Since March 2020, many employees have experienced lock downs which have prevented them from leaving their state, or the country, due to the impact of COVID-19. It has also resulted in many employees being fearful of leaving their existing job, which has meant employees have stayed in a position only for the security that it offered during the pandemic.
As Australia begins to open up over the next few months, employers should be mindful of the implications of this increased freedom.
Many employees are suffering from pandemic fatigue and the inability to spend time away from home or travelling is leading to employee burn out.
Understandably, many employees have been saving their annual leave for a big interstate or even overseas holiday when the borders open to reconnect with their loved ones. This has led to an increased annual leave liability for employers.
Once the borders open, it’s likely there will be an increase in annual leave requests. It is worthwhile doing some scenario planning around the impact this could have on your business and communicating any rules or requirements with employees ahead of time.
The best way to approach the allocation of annual leave post COVID-19 is to ensure employees have an opportunity to share their views. Employee responses should be considered before implementing a plan. The goal is to ensure that every worker gets an equal chance to put in a leave request and feel as though they have been given due consideration.
The consequences of refusing an annual leave request outright could result in the employee resigning rather than accepting their fate.
Any employer who has tried to recruit an employee recently will know that the talent pool is very small. The power has shifted dramatically in employees favour, and with increased freedom to move around the country once again, as well as the knowledge that there are an abundance of jobs out there to choose from, many employees will simply choose to resign.
It is already expected that Australia will follow suit behind the US and experience what has been dubbed “The Great Resignation”. As employees become free of the insecurity experienced over the last 18 months, many of those employees who stayed in their role despite wanting to move will now look to take action.
The pandemic has also encouraged many employees to reassess what is important to them in life, with employees looking to leave their position for greater work/life balance, or looking for more meaningful work in general.
To what degree The Great Resignation will occur in Australia is yet to be seen over the next few months, however we encourage all of our clients to start preparing for these scenarios now to make sure you are on the front foot.
We would encourage you to start having conversations with your staff to see what their thoughts are on taking annual leave once borders open up, and if there is anything they are seeking from their job and career going forward.
Having these conversations now will hopefully encourage employees to stay and minimise the impacts on the business.
If you require any further guidance or assistance, All4People can assist you with preparing a strategy and communications on how you will handle these matters once your state is open.