Posted on February 12, 2013

Employer Designated Vacation Time Usage

From the HR Pros of the HR Support Center

One of the perks of many organizations is the benefits that companies provide to their employees to encourage employee loyalty, as well to make the employer an attractive, competitive place to work. However, a tricky area for any employer is to designate when employees may take their vacation time. It certainly may help the employer in effectively managing time and workplace attendance; however, it can also lead to employee frustration if they are mandated to take vacation only during specific times during the year.

On one hand, any organization that has busier seasons, like an accounting firm or a seasonal resort is strategic when it communicates its expectations that all employees must be present in the workplace during the periods of heavy workloads. Smaller employers especially must juggle the amount of time any employee may take at a given time as well as how many employees may be out of the office at any specific time in order to ensure that the organization continues to operate smoothly. Holidays and the summer months typically see increased vacation time requests from employees. An organization may effectively manage such requests by incorporating a policy regarding time off by placing a maximum cap on the number of days that employees may request during a vacation leave; the number of employees from within a department that may be out at any given time, as well as how much notice employees must provide prior to taking vacation. Companies that incorporate a system based on employees’ seniority within the organization as a basis of granting vacation leave during periods of high requests increase consistency in the management of employee vacation requests.

Once a system or guidelines have been established, an employer should update this policy within the contents of the employee handbook and ensure that all employees have had an opportunity to review the updated or new policy.

Designating vacation time off may ease an employer’s time off management program, but in order for it to be effective and not negatively impact employee morale, its system must be effectively communicated to all employees and it must be implemented in a manner that is a consistent, company-wide practice.

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