Handling Employee Time off Requests

With the holidays fast approaching, employees are planning their getaways and family vacations. While it’s completely understandable to want time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day, if every employee leaves town that week, there will be no one left to keep the business running. So, when the time-off requests start trickling in, it’s up to human resources personnel to manage these requests.

As a professional HR manager, it’s your job to do this in a fair and timely manner but it’s not always that easy.  You want to grant every time-off request that comes in because you know that taking time away from the office will allow them a chance to recharge and be more productive when they return. But it’s always not feasible to give every employee the time off they request, so here are some tips to handle these requests fairly.

Ensure the company’s time-off policy is understood.

Make sure all your employees are aware of the company’s time-off policies, and how they will be granted. You can inform employees of this when they’re hired, but it’s not a bad idea to send out a refresher via a company memo before the holidays begin. That way, when the holidays arrive, employees should know to plan ahead and comply with the company policies.

Grant requests in a fair manner.

The best approach is usually to grant any requests in the order in which you received them. If seniority does play a role in receiving PTO, make sure this is known by all employees, so no one gets the impression that you’re giving preference to certain people.

Track incoming requests.

Use a detailed and organized system to track requests as they come in and as you grant them. That will help you avoid the dreaded scenario of giving an employee permission to take time off and then having to rescind that permission because everyone else in their department asked for the same time off.

Track past requests.

Archive previous years’ time-off requests so you are aware of what employees are granted what requests. It’s important to track what employees aren’t always granted premium vacation time slots while others are. If a situation arises where you need at least one member of the department to work in-office at all times, you can use time-off records to ensure the same employee isn’t always stuck working on a holiday.

Compensate those employees who do work on holidays.

Make sure you offer proper incentives for employees who work during the holidays. Offer bonuses, increased pay, or other rewards, such as extra vacation time in January.

Handling time-off requests around the holidays can be tricky, but these tips will help you do so in a manner that’s fair to both the company and its employees. This will keep morale high, which is especially important during this wonderful time of year!

Keep an eye out for more handy in-office and general employee training tips with Conductor’s blog!