Annual leave planning tips
By Ciaran Strachan
Leave planning is the most effective way for managers/business owners to be ensure both Fair Work compliance regarding leave entitlements, and minimising disruption, conflict and burnout to staff.
Here are some quick tips when it comes to leave planning for your business.
1. Draft a leave plan for the holiday period to ensure ALL leave is staggered appropriately. If you do not have a shift rostering system, you can do this in excel (you can obtain a free .xls calendar from Microsoft if you don’t already have one).
2. Ensure all employees are able to nominate their preferred days off and be sure to give them sufficient notice of the final leave plan before the holiday period so as to be able to make adjustments. I recommend one and a half months minimum, the FWA stipulates 7 days, when it comes to shift roster changes, however IMO and experience, leaving changes or publication of rosters to this stage will only invite stress and conflict.
3. If you work in hospitality or a shift type industry, you can now draft your rosters around the leave plan.
4. For rosters, I recommend having a reserve or two on standby for no shows/sick leave.
5. Best practice tip, state to all staff that once the roster/leave plan is final and published, all changes are to be arranged between themselves and the manager/owner is to be notified once an update has been agreed. This minimises the risk of last minute “no shows” or “I cant make it boss” calls.
6. Poor practice tip. I do not recommend “a policy” only, if you do, you are only protecting yourself as an employer and this is known as a “deterrent”. If you are proactive and design a leave plan with shift rosters that have employee input, this beats a deterrent as it actively “prevents” non compliance/problems before they occur.
Remember, prevention is always better than deterrence.