Summer is fast approaching and whilst long, hot sunny days may still seem some way off, the coming months can present employers with some seasonally related staff scenarios to handle. We take a look at a few of the most common situations employers are likely to face as the temperatures (hopefully) rise.
Handling holiday requests
Check your holiday policy – or if you don’t have one in place now is a good time to adopt one – and make sure that all staff are aware of the procedure for requesting and authorising time off. Certain times of the year are more popular for holiday requests – particularly if employees need to fall in line with school holiday times – so make sure that you adopt a fair and consistent approach. Also consider if you will need any additional seasonal staff to cover holidays or peak business periods and start the recruitment process early.
Late return from holiday
There can be a number of reasons why an employee may not to return to work after a holiday; some of these may be outside of their control due to illness or transport delays. And whilst foreign travel is currently prohibited announcements are expected in the coming weeks. As witnessed last year, the situation can be very fast moving, and if travel abroad is allowed, there is the possibility of added considerations surrounding quarantine measures upon return. Ensure that all staff are made aware of what they should do if they find themselves unable to return to work following a holiday.
The heat is on...
When the sun is rising, places of work can become hot and stuffy – and whilst there is no maximum temperature stated, it is important to ensure that the conditions are ‘reasonable’. This can vary for different workplaces and the work that employees are being asked to carry out. As well as added ventilation measures in line with COVID-19 recommendations, take steps to monitor the temperature throughout the day and consider whether air conditioning systems or fans etc will be beneficial.
Dress for success...
Employers may adopt a more relaxed dress code during the warmer months however staff should still dress appropriately for the role that they perform. Customer facing roles may still require employees to uphold particular standards at times – such as wearing a tie – and employers should be clear on situations when it may be possible for these to be relaxed. Consideration must also be given to protective clothing which is required for health and safety purposes. For those employees working from home, a more relaxed approach is possible however, be sure to reiterate expectations for meetings and video calls which are being conducted remotely.
As well as an increased number of requests for annual leave, May sees two bank holiday weekends and many employers also find that the summer months can lead to a spate of last-minute or even unauthorised days off as employees want to take advantage of the nice weather. Employers need to monitor absenteeism and ensure that the reasons for not coming to work are indeed genuine. Ensure that you have in place a disciplinary procedure which you may need to follow if an employee has taken unauthorised time off without a satisfactory explanation.
Summer sporting calendar
Whilst we are still awaiting confirmation, this summer could be a bumper one for sport with the rearranged Olympics and European Football Championships set to take place alongside annual events including Wimbledon. A packed sporting calendar can present several issues including requests to time off, distracted employees trying to keep up with the latest scores whilst at their desk and allowances being made to watch key games and matches during work time.
Even where timings for sporting events don’t clash with working hours, a busy social life can result in tired, hungover or late employees the next day. If you are going to make allowances for staff to watch particular games or adjust their working hours make sure this is communicated in advance and is fair to other employees who may not be interested in participating.
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