Leave management can be tricky for companies to handle. When employees require extended leave, however, it’s often a critical and vulnerable time in their lives. It’s very important for companies to handle leave in a way that shows compassion for their employees while maintaining a smooth system that doesn’t hurt the business.
What is Leave Management?
Simplistically, leave management is the process used to handle any kind of time off request and to track time that employees are away from work. If paid time off is offered as a benefit, leave management systems may calculate compensation provided to absent employees and file this information in company records. For extended leave, systems may track time away and provide advice specific to the locale and the situation.
Leave Management Legal Considerations
FMLA dictates that an employee’s job be held for a certain amount of time (usually 12 weeks during any 12 month period) if an employee requires time off to care for a family member or to take care of medical issues. While this is the basic federal standard, however, there may be state laws that require a certain amount of paid time or that extend the leave time beyond 12 weeks.
Additionally, legislation regarding leave may require employers to make reasonable accommodations that will allow disabled employees to come back to work. With so much legislation surrounding leave, and with constant changes being made to the laws, it may be helpful for employers to consult a lawyer when crafting leave policies and systems.
Maintaining Consistency in Leave Management
Since every situation requiring leave isn’t exactly the same, it can be tough to maintain consistency when managing leave. When it comes to paid leave, be sure to establish a leave policy that clearly outlines how much PTO is available to employees based on the number of years they have been employed and their positions.
When it comes to extended leave for pregnancy, disability, or familial obligations, it is helpful to have a policy in place that is clearly outlined and accessible to all employees. Since situations differ, it’s important to be flexible and compassionate when deciding how to deal with each situation. It’s also important to thoroughly document each case and the reasons behind any decisions made just in case discrimination accusations arise.
Using HR Software for Leave Management
HR software can be very helpful in several ways when it comes to managing leave. Employee self service portals can be used to request leave and manager portals can be used to grant or deny leave. Time and attendance tracking features can be used to accurately report vacation, sick time, or other types of leave hours for compensation purposes.
HR software can provide basic guidelines for establishing extended leave policies. The software can automatically keep track of the amount of time that employees are out of work and can report that information as needed or required. Some systems can be set up to send alerts when certain benchmarks are hit, so that employers can fill positions and keep the business running smoothly, while still following existing laws and fulfilling obligations to employees.
Handling leave management isn’t clear cut, but HR software can make the task a little easier. Our HR professionals can match your company with top HR software (HRIS) software vendors today! Click here to learn more.
Authored by: Dave Rietsema