We can but hope that this summer turns out to be long, hot and sunny, but with that comes the risk that some employees may want to take advantage of the good weather deciding that work is not their top priority.  So what can employers do?

With the long school holidays, one possibility could be allowing homeworking.  Although if such a request is because the employee wants to look after their children then an employer would need to assert that appropriate childcare is implemented.   Work is the top priority and an employee should not be both working for you and caring for their child at the same time.

An employer could consider a temporary change to working hours so that parents can deal with childcare demands.  There is no obligation to respond to such a request and when considering this an employer should adopt a consistent approach to avoid discrimination.  There should be a clear arrangement communicated in writing.  When considering a request the impact on colleagues should be considered.

Another option could be time off for dependents where employees have the right to take a reasonable amount of time off to deal with unexpected emergencies.  The definition of dependants can include children, their spouse/civil partner, parents, and even someone else living in his or her household, but not lodgers.  Employees can take time off where it is necessary to provide assistance themselves or arrange for care if their dependants fall ill, give birth or are injured or assaulted.  They can also take time off where it is necessary to deal with unexpected breakdown of arrangements for the care of a dependant. 

Unpaid parental leave rose to 18 weeks on 8 March 2013 and this could be an option that parents could use.

If an employer finds there is a definite increase in sickness absence rates during the summer period perhaps with a Monday/Friday pattern then a return to work interview is recommended taking documented notes which will serve as evidence for a disciplinary hearing if the situation does not improve.

If an employee is clearly absent without leave then the disciplinary procedure should be followed.

If an employee falls ill on their holiday then provided they can show proof in the form of a fit note then they should be paid sick pay rather than holiday pay and their statutory holiday entitlement should be re-instated.

Having clear procedures and policies in place is key to managing staff during