With lots of businesses facing demands from employees to enjoy time off during the summer, pragmatic and proactive advisors HR Caddy says employers need to take action.

Although many employees will book time off for holidays well in advance, the school holidays and long, sunny summer months are often a trigger for rising absences and time off within businesses.

That is why employers need to have clear policies and strong people in place to prevent time-off from becoming a commercial challenge.

HR Caddy says that by law most full-time employees are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks of leave per year, although many employers offer more.

In most cases, businesses require staff to give at least twice as much notice as the time they intend to take off, although this may differ from one company to the next depending on their policies.

“It is important that businesses not only have clear policies and processes in place when it comes to leave but that employees understand the rules clearly, including potential disciplinary measures if they take unauthorised time off,” said Nicola Callaghan, Managing Director of HR Caddy.

“In some cases, employers can even refuse holiday at certain times, for example during busy periods, but they cannot refuse to permit any holiday at all.

“If employers do need to cancel an employee’s leave, then they need to think carefully about the impact on that person and the damage it could inflict on relations with their entire workforce.

“They must also give notice to staff of at least the same time, plus one day, which means if someone intends to take two weeks off, they must notify them at least two weeks and one day before their holiday that they intend to cancel it.”

As well as managing authorised absences, HR Caddy says that employees being absent without leave can be a considerable issue to overcome.

Nicola said: “Unexpected childcare requirements, sporting events and even hot summer days can all be reasons for unauthorised absences.

“Businesses must have clear processes in place for dealing with this, from back to work meetings through to clear disciplinary procedures for those who breach their contract.”

However, Nicola said that employers equally had a responsibility to understand the reasons for regular absences and to offer support to employees to ensure they don’t take unexpected time off.

“If an employee is regularly late or absent from work due to childcare issues then it might be worth approaching them to find out if there are other ways that they can work to support their needs both inside and outside of work,” Nicola added.

With the summer now upon us, HR Caddy is offering its support to businesses across the West Midlands to help them manage staff absences. To find out more, please call 0121 378 3998.