5 things to check before the summer holidays

15th July 2015 by
  1. Everyone wants to go away at the same time

How to manage this:

  • your policy should set out clearly how and when holiday requests are made and who approves them
  • you can refuse holiday requests – your policy should explain how this works
  • you can set limits on the amount of leave that can be taken or requested at certain times (e.g. no more than 10 days/two weeks in one go)
  • you can designate periods when holiday has to be taken – e.g. during your company’s downtime or seasonally
  • to manage expectations, assess the cover you will need and plan ahead with your staff
  • implement your holiday policy fairly and consistently
  1. Sickness and annual leave

If employees are ill while on holiday, they can potentially re-schedule their leave.  How do you deal with the risk of an unscrupulous employee coming back from holiday holding a replacement leave request?

Applying your sick pay policy in the usual way can deter those tempted to play the system.

  • staff who are sick should report this to their manager by a designated time on the first day of absence, on holiday or not
  • staff should be reminded of the requirement to self-certificate (or provide medical evidence if the sick leave continues)
  • you can choose to hold a return to work meeting following a period of sickness absence
  • you should record and monitor episodes of sick leave and the reasons for absence
  • you should make clear that abuse of the policy can lead to disciplinary action
  1. Is it ever too hot to work?

The hottest July day on record has prompted a few questions.  ACAS has issued some guidance for working in the heat:

  • there is no legal maximum temperature for workplaces, but HSE advice is that temperatures should be “reasonable” – this will vary significantly depending on the nature of the work and the type of workplace.
  • Employers don’t have to provide air conditioning, they do have to provide drinking water. Generally, sensible employers will do what they can to make staff comfortable in sudden heatwaves and will benefit from avoiding a nose-dive in productivity.
  • Some employees may be more vulnerable than others, e.g. those who are pregnant, those with some medical conditions, older employees. Employers should consider whether they can provide those employees with longer rest breaks and cooler environments.
  • Dress codes: employers don’t have to relax dress codes because of hot weather and in customer-facing roles there is often no alternative where part of the job is to project the company image.   But, if it is practical to relax or adjust your dress code code temporarily, consider it.

More at:  www.acas.org.uk

  1. Extra staff and zero hours

If you use extra staff to cover busy periods or to fill in at holiday times and have zero hours contracts, review them to check they are up to date.   The latest on zero hour contracts is here.

  1. Holiday pay

Do your employees earn commission or work overtime regularly?  How do you calculate their holiday pay?  Have you been paying them enough?   Here is the latest on holiday pay.

For more information and advice on these topics or the services we offer, contact the employment team on 020 7822 4000 or email employment@healys.com.