Local businesses can make sure they are ready for the summer season by using a new 10-point checklist that has been added to Invest Northern Ireland’s nibusinessinfo.co.uk website.
The 10-point checklist urges employers to:
Plan in advance. Make sure you have clear procedures in place for booking annual leave and ensure that everyone is aware of the process.
Remind employees how much leave they have left. Don’t leave this until the end of the holiday year as this will mean everyone will be absent over a very short period or some employees may lose leave they can’t take.
Monitor your busy months and discourage employees from taking holiday at the busiest times. Communicate this well in advance.
Balance employees’ holidays. Make sure that employees know they can’t all take their leave at the same time.
Consider employees’ circumstances. You may operate a first-come first-served basis but also try to take account of the restraints on some employees, such as those with children.
Adapt your holiday ‘year’ for each employee. If you run your holiday year from 1st April you will probably find that everyone wants to use up their annual leave in March. Some businesses run their annual leave year from the date that an employee starts.
Encourage employees to take time off. In the current economic climate some employees may be reluctant to take their annual leave due to worries about job security. It is a manager’s responsibility to encourage employees to use their holiday allowance as it is important to take time off to relax.
Decide whether employees can carry over holiday entitlement above the statutory minimum, which should be taken in the leaver year. Managers should balance the need for staff to take time off with the requirements of the business.
Train temporary employees. If you need to hire temporary employees to cover for absences then give due consideration to training and induction.
Use quiet times to benefit your business. If the holiday period is a quiet time for your business, take the opportunity to do things that will help in the long term, such as reviewing your business plan, undertaking maintenance work or conducting a customer survey.
nibusinessinfo.co.uk’s editor, Shauna Fenton, says: “Holiday periods are regular, definable events and businesses cannot allow themselves to miss delivery deadlines or reduce customer service because of inadequate preparation and staff scheduling. This can have a negative effect on your business, especially during the current economic climate where companies are working harder than ever with fewer staff. The nibusinessinfo.co.uk holiday checklist should help managers prepare and make the best of their business whatever the season.”
Legislation launched in April of this year guaranteed that a worker’s statutory paid holiday entitlement increased to 28 days per year for an employee working a five-day week, which takes into account the public holidays, although there is no automatic entitlement to these days off.
Employers can calculate the amount of holiday an employee is entitled to by visiting www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/holiday