What do you do when many of your employees apply for vacation at the same time? How early should your team members request time off? Who has the priority to choose the date of their leave first, and on what basis? We asked HR Managers and business owners about it. Here’s what we found out!

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The rules of leave management are treated very individually by the companies that took our survey. While rules regarding type and length of holidays are clear, the issue of their timing is not legally regulated. It all depends on the decisions of the heads of departments or HR managers. We conducted a short survey among them and asked how early their employees are asked to set a date for their planned holidays. Here are the answers:

  • No strict rules - 33%
  • The beginning of the year - 25%
  • At least one week before planned holidays - 25%
  • At least one month before planned holidays - 17%

The results clearly show a wide variety in the rules of leave management. In most companies, there are no strict guidelines as to the dates for submitting requests for time off. An equal number of companies either ask their employees to send the forms at the beginning of the year or grant holidays only a week in advance.

1. What are the rules for holidays approval?

In our survey, we asked the respondents about their specific rules of granting or denying leave. Here are our main findings:

  1. General rules: managers follow two main rules when planning their employees holidays. If there is an “easy” time in their companies, most of the workers can go on holiday no questions asked. But when it’s busy, employees have to make sure that there is someone who can take over their responsibilities (and they most often have to arrange a replacement on their own). From Calamari’s experience, only 1,8% of all the requests for leave are denied, so generally, most of the employees get their holiday when they want.
  2. Long weekends and 2-week-long holidays - rules of the companies are similar in this case. Employees planning to take time off during the long weekends (when most people want to take a break) and those who are planning to go for 2-week or longer holidays are asked to report it at the beginning of the year.
  3. Long weekends - companies are generally eager to allow their employees to take time off during long weekends. If there is not much to do at that time in their particular companies, even most of the employees can enjoy free time.

Even though most of our respondents gave a unanimous answer, there was one exception. One of the companies said that their employees can go for a 2 week break during the summer holidays only once every two years because the summer holidays are the busiest time for their company.

Everyone wants a holiday at the same time, what now?

Situations when a lot of employees want to go for a holiday at the same time happen mainly during the long weekends. And how do managers handle this? With ease and no stress! They follow the rule: first come, first served! If employees’ holidays overlap, managers favour people who applied for time-off earlier than the others. And if there is still a conflict, managers accept requests of workers who didn’t use the long weekend option last year. The same rules apply to B2B contract and full-time employees.

Conclusion? No rule but a shotgun rule!

All the companies that took our survey declare that they try to meet their employees’ needs when it comes to their preferred time of the holiday. Managers generally accept time-off requests even at short notice if the workload isn’t too heavy. But there is one common and unbreakable rule: employees always have to have someone to replace them during their absence. And when the conflict of interests and dates occurs, managers tend to follow the shotgun rule, meaning that the first who came with the time off request - wins.

Managing people is basically an individual matter that demands the ability to adapt to individual circumstances. In the case of leave management, managers often have to rely on their intuition and just want to be fair. That is why it’s good to use a leave management system that lets you manage your team’s time off with ease and keep them satisfied.

Let us know how you deal with employees holidays requests in your company!

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