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Three annual leave lessons to take from the August Bank Holiday

Get staff holiday advice and stay prepared beyond the August Bank Holiday rush with three simple tips to make sure your annual leave management stays stress-free.

First published on Tuesday, Aug 29, 2023

Last updated on Tuesday, Aug 29, 2023

4 min read

With the August bank holiday behind us, the next public holiday in the UK isn’t until Christmas! You might think now is a good time to relax and put bank holidays out of your mind for the next four months—but you’re not out of the woods yet!

Given all the disruption we’ve seen to travel this summer, not to mention the drab weather we’ve been having, your staff might choose to save their annual leave for later in the year.

Totally understandable, of course. But for you, that could mean an influx of late summer and autumn holiday requests…

So, how do you stay prepared if we have an Indian summer ahead of us? Here are three tips for simple and straightforward annual leave planning beyond the bank holiday rush.

1) Keep clashes under control

Balancing annual leave requests within a team that requires minimum staffing levels can quickly lead to holiday clashes. The best way to prevent employees in the same department from booking the same day off work is to have clear guidelines and a fair annual leave policy. That way you can make sure you stay in line with employment laws around allowing your employees their full statutory holiday entitlement, whilst maintaining business operations.

2) Encourage employees to take a break

Yes, you heard us right. One way to prevent an influx of holiday requests, especially over the festive period, is to create a culture that encourages your employees to use their annual leave throughout the year. If your absence management system isn't super simple for your employees to access and use, you could be on the road to random, ad-hoc, or last-minute holiday requests.

It’s also advisable to set a minimum notice period for requesting leave so you can avoid last-minute demands disrupting your productivity.

Making the process for requesting time off easier for your employees, and you’re less likely to be bombarded with requests during busier periods. It’s also beneficial to your employees' health and wellbeing which has a knock-on effect on your productivity and retention rates.

3) Track the trends

Having your ear to the ground when it comes to staff trends may not be your first priority, but it should be.

Knowing which periods are likely to be busier for booking annual leave can help you plan in advance and get temporary or agency cover if you need it to avoid understaffing. This will be particularly useful in industries like retail, hospitality, and tourism.

An example of a key date to mark in your diaries is Friday 25th August. BrightHR data shows that this has been the most booked off day for the past SEVEN years in a row (excluding bank holidays and the Christmas period). You can also find stats for the past year to help you stay ahead in our annual infographic on staff trends.

Manage your staff holidays in a click with BrightHR’s time-saving, admin-busting staff leave planner. Get automatic and accurate holiday calculations for ANY working pattern with HR software that’s backed up by employment law experts for additional peace of mind.

See BrightHR’s award-winning software in action and book your FREE non-committal demo today.

Have more questions on this topic? We have thousands of answers to all your HR and health & safety dilemmas.

Ask BrightLightning: - Can we stop staff taking holidays in July and August when we’re busy?

Annual leave requests can be accepted or rejected in line with business needs and resources. You don't need to accept all requests that come through, especially if this would mean too many staff are off at the same time. It's normal to have a 'first-come first-served' approach to dealing with requests but you may have another approach that is just as fair. - Are bank holidays included in statutory annual leave?

Yes, the 5.6 weeks statutory minimum includes bank holidays. The number and the timing of bank holidays differs between England, Scotland and Wales.

Have more questions on this topic? We have 10,000+ answers to all your HR and health & safety dilemmas on BrightLightning

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