When Ryanair announced it was having to cancel flights last month after “messing up” its pilots’ holidays there was outrage from customers. Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said the issue, which has been estimated to cost the company up to £22 million, was “a mess of our own making.”
With small companies relying massively on their employees, the fallout from staff building up holidays can have a negative impact on a business and cause tension between bosses and their staff.
Read our tips for staying on top of annual leave…
Put a policy in place and make sure it is widely available. It’s useful to provide staff with an Annual Leave Policy Handbook that has clear guidance. You need to ensure you abide by Working Time Regulations (WTR).
Put it in the calendar
It’s far too easy to verbally agree time off and forget when the holidays roll around. This is particularly important in the summer months and over the Christmas period when staff have to fight it out for time off! Have an easy-to-view system to avoid misunderstandings and potential conflict.
If you want to avoid staff rolling their holiday over to the next year then it’s best to encourage them to be organised about planning their time off and book it in advance. Planning ahead will also help you avoid having to get last minute extra help which can prove costly.
Have a contingency plan
Not all time off can be predicted. If your staff suffer illness or bereavement then you may have to find a strategy for filling the hole they’ll leave by taking time off. Familiarise yourself with recruitment and temp agencies that specialise in your sector. It might also be worth investing in staff training so that essential tasks can be taken on by colleagues.