Running a retail business means having a range of different employee types working for you at any one time. While the personalities and skills of casual and seasonal employees is a breath of fresh air in the store, it can make employee leave requests complicated. Here’s what you need to know – and do – for a solid employee leave system.
Have a clear leave policy where everyone can see it
Bigger companies usually have comprehensive policies in place where employees can see how much leave they’ve accrued and exactly how to make a leave request. However it’s usually more complicated for a retail business. Not only do you have fewer resources at hand, but you’re managing a team of all different employee types.
Still, it’s worth getting a leave policy written up so there’s a general framework around what is and isn’t possible. There are free online resources that can give you an idea of how you should put together your leave policy. Once it’s ready, make sure you distribute it where everyone will see it – in the breakroom, hand-delivered, emailed to every staff member, etc.
Get your head around forced leave requirements
As an experienced manager in the retail business, you already know there are plenty of legal hoops to jump through in terms of handling your employees’ needs. But understanding leave can be tricky, especially when it comes to forced leave requirements.
Take a look at the Fair Work Ombudsman’s instructions on how to direct an employee to take annual leave during a shutdown. It gets more complicated when you consider full-time, part-time, casual and seasonal staff taking leave over the Christmas period. But in those instances it’s good to know that there are certain circumstances where employees can continue working and retain some of their annual leave days.
Consolidate all leave requests in the one place
With your policy in place, your team members should have a clear understanding of how and when they can apply for leave. The key here is sticking to your guns and only accepting leave requests that go through the proper channels. Let staff know you will no longer accept verbal leave requests or informal emails. Instead, implement an online system where employees can submit leave requests and you can manage everyone’s schedule without juggling multiple pipelines.
Communicate with your team throughout the year
As with most parts of running a successful retail operation, keeping the lines of communication open is vital. Let your team know they can – and should – always come to you about leave questions. Build an environment of understanding, and ensure team know they should never be afraid to ask for time off when they need it.
In saying this, it might be smart to set a minimum time buffer between leave requests and the actual days off – so, unless the circumstances are extreme, a team member shouldn’t be able to submit a leave request for a fortnight of holidays the day before they plan to go. This will give you enough time to get other team members to cover their shifts, or to hire a short-term replacement if necessary.
Good communication is at the heart and soul of any solid employee leave policy. Make sure you follow these tips to ensure best practice is always followed.
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