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Manage Time Off Requests with an Excel PTO Tracker

Paid time off is important because everyone needs a break. It prevents employee burnout and makes for happier and more productive employees. However, you need to rely on the right tools, such as an Excel PTO tracker, to make sure you are effectively managing all time-off requests. Aside from calculating payroll, there are a number of legal requirements you need to adhere to, such as compliance with the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA).

In this post, we are going to take a look at what an Excel PTO tracker is and how you can use it to track paid time off in your company. We will look at some of the pros and cons of using a PTO tracker template and share a few tips to help you stay on top of your PTO requests.


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PTO Time Tracking Laws 

Paid time off (PTO) refers to the agreed number of days an employee can be absent from work and still receive pay. It includes absences defined by law and company policy, such as vacation days, public holidays, maternity leave, sick days, and personal events. 

You are not legally obligated to offer paid vacation. However, there are still a number of requirements you need to take into consideration. For one thing, you need to make sure timekeeping in your company is in line with the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) and federal and state wage and hours laws. These laws establish aspects including the federal minimum wage, working hours, paid and unpaid time off, types of time off requests, and recordkeeping. Plus, you need to be aware of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

When you define your company policy, you also need to take into consideration whether you are a large employer (50 or more full-time employees) or a small employer (fewer than 50). For example, employees working 40 hours per week and employees working less than 40 hours per week but not less than 20 hours are eligible to earn PTO hours on a prorated basis.

Finally, you also need to take into consideration any state laws relating to time tracking, as many states have adopted extensive laws regulating time and attendance that go beyond federal law. This includes making sure any absence-related deductions from employee pay are in compliance with the law. 

What is an Excel PTO Tracker?

Keeping accurate records of employee time off can be a tedious task, especially if you have a high number of employees. That’s why it is essential to have the right tools or software solutions to make sure your data is reliable. Firstly, because you need accurate data so that you can make adjustments to payroll where necessary. You also need real-time visibility so that you can adjust shift patterns to ensure PTO doesn’t affect overall performance levels at your company. Plus, there are state and federal requirements in terms of timekeeping and recordkeeping.

An Excel PTO tracker can be a great solution. Put simply, it is an Excel spreadsheet that keeps track of aspects including paid hours, vacation days, PTO allowance and requested allowance. That way you always know how many days PTO each employee has taken, and how many are still owed to them. Aside from annual leave, you can also use an Excel PTO to track sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, and unpaid time off, amongst other absences.

How to Create a PTO Tracker in Excel

You can use Microsoft Excel to create a PTO tracker template to track your employees’ time off. To start, you will need to install the Microsoft Excel software on your computer. Keep in mind that this is a paid program that can only be used for a limited time unless your company buys the corresponding license. If you do not have access to this software, you can use an alternative program such as Google Sheets.

Once you’ve done that, you can create your Excel paid time off tracker by following these steps:

  1. Create a new Excel file and give it a relevant name so that it can easily be found and recognized. An example would be, PTO Tracker [name of department] [name of month].
  2. Enter relevant information such as the name of all employees in a department, employee numbers, department name and manager.
  3. Add columns for PTO allowance and PTO days used. Add relevant totals for each employee. You can then add in extra columns to track days of the week. You can use the last column for comments or other relevant information. Don’t forget to add in any paid public holidays.
  4. Lastly, you can add a formula to keep track of the days used vs total allowance for each employee.

If you have followed the steps correctly, you will have a template that looks similar to the one below:

Alternatively, you can download our PTO Excel tracker to keep track of your employee paid time off.

How to Track PTO in Excel

Once you have created your Excel PTO tracker you can use it to track and manage all PTO requests in your company. You should find the Excel PTO tracker very easy to use, provided your working arrangements are not too complicated. That way you can accurately plan and track employee PTO to ensure your company remains productive at all times.

Here are a few things to take into consideration.

PTO Excel Formulas 

You can customize most PTO Excel trackers to suit the needs of your company. Keep in mind though that Excel is very limited in terms of time and attendance functionalities, so you might need to create your own formulas for some calculations.

Additional Categories

Aside from tracking PTO, you can also use your PTO Excel template to track unpaid time off, comp time, sick days and days worked from home if you wish. Just pick different colors for each category.

PTO Tracker Template Pros and Cons

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of using an Excel PTO tracker:

Pros:

  • Excel is included in the Microsoft Office suite which most companies use. No extra costs are involved (alternatively, Google sheets is free).
  • Most employees have at least a basic understanding of Excel. This means it will be easy for your HR professionals to learn how to manage your PTO tracker template.
  • It provides you with a clear record of an employee’s PTO allowance vs time taken off. This makes it easier to check their remaining allowance when they request PTO.
  •  It’s a basic system that allows you to manage paid time off for small teams.

Cons:

  • Most employees have basic Excel skills. However, you still require a certain level of IT knowledge to create formulas.
  • Excel documents cannot be edited by more than one person at a time. There is also a risk that spreadsheets can become unknowingly duplicated. 
  • Entering PTO data manually can be tedious and time-consuming. The process is also open to human error. 
  • PTO Tracker Software is a much more efficient and accurate solution for managing paid time off compared to a manual Excel PTO tracker. 
  • Requesting time off and approving PTO can be complicated and time consuming compared to the benefits of using absence management software.

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Stay on Top of PTO Requests and Leave 

An Excel PTO Tracker can be a great solution for keeping track of paid time off in your company. However, digital solutions like an automated time tracking app can streamline and speed up the process. They can also be used to manage vacation requests and PTO requests. This can be especially useful if you work in a large organization. More so if your company offers unlimited PTO.

With the right software, such as Factorial’s time off software you can streamline all your PTO processes. Employees can send PTO requests directly to managers who can view everything online. They can then easily accept, reject or amend time off requests. And you have a reliable and accurate real-time record of all PTO. This can make understanding and managing the entire time off process seamless.

An all-in-one software like Factorial comes with a number of additional features, too. It has employee time tracking and shift management features, document centralization, performance management, expense tracking, and more. This will help your business run more smoothly and expediently, saving you time in the long run.

Save yourself the headache of managing PTO with Factorial’s time and attendance software. Sign up for your free trial today!

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