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Managing Employee Annual Leave: Simple & Effectively

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employee annual leave

Rest, relaxation and other commitments – employee annual leave is taken for a myriad of reasons. If you are responsible for managing leave requests within your company, then you already know how important taking time off is for your employees. Not only does rest reduce employee’s stress levels, but it also promotes motivation, and increases productivity, among other physical and mental benefits. It’s for this reason, you want to make sure your employees are taking their full amount of leave every year. 

Many human resource admins struggle to find the best way of how to keep track of an employee’s yearly leave, especially when there are many leave cases that exist that complicate the process. With so many options for time-off: sick leave, stress leave, parental leave; finding a system that lets you easily track and monitor the happenings within the company is key!

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Annual Leave Explained

Annual leave is paid time off work granted by employers to employees to be used for whatever the employee wishes.

Now, this raises a few questions, such as, ‘Are part-time employees entitled to the same leave as full-time employees? Let’s talk about entitlement when it comes to vacation leave and how it is paid out. 

How is employee leave paid?

The time-off an employee is entitled to is usually paid at the same rate as an employee’s normal daily wage. Depending on the country, part-time employees are entitled to four weeks’ holiday. However, this isn’t the norm, especially not in the USA. Casual workers generally don’t receive any vacation entitlement but are often paid a compensatory amount as part of their annual leave pay period.

Are your employees entitled to leave?

It may be hard to believe for some, but in the USA, there is no federal or state statutory minimum paid vacation or paid public holidays. Paid leave is at the discretion of the employers to its employees. In some companies, they choose to not offer paid holiday, while others do. The average number of paid vacation days offered by private employers is 10 days after 1 year of service, 14 days after 5 years, 17 days after 10 years, and 20 days after 20 years of service. These numbers are shocking when you consider how much paid holiday European employees receive. Some of the most toxic workplaces in the world in regards to time off are found in the United States.

Across the globe in Canada, it’s standard to give employees at least one to two weeks, for every year worked. In countries like Australia, if you work full-time, an employee is entitled to twenty annual accrued days. In the UK, employees typically receive 20 days per annum, excluding bank holidays in the calendar year. In principle, vacation leave should be taken in the year in which it is due.

Managing Employee Time-off Requests 

Are you wondering how do you manage employee annual leave in the best way? We’re going to share with you a better way to manage employee time off requests rather than with outdated time off excel spreadsheets. Here are a few tips for managing vacation requests better:

Have a well-defined leave policy for employees

Make sure to communicate the holiday entitlement policy with new hires during the onboarding process. All of this information should also be available in the employee onboarding handbook.

Employ a tool to manage leaves (ie. online leave management software)

Ensure compliance with labor laws in regards to the minimum number of vacation days per year your employees are entitled by using holiday planning software.

Before Accepting Holiday Requests: What to know

An employer must be aware of a few essential things before accepting an employee’s vacation request.

  • There are adequate resources to cover the absence to ensure business requirements are met. 
  • The leave is discussed and mutually decided upon by the employer and employee.
  • Ensure there are no conflicting requests and/or too many employees away at one time. 

While it is easy to just follow a ‘first come first served’ system when considering vacation requests, a better way of managing employee vacation requests and absences are required. To ensure your business runs smoothly during yearly absences, proper absence management is necessary.

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Unused Annual Leave

Employees often ask,  what happens if I don’t take my annual leave? Can I lose my annual holiday leave days or am I able to roll them over into the following year? Many times, employees choose not to take the holidays they are entitled to; this may be due to the fact they are workaholics, or because they can’t leave as a result of pressing deadlines or because they are short-staffed. One way to prevent this is by outlining a clear holiday policy that employees can easily reference in their online employee portal.

Employees who do not take breaks or holiday leave experience lower productivity, quicker burnout, stress, workplace illness, low motivation level among staff and high staff turnover, ultimately costing the company or business.

Stress Leave from Work

As an HR admin, there’s one thing that’s even more important than calculating holiday days; do you know what that is? Whether you like it or not, one of the most important aspects of your role is to act much like a ‘school counselor’. You should be able to be in tune with the needs of your employees and recognize when they are under excessive stress or pressure. 

Is stress leave from work a part of the annual time-off? 

Yes and no. An employee may choose to use a vacation day as a day off due to stress leave at work. However, more commonly, by law in most countries, employees are entitled to a certain amount of stress leave days a year. This number may range anywhere from 2-10. In addition, an employee often has other types of day off entitlements. Here are some of the most common types of leave which, by law, are often paid outside of the holiday allotment. 

  • Moving House
  • Sick Leave (w/ doctor’s note)
  • Getting Married
  • Maternity/paternity leave

Effectively manage employee annual leaves w/ Factorial’s HR vacation tracking software.

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