HR in the Hot-Seat: Key Issues for Employers in 2021

As we slowly emerge from lockdown there is going to be much for employers to think about. A lot of the talk at the moment is about the big stuff – the future of work and workplaces, change management and employee well-being and re-integration but what about the less well publicised issues that affect working life and also have a real impact on an organisation?

In the post-lockdown era matters which may previously have seemed mundane, such as holiday, are likely to become hot topics (and possible battlegrounds) as employers and employees try to find their feet in the ‘new normal’. With this in mind, we are launching a series of updates to help answer the key questions employers are likely to be facing this year.

The first topic in this series is holidays and we will look at how employers can get ahead, practical holiday management matters and of course….issues around employees taking foreign holidays when these are permitted! The focus of the first instalment of the holiday series, below, is getting ahead.

Holidays: Five Steps to Getting Ahead and Being Prepared

Employers are likely to see an upturn in holiday requests over the coming months – more freedoms, better weather in the UK and the possibility of foreign travel will have some employees considering booking time off.

What five steps can I take now to help me manage holiday as the year progresses?

To make sure your organisation is ready think about the following steps

1. Review: policies and procedures to ensure they are still appropriate for the organisation and if changes are required, discuss these with Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd before taking any action.

2. Remind: your employees how to make a holiday request if you think this would be beneficial. If you have new employees or employees are on (or have recently returned from) furlough a reminder of the required process may be helpful to prevent any issues from arising.

3. Identify: whether any employees already have a higher amount of holiday to take than usual, for example because an employee has carried over holiday from last year under a holiday carry-over policy, the Working Time (Coronavirus) Amendment Regulations 2020 or because they were on maternity/adoption leave. Identifying the amount of holiday your workforce is likely use this year will help to effectively manage the taking of holiday.

4. Assess: when you think your busy periods are likely to be, if you anticipate being able to accommodate fewer holiday requests than usual during these times you may wish to consider letting employees know as this can help them to plan ahead and make any holiday requests as soon as possible. Remember, holiday requests can be refused if there is a good business reason to do so but it’s important that all requests are dealt with fairly, appropriately and in a non-discriminatory way.

5. Notify: employers can require employees to take holiday at certain times provided they give the correct amount of notice. For employers in some circumstances, this can be a  useful tool when it comes to managing holiday. For further information regarding this or to discuss the situation in your organisation, please contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd.

The next instalment in our holiday series will be published in due course, in the meantime if you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd for advice on the facts of your case.