Managing employee leave without a spreadsheet – how can you do it?


Managing employee leave can appear to be a minefield at times. It is important to ensure, however, that managing employee leave is something that you take seriously. Your employees are hard workers, it is only fair that they get treated with the same respect that they give their work. Holiday entitlement is not a privilege – it is a right. Alongside employee rights to sick pay, the ability to take unpaid leave in certain circumstances, and parental leave, it is something serious any good employer should consider. This article will discuss how to manage employee leave effectively – regardless of your choice of how to log this data (I.e., spreadsheet or online cloud-based systems).


Tips to manage employee leave

Recently, I discussed the merits of a spreadsheet-based leave management system vs an online leave management system. However, it is important to know the basics of leave management. You may have been an employer or an HR manager for a number of years now, but there is always room to improve your existing skills or be reminded of those skills! Let’s discuss a few of those now.

  1. What is your holiday policy?
    • If your employees know what the deal is regarding holidays or taking leave, it will stop arguments or difficult conversations between yourself and your employees occurring in the future. It would also be good to have a return-to-work plan skeleton plan in place for any leave that is non-holiday related (I.e., compassionate leave).
  2. Consider what is fairest – first come, first served?
    • First come, first served is often the best policy for managing employee leave – regardless of whether you are using spreadsheets or an online system. It is important to know your staff well – remember that if you employ lots of parents, they might all request leave around similar periods of the year. Ensure employees know they may need to request leave well in advance.
  3. Set limits on the number of employees off at any one time:
    • It goes without saying you need to ensure all your employees do not take the same period of time off on leave. Of course, this being said, remember that some types of leave such as compassionate leave or sickness/injury leave will unfortunately come up from time to time. Just ensure your leave management policy caters for as many eventualities as possible.
  4. Be specific with your guidelines:
    • Depending on the type of business you are running, you might have difficult periods of the year that are particularly busy. Perhaps Christmas, for example. Your employees may be aware, through word-of-mouth, that leave is a no-go during that period. Make this clear in your policy, however, You don’t want any difficult conversations.
    • In addition to the above, some of you businesses out there may have times of the year that you NEED employees to take off. Again, make this clear in any leave policy. Effective leave management would ensure that any times of the year leave is compulsory or restricted would be clearly noted.
  5. What about rejecting leave?
    • Of course, it is always good to try and please your hard-working employees. It is only fair to give your employees ample opportunity to request leave and then honour it wherever possible. However, sometimes it just might not be possible for you to do so. Firstly, it would be polite to reject the leave request as soon as possible after receiving the request. It would also be kind to offer alternatives and have a good explanation as to why the leave request has been rejected.


How can I keep a track of this?

Without some kind of system, it will be very hard to organise this. Managing employee leave without a spreadsheet will be pretty hard work! You could use some kind of calendar system or diary for businesses with only a few employees – sure. That would work! As long as you and your employees are happy, that is fine. However, just remember, the less professional your HR systems, the more likely you will eventually encounter problems with your staff due to miscommunication or human error.

The use of a spreadsheet negates this risk. Why not take a look at LeaveMonitor’s free provision of a downloadable spreadsheet that you can use to track your staff leave and absences? The effective thing about a spreadsheet system, in this sense, is you can also use it to track staff absenteeism due to sickness or unapproved absence. Take a look at our free downloadable spreadsheet here, linked with instructions on how to use it.


Are there any other ways?

If you do take advantage of our free provision of a spreadsheet to aid the management of employee leave, you may begin to find the system fiddly or too prone to instances of human error. This can be solved through an online system. Please do read this article here on the pros and cons of manual spreadsheets to manage employee leave vs online systems to manage employee leave.

Why not take the opportunity to see what an online leave management system can offer you through the excellent provision of software by LeaveMonitor? Our 100% cloud-based system will remove many instances of human error and ensure good working practices. You can trial the system here for free. If it suits your needs, and we are sure it will, you will be able to see our competitive rates clearly listed on our website.