Holiday requests

Roll up, roll up. Employers may be concerned that this summer, rather than rolling up their sleeves, workers are rolling up to various sporting events en masse leaving the business understaffed and overwhelmed. 2012 will be providing many high profile events, such as the European Football championships, not to mention the greatest sporting show on earth being hosted in London.

It is foreseeable that many employees will be hoping to catch a glimpse of Usain Bolt & co or maybe the England Football team’s victory bus tour around Trafalgar square…ahem. So how can an employer cope with high demand for annual leave whilst giving everybody a sporting chance of having some time off to enjoy these events? 

An employer should have a good clear policy in place to determine the process for applying for annual leave and this process should be as fair as possible to avoid poor morale and disputes. Time off could be awarded on a first come first served basis or based on length of service. Importantly, there should be a level playing field in terms of every employee knowing the process to be followed, but it is ultimately up to the employer to accept a request.

By law employers are under no obligation to accept a holiday – the business must come first. However it could be beneficial to explore alternatives such as allowing radio commentary of events in the office or access to a television so that individuals can watch matches in shifts. Flexi working is a further option that may appeal and help to avoid increased levels of ‘sickness’ during important events and games.

Therefore as individuals begin to plan the use of their annual leave entitlement for the year ahead, it is advisable to ensure that the contest for annual leave is an even race. It’s just not cricket otherwise.