I have started to come across a growing problem with staff trying to use unpaid time attached to holiday request when they have use their allocation.
I have taken advice on unpaid time off from a professional body and been advised to have a policy for unpaid time off, and that it is a separate entity to lawful holiday entitlement.
Does anyone have such a policy or suggestions, I am aware it is discretionary leave
We make it quite clear, that unpaid time off will only be given in emergency situations and not for holiday purposes. We have difficulty in allocating staff to replace staff on holiday, and we have no room to allow for additional time off. We also encourage staff to space their holiday time throughout the year, in this way they do not come up short.
Unpaid time off can often be a head ache. However it is difficult to have a policy for unpaid time off as unpaid times off should be included in many of the other policies which a dental practice should have such as jury service, public duty, medical appointments, maternity leave, time off for dependants, parental leave.
I would advise that the employees are sent a memo stating that in the past it has often been the case that unpaid time off has been tagged onto annual leave. However, as of the 1st February, employees will no longer be able to request unpaid time off in these circumstances. Unpaid time off is only granted by the Practice in extenuating circumstances and is at the Practice Owner/Manager’s discretion.
It will also need to be linked to the discretionary / social / personal development support the organisation offers. Eg I am doing an MBA where some learners are fully funded to be here by their companies, because if what they will bring back to the organisation. Some organisations have a strong sense of corporate social responsibility (which I think we should encourage more in dentistry) and will release staff for community or charitable work.
We allow unpaid leave, although in their contracts it says at the co-principles discretion, which means they don't have an automatic right to it. We have found that if we are overstaffed though it helps us out, because we are paying them less, so as long as you can staff it, there's no reason to object.
Unpaid leave: two weeks per year pro-rata may be permitted (i.e.10 days). A written request for any unpaid leave should be submitted to the Practice Principle/ Manager for approval at least four weeks in advance of the proposed leave. If appropriate cover is not available unpaid leave may be refused. Unpaid leave cannot be permitted during the Christmas Period