Guide to Creating the Best HR Leave Management Process

Employees cherish their time off. According to research, employees rate paid vacation as the second-most-important benefit from an employer, after healthcare. 

However, offering leave involves more than giving your employees some time off. Leave management is a crucial process that ensures the right policies are in place to give employees their legal workplace rights and manage their time off. 

Creating an effective leave management process involves understanding the law surrounding paid and unpaid leaves in your jurisdiction, outlining leave policies, and communicating your company’s policies to employees.

Here’s what you need to know about leave management and why automation is the best solution. 

What is Leave Management?

Employee leave management encompasses the policies and processes for managing employee time-off requests such as sick leave, holidays, vacation, and parental leave. 

Also known as time-off management, leave management fairly and accurately handles employee time-off requests to ensure the business runs smoothly even as employees get their entitled benefits.

Leave management is pivotal in an HR department. An HR admin typically has to perform the following activities as part of leave management:

  • Grant leaves to employees
  • Leave accounting
  • Handle employee queries
  • Reporting
  • Monthly payroll
  • Year-end activities

Accomplishing these tasks can be very difficult without a clear leave management process. 

Research shows that when managed well, paid time off (PTO) can benefit employers, too, with happy employees being 13% more productive. 

What is a Leave Management Process?

A leave management process is a set of procedures that track sick days, vacations, and other employee absences. 

Also known as a time-off management process, includes the tools employees must use to request a PTO and the workflow that channels these requests to the correct departments and managers, including payroll. 

Most companies offer a limited number of paid sick days and vacations. For instance, most American workers typically get 11 to 15 days of paid time off annually. Often, employees don’t get any benefits if they take more time off than permitted. 

A leave management process must be ruled by a criterion defining which leave approvals are granted and how employees know the decision. It helps team managers and HR ensure everyone is on the same page and the needs of personnel and the business are met.

The Primary Goals of a Leave Management process

A leave management process must meet a few goals to be effective. They include the following:

Make Fair Decisions

Ensures all employees seeking paid time off have an equal opportunity to use all their allocated days.

Accurately Track Time Off

Concisely organizes time-off information, ensuring employees are well compensated for unused sick and vacation days. This prevents disputes between workers and the HR department.

Maintain Employee Morale

Makes it convenient and easy to request time off, resulting in employees feeling supported and appreciated by the company. According to research, economies and businesses grow rapidly when employees use their PTO the most. 

Avoid Disruptions in Workflow

Ensures employees’ vacation days don’t overlap with their department’s deadlines, busy seasons, or other priorities.

How to Develop an Effective Leave Management Process

You can develop an effective leave management process using the following tips and best practices.

Understand the Law

While considering the time-off policies your organization should implement, you should ensure compliance with local, state, and federal labor laws. Lack of compliance in your leave management process can easily lead you into legal trouble.

For instance, most jurisdictions dictate that your leave management policies must be applied consistently to avoid discrimination against employees. 

Offering paid leave with unique benefits on account of an employee’s personal circumstances can appear discriminatory and land you in legal trouble.

Your policies must be clearly written, with managers thoroughly trained on consistent and appropriate administration.

Outline the Leave Policy for Your Employees

Your employees should be educated on various types of leaves and their unique circumstances. Therefore, you should clarify the following in your policy guidelines:

  • How leave time is accrued
  • The holidays that are observed
  • How unused time is handled
  • The procedure for requesting time off
  • The other types of leaves the organization offers such as sick leave, parental leave, jury duty, voting

Clearly Communicate Your Policy

Giving employees a manual containing the leave policy is a good initiative. However, it will serve them no good if they don’t know what it means and how they can constantly refer to it. 

Therefore, you should find ways to communicate the policy clearly at every organizational level. Employees should know their rights and benefits, with managers well-trained to communicate the policies accurately to their teams.

Clear communication also ensures changes and adjustments are provided with sufficient notice, avoiding confusion and conflict. 

Employee Leave Management Using Software

Virgil HR’s software is designed to help businesses comply with legal requirements and make sure they offer their employees the benefits they’re entitled to. One way it accomplishes this is by identifying the specific benefits each employee should receive based on their location and employment status.

For instance, depending on the state, employees may be entitled to various types of leave, such as sick leave, family and medical leave, and vacation time. In New York, employees are entitled to both paid sick leave and paid family leave, while in Maryland, employees are only entitled to sick leave. Maryland recently passed a law that will provide paid family leave in the near future.. 

With Virgil HR’s software, employers can easily determine which benefits are required by law and ensure that their employees receive them, making it easier to stay compliant with legal requirements while providing valuable benefits to their workforce.

Use the Right Solutions

Having a robust leave management process can improve employee satisfaction and retention by providing employees with clear policies and procedures for requesting and managing leave, ensuring that they receive the time off they need while also maintaining productivity and workflow within the organization. Let VirgilHR’s software solution help your HR team stay in compliance with state and federal leave policies. Contact us today for a demo of our product!