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Take care of your people and protect your business

One key function of HR is managing employee leaves. It is important to stay organized and understand each kind of leave. Read on to dive into leave management and the impact it can have on a company.

What Is Leave Management?

Leave management is processing time-off requests for employees. Leave management is generally handled by HR since details need to be tracked regarding why employees are on leave, for how long and other important details for the employee’s leave.

Why Is Leave Management Beneficial?

Leave management is more than just tracking employee leaves because it’s required as a company. It is in a company’s best interest to have efficient leave management due to compliance laws, organizational challenges, and employee recognition.

  • Compliance. The most common reason for HR to take on leave management is compliance. A leave of absence can get confusing, especially as you start diving into FMLA, short-term disability, paternity/maternity leave, and other leaves of absence. Many of them have strict laws that need to be followed. A company needs to ensure they are being compliant with their leave of absences, and this starts with having some kind of leave management in place.
  •  Organization. The bigger the company, the harder it can be to track leaves of absence that employees are on. If a company doesn’t track employee leaves in one place, it can be hard to track when they will be returning or why they are on leave in the first place. Leave management helps keep things organized.
  • Employee recognition. One underrated aspect of leave management is employee recognition. When a company is aware of its employee’s leaves of absence, they have the opportunity to provide support and/or celebrate the reasons for the leave. This can range from having a baby or getting married, to events such as losing a loved one or struggling with a disease. Leave management provides an opportunity for companies to know what is going on in their employees’ lives.

Features of a Leave Management System

Every kind of leave is different, so when looking at a leave management system, it is important to understand the different features to know if they are geared towards your company needs.

All-in-One Dashboard

One of the most helpful features of a leave management system is the ability to manage all leaves in one place. Instead of having to jump around to multiple systems or spreadsheets, a leave management dashboard is in one place.

Configurable Fields

As mentioned before, every company has different needs and it is important to know what will be important when it comes to tracking a leave. Some of these fields might include leave type, length of leave, documentation required and potential return date. As these fields are different for each kind of leave, it is important to be able to configure this.

Customizable Workflows

Each kind of leave has a different workflow to process and approve. Having the ability to set up the workflow based on the kind of leave allows for the workflow to work as seamlessly as possible.

Tips for a Successful Leave Management Program

When implementing a leave management program, ensure it will be successful and that you aren’t having one just for the sake of having one. How? By understanding how to use one and how it might be successful. Here are some tips to consider:

Tip 1: Be Consistent

When tracking leaves, be sure you are consistent in tracking them for all employees. That means that you treat the same kind of leave the same way regardless of the employee. You also want to be sure to track all kinds of leaves, even if you think you might be able to remember by yourself without using the leave management program.

Tip 2: Keep Up With Compliance

Leave of absence laws are always changing, so it is important that you keep up with them. By keeping up with these laws and knowing what to do when a leave occurs allows an employer to make changes in their leave management system when changes in leave of absences laws occur.

Tip 3: Understand the Different Types of Leave

Before implementing a leave management program, you need to understand the different kinds of leaves. Some leaves might be similar or overlap, such as short-term disability and FMLA, but there are distinct differences between them. When employees come to HR because they are going on leave, they expect the HR professionals to be the experts. Unfortunately, a leave management program is not very helpful if you don’t understand each kind of leave.

Typical Challenges Associated with Leave Management

Every kind of program or system is going to have challenges, and a leave management system is no different. Here are some potential challenges to be aware of when implementing a leave management program.


Communication is the core of any new system you put in place. With a leave management system, make sure that everyone who uses it is communicating with other team members. You don’t want statuses being updated incorrectly or assumptions that something has been updated when it hasn’t.

Payroll Errors

Payroll errors often occur when HR doesn’t have the right dates for an employee’s leave, why they are on leave and whether it’s a paid or unpaid leave. These payroll errors are most likely if leave management information isn’t put in accurately or updated correctly.

Holiday/Vacation Pay

A common issue while handling leave management programs is how holidays or vacation time is handled. This can get complicated with exempt or non-exempt employees, and with employees who work holidays while others don’t. With the right leave tracking program, all these issues can be caught before they occur. If the right processes aren’t in place, keep these issues in mind.

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Questions You’ve Asked Us About Leave Management

Leave management typically falls on the HR department, but can sometimes be managed by other management if an HR department doesn’t exist.
Payroll needs to know employees who are on leave and if they are on paid or unpaid leave so payroll pays employees the correct time off.

Tanner has over 4 years of HR professional experience in various fields of HR. He has experience in hiring, recruiting, employment law, unemployment, onboarding, outboarding, and training to name a few. Most of his experience comes from working in the Professional Employer and Staffing Industries. He has a passion for putting people in the best position to succeed and really tries to understand the different backgrounds people come from.

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