C&W businesses and staff urged to compromise on annual leave for the rest of 2020

Monday 15th of June 2020 10:41 AM

Businesses and their staff in Coventry and Warwickshire are being urged to compromise when it comes to holiday entitlements for the remainder of 2020.

Paul Lawrie, Director of HansonLawrie – an HR and recruitment company, which works with a range of businesses across the region and nationally, was speaking on the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s latest Business Intelligence call for its Corporate Members and Strategic Partners.

He was giving firms from across the patch an update on a range of issues relating to their workforce during the Coronavirus crisis, from bringing people back from furlough through to the redundancy process.

Paul told the audience that many businesses were reviewing what to do when it comes to annual leave, as staff would be vying for time off as they return to work adding additional pressure to businesses as the economy begins to restart.   

He said the best approach was to communicate with staff and that the majority will understand the business’s needs in such an unprecedented situation.

Paul said: “Businesses have to manage holidays for the remainder of this year because companies do not want to be in a position where staff have either been furloughed or continuing to work but haven’t taken much – if any – annual leave.

“You could get to a point where the economy is restarting and people are trying to get a year’s worth of holiday into just three or four months.

“The best approach is to communicate with the team now, showing that you understand that staff need rest and recuperation but also get a level of understanding from the workforce of what the business needs over the coming weeks and months.

“You could make a request that by the end of, say, September, all staff have used 70 per cent of their annual holiday allowance. My advice would be to try to limit the number of people all off at one time and, again, be open about that.

“Companies can, if needed, force staff to take holiday but must give double the notice of the amount of time they should take. For example, if you want someone to take four days off, you need to give them eight days’ notice.

“You could introduce or extend a company-wide shutdown possibly at Christmas to help support the employee get their annual leave days down and also help the business in a less busy period.

“Some might be considering carrying holiday over into next year – if they run January to December – but I’d be wary with this, as it will add additional days into the following year potentially causing issues in 2021, as people will still need to take holiday! The best thing to do is talk to staff and to come to an agreement that works for everyone.”

Hazel Pilling, Membership Manager of the Chamber, said: “We were very grateful for the insight Paul could give on the many, many HR related issues that businesses are facing in the current climate.

“There are so many things for companies to consider and holiday entitlement is something that every business and every employee will have to weigh up in the coming weeks and Paul’s advice is extremely useful.”

Companies looking for support during the Coronavirus crisis should go to  https://cw-chamber.co.uk/covid-19-recovery-hub/

Caption: Paul Lawrie, Director of HansonLawrie