You HR Questions Answered

Every month, we answer HR questions and give the best advice to our readers and followers.

Q: What advice can you give me if everyone on my team wants to book days off over Christmas but I really need a core team to work as we have some customer support requirements – I ended up doing it last year because the same thing happened – everyone had already booked time off by the time I realised it, it was too late?

A: The taking of holidays and annual leave is at the discretion of the company, so ensure you consider every request for time off fairly and only approve the time off you can accommodate. It would be a good idea to brief the team now, and explain to them that there will be a need to have a rota of staff working over the holiday season and that they need to consider this before sending in requests for time off. Allow them to organise the rota amongst themselves where possible, but if this is proving too challenging for them, then you should make the decision for them, giving due consideration to personal circumstances of the people on your team. The best thing to do is communicate soon and often so that everyone is clear as to the process that needs to be in place and why.

Q: We want to give staff a little bonus for Christmas, what’s the best way to do this so that so that they are not paying huge amounts of money in additional taxes.

A: The Revenue have very good guidelines on discretionary bonuses – check for more information on this. Generally their advice is that a cash bonus at Christmas should be put through the payroll and PAYE/PRSI and USC applied as normal. Where the bonus is in non-cash form with a value not exceeding €500 (€250 prior to 21 October 2015) PAYE/PRSI and USC need not be applied to that benefit (covered by the one off small benefit exclusion).

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