Dealing with employee time-off requests can be a strenuous task for managers. Luckily, this can be circumnavigated by developing a clearly defined company time-off policy. In light of this, here are several things that managers should consider when developing an official company policy for time-offs;

How Far in Advance?

Managers should specify how far in advance employees should submit time-off requests. This is to prevent employees from abruptly requesting time-offs and potentially disrupting the normal operations of the company. The notice period should be dependent on the number of desired time-off days. For example, an employee who only requires time off of one or two days may only be required to send a request two weeks in advance. On the other hand, one who needs time-off of two weeks may need to submit a request even a month in advance. This would allow the company to plan adequately for the employee’s absence.

How Often?

Time-off policy should also set limits on the number of times that employees can request for time-offs. A rule on time-off frequency would ensure that employees do not misuse time-offs; something that could affect the productivity of the company. For example, employees may be limited to a maximum of three days of time-off in a month.

How about Overlapping Requests?

In some cases, multiple employees may request for time-offs falling on the same days. In such a situation, it would be necessary to come up with a system of dealing with multiple time-offs. This may include being forced to make hard decisions such as which requests to approve and which ones to deny. One way of dealing with overlapping time-off requests is to operate on a first-come-first-served basis. Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to a step further and compare the reasons for the overlapping requests. In this case, the request with the most compelling reason would be approved.

Standardize the Time-Off Request System

To avoid conflict and confusion, all companies should develop a standard system or process of submitting time-off requests. A formal standardized system ensures that all employees follow the same procedures in requesting for time-offs and also ensures that requests are filed and stored for future reference. For example, instead of employees making verbal time-off requests, they could be required to fill out a time-off request form which could be submitted either in hard copy or soft copy.

Communicate the Policy Clearly

While having a well-defined time-off policy in place is important, it is even more important to ensure that all employees understand the policy by communicating it to them in a clear manner.