As the pandemic winds down, workplaces are fielding an unprecedented amount of PTO requests. Employers are managing employee time off requests because their staff are going on long-delayed vacations, visiting family, or going to weddings or family reunions that were delayed due to COVID. These are three preventative steps that MP’s HR services team recommends employers can take now to ensure this onslaught of vacation requests is more manageable.
3 Preventative Steps for Managing Employee Time Off Requests
1. Set up and use a PTO tracking system (if one isn’t already in use) for managing employee time off requests.
Especially when many employees make multiple PTO and vacation requests, employers can find it challenging to keep track of PTO balances. A PTO tracker (like MP’s) will also help managers keep track of employee’s time off. If multiple employees ask for the same dates or holidays, tracking via PTO software can assist managers in deciding whose request to prioritize based on previous requests.
2. Plan ahead for holiday weekends or busy times.
If employers have time periods when their business will be especially busy, they should begin ensuring they have the staff they will need for those time periods. Employers can designate these times in the employee handbook and/or hold a meeting with employees about this limit on availability for vacation requests. The same tactics can be utilized for holidays if employers need a skeleton crew (or a full crew) available during designated days. Employers should utilize a time off request policy and meetings to communicate their needs to staff. This advanced notification will ensure that nobody is surprised if many vacation requests are denied.
3. Managing employee time off requests is easier when incentivizing hard to fill shifts.
As mentioned above, taking this step well in advance of holidays or busy seasons will help. Holiday coverage incentives, such as time-and-a-half pay are frequently effective. After obtaining volunteers for busy times or holidays, employers should then ensure they communicate with their payroll team and record higher pay or bonuses. This will ensure employees are paid on time and without error.
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