The HR and payroll media has been dominated with the topic of holiday pay recently, since the UK Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) passed a landmark ruling that non-guaranteed overtime should be factored into an employee’s holiday pay entitlement.
The judgment, which was handed down on 4 November, has been closely monitored by organisations throughout the country, as the industry, Government and trade unions feared potentially hundreds of millions of pounds of back-dated pay may be claimed.
Many feel the EAT’s decision will be appealed in the European Court of Justice, but already guidance has appeared on the CIPD’s People Management website, to help employers take practical and compliant next steps. To some extent we wait with baited breath to see what happens next.
Yet all this talk of holiday entitlement reminds us of another imminent consideration to make – granting annual leave surrounding the festive period. So, with only a matter of weeks to go until Christmas, we thought it was time to share some of our thoughts and advice:
- Many employees will have planned ahead and booked time off weeks if not months ago. But there will of course be others who request relatively last minute annual leave. If using a paper-based HR system, you may struggle to manage this volume of incoming requests. However, with Cascade’s self-service module, individual members of staff can check what annual leave they’ve already booked off, their remaining holiday entitlement and who else is on leave at any given time (using team planners). They can then plan their own holiday requests accordingly, which line managers are able to respond to with ease.
- It can also be difficult to grant appropriate authorisations. For example, your organisation may not be able to cope with people in the same job role being absent from the workplace at the same time. However, ‘key man blocking’ functionality within HR software can help by assessing pre-authorised leave and prompting line managers as to who can and cannot be off as a result. The last thing you want is any nasty surprises if you don’t have adequate cover, and it is important to show transparency and fair decision making within the team.
- If you have a Christmas holiday policy, utilise your HR software to communicate this to staff and remind them of the content. They may need to be aware of different closing times, shut down periods and so on.
- Many employees forget that Christmas Eve is not a bank holiday, so there will be a number of organisations that require their staff to arrive as normal on December 24th. Once again, ensure your workforce is aware of this. Many kind employers give their staff paid leave on this day – as something of a Christmas bonus – or they ask them to only work half a day. However, others will not be able to. If you are working on the 24th, perhaps try to think of a way to make the workplace that little more festive, to kick-start the Christmas spirit. You could organise a party lunch for instance, or invite staff to come into work in ‘non-uniform’ Christmas jumpers.
- If your employment contracts allow staff to carry a certain number of days’ holiday entitlement over to the new year, then ensure you have a fool-proof way of recording this. With a proactive HR software system in place, this needn’t be a difficult task.
- Ensure your payroll team is fully aware of the remunerations they need to make, especially at this crucial time of year. Some organisations allow employees to take holiday pay in lieu of the actual time off, for example, which the payroll department needs to be aware of. With fully integrated HR and payroll software, you can ensure the timely transfer of accurate information, regardless of the time of year.
Cascade’s HR manager Donna Larvin concludes: “Smarter management of holiday requests is one of the most common requirements that our new clients have for their HR and payroll software. That’s why every element of functionality has been designed to alleviate administration, ensure a fair and equal approach, and support businesses during what can otherwise prove a very hectic time of year.”
If you are an existing client and have a query regarding your management of holidays over the Christmas period, why not visit our dedicated customer portal, or call our service desk on 0113 255 4115. If you don’t yet have a HR and payroll software system in place but would like to be in a less frantic position next year, then why not book a free demonstration or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.