Summer holiday FAQs

news article

Aug 15 2016

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It’s that time of year again, and as always, the summer holiday period brings a multitude of potential issues for HR professionals to deal with. What with a combination of increased annual leave requests, school holidays, and a potential productivity nosedive to deal with, some businesses understandably tend to view the summer period with trepidation.

However, making sure that you are fully up-to-date with the very latest in employment legislation and statutory entitlement will ensure that the summer holiday period needn’t fill you with dread!

To help you steer clear of common pitfalls, we’ve answered some of the HR professions most frequently asked questions below:

Can an employee take more than two weeks’ holiday during the summer period?

If the employee’s request does not affect either their team members or the wider business as a whole, then yes they can. It is important to take into account the individual circumstances surrounding the leave request, and ensure that staffing levels are properly measured before officially granting it. Refer back to your official annual leave policy, and always ensure that you acting fairly and consistently to all staff requesting leave.

Can I refuse an annual leave request if it doesn’t fit in with wider business needs?

In a nutshell, yes. All employees have a statutory right to paid annual leave, but it is at the employer’s discretion as to how and when this leave can be taken. Some employers stipulate particular conditions around annual entitlement, for example you must take at least 10 days in a two-week block. Others may not allow annual leave during busy trading periods.

What is the minimum annual leave entitlement set out in law?

Most employees, whether full-time or part-time, are legally entitled to 28 days of paid annual leave, including bank holidays. However, many employers offer additional annual leave days as part of an enhanced package. Most full-time contracts tend to include bank holidays as standard, but there is no statutory right for employees not to work on bank or public holidays.

What happens if an employee’s childcare arrangements break down?

Your actions as an employer are entirely at your own discretion, but be aware that employees have the right to ‘time off for dependents’ in this situation. This normally allows one or two days of unpaid leave in an emergency situation relating to family members. You could also suggest the use of annual leave, or you may have your own business policy which deals with leave or absences in special situations.

Can an employee submit a flexible working request for the summer holidays?

Officially, a flexible working request submitted and consequently accepted will entail a permanent change to an employee’s contract terms and conditions. It is therefore not recommended as a short-term measure to deal with childcare change. In this situation, it would be better to investigate a flexible working pattern for a short period of time that works for both the employee and your business.

What is the best way to deal with competing leave requests?

If you find you have a sudden influx of leave requests during the summer period, it could be best to consider operating on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Try to be as fair as possible, but ensure that employees understand you have a right to refuse any leave requests that could impact on business productivity. Where annual leave cannot be granted, consider whether you could allow some flexibility around working hours instead, e.g. allowing people to finish earlier or later, or make up time taken for urgent appointments at a later date.

Having the right HR software at your fingertips can help to alleviate the time-consuming administration that managing the summer period can bring.  Whether you’re considering investing in your very first HR and Payroll system, or you’re looking to upgrade from an existing package, why not join us for a FREE Masterclass in London on the 28th September,to find the perfect HR software provider for you?

Alternatively, if you can’t make that date, we would be happy to show you around the system at a time to suit you – click here to book a personal Cascade demo.


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