This time of year, even if you’re working with temporary holiday help, you’re going to get a flood of time-off requests from your staff. The fact is: 593_3338777everyone wants time to spend with their families or party on New Year’s. You as the boss have to balance these requests with your business’ needs. How can you give some staff time off without making others jealous? Here’s your plan.

Set Some Rules

It’s important to let your employees know — as early as possible — what the rules are about requesting time off during the holidays. Maybe during the rest of the year they just have to let you know before you make the week’s schedule, but now, they need to let you know a month or more in advance what days they want off.

This gives you ample time to plan who you’ll have on hand for those busy days leading up to Christmas, and then between Christmas and New Year’s.

Make it First Come, First Served

There will inevitably be bickering about how it’s not fair that Jayna got time off approved and Billie didn’t. So let your staff know today that you will review requests in the order you get them. So if Jayna asked for New Year’s off before Billie, she’ll be the one partying while Billie sulks on the job. Fair is fair.

Try to Balance the Requests

Now, that’s not to say that if Jayna asks for Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve off that you should give it to her. Pick one, or ask her which she’d most like to have off. That way, she puts in her time on a busy day, and someone else gets a vacation day.

Hire More Staff

If you can’t spare even one employee on the rush days, add more temporary help, with the understanding when you hire them that they will be required to work those big days. They won’t be eligible for time off if you let them know up front that that’s when you need them.

Make Consequences

It’s hard to be firm sometimes, but this is absolutely a case where you need to be. If an employee doesn’t follow your protocol for asking for time off and still insists that he’s got to go visit Grandma, let him know there won’t be a job waiting for him. It’s harsh, but it reinforces those rules you initially set up.


Maybe you can’t let anyone else off on New Year’s Eve. You could compensate by letting Nylah off early that day, or giving her an extra day off in January. She may not be completely happy, but she’ll see you making an effort to come to some compromise.

Galvanize Your Team Around the Holidays

It’s your responsibility to communicate how important it is that your staff work hard through the holidays. After all, it’s your busiest time. And while you understand they want time off (and you’ll do your best to accommodate them), you really need them to help you see this season through.

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