When dealing with employee time off request you will first of all want to be fair. If you need to refuse any request the staff member is likely going to be upset, but if they feel that you have been unfair about it they will become resentful. If this happens often enough it could lead to that person looking elsewhere for work or just not performing as well as they could.
It is important that you have policies in regards to employee time off requests. There are many way of dealing with this. One method is to allow shift trades. What happens here is that you allow staff to have time off if they can arrange for someone to cover their shift by swapping with this other member of staff. There are potential difficulties with handling employee time off requests; it can get out of control and you can end up with shifts that are under or over staffed or have the wrong skill mix. If you are going to allow shift trades you should make it clear that these will all need to be approved by the management first of all, and that swaps can only occur between people doing the same job. Just having one person replacing another person is not good enough; this other person will need to be able to do the job for the member they are replacing. If these shift trades are managed correctly though, they can be a great way to deal with employee time off requests.
Self-scheduling is another way of dealing with employee time off requests. The employees take responsibility for choosing their time off providing they take into consideration the staffing levels and skill mix for any particular shift. The staff member will have their contract hours that they need to work each month and self-scheduling will give them a lot of freedom; it will most often be first come first served or negotiations between staff members for different shifts. This can be an effective way of dealing with employee time off requests because the staff members have more control and there is less risk of unfairness. On the other hand there is also the risk of chaos ensuing so some oversight will be needed over the process.
Sometimes staff members will have sudden employee time off requests; these are usually due to some emergency or important event. Depending on the severity of the reason all efforts should be made to grant the request. It should also be remembered that while a reason might not seem too important to the management; it may be to the employee. If this employee time off requests isn’t granted there is a good chance that the staff member will just go sick anyway. This is why it pays to try and be reasonable. If there is just no way that you can afford to lose the staff member on the day then you should try and give a full explanation as to why; maybe the employee will be able to suggest a compromise.