The Government’s ‘Christmas window’, allowing three households to ‘bubble’ between 23 – 27 December, has provided the UK with some festive cheer to cap off a challenging 2020.
However, with many employees wanting to make the most of this time, pressure has been put on employers to manage an influx of holiday requests while keeping business running as usual.
So, what do employers need to keep in mind?
Implement a company holiday policy
With the announcement, many employees will want to change their holiday plans. However, this leaves employers having to balance holiday and flexible working requests with the need to have enough staff and resources.
To reduce the pressure this causes, the company holiday policy may need to be reviewed. Should a business be at its busiest over Christmas, a holiday policy that puts certain restrictions on booking this time off may be the best choice.
No matter what policy is in place, it’s important to clearly inform every employee of its contents to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Don’t jeopardise the relationship
Putting the relationship between employee and employer at the top of the list is much better for business in the long run. Talking holiday requests through with individuals will foster a culture of fairness and consistency, which is especially important where holidays during the festive season are concerned.
When returning to work, having a positive relationship with employees is key to avoiding unplanned absences, whether COVID-related or not. Clarifying employee rights on leave due to illness, as well as company sickness policies, will ensure that the workforce knows their rights and obligations, with the aim being to avoid any disciplinary proceedings.
Another thing to bear in mind post-holidays is a potential increase in the likelihood of positive cases of COVID-19 in the workforce. By following Government guidelines and putting some creative ideas in place, such as work ‘bubbles’ or staggering returns to the office, businesses can reduce this risk and protect their employees.
Your employees’ health and safety is key
Taking care of staff is paramount, especially in the present situation. So, whether that means having to prepare for the possibility of a rise in infections, set out a clear holiday policy, or maintain open lines of communication, organisations must balance the wellbeing of their employees with business as usual if they are to overcome Christmas in the times of COVID-19.
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If you’d like advice on effectively managing resource during key periods of your business year, or need support with any employment-related issue, speak to a member of your local employment team.
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