Navigating Proper Leave Management

navigating proper leave management

What is Leave Management and Why Does it Matter?

Leave management consists of any process associated with employee leave at a business. These processes range from establishing leave policies to time attendance record evaluations.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), passed in 1993, necessitates businesses that employ over 50 workers provide their employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Reasons for an employee to take unpaid leave include caring for-

  • Ill family members
  • Newborn babies
  • Adopted children
  • Personal illness
However, the FMLA is just one piece of legislation to consider when crafting a comprehensive leave management system for your business. Federal and state laws are constantly evolving and require consistent vigilance to avoid business noncompliance.

Businesses must be careful to avoid misconceptions that can result in noncompliance. For example, many businesses incorrectly assume that when employee leave balances run out, an employee can be dismissed from employment for taking additional time off. Before an employee is disciplined or dismissed, businesses must always consult with legal counsel to avoid potentially disastrous consequences in the future.

Your human resources department must make sure that your business has a proper leave management system in place that is legally compliant. An established leave management process benefits your human resources department directly by assisting with a range of management process tasks ranging from employee scheduling to time attendance tracking.

At its most basic level, leave management requires consistent time tracking and rigid compliance with FMLA. However, employers are quickly realizing that providing paid time off for employees comes with its own set of benefits.

Leave management is an essential part of workforce management that keeps your employees productive. Not only does proper leave management benefit your business, but it also benefits your individual employees directly.

Employer support can make the difference between an employee being able to take care of a sick parent, or properly welcome a new child into their household. Managing leave requests and planning leave policies may feel like standard workforce management processes, but they have a very real impact on your employees and their lives.

When employees do not know if they will retain job security if they take time off to take care of a loved one or themselves, they will understandably feel even more stressed than they already are. Stressed employees are less healthy, happy, and less satisfied with their roles.

Employee loyalty towards your business grows when they feel that your business genuinely cares about them and their personal lives. Paid time off has been proven to decrease burnout which in turn increases employee retention and productivity rates.

Challenges of Leave Management

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A leave management system provides employees with guidance and decreases the likelihood of business noncompliance. Leave policies should be clearly communicated to employees from the moment they are hired to avoid challenges from arising including-

1. Abuse- One challenge of leave management is employee abuse of your established leave management process and policies. Your human resources department must monitor employee leave to pinpoint and address any abuse.

2. Leave balances- Keeping track of leave balances not only demonstrates to your employees that you are organized but also avoids unnecessary employee time spent on manually tracking personal time off. Providing employees with incorrect leave balances is a swift way to make sure your employees distrust your business's leave management process.

3. Scarcities- Employee absence management is crucial especially when there are big upcoming projects that necessitates certain team members and their skills. By establishing leave policies that require employees to request time off well in advance, your business can avoid missing too many top talent employees at any given time.

4. Favoritism- A leave management system may include leave management process differences dependent on an employee type, for example, nonexempt or exempt employees. However, once employees are treated differently than their coworkers within their type, legal issues may arise.

Perceived favoritism results in an uncomfortable work environment and potentially even legal complications. Leave management software helps human resources professionals to make unbiased decisions regarding employee leave while also maintaining a concrete record of employee leave data.

5. Attendance- Improper time attendance systems can also create legal management issues. For example, an employee can claim they attended work on a day that your human resources department annotated they were out.

Tracking both the initial approval of employee time off and confirming corresponding dates were taken off by employees is crucial to keeping your records correct and avoiding fiscal or legal complications.

Leave management software accurately and effortlessly avoids these top leave management issues. Important processes that leave management software contains-

  • Leave policies
  • Leave balances
  • Real time leave requests
  • Employee time off calendar
  • Time tracking
  • Approval workflow
  • Absence management
When executed properly a great leave management system will retain top talent employees and help your human resources department make sure other workforce management processes stay under control.