Managing annual leave at Christmas

Christmas in Britain – a time to relax with family and friends, to eat and drink too much, and to start planning next year’s holiday. Unless of course, you’re running a business. Then the Christmas holiday period can be seen as an impediment to managing productivity in what is likely the busiest time of the year.

Management teams at all levels of a business are engaged in a delicate balancing act – the needs of the employee, who request time off en masse, with the demands of the business, which needs to maintain or indeed lift capacity and cope with demand.

The regulatory requirements are clearly stated e.g. if you work a 5 day week then your statutory right is for 28 days’ paid leave. If you are part-time, then your holiday is proportional to the hours that you work. Employers have a number of mechanisms at their disposal to manage leave – whether it’s through accruals, carry-overs, time of in lieu etc.

According to Acas, the key to effective holiday and leave management is to treat all requests fairly and consistently and this is best achieved by having a clear policy on requesting leave. Acas proposes policies such as a minimum notice period for employees to request time off to allow for suitable cover to be arranged.

With management ideas such as these in mind, we propose Intelligent Self-service to ensure that all requests are treated fairly and consistently with the use of rulesets provided by you as the employer.

With Intelligent Self-service rulesets, it’s possible to automate the approval or denial of requests as long as they meet the rules set by your company. By automating the booking process, paperwork is eliminated and managers can save significant time normally spent manually checking the required rules have been met.

Rules can be set around the following factors:

  • Maximum consecutive leave days allowed
  • Minimum days of notice required
  • Maximum days of notice required
  • Deny if in breach of cover group threshold
  • Deny if in breach of holiday threshold




By setting rulesets in your Intelligent Time system, you can ensure that the required cover is always in place and your employees are treated equally and fairly with each request.

Acas also suggests the provision of a holiday planner in a public space – such as an office – to help staff plan around each other where possible. Having a certain degree of flexibility such as this within the leave requesting process is key in retaining employee satisfaction and in providing a fair holiday booking procedure.

To cater for this level flexibility, we recommend our Intelligent Self-service Shift Swap tool. Shift Swap enables employees to change shifts with a colleague to ensure they can get the leave they require, whilst ensuring the correct cover is met for their shift. Employees can view their calendars and select a shift they want to swap through a simplified process that is then sent as a request to the department manager.




Intelligent Self-service allows for the efficient management of staff leave through the capability of shift swapping and setup of rulesets. This can go a long way towards preventing unplanned absences and improving overall employee engagement.