Managing annual leave can be a nightmare - but does it have to be?

Managing annual leave can be a tricky business. Making sure everyone's used up their allowance, but without having too many people off at once. 'I asked for that day, too, why didn't I get it?!'. Sound familiar?

Throw in the summer or Christmas holidays and your service could be thrown into chaos.    

In teams with a mix of part/full time, hourly paid and flexible staff, managing leave alongside a functioning rota can soon become a nightmare. Who isn't in this week? Does that leave us short on certain skills? Why does she have 20 days leave left whe we're in December?!

Well, here are four ways in which you can keep your service running and keep your staff feeling happy and fairly treated...

Set Expectations

It's vital that staff are aware of the rules around annual leave. It might feel like you're being more fair by dealing with each request on merit, but it'll soon descend into chaos. Set specific rules that are geared towards keeping a sensible staffing level throughout the year, and circulate them to staff members. If staff know that they are being treated the same as everyone else, then you'll hear far less cries of 'that's not fair!'.

Keep Accurate Records

'Do I have enough leave left to...', 'I didn't end up taking that  day in the end...', 'I've got some TOIL to use'.

Keep a simple leave card for each staff member. Start with leave allowance for the year, and have a column for Requested Leave, Approved Leave and Declined Leave.

If you offer TOIL as an alternative to overtime, have a second table on the leave card – one column for TOIL earned and one for TOIL taken.

Plan Ahead

As part of your rules, make sure you set a requesting notice period. The sooner you know about leave, the sooner you can plan your rota for that period – and arrange cover where necessary. Of course, RotaMaster's SMS/Email notifications of vacant shifts, and online web bookings can help you fill the last minute gaps – but it's best to plan ahead...

Keep it all together

Having a central system to handle staff when they're working and when they're on leave can make the whole process a lot easier. With RotaMaster staff can request annual leave or submit TOIL claims from the RotaMaster Web Portal, with managers having the final say on whether the requests are approved or declined. The system gives you a live picture of your workforce at all times - who's working, who's off and why.

You'll never be able to accidentally roster someone's that's on leave, only to remember signing their paper leave card six months earlier...

You can report on everything from leave types taken per person – paid, unpaid, compassionate, - to remaining leave allowances across your teams.

To discuss how RotaMaster can help manage annual leave requirements for your workforce or arrange a demo, give us a call on 01924 252360 or email