Employment lessons we've learnt from airlines

The importance of proactively managing holidays Ryanair have found themselves in a position where they have had to cancel hundreds of flights because they “messed up” pilots’ holiday. Due to a change in the company’s holiday leave, many pilots had built up leave of four weeks which had to be allocated in September and October. As a result, the company did not have enough available pilots to fly planes. What can we learn from this?
  • Be proactive – review holidays throughout the year to make sure your holiday system works for your business.
  • Remind staff about their remaining holiday leave entitlement during the leave year to avoid a build-up of leave.
  • Have a holiday policy setting out the maximum amount of leave that can be taken in one holiday period and the cap for how many staff can be off at the same time.
  • Identify any shutdown periods, where staff have to take leave, and any periods where staff cannot take leave so any requests will be declined, usually used for consistently busy periods of the year.
How to address social media misuse A uniformed British Airways employee made the headlines when a minute-long Snapchat video of her making racist comments about Nigerian passengers was made public. It was believed that the video was recorded and then shared amongst colleagues, before being reported to British Airways. The airline committed to investigating the incident and the flight attendant was dismissed. What can we learn from this?
  • Have a social media policy which sets out what behaviour is, and isn’t acceptable, online. This should cover business use and use outside of the workplace which could impact the business.
  • Providing training on proper use of social media to all members of staff. This should be reviewed, and updated, as necessary to cover any new forms of social media such as video messaging.
  • Action can be taken where social media use outside of work impacts the reputation of the business. This may be difficult to prove but will depend on the business and the circumstances of the post. A full investigation in to any allegations and following a fair procedure will be crucial to carry out fair action.
The rules around redundancy consultation The union Unite has started legal action on behalf of 1,800 Monarch employees who were made redundant when the airline collapsed. Although the administrators were considering the next steps for the firm for a month, the staff were not collectively consulted and the employees were given same day notice of their dismissal. What can we learn from this?
  • Collective consultation rules apply in every potential redundancy scenario, whether the company is going in to administration or not.
  • There are minimum periods of consultation in large redundancies, but no maximum. Where 20 to 99 redundancies are proposed the consultation must last for a minimum of 30 days. For 100 or more proposed redundancies, consultation must last a minimum of 45 days.
  • Protective awards can be granted for a failure to consult. The maximum award is 90 days gross pay per employee.

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