01 Jun 2020

How can HR teams manage holiday leave challenges post Covid-19?




As Government plans[i] are set to be unveiled regarding so called ‘air bridges’ which will allow  holidaymakers to travel to low risk countries without quarantining from 4th July,  Adrian Lewis, director at Activ Absence warns that managing annual leave could be a major challenge for companies post Covid-19.

During the crisis, the government announced that untaken statutory holiday leave could be carried over for two years if it wasn’t practical to take it in the current year because of coronavirus[ii].

However, Adrian Lewis says whilst this is good news for the employee, it could leave businesses short staffed at what will be a critical time in their recovery.

Adrian says, “Employers face several challenges as lockdown eases, including adapting to new ways of working and adhering to stringent health and safety measures. Managing holiday leave is another issue that could cause problems if companies don’t stay on top of it.

“During lockdown many employees may have not taken annual leave, especially if they were furloughed or busy during the crisis. But now the world is starting to open up many will want to start taking leave, whether that’s a staycation or travelling to one of the low risk countries.”

A survey from Advantage Travel Partnership[iii] in May found that 86 per cent of Brits are willing to travel abroad over the next 12 months despite the presence of Covid-19. Four out of five (80%) were also still hoping to travel this year if restrictions are lifted.

Adrian adds, “Holidays are good for people and businesses should always be encouraging employees to take a break. However, there will be concerns that the next 12 months are going to be a key time for many as the economy starts to pick up. For businesses it could be make or break.

“Organisations need to be fully staffed to take advantage of this. They will need to be even more fastidious about employees booking holidays well in advance and ensuring there are no clashes. Having a robust system for doing this and not relying on emails and spreadsheets is more essential than ever.

“One of the easiest solutions is using cloud-based absence management technology, which tracks all absence; whether that’s annual leave, sick leave, those working remotely or on staggered start times. HR teams and managers can approve or decline leave online, as they can see how many staff have already booked time off, helping prevent holiday clashes.

“This ensures the workplace is always fully staffed as far as possible. It also encourages employees to put in holiday leave requests in plenty of time. This can help avoid a mad dash to take leave before the end of the year, which often happens.

“This technology can benefit organisations of all sizes; ensuring they have real-time visibility over their workforce and helping them get back to near normal productively as far as possible and supporting their recovery,” adds Mr Lewis.

For more information on absence management software visit www.activabsence.co.uk

[i] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/24/exclusive-destinations-first-set-air-bridges-uk-revealed/

[ii] https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/managing-employee-holiday-entitlement-during-covid-19

[iii] https://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/370222/poll-finds-86-of-brits-are-willing-to-travel-abroad-despite-presence-of-covid-19