Managing employee leave can be an onerous task. Requests come through constantly and someone has to respond to them, make sure that staff don’t all take leave on the same days and record the various dates in the company’s payroll system. The leave management process at many companies still involves paperwork: employees have to print out a leave form, fill it in, chase their manager for a signature and then submit it to HR. It’s a real headache!

But it really doesn’t have to be this complex. Here are five steps that you can follow to create an efficient employee leave management system. 

  1. Familiarise yourself with the law

The first step in setting up a proper employee leave management system is familiarising yourself with labour legislation. You don’t need to become a legal expert – your payroll provider can manage all the legislative intricacies – but you do need to have a basic understanding of what applies to your organisation across its various locations, so you can inform your employees accordingly.

Check your payroll system to see how many leave days your employees are entitled to according to the local law. This includes family emergency leave, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, as well as holidays. No two countries will have the same legislation but with a multi-country payroll system in place, you’ll have all the necessary information at your fingertips. 

  1. Draw up a clear policy

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the law, set out an unambiguous leave policy for your employees and communicate it clearly. Workers have a right to know how many general leave days they are entitled to – and what conditions they need to meet to qualify for additional leave.

You should also set out a clear leave notice period in your company’s policy. This needs to cover how long in advance employees need to apply for leave and highlight any days that are out of bounds. To avoid any employee unhappiness – the same rules should apply to everyone, regardless of position.

  1. Make the application process easy

If your employees have to email the HR department to request leave – and then have to wait anxiously for a reply, or chase the various people for authorisation – then your company is operating in the past.

These old-fashioned processes are unnecessarily long-winded and create time-consuming delays. They also demand a lot more staff hours and attention, which takes valuable resources away from more strategic work. The best way to avoid this and maximise efficiency instead, is to set up an employee self-service system to process leave requests.

An online employee self-service system enables workers to apply for leave from anywhere at any time. The system will immediately let them know if their leave is granted, if they don’t have any leave days left – or if too many co-workers are already on leave during that time.

  1. Integrate your HR and payroll systems

Every time an employee takes leave, the payroll system needs to be updated. There needs to be a clear record of how who is taking leave when and how many days of work each employee needs to be paid for.

Thanks to modern technology, you no longer have to manage this manually – automated solutions can update the payroll system literally while you sleep. All you have to do is integrate your HR and payroll software, and ensure that data is automatically shared between the applications. This will reduce your and your team’s administrative workload, and give you more time to focus on other business.

  1. Keep an absence calendar

Critical to the success of any business, is knowing who will (and won’t) be at work on any given day. Managers need this information to plan tasks, and teams need to know when colleagues will be away so that they can work efficiently to meet deadlines.

An efficient leave management system depends on a well-maintained absence calendar. Some HR and payroll software packages have an absence calendar built in – which is easily accessible by all authorised personnel from anywhere at any time. Information is fully visible and updated in real-time, ensuring that only the latest data is used and shared.

However, if your payroll system doesn’t have a built-in absence calendar, set one up in an easily accessible online location – and make sure it is always up-to-date.

Employee leave management doesn’t have to be a hassle or time-consuming brain drain. With modern technology, you can set up an employee leave management system that practically runs itself!

If you’d like to find out more about employee self-service and HR and payroll integration, give us a call today.