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May 2021


Leaving lockdown: How to manage the annual leave backlog

Employers are well used to staff wanting to take holidays at the same time. It is inevitable that certain times of year like Easter or Christmas will be more popular than others. As we remain in lockdown, most employees will want to save their time off for when restrictions are lifted. Last year, key workers who did not get to take all their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 were allowed carry over up to four weeks of unused holidays into the next two years. While this flexibility was necessary to protect workers' rights, it has caused an annual leave backlog that could become a real nightmare for employers to manage.

While we know that “nothing can be guaranteed”, we cannot help but feel optimistic about Boris Johnson’s tentative plan to ease all lockdown restrictions on June 21st, 2021. There is even an online petition asking the government to make June 21st, 2021 a one-off Bank Holiday, to be known as Merriweather Day, as an opportunity for families and friends to come together. Once this date was announced there was a huge scramble in workplaces for employees to get their requests in to have the week of June 21st off. While it might not be possible to please everyone and give them this time off, it is important that you deal with annual leave requests in a way which is transparent and fair.

Annual Leave Requests

Some employers are choosing to force staff to take holidays at a time that better suits the business. While some employees may be perfectly happy with these tactics being enforced, many others will feel hard done by that they do not have any control over the dates that they take off. Offering to buy back employees’ holiday days that are in excess of the statutory minimum is another method that is being used, however, this could end up being expensive and hard to manage for employers. So, what is the best option for all parties involved? 

An employee app that manages staff holidays

BrightPay Connect, an optional add-on to BrightPay’s payroll software, is the simplest way to manage your staff's annual leave – headache free. BrightPay Connect streamlines leave requests and leave approval. This is how it works:

  1. The employee requests leave from the calendar in their BrightPay Connect mobile app or from their PC or tablet. This means employees can request leave anytime, anywhere.
  2. The employer (or the person who has been assigned to oversee the management of that employee’s annual leave) is notified of the request on the dashboard of their own BrightPay Connect account.
  3. The employer/manager can then either approve or deny the request at the click of a button.
  4. The employee will receive a notification on their device informing them of whether their request has been approved or denied.

The most popular policy of granting annual leave is on a first come, first served basis. While this policy is the most fair; depending on the system in place, it can still be difficult to keep track of which employee requested the leave first. With BrightPay Connect, you don’t have that problem as you will be able to see the order in which requests come in. Employees also have the ability to request half days or request to cancel leave that has already been granted.

In the employer’s dashboard, from the calendar tab, the employer can view a real time, company-wide calendar. At a glance, employers see which employees are on leave and the type of leave. This is especially handy nowadays when staff may be working from home and it is hard to keep track of who is off and who is not. Cloud integration means any approved leave requests will flow directly back to your BrightPay payroll software on your PC or Mac.

Using BrightPay Connect to manage employee’s leave means less conflict in the workplace and less stress all round. Book a free demo today to find out the many other ways BrightPay Connect can improve employer/employee relationships.

Register for our upcoming free webinar where we will discuss preparing for the safe return to the workplace, the furlough wind-down, redundancies and vaccine policies.

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Posted byElaine CarrollinAnnual LeavePayroll Software