0333 444 0165 info@citrushr.com
How do you manage annual leave requests fairly?
  1. Blog
  2. Leave and Absence
  3. How do you manage annual leave requests fairly?

You know it’s your responsibility to make sure your employees take their statutory holiday allowance. You also don’t want to be the difficult employer refusing annual leave requests. But what about those periods when everyone wants to go on holiday at the same time? How do you remain fair and keep your employees happy?

Write bespoke clauses into your holiday policy

This is where tailored employment policies and contracts can be really useful.

By establishing your approach to annual leave management from the outset and setting any restrictions around when your employees can and can’t request leave, you’re being clear about what they can expect and demonstrating the steps you have in place to maintain fairness.

Some options to consider including in your annual leave policy include:

  • Stating that leave will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
  • Setting limits on the number of employees who can take leave from any one department at the same time.
  • Writing into your policy any time frames where taking leave will not be permitted. This might be over Christmas, for example, if that’s a particularly busy period for you.
  • If you have a company shut-down at any point in the year, and therefore need all your employees to reserve annual leave over this period, this should also be stated in your policy.
  • Setting limits around how much leave employees can take off at any one time.

Try not to be too restrictive when creating your holiday policy, however. You should still have sound business reasoning behind any limits you have in place. Remember that restrictive holiday policies don’t encourage employee retention.

Review holiday bookings and encourage staff to book time off

It’s a good idea to review holiday bookings at regular intervals throughout the year. This means you can spot if it looks like too many staff seem to be holding on to their allowance until the end of the year.

Remind your staff about how many day’s they have left and encourage them to book them as far in advance as they can.

A proactive approach should help to keep annual leave bookings more evenly spread throughout the year and avoid too many clashing requests at the year-end.

What about employee’s wanting an extended holiday?

While it’s typical for employees to limit annual leave bookings to ten working days, inevitably there are times when employees request to take off longer than this.

It’s important to be aware that a blanket ban on any request to take an extended period of holiday does carry with it a potential risk of indirect discrimination.

An example of this could be when your employee has family on the other side of the world and they’re keen to spend as much time as possible with them on this rare opportunity to see them. In circumstances like this, you should still review the request and properly assess whether allowing an extended period of leave would be viable for the business.

Get help with holiday management

Take the pain out of holiday management with our HR Software which streamlines the request and approval process and helps you to keep track of clashing leave requests and employees not using up their annual leave allowance.

Other useful features for managing leave include:

  • Calculating time off in lieu
  • Preventing resourcing issues as it’s easy to view who’s already booked time off
  • Automatic adjustment of holiday entitlements if you reward long service employees with additional holiday
  • A holiday accrual report that calculates the value of unused holiday at the end of the financial year.

And if you’re looking to create a holiday policy that’s tailored to your business needs, our HR consultants can help.

Give us a call on 0330 444 165 or email info@citrushr.com to find out more.


The content of this blog is for general information only. Please don’t rely on it as legal or other professional advice as that is not what we intend. You can find more detail on this in our Terms of Website Use.

Get content like this every month

Join thousands of other businesses and get helpful, practical advice on tricky HR issues delivered straight to your inbox.