With the winter holiday season comes the inevitable avalanche of vacation requests for trips, family activities, school performances, and festivities. As an employer, the holiday season can become a balancing act between allowing employees to take their earned vacation time and the need to keep the company running smoothly. Here are some tips to fairly and consistently manage employee holiday requests:

  • Institute a clear, written company policy about holiday-time vacations, black-out days, and scheduling procedures.
  • Communicate company holidays, early shut down days, or extended hour days. Depending on your industry, the holidays may mean a significantly heavier or lighter workload. Remind employees about holiday hours and requirements so they aren’t blindsided at the last minute.
  • Set a deadline to submit holiday requests. Inform employees that several things may influence approval, including seniority, previous holiday vacations, performance, or nature of their work. If too many people request the same days, see if they can come to a compromise. John may be willing to work the day after Thanksgiving if he can switch with Jane for Christmas Eve.
  • Offer an alternative vacation date. If an employee is turned down for their winter vacation request, offer them priority in scheduling spring break or summer vacation dates.
  • Post a schedule of employee holiday schedules as soon as possible so coworkers and managers can begin planning how to handle the workload.
  • Access a pool of part-timers or seasonal workers to pick up the slack if you find that certain areas are understaffed for the holidays.