Vacation Policy Best Practices

Monday, June 25, 2018
Vacation Policy Best Practices

While the thought of summer vacation may turn many people's thoughts to beach towels or Margaritas (or both), for business owners the associations can be a lot less pleasant.

Summer can be an anxious time for businesses. Along with sunshine, beach days, and ice cream, the season also means juggling employees' time off with the need to keep a business running smoothly.

That anxiety trickles down.

According to a recent study from Project: Time Off – a travel industry effort to track and promote vacation time in the U.S. –  over half of American workers reported unused vacation time in 2017. While this may sound good for business, vacation policies and practices affect the health and satisfaction levels of company employees. Although the overall rate has improved, the survey found that nearly a quarter of respondents hadn’t taken any time off in more than a year, citing heavy workloads, a lack of team support, and the fear of appearing “less dedicated.”

You don't have to be a travel industry booster to recognize that's a recipe for burn-out. A successful company vacation policy takes the needs of both company and staff into consideration.

The Best Practices are Transparent

Experts say transparency is the most important tool for creating a fair vacation policy that works for management and workers alike. A transparent vacation policy begins with a formal written document regularly distributed to employees. This policy should not only lay out all company rules, policies, and restrictions for employee paid leave, but also the deciding factors and priorities for time off requests and any blackout dates during the fiscal year. Keeping employees informed from onboarding onward benefits everyone because it allows time off to be well planned. Companies can also encourage employees to communicate their vacation requests to each other. This helps ensure that teams can support each others’ needs and offer maximum client coverage.

Other tips for vacation policy best practices include:

  • Make fair, balanced decisions for time off requests
  • Consider seasonal shortened schedules like “Summer Fridays” for employee satisfaction
  • Reward those who work on sought-after days off
  • Cross-train to help prep for vacation-heavy seasons

HR Support and Software that Never Takes a Day Off

Looking for more tips on how to create the best vacation policies for your business? SBS clients have access to a full suite of HR software and solutions, available as part of a single-sign on payroll platform. From workplace law and regulation updates to robust reporting tools for tracking and compliance reporting, our clients have access to a broad array of payroll and HR solutions. Our clients have access to an even broader range of services through our sister companies Payroll Tax Management, Cachet Financial Services and Time Rack.


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