HR’s Annual Leave Planner Template

The Expedia 2023 report revealed some interesting Asia Pacific leave trends, among which is that the ratio between vacation days used to vacation days allotted in 2022 is:

  • Hong Kong: 25.5 days vs 21.5 days
  • Australia: 18 days vs 21.5 days
  • Singapore: 14.5 days vs 17 days

In a nutshell, Singapore has one of the lowest rates when it comes to applying for leave, whereas Hong Kong has the highest rate, taking four extra leave days on average.

Such data suggests that there’s work to be done in terms of annual leave management and regulation (either by encouraging or controlling leaves). This is where an HR staff annual leave planner comes in. This guide will introduce you to the concept, and we’ll also provide you with a free downloadable template to get you started.

What is an annual leave planner?

A staff annual leave planner or staff holiday planner is a tool that many companies use to manage annual leave entitlement. In essence, it provides a rundown of the approved time off and employee absences, and also enables HR teams to efficiently manage manpower.

This management tool may be a HR software or a manual one (like Excel spreadsheets). It all depends on the size and nature of your business.

What are the benefits of using an annual leave planner?

Understanding the value of a staff annual leave planner will help you evaluate the efficacy of implementing this tool and see its effects on your daily processes. Here are the main benefits of using one:

Increase efficiency

With a staff annual leave planner, you can have a more efficient employee leave management. Streamlined leave management systems empower employees to manage their own time off, reducing administrative burden.

Additionally, a leave planner that tracks all employees’ time offs from one department allows team members to know who’s leaving when, making it easier to coordinate handover tasks, increasing efficiency. This is especially needed during festive seasons when many employees may apply for annual leave.

Read next: HR’s Out of Office Checklist

Reduce absenteeism

If your company has high levels of absenteeism, a leave management tool like a staff annual leave planner can serve as a central database, offering you data-driven evaluations. The absentee rate classifies time offs according to their types and tells you how many days each employee is absent.

By analyzing employees’ time offs according to leave types, you can identify absence patterns and employees who have this problem. For example, the annual leave planner can reveal which employees call in sick often, and you can use the planner to demonstrate their remaining paid sick leaves for them.

Foster a culture of fairness

A staff annual leave planner promotes fairness in the workplace. It ensures consistency in the implementation of leave policies for all employees. This is especially important in big corporations with various departments where it can be difficult to ensure that all managers are fair otherwise.

Boost employee morale and engagement

How can an annual leave planner boost your employee morale and engagement levels? The staff annual leave planner informs employees about their remaining PTOs. This way, they can use them reasonably and return refreshed, energized, and motivated to work.

Another perk of having a solid tracking tool is the communication and valuable analytics, which can help you assess employee engagement levels. To illustrate, you can note when employees aren’t using their time off and are at a risk of burnout. In turn, this promotes an engaging company culture.

What are the types of staff annual leave planner?

You should choose one of the two main types of leave planners according to your company’s type, size, and budget as follows:

Manual spreadsheets

One of the easiest ways to start is using an Excel spreadsheet as your staff annual leave planner. You can build it from scratch or use a free downloadable template like ours and build upon it!

Once that’s done, you can use it to store and organize your data. You’ll need to enter your employees’ leave data and categorize their holidays based on leave types manually. With each employee time off request, you’ll need to approve, file requests, and update the data.

Naturally, manual spreadsheets are prone to errors and are time-consuming. A single incorrect formula can create a pattern of mistakes in annual leave records. Also, they increase the chances of a missed leave request, as your employees may use email or verbally submit their requests (instead of entering them directly into the system).

Another point is that spreadsheets are for data storage. They don’t highlight important and deeper issues (like absenteeism), so you’ll need to manually run reports for that. You also have to manually cross-check various spreadsheets for workforce planning purposes while employees are absent.

Leave management software

An HR software that acts as a staff annual leave planner takes the stress out of the equation. Leave management systems can be cloud-based and easy to access with mobile apps and push notifications. 

You can set quotas for each day and see how many hours are booked. The system automates the approval, filing, and tracking process, adding the annual leaves to your leave planner within seconds for you and everyone to see. Also, some HR software allows you to lock certain days with high workloads or multiple leaves in order to ensure operational efficiency.

With a staff annual leave planner software, you can notice attendance and absence trends, act proactively, and adjust policies and procedures to improve welfare and avoid performance drops. You can also have an error-free tracking system.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Annual Leave Planner

staff annual leave planner

Ask yourself the following questions when choosing the staff annual leave planner system in order to ensure it accommodates your business needs.

1. How big is your company?

Manual spreadsheets (like our free downloadable template) make sense for small and medium-sized enterprises. After all, tracking net leave balances for a relatively small staff won’t be much of a hassle.

Otherwise, a staff annual leave planner software system is more equipped for large businesses. It automatically tracks leaves for employees and eliminates the chances of error. If you subscribe to one, make sure the software is built to support teams of your company’s size, and is able to expand as you go.

2. Do you have any budget constraints?

Creating a staff annual leave planner using a free spreadsheet template like ours is always an option if you have a small budget. 

However, if you have a bigger budget, we recommend you look at staff annual leave software subscriptions. They may cost as little as $3 per employee and as much as $5 per employee and more each month. With some vendors, you’ll need to request a quote to get informed about their pricing.

3. Are your leave policies complex?

If your leave policies are complex, a manual spreadsheet might mean that you need to spend a lot of time approving and filing leave requests while sifting through your leave policies to ensure everything is in check.

Instead, an annual leave planner software can automate these processes. It can process and file these leave requests while adhering to mandated regulations and company policies. Software providers may also offer regulatory compliance to ensure your policies align with labor laws.

4. Do you require a high level of customization?

If your organization offers leaves that are not the typical ones (such as annual leave and off in lieu), you may want to find an annual leave planner that allows for customization.

So, if you’re working with a ready-made annual leave planner template, you might have to make a lot of changes to it before it can be used beneficially. Therefore, it would be wise to invest in a staff annual leave planner software with customizable features to suit your unique needs.

5. How will you communicate it to your employees?

How will you communicate leave policies and leave balances to your employees? Are you going to use a spreadsheet as a staff annual leave planner? If so, how will employees access their leave data? Otherwise, you might need a software system with an internal communication tool for remote teams.

6. Does it adhere to data security standards?

Security is a no-brainer when it comes to sensitive employee information. Consider whether the staff annual leave planner that you are implementing adheres to local data laws and your organization’s data security standards.

It’s crucial to choose a staff annual leave planner that keeps your employee data secure. This can include encryption technology, storing it on secure servers, and offering access controls to permit authorized access. 

Relevant reading: Employee Data Management: How HRIS Can Help Achieve Accuracy and Security

Implementing an Annual Leave Planner (with Template)

Now that we’ve established important considerations, here are some steps to guide you in choosing and implementing your preferred annual leave planner and maximizing its benefits.

1. Define your needs

How many employees do you need to track annual leave data for? Do you need customization options? Perhaps you want to add sabbaticals or training as a leave type. Maybe you want a maximum absence rule for your customer support team that’s lower than other departments. These considerations are important when it comes to establishing your annual leave planner.

2. Choose your planner

After understanding your needs, the next step is to choose a planner that ticks all your boxes and is easily accessible. Find a suitable annual leave planner software option that supports businesses like yours, or you can create your own spreadsheet planner. 

If you’re not too sure where to begin, our free annual leave planner template is a great place to start! 

3. Set up your planner

Once you’ve established your annual leave planner, the next step is to populate and import relevant data. These include employee data, leave policies, and leave types. 

For example, you might enter the data for your staff of 50 employees and attach company leave policies for easy access. This could be something along the lines where “no more than 15% of any department can take leave at the same time.”

4. Communicate and train

With the planner up and ready to go, it’s time to communicate the new planner with your employees. It’s important to store the planner in a secure but easily accessible location, such as the company’s intranet.

Make a company-wide email announcement about the planner, and hold an education session for it. Finally, train your managers in your leave policies and how to use the planner so that they can educate employees about them.

5. Implement and monitor

Finally, you can implement the staff annual leave planner and track annual leaves with the system. If you opt for our free template, it is best practice to regularly monitor the data to ensure that it’s accurate and updated, while also making changes to ensure the annual leave planner can adapt to your business’ evolving needs.

Maximize the Benefits of Leave Management with Omni

annual leave planner

Leave management systems offer a practical solution to reducing administrative work and streamlining People management processes. 

Omni’s time off management capabilities help managers and HR teams swiftly navigate employee leave management. Omni’s platform allows you to approve leave applications on the go and keep track of who’s in and out of the office with at-a-glance scheduling. 

Our employee self-service portal empowers employees to submit their time off requests, which automatically routes to the appropriate manager thanks to customizable approval workflows. Our user-friendly mobile application further simplifies the process, allowing employees to apply for time off requests on the go.

For further leave management ease, Omni seamlessly integrates with common work tools such as Slack, enabling managers to manage time off approvals with a simple push of a button. With automated calculations, employees and managers can easily view leave balances in real-time, and track how many vacation days they have left without having to go through HR.

Our localized solutions and inter-connected system integrates your leave management efforts with payroll processing, facilitating automatic, accurate calculations and compliance with local regulations for various regions. 

Book a demo with our team today and we’ll walk you through our platform’s capabilities and demonstrate how Omni can transform your leave management processes, saving you time, reducing administrative burdens, and enhancing overall efficiency.

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