Vacation Season is Here! Best Practices to Manage Employees Time Off

Although the summer season is one of the most common periods of time for small business employees to request vacation, the effects of such leave taking has become more of a year round problem in recent years.

Howard Tarnoff, Senior Vice President of Customer Success at Ceridian, says the failure to take time away from work has been shown to be detrimental on a person’s physical and mental health, it also impacts work performance and productivity.

However, from an operational perspective the volume of summer vacation requests may pose a problem for some employers, especially small businesses with a limited number of staff.

But vacation taking in fall and winter months can also have an impact.

From scheduling employees vacation around statutory holidays, to the administrative task of keeping track of employee’s vacation days, staying compliant with employment and labor law regulations while keeping employees happy can be a balancing act.

Tarnoff offers the following best practices small businesses can use to effectively manage vacation requests and scheduling over the summer months. As you shape your time off policy, consider the following.

  1. Approving and denying vacation requests: As an employer, it is important to ensure that vacation requests are approved or denied in accordance with any procedure in a vacation policy or collective agreement.
  2. Scheduling employee vacation during a summer shutdown: Some employers prefer that employees take their vacation time during a company-wide shut down. Depending on the jurisdiction, you may be required to provide employees with adequate notice. If you which to take advantage of a a particular time each year (for example a summer shutdown), be sure to review your local rules. It is advisable to identify the shutdown in an employment agreement or vacation policy.
  3. Scheduling employee vacation during peak periods: Similarly, if you have certain times when your employees cannot take vacation due to operational requirements, it is best to identify those periods in a vacation policy and communicate it clearly to employees.
  4. Ensure compliance with government legislation: Employers may be able to require employees to use accrued PTO during a temporary shutdown.  A number of states require employers to provide its employee with notice where vacation is scheduled by the employer.  It’s a good practice to have a written vacation policy, which can be revised by providing salaried workers with written notice.

It’s important to help keep your employees healthy, engaged and productive by encouraging them to take time off from work. If keeping track of your employee’s vacation time and pay is challenging, consider an automated payroll and HR system that feeds directly into your scheduling system. Be sure to choose one that can accommodate your statutory holiday overtime rules and rates of pay.