Managing Summer Holiday Requests


The holiday season, while filled with joy, can present challenges for employers and HR teams who need to manage employee time-off requests. Balancing business needs with employee expectations can sometimes be a delicate task, especially when end-of-year projects need completion and shifts must be adequately covered.

Holiday requests

Holiday requests

Establish a Holiday Time-Off Policy

Developing a well-defined holiday time-off policy is crucial for effectively managing employee requests. Consider the following key points when creating your policy:

  • Identify specific days when your business will be closed to avoid unnecessary time-off requests.
  • Establish a clear approval process for time-off requests, whether it is through managers or the leadership team.
  • Define eligibility criteria for paid time-off benefits during the holidays, ensuring consistency across employee categories.
  • Set limits on the number of consecutive days an employee can take off to ensure adequate staffing levels.

Set a Deadline

Once your holiday time-off policy is in place, set a deadline for employees to submit their time-off requests. This allows you to plan ahead, coordinate schedules, and avoid last-minute challenges. Aim to provide a reasonable timeframe, typically at least two weeks before the major holiday season, for employees to submit their requests.

Prioritise Requests

With an influx of time-off requests, it’s important to establish a fair method for prioritising them. Most organisations operate a first come, first served, giving priority to the employees who submitted their requests earliest, ensuring a fair opportunity for everyone.

There are drawbacks – 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. Consider using employee holiday software. There are a variety of software products that make automating the leave request process easier.

Clarify Organisational Needs

If your business has minimum staffing requirements or specific departmental needs during the holiday season, clearly communicate these to managers and employees. By providing transparency, employees can better coordinate their time-off plans while ensuring adequate coverage.

Be Flexible with Staggered Schedules and Shift Swapping

Implement staggered schedules to cover shifts while allowing employees to take time off. Managers can split the schedule among different employees, ensuring a balance between staffing requirements and employee availability. Additionally, consider allowing employees to swap shifts with colleagues who have complementary holiday plans, enabling them to celebrate while maintaining sufficient staffing levels.

Establish Blackout Periods

In industries where the holiday season is particularly busy, consider implementing blackout periods for time-off requests. Identify critical days or periods when all employees need to be available to meet customer demands. However, use this strategy sparingly to avoid employee dissatisfaction, and provide flexibility on non-blackout days.

Consider a Temporary Shutdown

Depending on your organisation’s financial situation and industry, you may consider temporarily shutting down during the holiday season. This can provide employees with additional time off to spend with loved ones. Coordinate with your leadership team and HR to determine the feasibility of a shutdown and whether employees will be paid during this period.

Offer Rewards for Working

When employees are unable to take their desired time off, it’s essential to show appreciation for their dedication. Consider offering rewards such as holiday bonuses, overtime pay, or even a company-catered meal during their shifts. These gestures demonstrate recognition for their commitment during the holiday season.


Effectively managing employee time-off requests during the holiday season requires careful planning, clear communication, and a flexible approach. By establishing a well-defined holiday time-off policy, setting deadlines, prioritising requests, clarifying organisational needs, and offering flexibility and incentives, you can create a positive experience for both your employees and your business.

Remember, a well-rested and appreciated workforce contributes to a happier and more productive workplace during the holiday season.

Find out more – hello@tickhr.com

07745 535 635

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Verified by MonsterInsights