Over the next few months, employers can expect to be inundated with annual leave requests warns Adrian Lewis, Director, Activ Absence. He says this makes it more important than ever to have robust systems in place to manage these requests and prevent HR getting overloaded.
Following the Government’s announcement on 22 February of how they will ease lockdown restrictions in England, holiday companies have reported a large rise in bookings. TUI said bookings for foreign trips jumped 500% overnight, and the owner of UK-based holiday firms Hoseasons and Cottages.com said it sold a record 10,000 breaks.
Adrian Lewis, Activ Absence says, “In England at least there are specific dates earmarked for when restrictions might ease, with self-catering accommodation set to open up on 12 April, hotels on 17 May and then all restrictions ending on 21 June, with the possibility of foreign travel being allowed then too.
“Over the coming weeks HR teams are likely to become overloaded with requests for holiday leave as many employees have put off booking anything until this announcement but are desperate to get away at the first opportunity. Managing this could be difficult if they don’t have good processes in place, so they can keep track and avoid any clashes, especially with many employees still working remotely.
“Often we find that smaller companies are still using paper-based systems and recording holidays on bits of paper or using spreadsheets which sit on one person’s computer. This can become cumbersome to manage, as well as time consuming and mistakes can creep in. We recommend employers use digital systems to make monitoring and tracking staff leave simple, accurate and time efficient.
“Absence management software takes the responsibility of managing leave away from HR as requests are sent direct to line managers, helping to reduce admin for HR. This software also gives companies access to data and reporting tools, so they can see in real-time who is off when, track trends such as someone taking a lot of sick leave and ensure no holiday clashes.
“As restrictions are eased this can reduce the workload on HR and enable companies to focus on getting their business back up to full speed again.”