Before you allow your employees to take any kind of leave, have them fill out a time off request form. It should track and document the duration they are away from work (like for vacations or jury duty), when requests are made, and who approved the time off. You can also use that information to apply proper payment.
If you want to ditch the paper forms and track employee time off in the most efficient way possible, consider using time and attendance software. Learn more about our recommendations in our guide to the best time & attendance software.
Reasons to Track Employee Time Off
Some reasons to track employee’s time off requests include:
- Federal compliance: Some employee leaves include paid sick days, which are mandated by certain state laws. In this case, the employer does not need to approve time, but it is an important practice to document that the leave was used. These laws may also include potential fees and penalties for non-compliance. For more information on sick leave requirements, please see our paid sick leave laws by state article.
- Scheduling: Many managers and leaders need to create regular schedules to ensure that the company has adequate coverage if employees in their department are taking time off. Some work may need to get reallocated to ensure that all necessary items are covered in an employee’s absence.
- Company compliance: Using a time off request form will allow employees to make sure they are in compliance with their own paid time off (PTO) policy. Even in states that do not have laws regarding time off, they will require employers to be consistent in applying their own policy. If you need help in creating a PTO policy and considering what types of leave can be included, please read our guide on how to create a PTO Policy. It even includes a template that can be tailored to your specific company’s needs.
Once you have your PTO policy, you may want to try out Homebase. It has a free time and attendance system that has a place to input your time and attendance policy, making it simple to track employee days and your official company policies.
Time Off Request Form Requirements
If you’re creating your own form or time off request system, there are minimum requirements you should include that need to be filled out for proper record keeping. A time off request form should contain the following information:
- Name/ID: This is needed to be able to identify which employee is submitting the request whether for auditing purposes or to maintain the employee’s leave balances.
- Date of Request: The date when the employee requested time off. This is useful for managers prioritizing which requests to accept. This is also beneficial if your time off policy requires employees to submit their requests in advance.
- Beginning Date and Ending Date: The beginning and ending dates are necessary for keeping track of how many days an employee is taking in addition to any leave that is dependent on how many days an employee has already taken off (e.g., Disability Leave).
- Reason: Tracking why employees take time off is needed for reporting purposes and maintaining accurate leave balances based on your PTO policy. Types of leaves include vacation, sick, jury, voting, military, and bereavement.
- Employee Signature/Manager Approval: This is to ensure that all necessary parties are aware of the request and are in agreement for leaves that require a manager’s approval.
For more ideas and resources to help you track work hours, check out our guide on ways to track employee time.
Taking time off is a necessary component for all employees no matter the work environment. Time off can be used for many different reasons including going to doctors’ appointments, taking care of a loved one, completing mandatory obligations, or just taking a break. A time off request form or time and attendance software will make this a seamless process for both the employee and employer.