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.

Absence management flowchart. Learn more.

Request time-off form

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.

Leave approval message samples

If needed find below five professional examples of approval messages for various types of leave requests:

Vacation Leave Approval:

Subject: Vacation Leave Approved

Dear [Employee's Name],

I am writing to inform you that your request for vacation leave from [Start Date] to [End Date] has been approved. We recognize the importance of recharging and appreciate your dedication to your work.

Please ensure all necessary handovers are in place and your colleagues are informed about your absence. If any urgent matters arise or require attention during your absence, kindly provide clear instructions for your team.

Enjoy your well-deserved vacation, and we look forward to your return.

Best regards,

[Your Name]
Team Manager, [Department/Team]
[Company Name]

Leave of Absence Approval:

Subject: Leave of Absence Approved

Dear [Employee's Name],

I want to inform you that your request for a leave of absence from [Start Date] to [End Date] has been approved. We understand the importance of personal matters and support your decision.

Please ensure that you have a plan for a smooth transition of your responsibilities during your absence. Your team is here to provide support, so don't hesitate to reach out if you need assistance.

Take the time you need; we look forward to your return when you are ready.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]
Team Manager, [Department/Team]
[Company Name]

Annual Leave Approval:

Subject: Annual Leave Approved

Dear [Employee's Name],

I'm pleased to confirm that your request for annual leave from [Start Date] to [End Date] has been approved. We recognize the value of work-life balance and encourage our team members to take advantage of their annual leave.

Before you go, please ensure all your pending work is appropriately managed or delegated to team members. Your colleagues are aware of your leave and will assist as needed.

Enjoy your annual leave, and return rejuvenated and ready to contribute to the team.

Best regards,

[Your Name]
Team Manager, [Department/Team]
[Company Name]

Paternity Leave Approval:

Subject: Paternity Leave Approved

Dear [Employee's Name],

I'm pleased to inform you that your request for paternity leave from [Start Date] to [End Date] has been approved. We understand the significance of this time in your life and fully support your decision.

Before your leave, please ensure that you have arranged for coverage or delegated your responsibilities to provide a seamless workflow. Your team is prepared to assist during your absence.

Congratulations on this important milestone, and we look forward to your return.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]
Team Manager, [Department/Team]
[Company Name]

PTO Leave Approval:

Subject: PTO Leave Approved

Dear [Employee's Name],

I'm writing to confirm the approval of your paid time off (PTO) request from [Start Date] to [End Date]. We recognize the value of taking some time to recharge and refresh.

Before your PTO, please ensure all necessary preparations are in place to minimize disruptions. If you have any questions or need assistance, please get in touch with your colleagues or me.

Enjoy your time off, and we look forward to your return, refreshed and ready to contribute.

Best regards,

[Your Name]
Team Manager, [Department/Team]
[Company Name]

Feel free to tailor these messages to your team and company policies.

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.

Have Leave policy document

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: Consider adding a remote work request in your policy.

Use leave management systems

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.

Here are some of the automations you benefit from:

  • 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.

  • Offer the possiblity to Book time-off online. Make sure that each employee has access to its leave data and can access the online request form from the ESS portal. The portal will provide information such as who else is absent and the balance of time-of with the quote of Vacation, Sick leave etc personalized for each employee.
  • Know Who's Off. Ensure transparency within attendance calendars.
  • Streamlined emails Help managers to decide on each request promptly, with the streamined emails.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Track 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.
  • Set probation periods. Ensure your new hires can't book time-off untill they have passed the probation period. These are typically 90 days from when the employee has started working.
  • Set blackout days. If your organization has periods like Black Friday, or periods where it is important to deliver a project in time, or have a week full of deadlines, you can setup blackouts for that specific period.
  • Check for absenteeism but also for the risk of burnout. With the general leave situation, you ca see exactly how many days each employee booked, and spot which employees have abused their vacation days, but also those who have not booked anything durring the summer vacation periods.

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.


What to do if the manager still needs to decide on your leave request as an employee?

If your manager has not yet decided on your leave request and the decision is pending, here are some steps you can take to follow up and handle the situation:

  • Check the Timeline: Review your company's leave request policy to determine if there's a specified timeframe within which managers are required to respond to leave requests. If there is, ensure that the deadline has not passed.
  • Send a Polite Reminder: If the deadline has not passed, but it's been a reasonable amount of time since you submitted your request, you can politely remind your manager. In your reminder, express your understanding of their busy schedule and ask if they've had a chance to review your leave request.
    Tip: We do have several friendly reminder examples.
  • Request a Meeting: If the decision takes longer than expected, consider requesting a meeting or one-on-one conversation with your manager. This can provide an opportunity to discuss the leave request in more detail and inquire about the status.
  • Avoid Being Pushy: While following up is essential, be sure to do so respectfully and non-pushy. Managers have various responsibilities, and your request may be a low priority, so patience and understanding are crucial.
  • Consult HR: If a significant amount of time has passed, and you've been waiting to get a response from your manager, consider contacting your HR department. They can help facilitate communication and ensure that your leave request is addressed in a timely manner.

If your manager continues to delay the decision unreasonably or if you believe the delay is due to discriminatory reasons, it may be necessary to escalate the matter to higher management or HR for resolution. However, in most cases, open and respectful communication with your manager should help resolve the situation and ensure a timely response to your leave request.

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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