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The guilt-free way to handle parent holiday requests

Losing sleep over the thought of rejecting a parent’s holiday request? Here’s how to shake off your guilt.

First published on Thursday, Aug 13, 2020

Last updated on Monday, Jul 15, 2019

4 min read

You think you’ve got it bad juggling parent holiday requests. But what about your poor staff? 

They have six weeks of childcare to cover in the summer.

And if both parents work and family members can’t help out, it’s going to be an expensive one.  

That’s why you’re probably starting to worry about the number of holiday requests coming your way. Here’s how to deal with parent holiday requests without feeling too guilty.

Do parents take priority?

Absolutely not.

If you give parents priority when divvying out summer annual leave, you could face accusations of unfair treatment from non-parents.

Those without kids could argue you’re punishing them.

To avoid such claims, decide on a fair way to assign holidays. You could operate on a first-come, first-served basis, or rotate who gets to request leave first.  

Whatever you decide, put the details in your annual leave policy so you can show this to your staff.

What do you mean you don’t have one? Step this way to find out how to put together an annual leave policy.

So I shouldn’t give parents time off?

It goes without saying that if you can give your staff time off, you should.

Your staff have a right to take a certain number of holidays each year. And once they take time off, they’ll probably be raring to get back to work—especially if they’ve had their kids all summer.

Let’s face it though, you won’t be able to accept all holiday requests. You must have a valid reason to refuse annual leave, for example if too many people are already off or it’s a busy time of year.  

I’ve had to decline a parent’s time off. What now?

Be sympathetic to your employee and explain what else you can do for them.

You could offer flexible working for the summer. This might mean letting your staff come in later or work their usual hours in fewer days so they get extra time off.  

You could even let your staff work from home if their job allows them to. And then there’s parental leave.

Employees who’ve worked for you for more than one year can take unpaid leave to look after their child. They can take 18 weeks’ leave up to the child’s 18th birthday.  

Working parents can take a maximum of 4 weeks parental leave in one year. And they must take leave as full weeks—equal to their own working week—rather than an odd day.

Your employee must give you 21 days’ notice of when they want to take parental leave. And you must have a ‘significant reason’ to postpone their request.   

Discover more about the terms of parental leave.

I dread this time of year. Is there another way to manage holidays?

You won’t have to worry about managing staff holidays with BrightHR.

Your employees can request a holiday and you can sign it off in seconds—even when you’re away from your workplace.

Use our free iOS and Android app to approve or decline requests, wherever you are. And get 24/7 access to your holiday calendar so you always know when your staff are off.

BrightHR also flags any holiday clashes with you before they happen—so you won’t ever have too many people off at the same time.

And you can log parental leave to help make sure you pay your staff correctly.

Get a free demo today to see how BrightHR takes the stress out of holiday management.

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