How to Manage Staff During the Christmas Period

In the run-up to mad Friday, we thought we’d share some tips with you from our partners at Croner on how best to manage staff during the Christmas period.

Staff Christmas Parties

Christmas parties should be enjoyed by all who choose to attend, however, some individuals can take things too far, which is why employers should remind their staff of the behaviour expected at work-related events. This reminder could be in the form of an email. The email could include clear examples of appropriate and inappropriate behaviours as well as clarification of what is not acceptable or could be viewed as harassment or misconduct.

Employers should also make sure they are sensitive to everyone attending the staff Christmas party. For example, food and drinks should be appropriate for different religious and cultural needs to avoid any discrimination. Ensure there are non-alcoholic drinks available for non-drinkers and alternative food options.

Staff Sickness and Absence

With Christmas markets, shopping, parties and dinner opportunities everywhere, employers may see an increase in staff sick days and unauthorised absences. During this time, it is important to monitor attendance, lateness and absence patterns.

You should conduct a return to work meeting following every absence. This gives you the opportunity to explore the reason for employees’ absences. Plus it helps you determine whether or not you believe that they were reasonable given the circumstances.

Employees may use this time as an opportunity to take advantage. You should also remember that due to the season, this may be a time of a lot of genuine sickness. Reminding employees of your sickness & absence policy earlier rather than later is key. Make sure employees are aware that your usual sickness policy and procedures still apply.

Staff Annual Leave Requests during the Christmas period

Christmas is a time of celebration for many. It’s known to be a time to eat, drink and be merry, but with the rise in festivities, also comes a rise in annual leave requests. Many staff members will request time off to spend with their families or go on holiday at Christmas. Therefore, it is important for companies to have a strategy in place for dealing with multiple requests.
Ideally, employers should have existing written guidelines on the process of requesting and taking annual leave. This may involve limiting maximum amounts of leave taken on any one occasion. Or regulating the number of employees that can be off at one time.

A policy should detail the right of the company to refuse holiday requests if it does not suit the needs of the business. It should also set a precedent for requests for the same dates (usually first come first served). It can be difficult having to refuse annual leave. Which is why making your employees aware of your policy long in advance is essential.

Christmas Bank Holidays

Employers are under no obligation to pay employees for working on a bank holiday. Therefore, whether an employee works bank holidays or is given time off is dependent on their terms of employment. It pays to be more flexible with requests during this period to accommodate the holiday season, however, be sure to plan ahead to ensure the business is not impacted negatively.

Expert Support

For any further advice concerning absence management, misconduct or any other queries of a similar nature, please contact the Business Support Helpline which is included in your dot2dot membership.
Call 0145 639 083 today quoting membership number ‘80439’.