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How to Handle the Surge of Vacation Requests this Summer


The summer travel tsunami is headed our way.

Despite inflation, airport delays, flight cancellations, shortage of car rentals, rising gas prices, and the threat of COVID-19 still looming, there’s no stopping people who have been cooped indoors for two-and-a half years – now that it is safe to travel again.

While it is good to get back to normal, this could also mean that your employees may request for the same time off.

Given the prolonged lockdowns we’ve endured, you may not want to cancel anyone’s long-awaited holiday plans. But you also cannot afford to be short-staffed during a busy season.

It is important that you prepare in advance for the coming surge in time-off requests. You must handle clashing vacation requests fairly.

How do I handle vacation leave clashes?

We advise that you:

Have a policy in place and share it with your staff

Your vacation policy should inform employees of how far in advance they must request their vacation. It should clarify the procedure for making the request.

The policy should also list the reasons a request may be declined. For instance, you may decline requests during the busy holiday season, or if you’re already short-staffed.

Make it clear in the vacation policy or your employee handbook that if several workers want the same time off, you’d deal with the requests on a ‘first-come first-served’ basis.

Create a shared holiday calendar

A shared holiday schedule can help avoid vacation clashes. You could put it up in the work area or share it online so that it is easily accessible to all your employees. This way, your staff can check availability before blocking dates.

Get creative

While a ‘first-come, first-served’ policy would make managing time-off requests easier for you, it is not without its shortcomings.

For instance, some employees may always reserve all the coveted holiday periods at the beginning of the year. This is unfair to others and may lead to resentment among your staff.

To avoid this, you should devise more creative ways to divide popular days. You could ask your employees to draw lots. Or you could have a rotational system. For example, everyone could take turns to get time off on Christmas Eve.

Use a smart HR software

A smart HR software like BrightHR can make holiday management simple and convenient for you. When vacation requests start flooding in, you may miss any overlaps or holiday clashes.

When your staff requests leave through BrightHR, the software alerts you of any vacation overlaps or clashes before you approve them.

BrightHR also makes requesting leave convenient for your staff. They can book their vacation either through the online software or the BrightHR mobile app. You are notified immediately and can approve or decline the request the same way and within seconds.

Do you need help creating a vacation policy?

Our experts can help you develop company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety, or employment advice you may need. See how we have helped other small and medium businesses get their business compliant with provincial legislation.

If you need more information on how our services can help your business, call us today: (1) 833-247-3652.