It’s August, which means many of us, and our employees, are taking summer holiday leave.
If we travelled back in time to the mid-20th-century (and a few decades before that) we’d see whole cities go quiet for a week as all the factories closed and gave their workers the chance to board a train to a seaside resort or a holiday camp. But now there’s no way businesses can shut completely for a week… which is why an annual leave policy is vital.
Your annual leave policy should set out holiday entitlement for your team and how that will be implemented in a fair, impartial way. The policy should state how staff should request leave and how much notice they need to give. It can also clarify whether there are any times of the year that holiday would be refused – maybe you’re really busy in the run-up to Easter or Christmas, for example.
The policy also needs a “holiday year” start and end, rules about whether staff can carry holiday over, and what to do if someone’s off sick during annual leave.
Of course, holidays aren’t the only kind of leave you need to consider as an employer. Maternity and paternity leave, adoption leave and shared parental leave have been subject to a number of changes this year. You can find out more about these in our latest newsletter.
A new law regarding neonatal care has been given Royal Assent. It grants parents 12 weeks’ leave and pay if their baby requires neonatal care. This is on top of existing parental leave entitlements. The new rights don’t come into force until next April, but it’s worth preparing now.
Earlier this year, the Carer’s Leave Act became law. It gives employees the right to allow them to arrange or provide care for a dependent with a long-term care need (meaning more than three months). It’s a “day one” right, and if an employee is let go for reasons connected with carer’s leave, this will prompt an unfair dismissal claim. Regulations around the Act haven’t been published yet, so now’s the time to plan your policy around flexibility of carer’s leave and how much can be taken in any given period.
However, the really important thing to remember is that many kinds of leave are centred around huge life events – while you should of course put clear, defined policies in place, be mindful that you may also need to react to unexpected circumstances and any emotional or physical consequences that may arise. There’s a lot to think about here!
Don’t spend your whole holiday getting your head around it – when you get home, give us a call on 01449 708999 or send us an email at [email protected]