Ask the HR Department: Spring is just around the corner. How can I better handle vacation requests from my staff this year?

By HR and health & safety consultancy Peninsula Canada

With spring and upcoming long weekends around the corner, people are starting to plan out their long-awaited summer vacations. How can employers handle the surge in vacation requests, while keeping everyone happy?

Start with a policy for requesting vacations days. This policy needs to clearly outline the process for requesting time off. By explaining the process, you are demonstrating transparency and fairness to all employees. Employers may want to include how far in advance staff must book vacation. Or how many employees can take time off at the same time.

Have an accessible shared holiday calendar. It will help staff avoid any vacation clashes. It would also be useful for employers to highlight blackout period dates, when no one can book time off.

Consider a first come, first served policy. Employers could also implement a “first come, first served” policy that will help make managing vacation requests easier. However, it could cause issues if not done properly

There are certain holidays such as Christmas where many staff would want to take leave. To avoid a surge in requests for the same dates, employers can come up with creative ways to divide popular holidays/days. For example, employers can implement a rotational system where everyone can take turns taking time off for certain days, making it fair for everyone.

Incentivize employees who are open to booking time off during quieter periods. An alternative method to manage a sudden influx of vacation requests is to incentivize employees who are open to rescheduling their time to quitter weeks. This incentive may include giving staff an extra day off or half-day. Some companies might also provide the flexibility to carry forward vacation days, in line with legislation in your jurisdiction.

Peninsula is a trusted HR and health and safety advisory company, serving over 6,000 small businesses across Canada. Clients are supported with ongoing updates of their workplace documentation and policies as legislation changes. Additionally, clients benefit from access to a 24/7 employer HR and OHS advice line and coverage on legal through the Peninsula Protect service promise.