Wondering About Holiday Cover & St. Patrick’s Day?

Many companies may begin to fret when St. Patrick’s Day approaches, especially this year as it falls on a Friday. While much of the population are out on the streets celebrating the day, companies are caught up trying to cover annual leave. Ensuring everybody is cross trained and doublechecking if employees’ holidays are not overlapping are just some of the many things employer’s look out for when organising annual leave.

What is Annual Leave?

Annual leave is the time in which employees are entitled to take off work which is paid. It is also known as ‘holiday entitlement’ or ‘holiday leave’. Many people use their annual leave for holidays, while others may have to use it for family matters.

Depending on the company’s policies, different days may be offered to people from different companies. However, the standard leave is 21 days and notice must be given in advance of which days you want off.

As Patrick’s Day is on a Friday this year, the majority of the country will have an extra-long weekend.  Apart from the specific celebrations of Patrick’s Day, it signals for many companies the marker whereby holiday cover needs to be planned within the office for the summer season.  This means doublechecking that two people are not out of the office on holidays at the same time and also that everybody is fully cross trained.  Companies do this so that they can minimise the impact of staff being on holidays, while continuing to provide a seamless service to their customers.  Everybody needs to take time out for holidays, and ensuring that each person’s work is fully covered while they are away means that they do not return to the office with a large backlog awaiting them.

According to the CSO statistics in 2012, 90.7% of SME’s in Ireland are micro-enterprises. i.e employing less than 10 people. Given the large number of companies who fall into this category, it would be reasonable to assume that a lot of careful planning needs to be done in advance of the holiday season in order to minimise the impact of the relevant staff being on leave.

Tips for Ensuring Annual Leave is Covered

As previously mentioned, companies need to be preared for annual leave, ensuring that employees are corss trained and employees’ holidays are not overlapping. However, there are also additional methods to ensure the company runs smoothly while employees are on their time off.

  1. Outsourcing — One of the most effective ways to ensure work is covered during the holiday season is to outsource the work to a third-party. Many companies have been established to lend a hand to those who may need a phone answering service or a virtual office. These services can be used to help free up staff so they can take holidays or as a means of providing extra resources.  If planned in advance, it is a seamless way of boosting your human resources for the holiday period and ensures that your customer service standards do not suffer.
  2. Overtime — Arrange for employees to do some overtime for the duration.