Manual vs. Automated: Time off Requests Forms (Which is better?)

All successful businesses must have a workflow in place for requesting, approving, and tracking time off. Tracking time off isn’t just important for payroll. Employers must maintain a balanced schedule and make sure they are in compliance with government regulations. That’s why it is important that managers use time off requests forms that contain all relevant information.

In this post, we’ll give you a request form template that covers all the basics. But, well, we couldn’t help but wonder if you wouldn’t prefer just a little automation? HR software can make managing time off a breeze! Let’s investigate which system will work better for you.

Time off  Management Software Made Simple


How to Make Time Off Requests Forms

When an employee needs time off for any reason (sick time, vacation days, personal days), managers need to create a record of their time off request. If your business is still using paper forms, it is important you have templates prepared.

A standard time off request should include the date the request was made (it should be adequately in advance of the time off). It should also include the employee’s name and the types of time off requests they will need. Employers can offer space for additional notes along with the employee’s signature.

Below, employers may wish to include a section for the supervisor to fill out. They can indicate whether the request has been approved, offer an explanation if it has been declined, and sign.

Both employers and employees may find this system a little tedious. Paper request forms? What year is this! If this is the case, it might be time to investigate automated time off request processes.

Time-off Tracking Excel vs. HR Software: Comparison of Processes

For those tired of time off requests forms, HR software may help to streamline the request process. Here, we will first break down the steps of managing time off “the old-fashioned way” with excel. Then we’ll explore how to manage time off with automation. You can decide for yourself which works for you.

Managing Time Off With Excel

1. Define Time off Policies

It’s time to make broadly applicable rules around requesting and taking time off. Here are some things managers should consider when creating time off policies:

    • How far in advance and how often can time off be requested?
    • What is the system for handling overlapping requests? First come, first serve? Seniority rules?
    • What employees are usually available to cover shifts in a pinch?
    • Are there periods during which employees cannot request time off, such as high season?
    • Is the company policy in accordance with federal and local laws?

Once employers have these rules in mind, they can include them in the employee handbook or distribute them in another way. Employees will need these guidelines handy when planning time off.

2. Make a Holidays Template

Employers should create or download a template that includes all relevant information. For instance, it is a good idea to include the date, the employee’s name, the dates they’d like to take off, and the reason. Managers can send these to employees via email or offer hard copies in a central location.

3. Employees Submit a Formal Vacation Request

To request time off, employees must fill out and submit the form. Managers may find that they need to resend the guidelines or the request template. It can be difficult to keep track of such things when there is no centralized system.

4. Evaluate a Form Request

Now it is time for employees to submit their requests. Managers need to cross-check the request against company guidelines and legal concerns. If they find a conflict, they can ask the employee to rethink their request and submit another form.

5. Resubmit (ad infinitum)

If denied, employees will need to resubmit their requests over… and over… and over again. It can take up a lot of time for both managers and employees. Besides, managers will need to make sure that the request gets approved by all relevant supervisors. If one of them misses the memo, it might mean the whole process goes back to square one.

6. Store Request in Records

Phew! The time off has been successfully scheduled. The last important step is filing the request away in case there are later disputes.

Managing Time Off With Software

1.Define Time off Policies

Once managers have figured out all the relevant policy information, they can input it directly to the software. This means the software will automatically reject any time off requests that aren’t in accordance with company policy. That will lead to saved time for employees and supervisors.

2. Employees Submit a Request

No more digging up time off requests forms from the depths of your inbox. Employees can submit requests directly to their supervisors through time off tracking software. It will automatically be sent to everyone who needs to approve it.

3. Approve or Reject Requests

Managers can approve or reject the requests on their own time. The software will have weeded out any requests that aren’t compliant with the law or company policy. Now all that’s left is a manager sign off. The request will automatically be store and the relevant data will be available for HR to run custom reports.

time off requests

The Benefits of Automated Time Tracking Over Employee Time Off Tracker Excel

Automated time tracking is miles more efficient than excel. Let’s go through some of the big benefits that you can expect if you upgrade.

Improved Accuracy

Automation means fewer mistakes. That’s fewer missed shifts, fewer misunderstandings, and fewer disputes down the road.

Increased Productivity

You’ve already seen that software can save you a lot of time. Think of all the work managers and staff could accomplish with those saved hours! It adds up.

Big Bottom-line Savings

Using time tracking software will provide data that managers can use to strategize and change direction. HR reports will help you to get to know your company better and show opportunities for optimization.

Stronger Company Culture

Employees appreciate transparency. Being able to submit, track, and receive responses via software will show them that they are being treated fairly.

Better Regulatory Compliance

Good software protects employers from legal liability. They can better oversee overtime use and track paid time off.

The Risks of Paid Time Off Tracker Excel

Using Excel to track paid time off isn’t just inefficient… It’s risky! Many states have serious laws regarding paid time off accrual. Companies that do track paid time off accurately can be hit with fines or with lawsuits. Time off software can help protect companies from liability and give employers exhaustive records to show compliance.

Getting Started With Automated Time Off Tracking

Ready to invest in automating time tracking? We think it’s a great idea too. Time off requests forms don’t have to take up so much of your time! Streamline time tracking and all your other HR processes with Factorial’s HR comprehensive software.

No more headaches or hassle – Manage Employee Time off Requests Easily

Written by Valerie Slaughter

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