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5_Tips_for_Coordinating_Employee_Vacation_Time_around_the_Holidays.jpgThe holiday season is fast approaching. During the holidays, many of your employees will want to take time off to spend time with their families or friends. This can be a complicated time for employers who want to accommodate as many vacation requests as possible.

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Here are five tips for coordinating vacation time during the holiday season.

1. Close the Office for Major Holidays

Many of your employees may want time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. If this week is traditionally a slow time for your company, consider closing the office. It’s not unusual for companies to close during this week. In fact, the Society of Human Resources Management reports that 15 percent of organizations shut down between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

By shutting down the office, you can allow all your employees to have the week off. This makes it much easier for you to coordinate vacation time requests. Providing this additional week off is also a great way to stand out from your competition. Your generous policy could help attract top talent to your company.

2. Offer Incentives for Employees to Choose to Work

Not every company can afford to close for a week during the holiday season. If that’s not possible in your industry, that’s fine. To make coordinating vacation time easier, ask employees to volunteer to work during the holiday season. If enough employees volunteer to work, you won’t have as many vacation requests to juggle.

To encourage more employees to elect to work during the holidays, consider offering incentives. For example, you could offer bonuses to employees who choose to work. You could also offer extra vacation days that the volunteers could take after the holiday season is over.

3. Let Employees Carry Over Their Vacation Days

If you offer more than the legally required two weeks of vacation, you may have a “use it or lose it” policy for the extra weeks. Employees could realize they haven’t taken all their vacation days yet and could try to use them in December. Since this is already such a busy time of year for vacations, it can make coordinating everyone’s requests more challenging.

An easy solution to this problem is to allow employees to carry over their extra weeks of vacation time. These employees could take their vacation time after the holiday season when fewer people are interested in taking time off.

4. Set a Deadline for Submitting Vacation Requests

When you’re trying to coordinate employee vacation time, the last thing you need is a batch of last-minute requests. After figuring out a workable vacation schedule, you may feel like you have to start over to accommodate latecomers. To encourage employees to submit their requests in a timely fashion, set a deadline.

For example, you could tell employees you need to receive all their holiday requests by December 1 (or another appropriate date). Employees who don’t submit their requests in time won’t be considered for time off.

5. Track Requests and Leave with Technology

Once your vacation request deadline arrives, you may find yourself with dozens of requests to consider. To approve these requests, you need to know how much coverage you need for certain days and how many people already have the day off. While it’s possible to keep track of this information on paper, HR technology makes it much easier.

To track vacation requests and approvals, use your human resource information system (HRIS). Through this system, you can see all the requests you’ve approved on the real-time leave calendar. At a glance, you’ll know if you can approve more requests. This greatly simplifies your HR processes.

Managing your employees’ holiday time-off requests doesn’t have to be challenging. With these tips, you can coordinate time off throughout this busy season without stress.


Kaneez Jaffer

Kaneez Jaffer

Kaneez is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) with an advanced knowledge of human resources and organizational structure and design. She has extensive experience with HRIS systems and understands the need to move HR from a transactional model to a transformational one. She has worked in the investment banking, insurance, and legal industries, as well as with large not-for-profit centres helping to simplify and streamline their internal systems. Kaneez is an expert in building relationships and affecting change in a positive and productive way. She acts as the key HR business partner at Apri Insurance Services Inc, managing the implementation of JungoHR, while providing expert advice and counsel on a range of HR matters. Kaneez holds a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management as well as a Certificate in HR Law for HR Professionals from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada.