staff twice the amount of days notice as the amount of days he wants them to take for holiday i.e. 10 days notice before they close for 5 days.
Some Other Ideas
Making any changes
If you plan to make any interim changes to your holiday policy it is important that you let staff know the "new rules" going forward. It is equally important that these rules apply to all staff otherwise they could be deemed to be discriminatory.
The bottom line is that although everyone has a statutory entitlement to 28 days holiday a year, the employer has the right to say when those holidays can be taken.
If you have any particular issues you would like to discuss, please get in touch.