Booking vacation time can become a headache for employers and employees alike. Employees need to have clear guidelines on the use of their vacation time, minimizing internal conflicts. Employers can ease the tension with advanced planning for vacation blackout periods and the amount of slots available at certain times.
The Employment Standards Act (ESA) requires employers to provide two weeks of vacation every year, increasing to three weeks after five years of employment. The act actually allows employees to defer taking the vacation time for up to 12 months after the year it was earned.
What are some key elements to having an effective vacation policy?
Clear procedures – In order for employers to minimize the stress of having to go through various approvals for employee vacation time, an automated system and procedures clearly outlined in the employee handout would lessen the stress. If all employees are aware of blackout vacation dates and how quickly in advance they must book in order to get approval they will do so. The hardest thing an employer can do is keep the employees in the dark regarding the right booking procedure.
Who approves vacation?– An effective policy should clearly outline who must approve an employees’ vacation, whether it needs to be the head of the department or the direct supervisor. By having a system set in place that would automatically alert you if too many employees are booking the same time off, the company wouldn’t jeopardize their productivity and service levels.
Carry over?– Employers need to have clear predefined rules on how they deal with vacation carry over. Under the ESA they are obligated to ensure all employees take the statutory minimum amounts of vacation time. How the employers choose to deal with any additional vacation time is up to them. Some companies pay out their employees for any untaken vacation, whereas others enforce a “use it or lose it” policy.
The best way to keep issues at bay with summer vacation bookings fast approaching is by having a fair and transparent vacation policy system that ensures that employees know what they need to do to book vacation and how to get it approved.