Should you have a birthday leave policy at your business? + free template
The mark of a good manager is someone who remembers their employee’s names and birthdays. It’s a small thing, but it shows that they care about the people who work for them.
Birthday leave policies give your employees time off to celebrate another year around the sun. They’re a new thing in the business world, and they represent a shift towards more personal employee benefits.
Offering birthday leave is becoming popular with small businesses in particular. It’s part of a wider trend among UK small businesses to offer benefits that are a tad more employee-centric.
I’m one of the people on our team in charge of making sure everyone at Charlie is engaged and happy with their work. As part of that, I’m constantly looking for new HR policies and procedures to make life better for my fellow teammates - while still making sure the business stays afloat financially. That’s why birthday leave policies caught my interest.
I’d like to offer some guidance on what a birthday leave policy may look like for your small business, and how you might go about making one.
What is a birthday leave policy?
A birthday leave policy is an employee benefit that gives your employees time off to celebrate being a year older and a year wiser. It lets them take some me time, go get drinks with some friends, or just spend time with their family.
Birthday leave policies are a new thing in the UK but they’re becoming more common - especially among small businesses and tech startups.
Founders and small business owners are using it to make their employee benefits package stand out. The trend is gaining momentum, and offering it signals that your organisation is plugged into what the modern workforce wants – that's also the case if you implement something such as a hybrid working policy or a menopause policy, for example.
The benefits of implementing a birthday leave policy
Birthday leave policies are a new trend in the UK, but it’s catching on because it has some obvious benefits. There are a few reasons you may want to offer one:
- Employee morale: Giving employees a day off on their birthday helps them feel acknowledged. That has tangible psychological benefits that can contribute to their happiness, making them more engaged at work. You should also think about having rules around sickness and absence, as well as an attendance policy to round it off.
- Employer branding: Offering birthday leave can help you build a reputation as an innovative and employee-focused company
- Talent attraction and retention: Having a birthday leave policy helps attract more interest from young, ambitious, and tech-savvy talent, and keeps them. That helps with employee retention
How to write a birthday leave policy
Since birthday leave policies are a relatively new trend, I thought it might be helpful to outline some of the key components that need to go in one.
Here’s what I advise for small businesses in the UK who want to make their own birthday leave policy:
- Eligibility criteria: Define who qualifies for birthday leave, whether that includes full and part-time staff. Make the criteria clear, to make it fair
- Process for requesting leave: Give the steps for requesting birthday leave, including notice periods and approval processes
- Restrictions or conditions: If too many employees file for birthday leave at once, it could leave you short-staffed at an awkward time. Spell out any conditions like how many employees can be off simultaneously
Since birthday leave policies are a new trend, you’ll have to be extra careful to make sure that the one you make adheres to UK laws and regulations.
The big one to look out for is the UK’s Working Time Regulations. Consider the impact of additional leave on employee’s working hours and rest periods.
The Equality Act of 2010 states that the policy must not discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity, or other similar marginalised characteristics. The birthday leave policy should be inclusive and apply to all employees equally.
Birthday leave policy template
Below is a customisable template that you can use for your own small business birthday leave policy as you see fit.
It covers all the bases - eligibility, conditions and the procedure for requesting birthday leave. The template is designed to be easy for small businesses to adopt and implement.
Birthday leave policy template
Policy Brief & Purpose: At [Company Name], we believe in celebrating the personal milestones of our employees. Our Birthday Leave Policy is designed to allow employees to take a day off on their birthday, ensuring they can celebrate this special occasion in a way that is meaningful to them.
- Full-time employees: Eligible for a full day of paid leave on their birthday.
- Part-time employees: Eligible for a proportional amount of leave based on their contracted hours.
- Tenure: Employees must have completed [insert period, e.g., three months] of service to be eligible.
Procedure for Requesting Leave:
- Employees should request birthday leave at least [insert period, e.g., two weeks] in advance.
- Requests should be submitted through [specify platform or method, e.g., HR software or email to HR department].
- Approval of leave is subject to staffing needs and will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
- If an employee’s birthday falls on a weekend or public holiday, they can take the next available working day off.
- A maximum of [insert number] employees may be off on birthday leave simultaneously to ensure operational efficiency.
- This policy is compliant with the UK’s Working Time Regulations.
- We adhere to the Equality Act 2010, ensuring no discrimination in granting birthday leave. Employee Acknowledgement: I, [Employee Name], acknowledge that I have read and understood the Birthday Leave Policy of [Company Name] and agree to adhere to its terms and conditions.
Alternatives to birthday leave
Birthday leave is a common benefit among startups in the UK, but Charlie doesn’t actually offer one. We offer something else other than time-off benefits that have the same impact on employee well-being.
A birthday leave policy may not be feasible for all businesses - especially if you’re a small business owner with a small team and limited resources and people.
I would argue that our time-off benefits go above and beyond birthday leave and that the Charlie model may be sustainable and even more effective for certain business models.
I’ll present our alternatives to birthday leave, and you can decide for yourself:
- Flexible working hours: Charlie employees have flexible working hours and can work when they’re most productive and engaged - as long as they follow through on their assignments
- Wellness programmes: All Charlie employees have access to wellness programmes such as mental health days, and access to counselling services.
- Extended leave options: All Charlie team members also get a generous leave allowance that includes sabbaticals and personal days. Check out our annual leave policy guide for more information and our flexible bank holiday policy as well.
A birthday leave policy that gives the whole birthday package
A birthday leave policy is a fun and unique way to show support and appreciation for your employees. If done right, it can potentially do wonders for your employee satisfaction and morale.
If you need help making a tailored birthday leave policy, I advise you to get in touch with myself or another HR expert for personalised advice and support.
Book a free call today, and we can help you make a customised birthday leave policy that gives your employees the full package.