What you need to know about leave management
Using a spreadsheet to manage your company’s leave is not the best or most efficient way to do it – find out what you need to know about leave management to move away from the manual spreadsheet grind and more, including the benefits of a leave management software and tips for leave management. And if you are an employee read up on how best to manage your leave.
What is leave management?
Leave management is the process where employees request time away from work, and managers approve or deny this leave request based on its impact to the organization. Complex, manually administered leave programs are costly to manage, and often result in errors.
One of the tasks that take up most of an HR team’s time is leave management. Their responsibilities include ensuring compliance with leave policies, making sure enough staff are in the office (and not all on leave at the same time), and keeping the staff happy.
A reliable leave management system in your business is crucial. Poor leave management practices can affect employee performance – and not in a good way. Negative staff morale will impact on the work that is delivered.
That is what concerns employers, but leave management for employers is different to leave management for employees. What concerns employees is taking their leave, and having more leave.
According to research conducted by Singapore based recruitment firm Robert Half; most employees want more days off. The survey of 500 employees in Singapore found 36 % put more annual leave at the top of their wish list, followed by more flexible hours (32 %) and professional development opportunities (20 %).
Each business will have their conditions of leave, or rules that employees need to follow with regard to how much leave they are entitled to, and when they can take that leave.
Different countries also have different laws regarding the leave that can be taken, for example according to Wikipedia, in Denmark employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave per year while in Japan the initial annual leave entitlement is 10 days.
What is your leave policy?
Staff have a right to know how many days leave they are entitled to, as well as what conditions they need to meet to qualify for any additional leave.
This needs to be according to the law of the country you are operating in.
You should also set out a clear leave notice period in your company’s policy. This needs to cover how long in advance employees need to apply for leave and highlight any days that are out of bounds.
The same rules should apply to everyone, regardless of position – this will avoid any employee dissatisfaction.
Ensure that the leave policy is unambiguous and is communicated clearly to staff members.
Why a leave management system?
Why would you want to fill in a form, hand it in to the responsible HR person (hoping they are at their desk when you are as you have to travel up 5 floors to get there), and then wait for it while it goes through for approval. It is Friday afternoon; hold thumbs it will happen soon.
This frustration can be alleviated with an electronic leave management system in place.
In modern business practice there are many kinds of leave available to employees; sick, annual, unpaid and compassionate. Tied together with the different leave structures of companies and the requirements to request and grant leave often too much time and resources are used up in managing it. Minimal time should be spent on managing leave and this is where a leave management system comes into play.
A leave management system is a platform that enables a company to easily and correctly allocate, track and grant leave. This system also allows employees to request and track their own leave.
Leave management systems are often web based applications due to its easy accessibility and ability to run on almost any device and operating system that has a web browser. Leave management systems make it easy for an employee to request leave from their own desk or even from home if sick. The employee can also attach a doctor’s certificate to the requested leave application if required.
An electronic leave management system removes the physical movements mentioned earlier, and enables HR to have an overall view of the leave situation in the company.
Benefits of an automated leave management system
Having an automated system to manage your leave can conquer a number of your tasks. These include:
Conquer overloaded paperwork
For those organizations that are still managing their employees on spreadsheets, or other paper systems, tracking and recording employee leave accurately is not easy. Automating will definitely streamline the leave process in this instance. All employee leave information is managed in a central repository, with the leave application process done online, leaving the reliance on paperwork behind.
Conquer legal compliance
Managing your employees and keeping within the law is key, particularly with regards to retirement benefits, persistent short term absences from work, health and safety issues or long term illness. Automation will help you keep compliant by keeping strict records and other important details required. A good software system will also help you stay on track with reminders and notifications.
In addition to legal compliance, you can maintain compliance with your company’s leave policy. It will leave no space for errors or discrepancies, and therefore no disputes when leave requests are rejected. The leave management system will be fully compliant with your company’s leave policy, ensuring an unbiased and fair leave system.
Conquer leave patterns
It is vital that you are able to monitor the amount of leave an employee takes, or has taken. Trying to do this manually is bound to be filled with errors. Analytics to map an employee’s performance can also be extremely useful to your business processes.
Automating the leave management process can help facilitate a hassle free and more positive employee-employer work relationship, while also ensuring business productivity is not compromised. Setting up an effective leave automation system allows employees and employers to connect in a way that is more productive and engaging for all parties.
Using an automated system will ensure leave requests are handled seamlessly, and all data such as leave balances and absence trends are available
Leave Management Tips for employers
Here are some tips for HR Managers when it comes to managing the leave system and process in your company.
It is important that you track trends like frequent unplanned leave of employees. This needs to be managed in case it becomes a performance issue.
Ensure that you know how to respond to requests for extended leave. Know when to be compassionate. Always remember that the approval for a leave in case of any legitimate reasons such as medical or family urgency rests largely on the manager. A negative response from the manager can result in a disconnect between employees and management.
It is important for HR managers to set realistic return-to-work leave schedules for their employees. For example, if an employee applies for a week long leave request for a medical purpose, then setting up a strict return-to-work schedule is simply a turn-off.
It is important for HR managers to know up front about who is going on leave, when and for how many days. This is why HR managers should be proactive and thoughtful when dealing with vacation requests from employees. It would help them to prepare in advance to ensure that productivity remains firm during peak vacation times.
HR managers should always respond to leave requests in a prompt manner. Some mobile payroll apps allow managers to receive and approve leave requests on the go, so employees don’t have to wait long for approval for their leave.
Leave Management Tips for employees
The other side of the coin is the employee requesting leave. Here are some tips on managing leave from both a work and personal perspective.
Know the leave policy of your company
It is crucial that you know how much leave you are allowed to take. Understand the different types of leave you are permitted to take, and which are applicable. Know that it is up to management
Plan your vacation days in advance
Just as the HR Manager needs to plan their resources, planning your vacation days in advance, and applying for your leave early enough to assist them in doing their planning would be appreciated.
Ensure your work is up to date
With your work being complete before you go on leave there can be no issues or piles of paperwork when you return. And then you do not have to worry about work when you are on vacation.
Be aware of how much leave you are taking
Do you have a work-life balance? Are you taking your allocated leave to ensure you are not over-stressed? Are you taking too much leave and letting your work performance slide?
Enjoy your leave
Most importantly take time out and rest. Recharge your batteries and get ready to hit the ground running when you return to the office.
Reasons to take leave
It is important that employees take the leave allocated to them. Here are some of the reasons why.
Taking a break allows an employee to re-energise and distress from all of the tensions they deal with at work, and will be refreshed to manage their work responsibilities.
Being rested will allow an employee to work more productively, and able to approach their work with more clarity and perspective. Fatigued workers are not efficient workers.
A healthy and happy employee is less likely to be absent on a regular basis.
Feeling recharged will promote a positive outlook toward new projects and challenges.
There are more benefits, these are just a few to understand why taking leave is important, especially for those employees that don’t take leave as they fear falling behind in their work or disappointing their manager. Employees that take time out are doing your business a favour, and this you should encourage.
Applying for leave is as easy as 1, 2, 3
Submitting a leave application is as easy as 1,2,3 with nuQ.
- A leave application is entered by the payroll/HR clerk, or directly by the employee.
- It is then approved or rejected by the appropriate manager.
- Once approved, the number of days leave to be taken is calculated by nuQ, taking into account the employee’s working days and any public holidays that might fall within the period of leave.
The number of days leave is calculated automatically, processed and deducted from the amount of leave which the employee has accumulated. This appears on the payslip so that the employee is always aware of their leave balance.
Enjoy 3 steps for applying for leave and 3 steps for approving leave requests.
Make use of the employee self-service option with nuQ.
This allows employees to update their information, submit leave and have access to company information without tedious paper work processes and handouts – all from the comfort of their own desk (or even bed).
The leave experience
There has been a focus, or trend, on the employee leave experience, where companies implement benefits that will attract and retain talent while improving workplace productivity.
To remain competitive in your business, you need to be productive and have great staff. You also need a reliable leave management system to manage employee absence, calculate leave accruals and make payments accurately.
Companies are turning to technology partners for more cost-effective solutions such as employee self-serve of leave benefits and to meet the growing customer demand for scalable integrated employee self-serve solutions.
Leave and the management of it shouldn’t be a pain in your side (business), and hopefully as an employee it is a joy (taking it). To add to this should be a leave management system you are using to manage it well.
An automated leave system is the ideal, and if your business isn’t already using one, it is definitely time to put one in place – do it before you go on leave.