Managing staff absence around Christmas

One of the busiest times for employee holiday requests is through the Christmas holiday period, with a large number of employees requesting time off and managers having to juggle schedules to ensure that businesses aren’t left short staffed during potential busy periods.

As well as holiday requests, absence levels are amongst their highest around the festive period, this can be down to a number of reasons, more commonly this is down to flu season, however non-genuine absence is common around the holiday period as employees are often tempted to ‘pull a sickie’, especially if staff are unable to get their requested time off. This can make it particularly difficult for managers to keep track of absence types, which can lead to errors in reporting and lost days.

Managers need to remind employees of any holiday restrictions ahead of time, this can help give staff and managers a clear overview and helps them plan for any Christmas events in plenty of time. It is also important to communicate that if holiday requests are denied then employees will be expected to attend work, with the risk of disciplinary action being taken if sick notes or medical evidence isn’t provided.

Allocating a number of specific dates for employees, having a ‘Christmas shut-down’, or providing a maximum number of days an employee is entitled to over Christmas can help to reduce the strain on absence and also help to avoid holiday clashes. This can help take the focus, and worry, off booking holidays and ensures that staff are at their most productive during the busy times.

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