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Fairly Handling Time-Off Requests

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Today’s employees value employment perks and advantages as much as the pay. However, demanding time off affects who wants to work with you.

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Time-off is important. People won’t apply for jobs if they can’t take time off. If you make it tough to acquire time off, you’ll lose your employees. Without a policy for employee time off — you’ll struggle to staff your office during busy vacation periods. Yes, you could say that the Era of Perks has arrived.

People link their time off to the quality of their life and the ability to have a healthy personal life outside of work. The codeword is work-life balance. It’s critical to know how to handle requests efficiently. How to develop an appropriate time off request policy:

Early disclosure of vacation policies and time-off

Whatever you do with employees’ time off — you must inform them of your policies as soon as they are employed. If workers don’t know the restrictions for time off, two things will happen.

Today, many companies apply a no restrictions policy, depending on workers to govern themselves. This works well with very conscious persons and teams. However, some workers may repeatedly beg for time off. And this can cause animosity among coworkers — especially if some don’t carry their full load of work.

Other workers may be afraid to ask for fear of being rejected due to a lack of understanding of limits. With the irresponsible working alongside the overworked responsible ones — frustration and exhaustion ensue. Unrelieved frustration leads to burnout.

Time off rules may be part of a union contract, and in such a situation, you must play by the rules. You may need to modify your vacation policy to meet union contract regulations. However, most union contract rules allow flexibility that includes management discretion to allow for unexpected occurrences.

Put your rules in the employee handbook, make them readily available for inquiries, and cover them in recruiting interviews.

Set A Request Deadline for time-off

Every sector has high-intensity seasons when taking too much time off hurts the firm. During the holidays, retail, for example, need extra help — not time off. As a result, businesses will want to hire extras and train them for the busy season.

You may wish to establish a deadline for time off requests to avoid requests for the next year when specific staff have yet to be employed. Again — hiring extras for the busy season helps relieve the pressure on your best employees who you want to retain.

If you establish a request deadline, notify all staff simultaneously. This is important since you’ll likely have people requesting time you cannot grant them. In some instances, asking first is fair as long as everyone knows they may make a request.

First-come, first-serve is the most popular technique of managing vacation time off — followed by seniority. The first-come, first-serve way of requesting and granting time off is a time-honored tradition.

First come, First serve is still a good rule of thumb for time off

First, to make a request gets the time off. That’s why you notify everyone about the deadline at the same time. However, you’ll find that you still need to be flexible. You’ll find that certain workers will always be the first to ask for time off — and some will always be the losers. You don’t want the same people working every holiday simply because they requested it the day before. Also, be sensitive to those who want to work every holiday because they have nowhere to go. That’s okay if they’ll take off at another time of year — and rest — to avoid burnout.

Seniority

Seniority is best used is when there are many legitimate and contradictory requests for time off. Avoid arbitrary management discretion that may smack of favoritism. Partiality without justification for choosing who gets time off can cause touchy issues in your employee ranks.

Be mindful of seniority with first-come-first-serve. Not being able to seek appropriate time off is disheartening for new workers. The old seniority methods to time off disadvantage younger generations and potentially speeds their leave from your firm — avoid it.

Peak-Time Employee Rewarding

Having too many regulations oppresses people. Consider rewarding staff who work over holidays, weekends, or other busy periods. Don’t ignore your time-off policy.

Assume you have a worker who can work every weekend in December. Her incentive may include getting the first pick of the first two weekends off in January or not working any closing shifts over those weekends.

Of course, other benefits work, but time off bonuses make sense. Of course, some workers don’t want time-off (another difficulty), but for the most part, rewards with incentive work.

Make All Employees Rotate

HR Solutions, Inc. identified the top 10 gripes in a recent poll of workers. Favoritism is first on that list, and it shows itself in various ways, including how you manage time off.

That effervescent employee who usually asks for summer weekends off? Is anyone in your employ constantly having a family emergency? It’s straightforward to demonstrate preference without recognizing it. After all, the squeaky wheel gets the oil — and reserved staff doesn’t have the same time off as others.

A rotating time off schedule helps

Employees’ time off requests should be rotated, especially for holidays and weekends. Employees remember the work trap — working holidays, every Friday night, or last Thanksgiving — whether you know it or not. You may forget who worked last Thanksgiving and New Year — but employees do not. Rotation is one technique to prevent it. Time-off is a holiday must for renewing energy and work commitment.

Follow Up Requests

Please keep track of employee time-off requests, including when they are made, why, and the actual time off. These are easy to schedule and keep track of on your Calendar.

Keeping track of employee time off requests may help you identify issue trends and assist you in rejecting requests from employees who ask for time off too often for the same reasons.

You may also observe whether a staff member seldom asks for time off. Maybe they deserve a break but are afraid to ask for it or think they will lose their job if they ask for time off.

Allow Employees to Trade Shifts or Days off

Occasionally, real emergencies arise that necessitate giving your staff time off. For example, suppose you have a stringent rotation plan or the employee has exhausted their leave requests. You’ll find that time-off is always a timely topic.

Allowing workers to exchange shifts or days removes you from the equation and dispels the notion that you exhibit favoritism. This is particularly useful if an employee is unwell — watch for depression and other such issues that may present themselves within the time off topic. Mental health is top of mind these days and should be with all employers who want the best outcome.

A word of caution: be sure an employee who seems to be working for others wants to do so. There are power battles, bullying, and strong personalities, and some workers may be reluctant to refuse to take up someone else’s shift.

Fairly managing time-off requests requires clear procedures, flexibility for emergencies, and avoiding prejudice. In addition, allowing workers to volunteer provides them a feeling of power that they aren’t at the manager’s mercy.

Image Credit: Julia Larson; Pexels; Thanks

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