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Table Of Contents

The 8-Step Guide To Better Employee Holiday Management

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Table Of Contents

Every company has at least one person who is not looking forward to the holiday season. That person’s your HR specialist! Jokes apart (or not?!), encouraging your employees to take their full amount of leave to rest and recharge is pretty thoughtful. It keeps them more productive, more motivated, and overall more satisfied with their work environment.

However, making sure that the system behind the employee holiday management is not only fair and functional but also stress-free is not an easy task. That’s why, in this blog, you will find a step-by-step guide to improve your employee holiday management based on the principles we applied to our work model.

These 8 simple steps that cover the majority of organizational and legal aspects of employee holiday management resulted in more effective communication and higher employee satisfaction.

The 8-Step Guide To Better Employee Holiday Management

Step #1: Invest in a leave management tool

First and foremost, it’s 2022. Online tools are here to stay (and make our lives easier!). Investing in a leave management tool is the best way to eliminate repetitive processes that cause errors and conflicts. It is precisely what Vacation Tracker does for you! Namely, Vacation Tracker saves you time by putting the 4 most challenging aspects of employee holiday management on autopilot:

  • It tracks leaves and provides detailed reporting for any type of request ever submitted independently from their end status.
  • Vacation Tracker makes sure leaves don’t overlap.
  • It prevents payroll errors by automatically taking care of accruals based on the preset policies.
  • Vacation Tracker facilitates communication between employees and approvers thanks to its integration with Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace.

You can test it out for free and see it for yourself.

Step #2: Make sure you know the leave laws

Leave laws regulate the time off, either paid or unpaid, that the employer must allow to the employee under a number of different circumstances. They vary from one country to another due to the differences in public and religious holidays and government regulations overall.

Some of the most common types of leaves are maternity and paternity leaves, sick leave, annual leave, public and religious holiday leave, bereavements leave, military leave, unpaid leave, etc. If you are building a global team, it is important to understand what types of leaves exist. It will help you become more sensitive to your employees’ needs while making sure your holiday leave policy complies with the leave laws.

That’s why, if your company doesn’t have a legal department, it would be smart to invest in consulting a legal professional specialized in labor law. If your company operates in different states, you will probably have to consult the leave law of every one of them. It is the part of the employee holiday management system that is absolutely not flexible or customizable. You want to avoid legal problems and possible unpleasant situations with your employees.

Step #3: Set up a holiday leave policy

Make sure you have a well-defined, written leave policy that complies with the leave laws of your country. A leave policy is an excellent way to set order and expectations when your employees are requesting time off, as well as maintain fairness across the company. A leave policy varies from one company to another.

They greatly depend on the internal organization of the business, its size, if the company is particularly busy during a specific time of the year, and similar. However, we do recommend defining in a clear way some key points, such as:

  • The holiday notice period;
  • Maximum days off allowed at once;
  • And who the approver is for each department.

Communicate your leave policies clearly, and make them available to your employees at any moment and in written form to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.

Step #4: Be specific about the time when employees cannot take time off

If your company is particularly busy during Christmas time, it makes sense that you need all your employees in the office several months prior to and during the Christmas time of the year. However, when it comes to employee holiday management, it is better not to rely on what is logical and what’s not.

Be very specific about the days or months when your employees aren’t allowed to take time off. This clause should be an important part of your leave policy. However, it is always good to remind your employees from time to time, especially prior to the period during which they are required to be in the office.

Step #5: Give a human touch to your holiday notice period policy

The most frequent employer holiday notice period policy lies on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, if you are employing lots of students, and wish to give them the advantage to take some time off right before the examination periods, set up a holiday notice period policy around it.

It doesn’t need to be anything set in stone nor does it mean that every student working at your company will take advantage of it. You can apply this advice to any situation that is specific to your business. Do you have lots of people with families and kids and wish to give them the advantage to take holidays around the school holiday season? Do it. It makes your business model more human.

If you are worried about how other employees will feel about it, know that when things are clear from the start, it’s very likely there won’t be any problems.

Step #6: Encourage employees to talk to each other before submitting a time-off request

Encourage your employees from the same department to talk to each other and make an agreement before submitting leave requests. It is not something you have to make an official part of your employee holiday management system, but rather a healthy practice. Let’s say you have two people holding the same or similar position within the team.

It would be great if they could first agree on the holiday dates in advance so that one of them stays in the office while the other is on vacation. Then, they can decide how to cover each other’s tasks while keeping up with their own without feeling overwhelmed. This way, all planned tasks would be completed, and your employees would be able to enjoy their vacation without being disturbed in case of an emergency.

This is easier to put into practice in smaller companies and teams. However, it encourages understanding, teamwork, and mutual respect among the team members.

Step #7: Set up a holiday notice period policy for the approvers

Make sure your employees are not the only ones subject to the rules of the employee holiday management system. Set up a specific notice period that clearly defines how long your employees are expected to wait before receiving the answer to their leave request. Also, they should know who the approver is and what their options are in case the leave request gets denied or needs to be revised.

Leaving them hanging until the last moment or denying a leave request without any alternative will tarnish even a pretty good employee holiday management system.

Step #8: Know when to break the rules

Rules are necessary to make the entire employee holiday management work. However, know when to make an exception. It doesn’t mean not treating your employees equally. Life is unpredictable, and things happen. When someone gives in a last-minute leave request, don’t just deny it without taking into consideration the reason behind it. Maybe something really good came up for your employee. If you see that the team or the company will be fine even if your employee took some time off, why not? It shows that there are people behind employee holiday management, not robots.


Thorough knowledge of the leave laws, genuine care for your employee’s well-being, and a leave management tool such as Vacation Tracker, will take your employee holiday management to another level. Join our live demo, and give us 30 minutes to show you how to improve your employee holiday management in just a few clicks.

Jelena Cerovic
Jelena Cerovic

Jelena turned her love for storytelling and the written word into a full-time job as a B2B content writer and copywriter in the SaaS industry. She reads, dances, and explores new places in her hometown and beyond in her spare time.

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