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Keeping track of employee time off


Employee time off can vary for workers, including family leave, sick leave, parental leave and vacation leave. Other less common types of leave are donor leave, disaster leave, or jury duty leave.

Improper tracking of vacation hours, personal time and sick time can lead to employees incurring negative balances and being paid for time off that they do not have. It can also cause managers to schedule time off improperly, which can disrupt the operational flow of the company.

Leave Tracking Options

Companies have the option to track employee leave balances using paper timesheets and excel spreadsheets or utilize automated software that typically includes time tracker functions as well as leave balances tracking. Some systems have a self-service portal, where employees can submit leave requests to their managers for approval. Additional features might include a portal that lets managers see pending and approved leave requests.

Publish written policies to ensure leave is used as intended

If you offer employees paid time off, you should publish a written company policy to ensure all leave time is used as intended. Each leave policy should include the following:

  1. Is leave earned or accrued? (against work hours or by tenure)
  2. At what rate is the leave earned or accrued?
  3. What are the requirements for an employee to be eligible to earn leave? (full time/part time)
  4. Can each type of leave be carried over from one year to the next?
  5. Is there a maximum accrual (ceiling) that employees may earn?
  6. Are employees able to take more leave than they have a balance for?

Options for generating leave policies

If your human resources department doesn't have an existing time-off policy, there are online services and consultant firms who can offer you pre-packaged options. If you choose to build your own custom policy from scratch, you will find that the internet is full of free templates to guide you through the process of creating your leave policies.

Know state laws regarding leave

Paid leave is rarely required by law and is more commonly provided by employers as a benefit for their workers. Each state varies regarding the leave employers are required to allow employees to take and whether the employer must pay the employee while the employee takes legally permitted leave.

  • Vacation Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Holiday Leave
  • Jury Duty Leave
  • Voting Leave
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Family and Medical Leave

Eleven states and Washington D.C. now have laws requiring paid sick leave benefits for some employees. Connecticut adopted the first such law in 2011, and Michigan became most recent state to enact a paid sick leave law, to take effect on April 1, 2019.

Take the next step

If you would like to learn more about how Hour Timesheet can help you track and manage your employee time off policies, click the button below. We'd love to speak with you and show you how Hour Timesheet can simplify your time and attendance processes today.