Potential HR issues during the back to school phase

Moira Grassick

August 31 2021

It’s that time of year again. The summer holidays have ended and students are back to school.

This period of transition is nothing new to most employers, but it comes with potential HR headaches nonetheless. That’s because working parents always have their children to think about and from time to time, urgent matters require their attention.

Of course, many of these urgent instances are unavoidable. And yet, there are steps you can take to mitigate the impact of certain back to school issues.

Force majeure leave

When it comes to working parents and absence, you’re going to need to know about force majeure leave.

Force majeure leave allows employees to take paid leave to deal with an urgent matter affecting a family member. It doesn’t cover longer-term absences and is limited to three days over the course of twelve months.

Preparing for and handling absences

During the back to school phase, it’s best to stay open-minded and adopt a flexible approach.  

Developing an employee absence policy that specifies how ‘unexpected’ absences will be dealt with should be your first task. For instance, a solution to an unexpected absence could be to allow the employee to work from home for a period or take time as unpaid leave.

Once your policy is complete, communicate it to your staff so they understand your position and their own entitlements.

Remote work requests

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar recently published an update on the right to request remote working. With this right likely to be introduced in the near future, many working parents may look to request remote work to save themselves money and time commuting.

An influx of requests could leave you struggling to keep up, so it’s important to consider now how remote work might impact your business.

For instance, remote work raises health & safety challenges, with associated costs also a factor. Then there are your employment contracts and whether they need to be updated. You’ll also have to decide if remote work even suits your business, as you may need a certain number of employees present in the workplace at all times.

Absence management software

Managing a short- or long-term absence can be straightforward and simple if done right. And there’s no better way to ensure that than with our absence management app BrightHR.

BrightHR is the perfect tool for tracking staff absence and allows you to:

  • Record employee absences with ease and instantly spot when someone takes too much sick leave.
  • Scan fit notes, self-certification forms and hospital letters with your phone into your unlimited storage space.
  • Arrange cover and update senior staff or managers from anywhere.
  • Get push notifications to remind you to check how someone’s recovery is going, so you can prepare well in advance for when someone’s due back at work.

Book your free demo of BrightHR today to discover how it can help your business.

Need our help?

For advice on any back to school issue, be it short-notice absences or creating an absence policy, speak to an expert any time day or night on 1890 252 923.

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