How to Manage PTO Approvals

Manage PTONo small business should limp along with a paper-based leave approval process. Why? First off, it is a time drain for the manager who already has a lot on their plate. Secondly, manual processes are vulnerable to human error. Thirdly, it detracts from the overall employee experience and culture. Lastly, it puts your organization at risk of compliance issues.

Automate PTO Approvals

In today’s workplace, inexpensive software can replace sticky notes and spreadsheets. PTO management systems integrate with timekeeping, payroll and scheduling for a unified solution.

Let’s recap the benefits of PTO automation:

  1. Saves time
  2. Prevents errors and mistakes
  3. Simplifies compliance
  4. Is more efficient for managers and employees
  5. Helps managers approve leave fairly and equitably

How Does an Automated PTO System Work?

Let’s discuss the PTO workflow:

  • Employees use a standard form to submit requests electronically
    • The employee can see available PTO hours in the system as well as projected accruals balances for future dates
  • The employee’s PTO request triggers an email alert to the manager
  • The manager:
    • Sees all time-stamped requests in the timekeeping system
    • Has the option to view requests on the scheduling calendar, making it easy to identify overlapping requests
    • Can generate PTO reports for any employee group or timeframe
  • When a manager approves or denies a PTO request, the system instantly alerts the employee
  • Pending and approved time off appear in the shift scheduling calendar in real time
    • The scheduling tool alerts the manager if they attempt to schedule a team member during upcoming PTO

Create a Detailed PTO Policy

If the leave approval process creates problems, it lowers morale for managers, employees and the HR team. Employees expect a transparent and intuitive digital process as user-friendly as their favorite phone app.

Your policy is as important as the technology you use to administer it. When building a policy, address the following:

  • How will leave be awarded? Accrual, allotment or unlimited?
    • For, example, will you frontload a set number of days at the beginning of the year or will they kick in quarterly?
    • Will unused PTO roll over into the new year?
  • How many employees can be off at a given time?
    • Does the number change throughout the year?
    • Will there be blackout periods when nobody can take time off?
  • How will employees request time off?
    • How far in advance do employees need to submit requests?
    • How will managers handle overlapping requests?
  • What state laws affect PTO?

Ways To Streamline PTO Management

Once you’ve built your policy, review it often and adjust it if necessary. Also, remember to:

  1. Track time for both hourly, salaried, mobile, and remote employees
  2. Calculate the time off balance for each employee under federal rules based on hours (part-time, full-time), hire date, and usage
  3. Understand state/local employee leave laws for every state in which you have employees and check frequently for changes
  4. Train your HR team, managers, and employees on company policies and laws

Another measure of the effectiveness of your PTO policy is whether employees use the benefit. Generate quarterly reports in your PTO system to see how paid leave usage changes over time. Determine if an increase in usage improves retention, employee satisfaction (measured through surveys), or productivity.

Our complete timekeeping solution includes:

  • Time & Attendance
  • Mobile Apps
  • Smart Software
  • Schedule Enforcement
  • Geofencing
  • Performance Analytics
  • Balances & Accruals
  • Break Tracking

Contact us today to discuss our Timekeeping Solutions.

Thank you to our partner, Swipeclock, for this informative content.  www.swipeclock.com

*Southland Data Processing, Inc. (“SDP”) is not a law firm. This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in reaching a conclusion in a particular area of law. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. Receipt of this or any other SDP materials does not create an attorney-client relationship. SDP is not responsible for any inadvertent errors that may occur in the publishing process.

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