What is your policy on employees requesting days off?

I've been pretty lax with my guys on giving them days off that they ask for as we usually have extra people on staff and I don't work in the stores so that I can fill in in an emergency.

I've got one guy that must look at the schedule and see that I'm working a day and several other people had requested off that day (well in advance) and decides that he wants that day off too. Weekends are mandatory at my place and he asked late last night for this Saturday off when two of my best employees will already be out for things they planned months ago. I was calling old employees offering double pay to help since we can't operate without four people at each location and I was already helping.

This time it was for his daughter's dance recital that he magically remembered about three hours after I told him he'd be working with a certain person that he can't get along with for some reason. I tried to keep them apart but only certain people can do certain jobs so I had to do some shuffling schedule wise.

Money wise I don't see how he's doing it either, but that's his own ordeal. I'd like to change our handbook to something a bit more structured than ask in advance.

What is your policy? Should I ask him for a copy of the recital program for proof? He picks the worst times to do this and it's driving me insane.

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