At some point, it will become necessary for employees to request time off from work, usually around the holidays. What can be especially challenging is that the major holidays tend to represent the busiest periods for most businesses in Ireland. Staff may also require time away from work at other periods as well. Whatever the reason, businesses still need to be able to function at optimal levels despite a lessened staff complement.
How can employers be aided with managing time off without experiencing losses in productivity while at the same time satisfying their employees’ need for time away? What are the benefits of a system that tracks employee time and attendance?
The solution is really multifaceted and has to be well balanced. While employees are internal customers who have needs to be met, the external customer must also be considered in the same breath. The level of customer service and day to day functionality cannot be so gravely impacted by understaffing that it affects the quality of the product or service and the bottom line.
Here are some company policies and protocols which will aid in managing employee time off from the very outset. Ideally, all these policies and protocols would be best included and outlined in an Employee Handbook. They could alternatively be made available to employees through an Absence Management System accessible to all.
Establish Clear Policies Regarding Employee Time off Entitlements
Based on the length of time a worker has been in your employ, it should be very clear to them how much time off they are entitled to and when. If that information is clearly defined, some of the difficulties surrounding managing time off will be mitigated.
Outline Clearly the Process for Time off Request Approval
When companies have this plainly stated, workers will be able to properly plan and schedule their expected time off. Companies have the freedom to set granting of approval based on seniority or time of request. Whatever the case, this should also be made clear to all. Some companies have found it beneficial to set deadlines by which all requests for time off should be made. This process can be improved by the use of Absence Management Software, which will provide transparency for all. Staff and management alike will be able to see the time off landscape and be able to plan accordingly.
Possibly Include Time off Restriction Policy or Clause Regarding Holidays
Many employees all over Ireland and Northern Ireland have seen it fit to include such stipulations. This is because as stated before, many businesses experience the greatest profitability in and around the holidays. Some companies have out rightly stated in their policy that no time off will be granted during the holiday periods. Others have tried to circumvent this by applying limitations.
An example of this is companies asking that each employee not request time off during more than one major holiday period within a given year. This allows for a certain level of fairness and also staff complement control. Better yet, it facilitates proper planning and forecasting to meet staffing needs when they arise.
Policy for Brought Forward Time Off
Many companies establish deadlines for which time off from work must be scheduled. They do this also in a bid to prevent time off allotments not taken, from rolling over into the following year. Some companies have a strict no roll over policy, while some have limitations on the amount of time which can be taken from the brought forward days and also up to a specific date. More liberal companies will pay for time off not taken especially in cases where the nature of the job made it difficult to do so.
Alternatively, it is not uncommon for some companies to close for a period over the holidays. During this time, the entire workforce enjoys the mandatory closure and all benefit from time away.
An additional solution involves some businesses using outsourced services at that time. They use this as a solution to afford their staff time off during the holidays, so it becomes part of their yearly operations.
The various solutions companies across Ireland use shows the different approaches which may be applied in managing time off. While it is up to each entity to decide on what their policies and procedures will be, there are solutions which can help to ease the amount of time spent tracking it all.
One such is the attendance policies feature of Advance’s Absence Management system. This will simplify the entire process of time off management. Importantly, it also enables the workers themselves to have a part in managing the way they plan their own time off. This way all parties get to take an active role in the process, to the benefit of the organization.