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Summer holiday requests: Do parents take priority?

Handling parent holiday requests over summer can be tricky. Here’s how to divvy out staff leave fairly.

First published on Thursday, Aug 13, 2020

Last updated on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2024

3 min read

The summer months can be a logistical nightmare for you. Especially, when all of your employees want the same time off.

Because at some point, you’re going to have to let someone down. And that can feel even worse when the person is a parent.

As you don’t want to be the reason why they cancel their annual camping trip or fork out high fees for a babysitter.

This year, the majority of schools across the UK break up for the summer holidays on Wednesday July 24th. This means after this date you might be faced with an influx of holiday requests from parents

So should you prioritise parents when approving summer holiday requests? Let’s dive in.

Who gets priority?

In short, no one.

You should treat all your staff equally, especially when approving holiday requests. Because you don’t want to be seen to favour parents over your other staff. 

That could land you in hot water with non-parents as they could accuse you of unfair treatment of an employer at work.

So how should I handle annual leave requests fairly?

Try to remember that it’s not up to you to decide who’s more deserving of the time off.

For example, if one of your employees has booked last-minute flights to Ibiza and the other wants a week off to go camping with their kids. You shouldn’t decide who gets the time off based on their plans.

Instead, put a process in place to make sure that annual leave gets shared out equally.

What type of process are we talking about?

Well, a lot of companies operate a first-come, first-served basis as it’s great for giving staff a level playing field.

But it does have its drawbacks. For example, there’s always going to be one employee who books all the popular days off at the start of the year, leaving their co-workers to pick up the scraps.

To get around this, you could come up with a creative way to allocate popular days. You could let your employees pull names out of a hat to decide who gets August bank holiday Monday off, or rotate who gets first dibs on Christmas Eve.

Is there an easier way to manage staff holidays?

Smart HR software like BrightHR can help.

Your employees can request a holiday (even out of work hours) using their mobile, and you can sign it off in seconds. So there should be no more mad dashes first thing on a Monday morning.

Plus, BrightHR flags any holiday clashes with you before you accept a holiday request, so you should never have too many people off at the same time.

Want to see how BrightHR makes holiday management easy? Book your free demo today.

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