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Contentious issues when booking holiday leave

Published: April 16, 2016

Booking time off for a holiday can sometimes be a cause of tension in the office. This is particularly the case in businesses where there is a shortage of available staff members.

Holiday tension can arise for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is because employees have disagreements with each other over when annual leave is booked. At other times is comes about due to workers taking issue with their employers if they do not get the holiday they wanted. However with a little advanced planning and by sorting out the rostering arrangements in advance, organisations can reduce this problem.

Below, we list some of the most common workplace complaints and how to avoid these scenarios.

Holiday wars

A 2013 study by officebroker.com surveyed around 500 workers about their holiday leave entitlement.

It found that one in 20 people had strategically booked their holidays to annoy a colleague. A further 13 per cent said they never revealed their holiday intentions for fear of co-workers booking the same time.

In addition, one in ten of the office workers said booking holidays was the biggest cause of conflict in their office.

Christmas was often the worst time to try and get holiday time off, according to the study.

Although the research was conducted sometime ago, this is a scenario all too common in today’s workplace.

While it may never be possible to ensure that everyone is happy all of the time, a fair and transparent rostering system, where a rota is drawn up and holidays are decided accordingly can ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them.

Selecting schedules by seniority and encouraging everyone to work together as a team when someone has a big occasion such as a wedding will also help to reduce arguments.

Disputes over holiday approvals

As mentioned, sometimes employees take issue with their employer over not being granted holiday leave. While the above recommendations will also help to reduce this, if employers also communicate clearly the reason why a request was not granted, then this too can help to promote understanding and reduce further problems.

Annual leave entitlement

Another problem that can occur is employees either feeling like they do not get enough annual leave or those who feel that they are not getting their fair share of bank holidays off.

This is why it is is so important to ensure that workers know exactly how much they are entitled to, and it may also be a good idea to offer more annual leave to employees based upon tenure and performance, which can help to reduce feelings of dissatisfaction.

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