vacation scheduling policies

Hello, everyone!

I am posting this on behalf of our Store Ops Manager Kiersten. She writes:

We are a co-op of about 25 employees about half of which are part-time and do apx 2.5 million in annual sales.  We have been very liberal with allowing people to take time off—in excess of their paid vacation, especially the part-timers.  It seems that staff has been very happy about the liberal vacations but is becoming less and less happy about being scheduled to fill in for each other to fill those gaps in the schedule that are created by taking time-off. 

I currently do the scheduling store-wide with input from the department managers as to their needs.  I do not randomly assign shifts, but rather work off of a template which has set shifts assigned to everyone each week, though after filling in to accommodate all the time off, week to week consistency is often lost.  We do have a form in place which allows staff to specify when they will be consistently unavailable (ie, soccer practice every Monday night, or whatever)    

I am wondering how other co-ops of a similar size deal with vacation and filling in shifts. If you do limit who can take time off when, is it done by seniority, who asked first, who has the most unused vacation days, or some other system/policy?  I would like to keep it simple, but of course it is impossible to make everyone happy all the time.  If anyone wants to share how their coop deals with this or any other good ideas they might have, please let me know! You can reply either on or off list.  Thanks!

Kiersten Galazen

Store Operations Manager/Grocery Manager

Chequamegon Food Coop

215 Chapple Ave

Ashland, WI  54806


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