Vacations and weddings and Daisy Dukes, Oh My! The challenges facing HR in the summer are unique compared to other times of the year. As we just hit the official start of the warm weather season, here are a few things HR should be considering as the heat index rises.
Vacations and Leave
The kiddies are home from school. Adventure awaits everyone. For some, perhaps batteries simply need recharging. Either way, summer months are packed with reasons employees need time off. Still, work needs to get done, so review those vacation, leave, and sick policies to make sure they are clear and comprehensive. Do your policies address how vacation is requested, how much notice is required, and what criteria will be used for approving vacations – particularly where more than one employee is requesting the same set of dates? If employees have already burned up their vacation time before summer, does your company allow for unpaid vacation leave? If an employee wants to stretch their vacation, by covering a holiday or by using sick leave, how do your policies address those efforts? By having clear policies and enforcing them, you can avoid a lot of headaches in scheduling while still ensuring that your employees get requested time off.
Office Picnics and Other Outings
Summer also is a great time to gather your employees together for some outdoor fellowship. If you plan or hold these events, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, if alcohol is served, you need to be sure your underage employees are not being served. Designated drivers should be arranged. And, having someone keep an eye on the conduct of those consuming alcohol can avoid problems with inappropriate behavior. Additionally, because your office picnic is still a workplace event, appropriate attire should be worn. Finally, bear in mind that injuries at these types of events may raise workers’ compensation issues.
When the temperature rises, employees may be more inclined to wear tank tops, shorter skirts, sandals or flip flops, or even shorts to work. If your workplace is conducive to these types of clothing, more power to you. If your organization is like most, however, you need to be concerned about whether your company policies address appropriate attire during the summer months. Be specific about what is and is not permitted. Also, in considering your policy, think about the safety issues that may be implicated by clothing choice.
If you have employees who work outside, the summer heat can be a threat to their health and well-being. If you log onto OSHA.gov right now, you will see a vibrant red notice entitled “Preventing Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers.” Click here to get important and helpful information for protecting your outdoor workers during these warm summer months.
In my view, it’s best to think about these issues before they become issues. A little advanced planning can go a long way towards fixing your summertime HR blues.