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We know that as education settings close, holiday requests become greater and especially this year when everyone is still trying to manage COVID 19 changes and re-introduce their childcare arrangements. Each individual will have a different reason why they want to be off: working around when their partner can be on holiday, education requirements, regular family holidays, the same time each year, religious celebrations etc. 

1. Transparency 

Have a policy that clearly outlines how holidays can be booked and criteria the business will use to approve the holiday. 

2. Guidelines 

Give clear guidelines on the notice that is required for any period of holiday to be taken to avoid any disappointment and ensure there is consistency throughout the business. 

3. Refusing 

Be clear that holidays may be refused, if they conflict with business needs and that employees must not book and pay for a holiday without first submitting and obtaining authorisation.  

4. Fairness 

To be fair, have a rule that if you have a group of staff who always for example take Christmas or summer holidays off then it needs to be on a rotating basis which should be reviewed regularly, depending on joiners and leavers. 

5. Get employees to agree 

Speak to your employees or better still, see if you can get them to agree, on how busy times can be managed. 

6. Disciplinary action  

Outline what will happen if an employee does not attend work when their holiday requested was rejected. 

7. Cancelling approved holidays  

Be clear that there could be occasions where approved holidays are cancelled – however, be cautious and only do this if it is necessary. The employee may have already booked and paid for a holiday, they may not be able to get childcare and it may impact other family members who the employee is going with. Always consider if there are any other alternatives before you cancel holidays and speak to the employee first. In any situation, even though you are not required to give a reason for refusing a holiday, it is good practice to explain your reason as this will avoid disgruntled employees and resentment between employees. Ensure you give the correct amount of notice to refuse a holiday. 
In summary, having a clearly drafted and robust holiday procedure should help manage those busy times of the year. 
Please do not hesitate to contact if you would like to discuss the plan you would like to put in place. Taking HR from 'TO DO' to 'DONE'. 
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