There will be a lot of requests for annual leave over the Christmas period and if you cannot close the business, you will need to apply a fair and consistence approach to authorising and rejecting annual leave requests.
Firstly, remember that employees are not entitled to have the days off that they want. Their request must suit your business. However, Christmas is probably the only time when you should deviate from the first come, first serve rule you may have in operation for the rest of the year.
Consider what you did last year. If it worked and everyone on the whole was happy, there is no reason to move away from the same procedure. If you did have issues, it is important to attempt to get it right this year.
It would be helpful to identify those employees who want the time off and those who do not.
From that you should be able to identify if you need any additional resources. Look at who had time off last year and commence a rota for the Christmas / New Year holidays.
If there is still conflict, you could consider splitting up the premium days so that all of your employees have at least some time off. If your business allows, you could consider splitting it further so that employees are only working a certain number of mornings/afternoons/evenings/nights during the Christmas period which would allow them more time at home.
If your business must stay open throughout the Christmas period, consider rejecting all holiday requests. This should be purely down to business need and your employees will understand the situation given the nature of your business.
If employees simply fail to report into work, deal with their absence in the appropriate manner following either your absence management or disciplinary policies.
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