An employers guide to surviving the summer holidays

The summer holiday period can be difficult for UK employers as you try to juggle the need to keep business functioning whist addressing the need of employees who are parents.

In this blog you will find 6 practical tips on how to manage the 6 weeks summer holidays without grinding your business to a halt.

But first here is a brief overview of your staff rights and employer rights when it comes to holidays.

All employees are entitled to paid annual leave. UK employment law states that full time employees are allowed  minimum of 28 days paid holiday and part-time employees are the equivalent leave based on the number of hours they work.

From a HR perspective annual leave is a good thing. Your staff work better when they have regular breaks and it is good for morale. Although the employment law gives employees the right to have time off work employers can refuse annual leave if it is not a convenient time. This means that you can refuse annual leave if it is a busy period within the business or if there are other staff who are away

  1. Childminder ill

Sometimes even well planned childcare arrangements fail. The babysitter becomes ill or has a family emergency and this may mean your employee is unable to come to work. HR Law allows employees to take reasonable time off to take care of dependants during emergencies. In these circumstances the leave can be unpaid or you may allow the staff member to use their annual leave.

2. Think about being flexible

Employment does not always have to be 9 – 5. Allowing flexible working during the summer holidays may help you and your staff. Consider allowing employees to work condensed hours or take annual leave by the hour rather than by the day. This allows them to spend time with their children and continue working.

3.Home working

Another way of solving staff absences during the school holidays is to allow your staff to work from home. Many employers find that employees are more productive when they work at home and this can help employees who struggle with childcare. It is not a suitable solution for all types work or industry but it is certainly worth thinking about.


Never underestimate the importance of a good handover. A well documented list of work done and duties outstanding can lessen the burden of staff holidays on employers and staff who are still at work.  Consider informing customers in advance that their contact will be away. Make sure you know where to find keys and passwords so that business can continue to run as smoothly as possible.
5.Get cover

Temporary and agency staff come at a cost but they can be a great help to the workplace when there is a staff shortage. Hiring agency workers or students during the holiday period could be the answer you have been looking for.

6.Manage the workload

It is important not to burn out staff who are left behind during the holiday season. Try not to overload one person with all of  the work. Where possible spread the workload evenly to prevent the quality of work being compromised. This will also help to reduce staff illnesses and a feeling of resentment.

For advice and support with HR and Employment Law contact Orchard Employment Law at