A small business has many things to consider, and one of the things that can be overlooked is a holiday leave policy. Having a policy in place can help avoid a lot of conflict. Consider the following options.
Will Seniority Play a Role in Holiday Leave Approval?
Will it be seniority, or first come first serve, or some combination of both that determines leave approval during the holidays? If someone requests leave, and then someone that has been there longer requests leave at the same time, who gets it? Assuming, of course, that they cannot both take off.
There are a few ways to work on this. It could be by seniority. It could be first come first serve. It could be that anyone can submit a request, and then approval is offered based on seniority after a certain date.
How Does Business Type Play Into the Equation?
Some businesses are seasonal, and therefore leave around certain holidays is almost impossible to grant. For example, in a retail situation it is going to be hard to grant many employees leave the day after Thanksgiving.
If your business is not seasonal in nature, consider whether it pays to be open at all. If you shut down for certain holidays, will you pay employees, will you make them use vacation time to get paid, or will it just be that they get the day off but do not get paid?
Make it Clear Up Front
Whatever your policy is, be certain it is clear, concise, in writing, and made known from the beginning. This will allow employees to plan accordingly for the holidays. Not making the policy clear before the situation is upon you is only going to cause unnecessary heartache all around, and it is disrespectful to the employees.
Sometimes business owners do not realize that they need a policy until it is too late. This is common when businesses grow a lot from one holiday to the next. Suddenly an accepted, spoken agreement with a few employees becomes many more employees wanting to take off.
If presented with this, make it clear a policy is not in play at the moment, that it is being worked on, and get it written fast. Then, you can present it as the new leave policy, and that is just the way it is. There may be some unhappiness, but all businesses have growing pains. Just do the best you can and roll with it.