When dealing with an employee time off request, you will first of all want to be fair with the way in which you approach the situation. The time of your employee is just as valuable as yours and giving them time to take off of work when they need to goes a long way when it comes to promoting employee happiness in your business.

In fact, it has been proven that employees work better when they are encouraged to take vacations and use all of their allotted vacation time. As a manager, taking care of your employees and making sure that they are content as a part of your business is very important. Good managers should try to use their time off as well. Taking a vacation now and then helps you clear your head and rest so that you can be a better manager when the going gets tough.

Of course, there are going to be times when you are really busy and can’t afford to have many staff members taking time off. It’s a given that this will happen at some point in time. If you need to refuse any request the staff member is likely going to be upset, but if they feel that you have been unfair about it they will become resentful.

If this happens often enough and employees feel as if they are not being respected by managers, it could lead to that person looking elsewhere for work or just not performing as well as they could.

Here are some tips for how managers can make sure that they are being fair about granting employees vacation time.

Create Policies

It is important that you have policies in regards to employee time off requests. Make sure that you have clearly defined the rules of your business when it comes to when people can take time off and how much in advance they need to request a vacation so that managers can prepare properly.

In your policies, you can define the exact rules for request time off so that everyone on your staff is fully aware of the entire process. This is the fairest way to nurture good relations between you and your staff, because no one is being left in the dark and everyone is clear on the vacation policies.

Being transparent and clear with your staff about all types of work policies, vacation policies included, shows that you respect your team and you respect their time.

Allow Shift Trades

There are many way of dealing with employee vacation time. One method is to allow shift trades. What happens here is that you allow staff to have time off if they can arrange for someone to cover their shift by swapping with this other staff member.

There are potential difficulties with handling employee time off requests; it can get out of control and you can end up with shifts that are under or over staffed or have the wrong skill mix. If you are going to allow shift trades you should make it clear that these will all need to be approved by the management first of all, and that swaps can only occur between people doing the same job.

Just having one person replacing another person is not good enough; this other person will need to be able to do the job for the member they are replacing. If these shift trades are managed correctly though, they can be a great way to deal with employee time off requests.

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Give Staff More Independence

Self-scheduling is another way of dealing with employee time off requests. The employees take responsibility for choosing their time off providing they take into consideration the staffing levels and skill mix for any particular shift.

The staff member will have their contract hours that they need to work each month and self-scheduling will give them a lot of freedom; it will most often be first come first served or negotiations between staff members for different shifts.

This can be an effective way of dealing with employee time off requests because the staff members have more control and there is less risk of unfairness. On the other hand, there is also the risk of chaos ensuing so a level of administration will be needed for the process to run smoothly.

Respect Emergency Absences

Sometimes staff members will have sudden employee time off requests; these are usually due to some emergency or important event. Depending on the severity of the reason, all efforts should be made to grant the request.

It should also be remembered that while a reason might not seem too important to the management; it may be to the employee. If this employee time off requests isn’t granted there is a good chance that the staff member will just take a sick day anyway.

This is why it pays to try and be reasonable. If there is just no way that you can afford to lose the staff member on the day, then you should try and give a full explanation as to why; maybe the employee will be able to suggest a compromise.

Have a Backup Plan

There are going to be times of the year when you’re going to be getting a lot of vacation request submissions. This might be during the summer or the holiday season. Obviously, it’s harder during these times of the year to deny vacation requests, but at the same time, it’s hard for you as a manager to work short-handed.

That’s why it’s a great idea to always have a list of trusted, part-time workers in your pocket that you can reach out to and use as replacements when needed. Having a list of seasonal workers that you have worked with before, you trust and you know are reliable is a definite must in these times when you are probably going to be short on workers.

Being a great manager means being prepared for any situation that you are going to have to encounter and having the skills and the knowledge to solve these problems while being fair to your employees and making sure that your business is running without a hitch at all times.