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The 4 Steps to an Effective Employee Leave Management System

hris Jan 06, 2021

Leave management, it can feel…complicated. The core idea—a defined process that’s consistently used to handle all time-off requests, and to track the time employees are away from work—seems easy enough. But, as every HR professional can attest to, leave management is a process that’s easy in theory, but not necessarily in execution.

The logistical tangles around effectively managing employee away time can create real challenges. Devising effective policies and implementing them can feel like an uphill battle. Leave management requires organization, dedication and understanding, not just from your HR team, but managers and employees as well.

While every organization’s leave management will be designed specific to its needs, there are some core aspects that remain vital to all leave strategies and it’s those essential elements we’ll discuss in this article.

You have a leave management strategy in place, but it’s overly complicated and time-consuming. Ever-changing legislation from province to province further complicates your leave management approach.

Taking time to look over your current leave management policies can help you identify gaps you can fix to help organize and simplify your current processes.

Step 1: Detangle the Policy Plan

  • Are you in compliance with the law?
  • If you’re not, what changes do you need to make?
  • How can you make these changes?

Check for Compliance. Consider your leave management as though it’s a game of chess. Your first move should be to simplify the process by first checking your current policies against current legislation.


Step 2 : Use HR Technology to Your Advantage

When considering your leave management set up you need to ask, what’s powering your management abilities? The answer should be technology. Using effective software to administer your leave policies enables you to easily:

  • Review and change policies
  • Quickly and correctly implement policies
  • Share updates with all employees
  • Provide training on new policies where needed

Adopting a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) into your overall HR strategy is the best way to streamline your leave management process.


Step 3 : Develop a Procedure to Cover Employee Leave

Your leave management cannot and should not be siloed. It’s not enough to create a process that covers employee requests for time off, you also need a procedure for filling the gap an employee’s absence leaves.

Finding someone to fill in for an employee on leave is a common issue, one that many businesses fail to consider ahead of time. If the employee is on long-term disability or parental leave, you’ll likely have to hire someone to fill the role. Depending on the position, you may even need to cover short-term disability leave.

This leads to hiring activity. Hiring and onboarding aren’t usually considered part of leave management, but they can be. If the leave is planned, you’ll need a process in place to hire, onboard, and train a short-term replacement.

Vacation Leave

While vacation leave is generally short-term (two to three weeks at a time), you should still have steps in place to cover an employee’s vacation time. An HRIS enables businesses to house all kinds of employee information, including roles and responsibilities. Use your HRIS to include an outline for employees to hand off roles and responsibilities when preparing to leave for vacation. 

Returning from Leave

Effective leave management also entails thinking about what happens when someone returns from leave. Businesses should know:

  • How they will support the employee as they reintegrate into the business and;
  • Highlight any changes to their role and company policies

Step 4 : Don’t be Afraid to Implement Rules Around Scheduling

Not all leaves are scheduled, so you can’t always plan for them. Others are, such as vacations. For those you can plan for, try to think about staggering leaves as much as possible. If everyone ends up taking the same week for vacation, you could have an issue.

To do this:

  • Set vacation request deadlines
  • Consider blackout periods for busy times
  • Implement a rule for how many people can be off at once

Organization is key. Leave management can be a beast. But it’s a beast that can be slain if you take the time to build an organized strategy that focuses on every type of leave your business will encounter.

You know leave management is important, you’ve put together a leave strategy, but you’re facing unexpected roadblocks—how do you overcome them?

First, know this—you’re not alone. Every company faces the four challenges below. What many don’t realize though is how easy it is to overcome them.

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