How to Manage Vacation Requests

Employers in the U.S. are not required by federal law to give employees paid or unpaid vacation leave. However, many choose to offer it as it can contribute to the overall health of the company. A fair and effective policy can help you boost employee productivity, retention and morale. It can also help attract new talent to the company.

In this post, we will look at tips and best practices for managing vacation requests forms. We will discuss what you should include in your vacation policy, and how tracking time off can benefit the company. We will also look at how vacation management software can help you streamline and simplify your processes. 

Software to Manage Vacation Requests


Managing Vacation Requests 

Vacation requests can be tricky. The way you manage annual leave in your company can have an effect on the company and the people that work there. It’s important to create detailed and fair processes and guidelines so that everyone is clear about where they stand. A good policy is organized, structured and efficient. The key is to find the right balance between caring for employees and protecting operations. This will help you avoid a drop in productivity when employees take vacations. It will also improve retention levels and attract better job candidates.

Start by considering the following:

  • Are vacations paid or unpaid in your company?
  • How many days vacation will each employee get? Are they accrued or allocated at the start of each year? Can requests be submitted at any time, or should they be planned at the start of each year? Can they be carried over?
  • How should employees request time off? Do they need to complete a vacation request form? How much notice do they need to give? 
  • Are there any periods when employees cannot request time off? (such as busy periods)
  • What happens with overlapping requests? Will you follow a “first come first served” or a“vacation request by seniority” approach?
  • How will you track vacations and absences?

However you choose to handle your vacation requests, you need to make sure the process for requesting time off is clear, easy to manage, and consistently applied to all employees. You also need to make sure you include a detailed vacation policy in your employee handbook. It should be communicated to new and existing staff and reviewed on a regular basis. 

Employee Vacation Requests Forms Policy 

Whether you offer paid or unpaid time off for vacations, you need to design a clear and well-detailed policy so that employees can plan their time off. It can sometimes be difficult to find the right balance. You want your employees to feel supported, and that they can take time off when they need to. But you also need to make sure vacations don’t affect production or put extra pressure on other members of the department. 

Your vacation requests forms and vacation request policy should detail:

  • How employees should request time off and what the notice period is
  • How long a manager has to approve or reject a request
  • When requests won’t be granted (such as peak periods) and what happens with overlapping requests
  • If employees need to complete vacation request forms
  • How employee vacations are tracked and monitored (time off tracking excel vs software
  • Whether employees have access to software to manage their own requests and allowances.

Make sure you communicate your policy to all new staff during the on-boarding process. All of this information should also be available in the employee handbook.

time off requests

Vacation Policy Best Practices 

  • Consider a rota system to determine who gets to choose their days off first to keep things fair. This is a crucial component to your vacation requests policy.
  • If you work in manufacturing and you have seasonal downtime for maintenance, you could consider having a full-scale shutdown and encouraging employees to take their time off then. This could improve productivity and reduce the chances of people feeling like there are “favorites” as everyone takes time off at the same time.
  • Communicate your policy to employees as soon as they are hired. That way, the boundaries are clear and your employees know their rights and obligations.
  • Set a notice period for requesting vacations and stick to it. 
  • Consider using employee recognition programs to encourage employees to take time off during quieter periods. For example, you could give an extra day vacation to someone who consistently covers weekend shifts or busy periods.
  • We can’t stress this enough: track your employee time off requests, whether they are approved or rejected. It will help you spot any patterns and you will be in a better position to reject a request if someone is asking for time off too often.
  • Make sure you take into account any local or state laws that might affect workers’ rights.
  • Be consistent and fair. Make sure all employees follow procedures and avoid playing favorites.

Vacation Requests Template – Time Off Tracking Excel 

It is important to track and analyze absences and vacation requests. Aside from helping you manage allocated holidays for your employees, it can help you spot any patterns or issues with attendance. A time off tracking excel also improves scheduling and makes calculating payroll at the end of the month much easier.

One way to track and calculate your requests is to use an Excel vacation request tracker. A good vacation requests template helps you calculate how many days an employee has taken off, and how many remaining vacation days they have. It can also help you see if other employees have already booked time off when you receive a new request. 

Although it is the cheapest solution, a spreadsheet is not always a more efficient tool. Excel has many features and you can always add extra formulas, but there is a risk of human error, and it takes time and patience to keep it up to date. If you want more control over your holiday requests then investing in a basic vacation software solution might be more efficient and cost-effective in the long run.

Employee Vacation Management Software

The right absence management system can help you simplify and streamline your vacation processes. It will reduce paperwork and spreadsheets and help your employees manage their own time off requests and allowances. You can also create your company’s policies within the app, making it much easier for your employees to understand the time off that is available to them.

With Factorial’s vacation software you can:

  • Automate the entire process.
  • See all absences at a glance.
  • Encourage employees to request vacation days straight from the app. They can also use the app to see how many days they have used vs how many they have left.
  • Accept and reject requests, check how many days an employee has already used, and see if the absence would cause any potential staffing issues.
  • Track vacations in real-time and spot any patterns, conflicts or issues.
  • Create policies and send them to employees.
  • Create reports and group time-off data by office or team.
  • Download annual and monthly summaries of employee absences.
  • Organize and sync all your calendars in one place with Google Calendar.
  • Create a role for managers to approve employee vacation requests, saving time for the human resources department.

Easily Manage Vacation Requests with Factorial

Written by Cat Symonds.

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