Best Practices In Booking, Approving, and Managing Employee Leave Requests

It’s important that as an employee you need some time off. It could be about family, health, education, or just personal time off, and companies must respect such rights of the employees and take them seriously. As an HR manager, you will have to help your employees maintain a work-life balance and ensure that the company leave policies get respected.

In handling such needs, automation, standard processes, and online systems bring efficiency, simplicity, and productivity within workplaces. In doing so, let’s find the answers to the three most common questions in dealing with annual leave:

1. How to Request Annual Leave?

By using the online annual leave form from LeaveBoard, you know that:

  • A.Your request will be registered
  • B.Your manager will be informed once you submit it
  • C.Your allowance will be calculated correctly
  • D.Your working days/public holidays will be considered
  • E.Who else is absent in the same period and schedule on a different date the request
  • F.You will know how many days of allowance you have left.

Once registered, you can:

  • See your leave entry within the vacation calendar
  • Your balance of leave will be updated
  • You can see the status of your leave request
  • Send a reminder to your manager if he/she didn’ t approve it yet, in a few days
  • Access your history of leaves
  • Cancel the request if it’ s not any longer needed
  • Get informed when your manager approves the request
  • Feed the vacation directly within your Outlook/Google Calendar.

Attendance calendar

Time-off balance

Leave history

2. How to Approve Employee Leave Requests?

As a manager, it usually depends on the policy set up in your organization; however usually goes as first come, first served.Managers can also decide after discussing this with the team or department leads.Additionally, for each request:

  • You get instant notifications once the employee submits the request.
  • You check if there are leave clashes in the same period or not.
  • You check the reason for the request, and if needed, cancel requests that are taking place within a hectic period of the year.
  • You check the allowances and the company policies.Maybe ten days of vacation might be too much for a new employee.
  • When you approve/reject, the system sends an automatic message to the employee with the annual leave/vacation/PTO/personal request approved.
  • The system updates the status of the leave request from pending to approved within the calendar and the monthly/annual leave reports.

Email notification with the employee leave request

Decide with confidence

So practically, the manager gets an email for every leave request submitted and can confidently approve/decline the entry.

Because the system will provide accurate details and follow a straightforward process, you will be able to decide confidently and know that all the entries will be recorded, communication streamlined rules respected much time will be saved.

If you use Slack with the vacation tracking chatbot, you will get instant notifications when the request is submitted, and you can approve it directly from your favorite communication platform.

Request, approve, and get notifications directly in Slack.

Note: As a manager, please do add a justification for it when rejecting a leave.You can apologize for such situations. 

And when they are working during times when everyone else is off, like, let’ s say, Christmas or Easter — appreciate such dedication.

Bring on some chocolates at work, send them a thank you letter, let them know they are fantastic, and understand that they have managers who treat them nice.

3. How to Manage Fairly Employee Leave Requests?

In the following bullets, we have selected the most relevant ways to be effective and fair when dealing with leave requests within small and medium businesses within all kinds of fields: from fintech to pharma, transportation, and so on.

Use a leave management system that offers all the employees the same information, rules, and processes and allows them to plan and book time off while having access to vacation calendars and updated vacation allowance information.

Have a written leave policy within the employee handbook, explaining

  • A. what to do in the most common situations (i.e., unanticipated absences such as traffic accidents, transportation delays, or extreme weather).
  • B. highlight transparent practices that go to each type of absence like sick, emergency, maternity & paternity leave.

With a written leave policy, you provide guidance and helps managers to handle each request.Ensure that existing employees know it, and the newcomers receive a copy.

Note: Due to the recent epidemic, you might update the existing policy and add new information about submitting remote work requests.

Avoid leave clashes by asking your employees to reschedule their requests if many team members are already absent in the same period (or ask your managers to do this).

Setup notice periods — i.e., people to book time off at least seven days before going off.

Setup minimum days of leave notice with LeaveBoard.

Make sure that each employee has access to its leave data and can access the online request form from the ESS portal.

Ensure transparency within attendance calendars.

Ask managers to decide on each request promptly.

Setup automated policies to know that specific rules get followed (reason/backup person mandatory, enforce allowance.

The benefit of enterprise functionalities helps to be more efficient in dealing with leave management.More specifically:

  • A.Add multiple notifications — if you want your department lead to know when someone is off or HR to follow up with specific requests, i.e., Sick.
  • B.Delegate the approval process — if you as manager will go on vacation or are sick and don’ t want to be disturbed for two weeks, you know that your HR admins can take over your role of approving the leave requests.
  • C.Access accurate reporting for payroll — as a finance pro/accountant, you gain access to leave of absence reports with the information needed to process payroll, without extra emails, without double-checking and calling your managers to check if all the situation is up-to-date.
  • D.Monitor attendance.As an HR leader, or CEO you need to gain insights, prevent abuse, ensure continuity, avoid absenteeism, and this gives you an edge and helps you to focus on the strategic tasks of running the business versus doing manual or repetitive tasks.

Additional tips:  

Since employee absences are costly for the business, consider the following best practices:

  • Switch from spreadsheets to an online leave management system.Learn why
  • High absenteeism rates can indicate that some employees might be overworked, have personal problems, have issues with managers, go through burnout, or are on the verge of leaving
  • Pay attention to stress leave.The sources of such leave requests can indicate how your business can improve overall attendance.Highlighting opportunities for growth and finding ways to deal with repetitive work might be one step forward.
  • Consider allowing employees to work from home, especially within the knowledge economy.

Key takeaway

A system that allows your employees to book leave of absence and your managers to approve leaves confidently is a huge step forward in your operations optimization. With dynamic processes put in place, all requests treated equally, transparency, streamlining, and tracking, you and your employees, are seeing massive productivity and efficiency wins. LeaveBoard is cloud-based leave management software that simplifies, digitizes, and automates complex leave management operations for small and medium businesses, and it’s affordable too. Schedule a demo with the experts, and we will get you going.

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