How Small Businesses Handle Employee Holidays

Posted on August 14, 2014 in Employee Issues

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Weeks like last week can provide great respite or great anxiety for small business owners.Either (like me) they’re delighted to have extra time off (or at least a quieter week to handle the administrative nonsense that never seems to end), or they’re frustrated because all of their employees want the same time off and they haven’t formulated a policy about it.

That’s one of the sticking points about employees:it’s very important to be fair, otherwise, you can run into grumbling, complaints, or charges of discrimination (at worst).Like many small business decisions, employee holidays off is an issue best planned in advance.Here are some ideas:

  1. Have a written vacation/holiday policy (ideally, one that is part of a broader handbook of policies).
  2. Require employees to remain employed for a certain period of time before they are entitled to any vacation time.
  3. Increase the vacation time depending on length of service.
  4. Lump vacation, sick, and personal days together, and leave it up to the employee to decide how to use them.
  5. If your business is seasonal, consider taking on temporary employees to help with the volume.Conversely, you may want to specify blackout periods that employees may NOT take a vacation, if your business has a particular need.

Speak to people in your industry to find out what they do.Also, be sure to consult with an employment/small business attorney for guidance on avoiding vacation policy pitfalls.


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