The Summer Vacation Dilemma
By Mark Evans
As the weather warms up, your employees will likely start talking about their summer plans. But are you ready? You need a solid vacation policy that ensures your business will be covered throughout the year and, at the same time, keeps your team happy.
Know the rules
Each state or province has its own laws about vacation time. But most require employers to offer two weeks of holidays to staff members who have been with a company for a year. You can actually offer more time to your team, if you like, and when an employee takes a vacation is up to the discretion of the employer. Be sure you know the rules and that your policy complies.
Ask for notice
Your vacation policy should require at least 30 days notice from employees. But for summer holidays, you may want to ask for all requests to be in by a certain date in the spring so everyone can book their trips and you can map out the season all at once. It won’t be easy, but you may have to say no to some requests; you need to be sure the business runs smoothly.
Set blackout periods
Most businesses have crunch times. You should consider putting a vacation blackout on these times so you won’t be short staffed. Meanwhile, if you get a rush of requests during the summer, you might need to allow only one week of vacation time for July and August.
If you let staff roll their vacation time into the next year, you could be stuck with requests for lengthy trips from staffers who’ve been stockpiling. Set a reasonable deadline and ask your employees to use it, or lose it.
Set the rules but avoid following them to the letter. If a staff members has a family wedding during a blackout period or needs more than their allotted time away to take an overseas trip, consider bending the rules if it helps keep your team members happy.
Book your own time off
Too many business owners avoid vacationing themselves. Time away is important for your mental health and your family relationships. It can also help you get re-inspired. Plan ahead, delegate your essential tasks to trusted staffers and go!