How to properly manage employee leave and absence.
Employee leave and absence management in companies, including paid leave and time off lieu has become more complex over the past decades. On the employer side, what safeguards must be put in place to maintain the company's productivity? And at the same time, in a context of intense recruitment and retention of talent, how can we offer employees some flexibility in their choice of leave?
It is not always easy to reconcile the management of planned and foreseeable absences (requests for leave) and unexpected or impromptu absences (illness and special leave) with the smooth running of organisations. Before recommending tips and sharing best practices to optimise the management of your teams' leave, the challenge is to quickly consider and action leave requests and employee absences to guarantee continuity of service, taking into account their wishes.
Step 1: Anticipate leave requests
Let's take an example from everyday life. During a discussion between colleagues, one of them, very organised, told the others of her travel desires 8 months in advance. Some will be very surprised to see holiday planned so far in advance while others will already have considered holiday periods for the next 6 months. What employees often forget is that periods of leave are decided not by the employee, but by the employer. Therefore, the employer should encourage employees to think ahead! Very often this planning is the subject of a tacit agreement, which is done smoothly by agreement within the teams.
Thus, the employer asks employees to specify their wishes for leave a few months in advance, so the organisation can plan its workforce. This way of doing things is more justified and important as at certain times of the year there may be a high volume of requests (in July and August for example)
This is why many large companies require their employees to set their dates for the following summer as early as February and send regular reminder emails to ensure that anticipation is the rule.
The obstinate employee may decide not to comply with this request and not to take his leave. However, he will no longer have priority over his other colleagues.
Step 2: Set rules and principles
The first rule to keep in mind is that an employee must have the agreement of the employer to go on leave. Once agreement has been obtained, the employee can take leave with a clear conscience.
Very often, the employer may foresee the situation that several employees wish to go on leave during the same period, which would jeopardise the continuity of service or production. It is, therefore, necessary to think about it in advance and plan an order of departures on leave!
As a general rule, this order of departures is fixed by company agreement or, failing that, by an agreement or a branch agreement, in the same way as for the period of leave.
In the absence of contractual stipulations, the order of departures for leave is freely set by the employer.
In doing so, the company may take into account the seniority of the employee and the employee’s family status such as the need to have a carer at home to look after children and relatives. Some companies, however, keep things simple and approve leave requests on a first come first served basis.
Step 3: Implement tips that can compensate for absences
Among the most common tips is the annual closure imposed on all.
It is clear that during the summer period a lot of people prefer to take holiday in July and August. Likewise, employees with children will favour taking leave during the school holiday period.
To avoid the difficulties of staff shortages during these periods of high demand, some companies opt to close the company or department for around 3 weeks. This is very often the case in industry in particular because it also makes it possible to carry out the maintenance of production equipment, among others tasks.
Another solution is the use of fixed-term contractors, temporary workers and seasonal workers.
It is indeed easy to use this type of contract during the summer. Many students volunteer to work during their holidays to pay for their studies and to gain work experience. Using this form of contract can therefore be a good solution to temporarily replace an employee on leave.
It works particularly well when the person covering the employee arrives before the employee leaves so that they can do a handover.
Time management software solutions also provide the advantage of offering a global view to all parties including the status of the request, and the balance of days remaining to be taken, etc.
This type of software allows you to approve leave or refuse it with just one click, so no more paper requests in this digital age.
Finally, do not neglect the main rule: remain objective and impartial when it comes to deciding! The fair treatment of employees is essential and can have a major impact on the atmosphere at work or the retention of employees.
Kelio’s solutions can support you in the digitalised management of your employee leave and absences and simplify your processes.