Annual leave can’t bring festive cheer to all

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Ideally everyone would like to relax and unwind with family and friends at Christmas and that can make it a difficult time for employers.

For many organisations the festive period means business as usual and for certain sectors – such as retail and hospitality – it brings a surge in demand.

Such a boost in trade may require all hands on deck . . .

for many organisations so it’s important to ensure that staff members are fully aware of what is required of them well in advance.


When all staff members are clear on their working hours (and days) then employers can easily benefit from the gains that come with maintaining high staff morale during the festive period.

Confrontation and grievance over annual leave entitlements can be easily avoided when proper policies and procedures are set in stone and communicated clearly to all staff members.

Another aspect of annual leave policy which can give rise to issues at Christmas is a forced closure period.

It’s important that forced closure periods are outlined in the contract to avoid any confusion over leave entitlements. If staff do not allow for this while taking annual leave throughout the year it can lead to them having to take unpaid time off.


Should your organisation be experiencing issues over annual leave entitlements this festive season you should seek advice from our experts by emailing or calling 0044 28 71 271882.

In the meantime here’s a gift of a few festive tips for employers.


1 Contracts should state clearly an organisation’s annual leave policy

2 Make sure staff have read and are fully aware of all annual leave policies and procedures.

3 Where possible employees should be given the opportunity to have time off either around New Year’s or Christmas. Try to facilitate requests from staff where possible in order to boost morale and avoid unplanned absence.

4 Never over promise and under deliver. Broken promises on staff annual leave at Christmas can be a cause of great difficulty for employer-employee relations.

5 Be consistent when authorising annual leave at Christmas to ensure each member of staff is given their fair share of time off during the festive period.

6 Don’t be a Scrooge at Christmas. It’s important to make a gesture of goodwill to staff to reward them for their dedication and hard work throughout the year. This may be no more than providing a few sweets, a hand-written card or even allowing staff to leave work a little early.

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