How to Ensure Smooth HR Operations During the Festive Shutdown Period

As the festive season approaches, many businesses consider closing their doors and shutting down operations between Christmas and New Year to allow employees a well-deserved break. However, it’s vital to communicate and implement these plans effectively to avoid potential HR pitfalls. Discover our tips to ensure your office closure around the festive period is successful and experience smooth HR operations:

If your company closes on non-bank holiday days during the festive season and you require employees to use their annual holiday entitlement, ensure clear and timely communication. Provide staff with sufficient notice and transparency from the outset so employees do not feel blindsided.

Enclose all Christmas and New Year shutdown processes within your Holiday Policy to streamline the process, explaining that a full shutdown each year is discretionary. You could also have a discretionary clause in employment contracts to inform employees when to expect communication regarding Christmas holiday arrangements.

If your holiday shutdown is discretionary and offered as a “gift” or “perk” and doesn’t deduct from the annual entitlement, simplicity will be your aim. However, it’s vital to treat all employees fairly. If the additional leave is provided as a gift, representing extra holiday days (e.g. three days), in that case, it must be applied uniformly to avoid potential discrimination claims and breaches of the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000. Pro-rata adjustments should be made for part-time staff to ensure they receive a proportionate share of additional time off. If they cannot take this under their work pattern between Christmas and New Year, they should be entitled to carry it forward to the New Year. 

By implementing these practices, you ensure a well-communicated and fair approach to the Christmas holiday shutdown and create a calm and inclusive work environment during the festive season. Please get in touch with our team if you have any other questions about effective management over the festive period.

Happy holidays from Red Kite HR Services!