Skip to Main Content

The holidays are upon us and your staff is eager to take advantage of their vacation days. As a clinic owner, it may seem difficult to decide who should work your holiday hours (if you will be open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day) and who gets them off.

You may come to find out that your senior-level staff members argue that the employees with the most tenure should get those days off. A similar situation may happen with your staffers who have children and young, growing families – they might expect different treatment than the employees who are single, recently graduated, or brand new to the team.

The reality is, seniority, married with children, single, or inexperienced, all employees at your clinic deserve fairness and equal opportunity when it comes to asking for vacation days over the holidays.

With that in mind, setting a policy is something we recommend you do at your urgent care clinic when the decision is made to be open during the holiday season. This not only will hold off questions, tough conversations, and unexpected requests from your staffers, but also it will help you stay neutral, matter-of-fact, and unbiased when putting together the work schedule.

Below are a few solutions and best practices to consider when creating your holiday vacation and scheduling policy:

Ask for Volunteers

It’s that simple. Ask for volunteers. Chances are you will have employees who actually prefer to work the holidays because time-and-a-half pay is worth it to them. Once you have all your volunteers, fill in the blanks as necessary and let your team know that no one gets all the holidays off. Emphasize that being open on these special days, and offering on-demand service to the public, is a group effort.

Implement a Lottery System

Since no one gets all the holidays off, hold a lottery or random drawing to fill up the schedule. This makes it very transparent to your staff that you are unbiased in your decision for who works and who doesn’t. From there, it can be their choice to trade days with other employees. Instead of resentment, or letting them come to their own conclusions, this approach fosters teamwork and unity.

Create Teams

As staffers are hired, create teams who will work holidays together. For example, Team A works Christmas and Team B works New Year’s. Every year, teams will alternate. This structure comes in handy not only over the holiday season, but also throughout the year for trainings and other internal tasks and activities. Teams also allow your employees to plan well in advance since it’s easy to remember which team worked which holiday last year.

Utilize Part-Time Employees or Holiday Pay Differential

If you’re struggling to find team members to work the holidays, consider calling upon your limited, part-time employees who help fill in the gaps as necessary throughout the year. These people might be very open to picking up a holiday shift or two if they have ample notice and aren’t already working elsewhere. The other, last resort option if you are getting desperate, is to offer your staff, or the part-timer workers, even higher holiday pay.

Post the Schedule Early

To avoid anxiousness, post the work schedule as early as possible. This allows your team enough time to plan accordingly and not make commitments, or have existing travel or family plans in place, before they know if they are on the schedule.

No matter how you approach staffing your urgent care clinic over the holidays, keep in mind that transparency is key. Holiday work schedules can get tricky and on top of that become emotional for staff members if it’s not clear how the schedule is created.

This resource was first published prior to the 2019 merger between DocuTAP and Practice Velocity. The content reflects our legacy brands.

Sign Up for the Urgent Care Minute

Join over 20,000 healthcare professionals who receive our monthly newsletter.