The last quarter of the year is always busy with businesses rushing to get as much as possible done before the December shutdown period begins. December is also a very popular holiday season which means that on top of everything else, you have to to manage a flood of employee leave requests.

Leave management doesn’t have to be an administrative headache. Follow these six simple steps and you’ll be navigating the end of year rush with ease.

  1. Put clear leave policies in place 

It’s common for companies to put a limit on how many employees can take time off simultaneously. This can get complicated over popular holiday periods when almost everyone is requesting leave over the same days. You don’t want your employees to feel dejected by a refused leave request, nor do you want to explain over and over again why it’s been refused. Avoid any discontent by making sure that your company’s leave policies are clear, that each employee has read the rules and understands them.

Similarly, if your company closes down for a few days during December and your employees have to take those days as leave – make sure they are aware of this so that they can plan their leave allowance accordingly.

It’s also important that employees know how many leave days they can carry over to the next year. This helps them allocate their leave over the year so that no days are forfeited.

  1. Give your employees access to their information

If you are handling an entire company’s leave management, it would make your job much easier if each employee had direct access to their personal information.

Come October, your inbox is very likely inundated with end-of-year leave requests. Not only do you have to respond to each email, these exchanges often lead to more questions! People ask how many days leave they have left, if their chosen leave dates are acceptable and often change their minds and ask for different dates at the last minute.

With a self-service system in place, employees can quickly and easily see how many days leave they are owed, which days they can take off in accordance with your company’s leave policy and even apply for their leave online. Your admin will be significantly reduced, in fact, you’ll receive hardly any leave related emails at all.

The self-service functionality applies to managers too. They can access and approve their direct employees’ leave requests via their workflow processes without you having to get involved. What’s more, your company’s leave schedule can be stored online. This provides a holistic view of all submitted leave that has been approved or is pending approval.

  1. Integrate your leave and payroll systems

Leave allowances can have an impact on employees’ salaries. Should an employee accumulate untaken leave over a certain period of time, or resign with untaken leave days still owing to them, your company may have to pay out for some or all of these days. Or, an employee may request to take unpaid leave or resign with a negative number of leave days that need to be paid back to the company.

These salary calculations can take up a substantial amount of your time. However, if you have a system that integrates leave and payroll, you won’t have to worry about this at all.

  1. Start planning in advance

Don’t wait until the first week of December to start planning for the shutdown period. Encourage your employees to apply for leave well in advance. This will enable you to plan better for the periods during which you’ll have fewer employees at work.

It is also advisable to have a set leave notice period in place to minimise last minute requests.

  1. Offer a holiday pay differential

If you want to reduce the number of people taking leave in December, consider offering a holiday pay differential to those who choose to work through the holiday period. This incentive will appeal to employees who are looking to make some extra money over the festive season. It can be applied to all high holiday seasons and will interest employees without children for example, who are not bound by school holiday dates. This will help ensure that your company is never short-staffed during busy times.

  1. Allow more employees to work from home

If your company has reached its leave cap for December yet people are still asking for time off, why not consider letting some employees work from home?

Providing the nature of your business allows it, technology has made this really easy. With a mobile device and internet connection, employees can now access their company emails and files from anywhere. Allowing staff to work remotely will significantly contribute to employee satisfaction, especially those with long commutes or those who were unable to get leave over their requested dates.

Leave management in the last few months of the year doesn’t have to be an administrative nightmare. With good advance planning, combined with software to automate processes and increase employee self-sufficiency, this period can be much easier to manage. So much so that you’ll be able to take some time off to enjoy the sunshine too.

If you’d like some help in making your December period stress-free, contact us today, for a leave management solution that’s perfect for your business.