Five Top Tips on Holiday Policies for Small Businesses

Rural offices to let Ipswich – The Gattinetts Business Centre

Annual leave is a problem for all businesses, particularly smaller companies who have more difficulty covering absences, especially at peak times such as the school summer holidays and Christmas. The Gattinetts Business centre, who provide rural offices to let near Ipswich, are home to a range of enterprises on the Suffolk/Essex border. Here are our top tips for ensuring people get the time off when they want, without it affecting your business too much.


  1. Offer Birthday Leave

Giving employees an extra day’s holiday on or around their birthday is a great way to boost morale and make employees feel valued. This day off, which is forfeited if workers do not take it, is also used by some employers as an incentive for new staff to join them.


  1. Have Flexible Bank Holidays

Don’t insist that people have the bank holiday off as there are at least eight of these every year in England (nine in Scotland). Remember a lot of these have a religious focus, particularly at Christmas and Easter. So if you have any ethnic minority employees, or anyone who follows another religion, then they may appreciate the chance to work and have the day off at another time in the year. There may be a limit to what they can achieve, though, as customers and suppliers may also not be working.


  1. Sort out Peak Requests Early On

You may get a lot more requests for holidays at certain times of year, particularly Christmas and the school holidays. There’s two ways to approach this; either have this kind of issue dealt with in the contracts of employment they sign (which stipulates not just how much holiday they have, but when they can take it), or do it as informally as possible and encourage staff to sort it out between themselves as much as possible.

You could also operate a first-come, first-served policy. However, it may be better to keep a note year on year of who had the equivalent time off last year to make it fairer. Whichever way you do it, sort it out early so everyone knows where they stand.

This also applies in the other direction. People should give advance notice of the holiday they want to take. Under current UK legislation, it should be twice as long as the holiday is for, for example, at least a fortnight’s notice for a week-long holiday.


  1. Be as Flexible as Possible

In the same way Bank Holidays can be worked, it may be possible to buy or sell annual leave. This is because those who want to work additional hours or days can do so with a slight salary boost. Equally, if you need more time off then you may have your salary adjusted downwards.

If people need days off at short notice, then it may be better to grant them particularly if they are for personal reasons such as family bereavement and illness. Again, you may prefer to have this written into employment contracts.

Some businesses have a ‘duvet days’ policy where staff can request days off at very short notice. However, while this sounds attractive for the employee, it can create staffing issues. Equally, some people may want to carry time over into the following year.

It may be a good idea to agree to this, particularly if people accrue extra time for working Bank Holidays. For example, there will be a lot of people working over the Christmas period. Therefore, if your business operates in sectors where you need workers on these days, such as hospitality, it may be beneficial to your business to allow workers to carry days off into the next year.


  1. Communicate it Properly

Whatever policy you have in place, make sure everyone knows about it. This means having either a diary or a wallchart calendar so everyone knows who is off and when. Also make sure everyone knows how much leave they are entitled to (at the moment in the UK this is 5.6 weeks a year), which may or not include bank holidays. People who work part-time get the equivalent amount on a pro-rata basis.


Rural Offices to Let near Ipswich at The Gattinetts Business Centre

At The Gattinetts Business Centre, we have a range of offices, light industrial units, workshops, and storage spaces. At the moment, all our offices and workshops are occupied but contact us by filling in the online contact form or call us on either 07941 781489 or 01206 299555 and we will put you on our waiting list.

We are home to a range of businesses, many of whom originally come from Colchester, Ipswich, Hadleigh and other major towns in the area, who all find our business premises to rent in East Bergholt ideal for their needs.