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Leave Management: The Complete Guide To Employee Leave

empty office space

Balancing leave management with other business activities can feel overwhelming at first.

But with the right policies in place, the process becomes easier and ensures that your business will continue to run successfully and your employees will stay happy and satisfied.

In this article, the management experts at Sling have created a complete guide to employee leave so you put together a program that works for your business.

What Is Leave Management?

employees working in an open office space

Leave management (a.k.a. time-off management) is the process of managing time-off requests — such as holidays, sick leave, vacation, emergencies, and parental leave — through a series of policies, guidelines, and rules that are specific to your business.

One of the most important aspects of leave management is to organize and handle everything in a fair and accurate way so that your team members receive the benefits to which they are entitled and your business continues to run smoothly when they’re gone.

Leave management involves four key activities:

  1. Manipulating staffing requirements to keep your business functioning
  2. Ensuring legal compliance
  3. Verifying adherence to business policies
  4. Maintaining employee satisfaction

That’s a lot for one person to handle. If you’re an owner/manager who does it all, we suggest starting a human resources department — it can be an individual or a team — or outsourcing the leave management to a trusted and professional third-party (much like many do for payroll).

Regardless of whether you control it yourself or contract it to a partner, here are some tips to keep in mind for running a successful leave management program.

Tips For An Efficient Leave Management Program

woman working at her computer on leave management

1) Know The Law

The first step in managing an efficient leave program is to understand the local, state, and federal laws in your area.

This will keep you from running afoul of any rules, ordinances, or mandates that apply to your particular business.

Many of these directives differ from city to city, state to state, and even industry to industry. To ensure that your leave management program is 100-percent legal, consult an attorney who is well-versed in laws that apply to your business.

2) Understand Your Business’s Strategies And Goals

Before you can implement a leave management program or make an existing program better, you must understand your business’s strategies and goals as they pertain to time off.

Once you set goals, you can formulate strategies — at the functional, business, and corporate levels — to make those objectives possible.

With this information in mind, you can then begin the process of creating or improving your leave management program.

3) Create Leave Policy Guidelines

Leave policy guidelines should include such information as:

  • Holidays your business will observe
  • Types of leave you offer (e.g., sick leave, jury duty, emergency leave, etc.)
  • How your business calculates PTO accrual
  • How your business deducts leave time
  • What happens if employees don’t use all of their leave time
  • The procedure for applying for leave

Company culture also plays a significant role in your leave policy, so be sure to incorporate that culture into your guidelines by encouraging employees to take advantage of the benefits you offer.

4) Incorporate Leave Options Into Standard Operating Procedures

Business owner writing down leave management policies

Once you have leave policies in place, incorporate this information into your standard operating procedures.

For most businesses, that means publishing the guidelines in their employee handbook. For other businesses, that means gathering the team together and informing them all at one time.

However you choose to provide access to the leave program details, make sure everyone can read it anywhere, any time.

5) Allow Leave Management Policies To Evolve

No matter how well you plan, you won’t get all the details exactly right the first time.

During the preparation phase, you may be sure that a certain policy is right for both your business and your team. But when the policy is in place and active, you might discover flaws in your thinking. That’s OK.

Leave management policies were meant to evolve — allow them to do so. Make the changes and continue looking for other ways to improve what you have.

6) Communicate Changes As Soon As Possible

When you do make changes, be sure to communicate those details to your employees as soon as possible.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to edit your online employee handbook and then send a team-wide email or text telling your employees that changes were made and where to look.

Be sure to include information about when the changes go into effect so those with leave requests already in place won’t worry.

7) Be Consistent

Whatever policies you put in place for your business, it’s imperative that you are consistent with all employees.

Be flexible and understanding when it comes to pregnancy leave, disability leave, and emergency leave, but don’t base your decision to approve or deny on sex, race, or work history.

Scheduling And Effective Leave Management

Sling's scheduling feature for proper leave management

One of the best ways to administer an effective leave management program is to optimize your workforce through better scheduling. Software like Sling can help.

With Sling’s industry-leading scheduling platform, you can create complicated staff rotas — including rotating shifts, overlapping shifts, and night shifts — in minutes instead of hours and distribute the schedule to your employees with just the click of a button.

In addition, Sling allows you to calculate staffing requirements well in advance so you can factor in upcoming leave and give your employees ample notice as to when they will work.

Sling even provides onboard artificial intelligence that alerts you to conflicts in the schedule (e.g., overtime, double bookings, and time-off requests) so you can finalize your schedule sooner.

All of that — and much more — makes Sling the easiest and best way to streamline your leave management program.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.

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