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A guide to leave management best practices

People & Leadership

A guide to leave management best practices

Leave management is a critical – and complex – part of any business’s payroll process. Leave needs to be tracked accurately for it to be recompensed correctly, for the company to remain legally compliant, and ensure that employee morale remains intact.

As if the process wasn’t complicated enough, hybrid and remote work has thrown in some added complexities for already longsuffering HR teams. Have businesses managed to adapt? And if so, how have they approached this? The answer, it seems, is to ‘keep it simple, silly.’

Homing in on hybrid

While some companies prefer a hybrid of remote / work from home (WFH) and in-office work, others have elected to offer remote work as a permanent option. Regardless of which model your business follows, leave management remains vital. However, tracking what kind of leave your remote employees are taking is not without its challenges. While most people are likely to be honest about the type of leave they request, there is room for abuse of the system.

Because of this, many companies have opted to grant Paid Time Off (PTO) as opposed to traditional annual leave. The premise of this is simple: employees are given a fixed number of paid leave days annually, which are accrued in much the same way as traditional leave.

The difference, however, is that employees can take these days for whatever reason they choose without having to disclose the reason to their employer. The idea is that this will give employees greater control of their time while providing the benefit of flexibility to celebrate cultural or religious holidays or even to take a mental health day.

Paid Time Off still requires a leave management system, and an automated, cloud-based HR and payroll system is best suited to the job. Policies, rules, and regulations can be plugged into the system. Employees can access the portal remotely to apply for their PTO or check their accrued leave balances and other information.

When both employer and employee have a clear line of sight of the leave calendar, it allows for informed decision-making around contingency planning.

Homesick > office sick?

We’ve all heard of absenteeism, but presenteeism? Not so much.

Absenteeism is when an employee has taken leave due to an unexpected illness, death in the family, or something similar. On the other hand, presenteeism is when employees are in-office but are not actively engaged or working to their full potential.

The cost of absenteeism is high as it impacts the workloads of others and makes project output unpredictable. Research shows that absenteeism goes down when there is a stringent absence policy and leave management system in place. Company culture and employee morale also influence the rate of absenteeism. A workforce that feels valued and appreciated is less likely to disengage.

In the case of presenteeism, employees are physically in the office when they’re ill but are not as productive as is required of them. Presenteeism costs a company even more than absenteeism and is a symptom of an overloaded workforce that lacks motivation, engagement, and a sense of job security. One way to tackle presenteeism is to promote work/life balance and general office wellbeing.

Having a PTO or sick leave policy that is well communicated and effectively managed will go a long way in limiting both absenteeism and presenteeism and can significantly reduce the impact these absences have on your company’s bottom line.

Leave management best practices

Every system has best practices, and leave management is no different. Here are four best practices you need to know:

  1. Document: Be sure to document every interaction regarding leave requests. Having a centralised HR and payroll system with a built-in leave management system will ensure not only the tracking of your data but also the accuracy, safety, and compliance of your information.
  2. Sticking to policy: A leave management policy should be drawn up, thoroughly communicated, and followed. An automated leave management system will allow you to input your policy rules and regulations, effectively enforcing compliance simply by using the portal.
  3. Compliance: As HR and payroll rules and regulations change often, it is essential to have a leave management system that will update automatically with each change, thus ensuring that your company and employees stay compliant with all industry regulations.
  4. Monitoring: After the policy is set, it is essential to track and measure its effectiveness and update requirements as and when needed.

You don’t need to go it alone

Manual leave management is the stuff of nightmares. Keeping track of who’s on leave when, what kind of leave they’ve taken, and their balances according to which leave schedule is enough to make your HR hairs stand on end.

Fortunately, there’s no reason to do it manually anymore. Any HR software worth its salt will offer you leave management integration that will allow you to track time and attendance according to your leave policies and procedures.

With Sage 300 People, you get even more than that. It has built-in web-based employee self-service functionality that offers a range of user-friendly, time-saving tools that allow your people to manage their HR processes and information.

Employees can:

  • Apply for leave
  • Manage their claims
  • Manage their personal information like next of kin or banking details
  • View and print payslips and tax certificates
  • Complete performance reviews
  • Apply for training
  • Upload qualifications

Managers can:

  • Upload job requisitions
  • Approve transactions
  • Manage performance reviews
  • View employees’ leave
  • Print reports

If you snooze, you’ll lose – money, people, and time

Having the right HR and payroll software is no longer a luxury. If you don’t want your business to lose time, money, and talent, you need to jump on board as soon as you can. Here’s what using the right software can do for your business:

Help you hire the best candidates

Efficient recruitment and applicant management will help you hire the right people – that is, people who won’t require extensive training or supervision to do their job, saving you time and money.

Grow your talent pool

Get the most out of your team by ensuring that each person is best suited to their role and contributing to the team. This can be done by tracking performance reviews and appraisals, engaging your employees, and building a culture of trust and transparency that supports your goals as a team.

Ensure compliance

With the ever-changing payroll laws and regulations, having HR and payroll software that automatically updates is essential to enable compliance.

Improve productivity

With HR and payroll software, many time-consuming, manual tasks are made redundant, as is scheduling and approving leave requests. Self-service tools, in particular, save time and reduce the admin burden, allowing you to focus on more productive tasks.

Improve decision-making with analytics and insights

Manually processing data leaves room for error as you sift through wads of information on spreadsheets. With an HR and payroll solution, data is automatically generated, collated, and analysed to determine real-time patterns and trends that will help inform decision-making. This is particularly helpful in leave management.

Don’t leave it here

Traditional leave management systems no longer make sense in hybrid and remote environments with an ever-connected workforce. Leave management software and systems have had to adapt to keep pace with the rapidly changing world of work.

Sage 300 People offers you extensive facilities to administer and ensure compliance with leave rules, including:

  • Unlimited number of leave types and entitlements applicable to different employees
  • Unlimited history, automatically maintained
  • Automatic calculation of accurate and up-to-date balances for all leave types
  • Ability to view future planned leave for each employee
  • View leave by Division/Department/Section/Cost centre
  • Comprehensive leave reports
  • Financial accrual and liability of leave days
  • Overtime management and integration with the payroll module
  • Shift or work schedule management
  • Notifications of leave expiry based on user-defined dates

Having an HR and payroll software solution that offers an integrated leave management system with an employee self-service portal is not the future – it’s the present. Isn’t it time you bring your business into the now?

Transform your organisation’s HR and payroll with Sage 300 People

A powerful HR, payroll and self-service solution designed to increase your organisation’s productivity and drive growth.

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