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time off management

Tips for Successful Time Off Management

Everyone deserves time off work, whether it’s for relaxing and unwinding at home with your family or taking a holiday trip to your favourite destination! This may get you thinking about the Summer Holidays, Christmas Holidays, New Years Holidays and time off in general. Successful time off management is essential for every company! Agreeing on who gets which days off is easier in smaller companies but when the capacity of staff grows, time off management gets more and more complicated and it can turn out to be quite like a Tetris game.

That’s why your company has to think carefully about setting an appropriate time off management strategy before the human resources get overwhelmed with conflicting holiday requests. Here are our best tips to help you manage employee holidays in an efficient and agreeable way for everyone.

Key points to achieve effective time off management

Know the law on holiday entitlement and employee holiday rights

These can sound obvious but it’s always important to make sure, more so if your company has different offices around the globe. Each country, land and state have their own laws regarding time off and you must know them. In certain cases, collective agreements (always in favour of the employee) can change those laws slightly. Therefore, it’s mandatory you look at your employee contracts. Can the employee forsake their holidays in exchange of money? What’s the minimum annual leave entitlement? What’s the employment law for bank holidays?

The human resources manager must keep an eye on the news and laws to avoid very serious problems. Furthermore, the employee must be aware of what their contract, agreement and country says about this topic so they don’t misunderstand anything either.

Create a holiday policy

Create a detailed annual leave policy that is individual to your company. It must establish your companies approach to time off and clearly state any restrictions regarding when employees can take time off and how they should request for it. Some companies during especially busy periods such as Christmas cannot have any members of staff take time off work. However, this may cause issues down the line if this has not been clearly stated from the beginning. So to achieve successful time off management, managers must make sure to include this rule in their holiday policy and make sure it is known to all the employees.

By clearly setting the boundaries regarding requesting time-off, it prevents any future holiday management headaches. A clearly stated policy will help your employees understand what they should expect when requesting leave, and will prevent any future confusion.

Inform employees to provide notice when requesting leave

Specify within your holiday policy the need for employees to provide substantial notice when requesting leave. This could be twice as long as the period of time they are taking off. This gives HR managers enough notice, aiding them in the time off management process and will also increases the likelihood that you will be able to take that time off. The earlier you do it, the less likely it is that your colleagues will have requested the same time off.

Give appropriate notice if you need to refuse a holiday request

Just like you would request notice when employees book time off work, if you have to refuse their leave request for whatever reason, you should also give them a suitable amount of notice. This, of course, depends on them having given you enough warning before requesting the time off. The notice period should equate the same amount of time they requested to go away for. This is an example of good time off management and is good practice for all HR managers to implement.

Cancelling already approved holiday leave

Legally, your employer is allowed to cancel your already approved employee leave, as long as the correct amount of notice is given. This may happen if a project is close to the deadline, and the employee wanting to go away is a principal member f the team, and they would not be able to finish the project without them. The notice required to cancel the holiday must be the same amount of time as the period of approved leave.

This, however although legal, should be a final resort, as it may lose the employee a substantial amount of money and may anger them due to the inconvenience.

Know the priority order

In some companies there’s a criterion by which the time off gets decided first by some employees than others. Or, worst case scenario, by which the company decides who gets preference in a conflicting scenario. These guidelines normally focus on:

  • Employees with children. To help their employees reconcile work and family, many companies favour employees with school-age children so they can ask for time off when their kids don’t have to school. For example in Summer.
  • Seniority. The staff who have been in the company for longer are the ones who get first pick. This can be seen as a sign the company values loyalty.
  • Rotation system. One of the fairest ways to decide holidays so everyone gets first pick at some point.

Employees must know which system is used in their company so they can adapt and organise to avoid misunderstandings and a tense working environment.

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Using the appropriate HR software to manage holidays and time off

Once we know what the law says and the priority order in our company (if there’s any) we need a way to keep track of every absence and request through employee time tracking.

Many companies and HR managers still use complex excel sheets. This can sound like a good solution but in the long term it can be confusing and turn out to be quite time consuming. An excel calendar needs customisation, technical skills and lots of time. It can get outdated very easily and quickly if someone receives the wrong document.

The best way to manage your employees absences is a HR software, known as an Employee Holiday Tracking System that will help you automate all those tasks. With Factorial, an online human resources software, each employee can access their account and ask for time off just in a few clicks. Their supervisor will get an email and accept or reject their request looking at the team calendar. Staying organised and making sure there are still enough people on the team to get the work done is very important. The calendar will automatically update with this new absence. Then everyone in the company will know that the employee won’t be available at the office and adapt accordingly.

Factorial’s calendars can adapt to your countries bank holidays. And the admin can create a Holiday policy to make sure all employees know how many days off they have. If they haven’t used all their holidays, using Factorial, they can accrue it from one year to another.

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