During the summer months, employers will be subject to the HR issues they normally encounter within the workplace, however, there may be some areas where there is a noticeable increase in issues. Below is a brief overview on some of the issues which may become prevalent during this season: Holiday requests The timing of school holidays and improved weather will usually result in an increase in the number of holiday requests to be dealt with. With an increased chance that the requests will overlap, or come during a busy time for most businesses, it is imperative that a proper holiday procedure is adhered to and implemented. Staff should be aware of the request procedure and, more importantly, the procedure should communicate that they should not book holidays before the request has been approved. Managers who receive and handle the requests should deal with these in a timely manner and follow any methods for declining conflicting, or impossible, requests. Unauthorised absences Increased periods of warm weather and a rise in the number of televised sporting events, such as the Ashes series, can result in a number of unauthorised absences from employees who wish to enjoy these, rather than attending work. Unauthorised absences will be specified as a disciplinary matter for the majority of companies. Employers should carry out an investigation in to the reasons why the employee did not attend work and, if the reason is not satisfactory, a disciplinary procedure can commence. It is likely that the sanction for an absence of this kind will start at a lower level, such as a verbal or written warning, but the sanction can increase in seriousness if the issue persists. Alcohol influence at work The lure of pub gardens, and the bank holiday weekend, can have an impact on employees attending work under the influence of alcohol, especially if employees are taking advantage of their sunny lunch hours to make time for a swift one. Though the drinking may take place in their own time, employees under the influence of alcohol at work should be regarded as a serious matter. If an alcohol or substance abuse policy is not in place, a communication can be sent out to the workforce explaining the dangers of alcohol at work and that the company has zero-tolerance in relation to this. Alcohol policies, usually implemented in businesses where health and safety is critical, should be carried out and any procedure for random testing on site can help to deter this issue. If you need any clarification on this issue then contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.