Luke Watkeys, Business Manager
As Christmas fast approaches us (can you believe it is now just 28 days away?), you’ll probably find yourself being inundated with requests for time off. This isn't a problem if you work in a place where the service shuts down during this period, but what if you work somewhere that runs throughout the festive season? Where lots of employees are chasing a limited number of free spaces, how do you decide the lucky ones who get to put their feet up next to the fire with a big tin of Quality Street?
So firstly, check who wants the time off in the first place. If you are lucky enough to have sufficient numbers in the team willing to work over the break, problem solved. If not, you will need to consider your approach carefully as resentment is likely to build quickly if the same employees are compelled to work the festive period year after year.
Our advice is to then implement a fair and non-discriminatory system which can be used to select who gets the time off. That could be, for example, a rota system (so that those whose request is refused this year will be given the right to take time off next year) or a ballot in which you select at random to see who gets the day off. Although having a ballot is a slightly unconventional approach it’s perfectly acceptable. This system should apply equally to all staff - even the ones who don’t have children - so that no-one can raise concerns about discrimination.
So, as with a lot of our advice, be proactive, fair and consistent. Managers that get on their sleigh promptly in terms of their preparation for the inevitable rush for time off over Christmas are likely to have happier staff and less arguments come the Christmas lunch.