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How To Manage Leave Policies In Excel

How To Manage Leave Policies In Excel

Reading Time: 4 minutes

So — you’ve decided to track your leaves in Excel.

As you try to navigate every aspect of managing your leaves on a spreadsheet, the first thing you need to consider is how you can manage your leave types and policies effectively.

In our experience, PTO is by far the most common leave type people like to take. However, it is far from the only leave type your company may offer. Some of the leave types we commonly see in companies (besides PTO) are: 

  • Sick days
  • Maternity or Parental leave
  • and our personal favorite: the Batman leave.

If you’re not sure about which leave laws apply to where you are, check out our nifty leave laws section where our world-class research team has documented the leave laws of many regions around the world. This can help you grasp which leave types you may wanna include in your Excel sheet.

Once you have decided which leave types you want to allow in your company, next it’s time to consider your leave policies. 

What are leave policies, you ask? 

We’re glad you did! Most people are a little muddy on what this means exactly, but we’re here to break it all down for you.

Leave policies are the rules which govern each leave type you have in your company. These can include: 

  • what the leave quota is
  • if manager approval is required
  • whether you want to allow negative balances
  • the unit you measure this leave type in (such as minutes, hours, half-days, days, or weeks.)
  • whether a reason is required to take this leave
  • if the leave gets accrued 
  • and whether you will allow your employees to roll over days to the next year

Sounds complicated? Don’t fret! Luckily, we have some leave policy templates to get you started that you can download here.

Managing leave policies in Excel

We know what you’re thinking: all this seems pretty complicated to track in a spreadsheet. And if you think that, you are not wrong.

There are some useful Excel templates out there for tracking employee time off but most of them are pretty clunky. They’re usually just a bunch of mass-produced data entry cells with a template header and no integration with your existing workflow. 

To show you what we mean, let’s look at what it’s like to set up an Excel template and use it daily. Let’s take the free Excel leave tracking spreadsheet you downloaded as an example.

How To Manage Leave Policies In Excel

Here’s what the template looks like exactly after you open it on Excel. At first glance, it looks pretty simple and easy to navigate. You get one tab for each month, your days of the month across the top, and up to 20 employee names on the left side.

How To Manage Leave Policies In Excel

Before you start using the Excel file, you need to take some steps to customize it to ensure it works for your company.

First, you’ll need to write down all your different policies somewhere so you can remember what they are. Once you’ve defined which leaves you want to allow in your company along with the rules surrounding each leave, we suggest that you create a summarized version of all your leave policies right inside your leave tracking Excel file. 

As always, you have the option to modify these leave types to suit your individual organization’s needs. We created a new sheet in the file to ensure easy access to this data.

Then, you need to add the names of all your employees, along with any leaves they’ve taken in the past. You also need to update each person’s individual quota in the Yearly Totals sheet. 

Now, let’s say your employee Tony wants to take 2 vacation days off from January 18. 

Once a leave request comes in, you should start by checking it against the policy summary in your Excel file. If he submits his request through the appropriate channels and at sufficient notice, you can refer it to HR.

Then, HR will check his leave quota to make sure he has enough time available to take his desired days off. They can check this through the yearly totals sheet, which will display Tony’s total leave quota left for the year. Tony requests 2 days off and has 19.5 days left currently, because he took a half day on January 17.

You can then go to the Monthly sheet — which will be January and update the days he requests off.

Once the leave is approved, you can update his yearly quota on your Excel file accordingly.

What if there was a better way?

Now you’re probably asking yourself, isn’t there an easier way to do this? A method where you don’t have to constantly check between different files, spreadsheets, and people? Can’t you just set it once and not think about it anymore? What if there is a way to automate it all?

Yes, there is a better way. Let us show you how to efficiently manage this using a software tool like Vacation Tracker:

Just start by creating a leave type, and assign it to as many locations as you want. 

Once you’ve done that, you can easily configure the leave policies for each location. Let’s take London as an example.

You can set the leave quota, allow rollover into the following year, customize leave policies for each location, and if you’re using Accruals — set them there as well. 


Once you’ve configured the leave policy, we’ll ensure everything’s running as you planned — without you having to deal with the hassle of checking leave policies manually. This way, you can focus on work, and we can focus on tracking your leaves, so you don’t have to. 

Sounds simple? It is.

I hope these tips will help make tracking leaves in your organization even easier. If you have any additional questions about automating your workflow, please let us know at hello@vacationtracker.io — we’re always here to help!