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Staff holiday 'busy times'

How do other firms handle staff holiday requests during busy times?

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Have been having some discussions in our firm about staff holiday requests (particularly fee-earning team) during our tradtionally busy times, and one suggestion has been to put a block on staff holiday for a three month period during which many of our team are traditionally busiest. 

I wonder - what do other firms do in circumstances like these? 

 

Thanks all!

 

 

Replies (17)

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By K81
16th Jul 2018 13:39

only big restriction is no leave in January for tax team & no leave in April for Payroll team - the accounts assistants are required to manage their leave so that they don't all have the same time off.

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Bramble
By Chris.Mann
16th Jul 2018 14:19

What does it say in the statement, or contract of employment?

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Replying to Chris.Mann:
Mike James accountant ashford kent award winning
By Jamesm96
16th Jul 2018 20:56

Yeah we thought that - it's silent on the topic other than stipulating required notice for holiday periods. The company does ask the team to coordinate their holidays (on first-come-first serve) so that we don't have, say, two key managers off at the same time.

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By tom123
16th Jul 2018 14:27

Are you planning on being able to retain staff, or is that not a concern for you?

When is your 'busy' period, and does it cover, for example, a whole school holiday.

Holidays are an entitlement, not some kind of favour..

Three months is too long, in my view.

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Replying to tom123:
Mike James accountant ashford kent award winning
By Jamesm96
16th Jul 2018 20:59

Thanks tom123,

Yes it would cover the summer holidays May - July and, yes, retention is absolutely a concern; hence enquiring as to how other firms handle it - try and get some perspective.

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Replying to Jamesm96:
RLI
By lionofludesch
16th Jul 2018 23:08

You don't want your employees to have holidays in May, June or July ?

What's your trade ?

Slave driving ?

Good luck with your staff retention.....

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Replying to Jamesm96:
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By WhichTyler
17th Jul 2018 09:26

Quote:

Thanks tom123,

Yes it would cover the summer holidays May - July .

seems odd with school holidays July - August?

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By Maslins
16th Jul 2018 14:37

Here we've just got it as a polite request. Though for us what's more of an issue is 2 people in one "team" wanting time off at the same time.

Most staff understand, and it works fine. If they really need a day off when their teammate has a fortnight's holiday, ok, we can cope...but they know to try to avoid it. Yes that's a favour to us, but having a good relationship with staff is all about give and take.

Maybe I'm naive/we're too small for it to be an issue, but I'm keen to avoid strict rules re these things. I worry with that you'll get situations where people resent it, and find a way to meet the letter of the rule whilst still being massively inconvenient for the firm.

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Replying to Maslins:
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By tom123
16th Jul 2018 14:48

Agreed, nothing wrong with a general "person A cannot be off the same time as Person B", with exceptions for the odd appointment.

Once you start blocking out 1/4 of the year, you will end up losing goodwill.

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Replying to tom123:
RLI
By lionofludesch
16th Jul 2018 14:58

Agree. Three months is ridiculous.

Sounds to me like the OP has a client problem, rather than a staff problem.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Mike James accountant ashford kent award winning
By Jamesm96
17th Jul 2018 09:37

That's interesting, thanks lionofdesch. When you say 'client problem' - what did you have in mind particularly?

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Replying to Jamesm96:
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By lionofludesch
17th Jul 2018 09:45

Encouraging your clients to bring in work at a time convenient to you.

In fairness, I was thinking the three months would be November, December, January. I wasn't expecting May, June and July.

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Replying to Maslins:
Mike James accountant ashford kent award winning
By Jamesm96
16th Jul 2018 21:02

Thanks Maslins - I'd be interested to know how many staff you have? ('Small' is very relative in accounting terms!)

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Replying to Jamesm96:
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By Maslins
17th Jul 2018 09:17

Quote:
Thanks Maslins - I'd be interested to know how many staff you have? ('Small' is very relative in accounting terms!)

8, including me. For us it's not so much quantity of staff off at any given time, but who they are. Ie we could potentially have 4 of them off on a given day and still cope perfectly fine. There's a handful of pairings where I ask they avoid being off together.

Most clients have 2 main points of contact, so try to avoid both them being off on any given day. Also I try to avoid having time off with the firm's most senior employee (for key judgment calls) and the firm's admin bod (as I'm the only other person who does admin).

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By atleastisoundknowledgable...
17th Jul 2018 08:35

I’ve 2 trainees and a PT qualified (plus me), so pretty small.

There’s a general ‘1 at a time’ policy but I normally let it slide with enough notice and just plan around it.
There’s an informal ‘nothing in Dec/Jan’, but again if it’s booked early enough & is the odd day then I’m okay with it. Jan isn’t as bad for us as other firms, >95% of our tax returns are directors so they get done with the accounts. Apr&May are our busiest months for the 2 trainees and they know that so just don’t book anything of their own accord, which is appreciated. The PT (2 days) qual is pretty even throughout the year so just doesnt have any seasonal restrictions.

It’s all about being fair and balancing the firms needs whilst being flexible. I’m a big fan of give&take which requires flexibility and understanding on both sides. A blanket ban on the summer 3 months is - IMHO - a very short-sighted policy. Think about it from the staff’s side, would you be happy with that?

They’ll know that they’re busy then so won’t (shouldn’t) take the p155, but you have to accept that people want/need a summer holiday.

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
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By Maslins
17th Jul 2018 09:19

Just to say much of this rings true with us too. Dec/Jan isn't particularly busy...though we do still have the handful of gits who give us stuff last week of Jan, so I'd be keen to avoid staff having that week off.

Apr/May realistically busiest time for us too.

Around now is beginning of the quiet period if anything. Certainly if we were to be restrictive on when staff took holidays, we wouldn't try to block the summer, quite the opposite.

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By RHounsome
19th Jul 2018 13:21

When I worked in practice, both at Big4 and Midtier, I was not able to take time off during busy seasons - this was partly the culture, partly enforced by contract. Where there were exceptional circumstances (e.g. family death) I was able to take a few days leave.

This busy period was also about 3 months (e.g. September to November), so I made a habit of taking all of December off.

Needless to say, this had a big impact on staff morale and are part of the reason why so many staff leave once qualified. These policies were mostly enforced on the trainees and mid-level staff, but not the managers...who were able to take time as and when required. This created a difficult culture - if your firm does decide to enforce similar rules, be careful about the messages they are sending...

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