Leave Management | 4 mins read

Navigating Proper Leave Management

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Hanh Truong

By Hanh Truong

Introduction to Leave Management

Employees may temporarily need a period of absence from a company for many reasons. Some may leave due to a medical issue or because they have family members to tend to, while others may leave to go on vacation. Whichever the cause may be, companies need a modern and seamless way to ensure the employees' time off does not disrupt operations.

What is Leave Management and Why Does it Matter?

Leave management encompasses all processes related to requesting, approving, and tracking when an employee leaves a company. Also known as time-off management, leave management can be used for staff members that are terminated, as well as those that are only leaving for a period of time. Some leave management activities include receiving and reviewing employees' requests for time off. After approving it, managers will then notify payroll and adjust employee work schedules.

Having a leave management system is important for organizations because it ensures efficiency and compliance. According to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), employees that work in a company with at least 50 workers, have 12 weeks of unpaid leave. They can use their leave because of illness, to take care of sick family members, or to care for their newborn or child.

Organizations should also manage employee leave to effectively monitor time off. Having no control over a team member's leave balance can lead to errors. This can further result in complications with payroll and human resources.

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Challenges of Leave Management

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Human resources professionals and business managers may face various challenges with leave management. The following are the top scenarios that can occur with an outdated system and how businesses can mitigate them.

Disruptions to Projects

One of the biggest drawbacks of working on an important project is having one or more top-performing staffers on leave. It's even worse if they coincidentally decide to take their vacations on the day of the deadline. Now, the company is left scrambling to complete the project, as they risk their potential success.

To prevent such a scenario, the company needs a thorough time-off management process. A key component of this system is requiring employees to have written notice of their planned leave and submit them to a supervisor. The supervisor should then approve of it and inform managers and teams. Having clear and transparent communication about employee leave will allow staff to plan meetings and projects accordingly.

A Pile-Up of Requests

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Receiving multiple requests for time-off can be stressful, especially if more than one employee is asking for the same days off. Management then needs to make a decision - approve all requests and risk operational delays or refuse a request and potentially be non-compliant?

For this instance, managers need to have a system for approving time-off requests. This can be based on seniority or a first-come-first-serve basis. Before denying a leave request, it is important to see if coverage is available. If there is not anyone who can replace the shift, managers should communicate with the requesting staff member and try to make a compromise.

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No More Leave Available

In this scenario, an employee only has two days of leave available, but they are unaware of that and asks for five days off. After speaking with management, they are frustrated because they cannot back out of their personal matter.

This can be a stress-inducing situation and organizations can prevent this by improving their communication. For example, operators can include employee leave balance on their paystubs or employee management software. By allowing employees to have access to the time-off they accrued during their employment, they can hold themselves accountable and plan their leave accordingly.

Lack of Documentation

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Oftentimes, managers will allow staff members to request time-off or sick leave over the phone. While it opens a line of communication for employees and employers, this makes it hard for documentation. For instance, a staffer may call in sick but later dispute that they were not absent that day. Not only will this affect the trust between the employee and manager, but it can also impact the business's bottom line.

Companies can mitigate conflicts like these by having a well-defined documentation system for their leave management. This can entail having employees write and sign a time-off request. Human resources representatives should keep a copy of the requests, in case anyone needs to refer back to it.

Conclusion to Leave Management

  • Leave management is the process of reviewing, approving, and tracking employee time-off requests.
  • Employees may need time off for various reasons, such as sickness or vacation.
  • Companies need a comprehensive and seamless way to manage employee leave and ensure compliance with federal labor laws.
  • Leave management best practices include having transparent communication and documentation.

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