Summer holiday season is an accumulation of holidays. Many employers, in accordance with Article 3(5) of the Act on the Company Welfare Fund, pay holiday benefits to employees in the form of the so-called “holiday under the pear tree” (the name dates back to the communist era, when holiday subsidies were used by employees for holidays in the countryside or in the garden).
Of course, there are several conditions that an employee must meet in order to receive such a benefit, but the most common one that comes up in conversations with my clients is the 14 days’ continuous holiday that the employee must take. And this is where the potential problems often begin. Why?
First of all, it is important to know that, according to the Labour Code, an employee with a contract of employment is entitled to 20 or 26 days of annual leave, depending on their seniority. In turn, according to Article 162 of the Labour Code:
At the request of the employee, leave may be divided into parts. However, in such a case, at least one part of the holiday should last not less than 14 consecutive calendar days.
It is clear from the article that we must recuperate at least 14 calendar days of break from work (including holidays and public holidays, of course) during the calendar year in terms of our annual leave entitlement. Nowhere in it, however, is it specified that this break is to take place during the summer (e.g. June to September). And here I would add the question, “What to do about it?”
In order to understand the essence of the problem well, it is necessary to put oneself on both sides, i.e. the employee and the employer.
From the point of view of the first one, the holiday period is a special time because of: the beautiful weather (and, as we know, the sun is vitamin D), the break from school (for those who have children) and the need to spend time together with the family while on holiday. These factors make it the most frequently chosen period to take a 14-day continuous break from work.
From the employer’s point of view, on the other hand, it is a difficult time, with the current complex labour market situation (in terms of staffing) being augmented by the trouble of securing complete staffing. In addition, Employer Branding and Employee Experience tend to indicate that the needs of employees should be taken into account in the business.
Sometimes this state of affairs leads to a deadlock situation in which one of the parties may feel disadvantaged. That is why, with the HR Managers I have the pleasure of speaking to about this, we introduce various mechanisms that go a long way to mitigating this situation and, over time, even eliminating it. Such tools most often include processes that give both parties the comfort of reacting earlier to situations that arise, for example by:
- planning holidays for the whole year – sometimes we decide to plan only the 14-day ones, but this depends on the individual business situation of the company – which we analyse carefully beforehand,
- working time planning by managers using solutions which allow us to have a bird’s eye view of a selected area or the entire organisation, so that we can catch the more difficult moments beforehand (of course, in this case, the key is complete information about planned holidays in one view with the plan),
- releasing the possibility for employees themselves to plan their working time,
- the introduction of “schedule requests”, whereby employees can specify their working time preferences,
- information and awareness-raising campaigns on HR topics within the organisation.
These and many other methods, tools and mechanisms that we use are always prefaced by a combination of factors, i.e. discussions about the company’s business situation and the principles ruling the organisation-employee, involvement in the process of key actors in the organisation (Board of Directors, senior management), workshops identifying processes so as to choose a good method, building a concept and vision of the solution and full support during its communication and implementation. This approach has allowed many of the organisations I work with to take control of the situation while reconciling the needs of both parties, i.e. the employee and the business.
HR solutions expert
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