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5 Key Features to Look for In Absence Management Software

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Processing employee leave requests, tracking Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, and other planning tasks can put a lot of strain on your HR team. With absence management software, your HR team can manage multiple types of absences in one place.
Whether it's an unexplained employee absence or an approved leave of absence, absence management software can help you stay on top of scheduling issues as they arise and meet your employment obligations.

Here's what you need to know about absence management software, what features you need, and how to integrate it into your existing workflows.

What is absence management?

Absence management refers to the policies and procedures your company uses to monitor and handle absences and absenteeism in the workplace. This may include written policies that describe your response to frequent tardiness, as well as HR software that you use to process time off requests and monitor your employees' vacation balances.

The aim of absence management is to plan employee absences appropriately and to reduce absenteeism. Companies must ensure they comply with their paid leave policies and employment law obligations. For example, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees may be entitled to 12 weeks of leave in the event of illness or injury.

By establishing clear time off policies and using absence management software to manage time off requests, your company can reduce tardiness and absenteeism and plan ahead for approved employee absences, such as vacation and FMLA leave.

5 Key Features of Absence Management Software

Before you choose an absence management software, you should make sure that it offers all the features you need. Many absence management tools are cloud-based and offer integrations with other HR management tools, such as: Performance management software.

Ideally, your absence management software will have configurable modules that allow you to add or remove features.

Below are five important features to look for in an absence management system:

1.Calendar and planning tools

First, every absence management solution should have a team calendar that allows managers to view all of their team members' absence requests in one place. This makes it easy to identify scheduling conflicts or overlapping vacation requests.

Ideally, your employee scheduling software allows employees to view other employees' work hours and approved time off requests. This way, they can work together to adjust deadlines and reschedule meetings.

However, specific absence details should be kept confidential, particularly for types of absence such as sick leave or mental health leave, to protect the privacy of individual employees.

2.Self-service tools

Self-service tools are an important feature of absence management systems. In short, they allow your employees to log into the system and submit their own vacation requests and track their vacation balance.

They can also see whether a leave request has been approved or rejected, or if they need to submit further information. For example, employees requesting intermittent FMLA leave may be required to upload a doctor's note documenting their need for long-term leave.

The best leave management systems can send real-time notifications to employees throughout the approval process.

3.Calculating PTO Balance

Some types of absence may qualify as paid time off (PTO) under your company's paid leave policy. Other absences may count as sick leave or personal time. Typically, this type of leave is accrued based on the hours worked by an employee. Previously, this had to be calculated by hand or recorded in spreadsheets.

These days, your absence management software should do all the work for you, calculating paid vacation accrual based on your timesheets or time tracking software. The current vacation balance of each team member should be visible to employees at any time in the self-service portal.

4.FMLA Tracking

Tracking FMLA is another important part of the human resources management process. Because FMLA violations are serious and can result in litigation, it is important to consider your employees' leave rights and comply with your obligations under federal law.

Most employees are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12-month period, but they may also be entitled to intermittent leave or multiple periods of leave.

Your leave management software can help you ensure you have completed the correct FMLA forms for each leave type and maintain a paper trail of each leave request.

5.Reporting features

Finally, tracking absences through a central platform allows you to create reports and assess absence trends across your team or organization. Absence reports can help managers identify patterns of tardiness or absenteeism in their department and can help them create a remedial action plan for repeatedly absent employees.

Whether you focus on tracking absence or attendance, the best absence management software can help you stay ahead of the time clock.

Best practices for absence management software

Absence management software can help you reduce the workload of your HR team and make the most of those employees' time. By tracking all of your employees' upcoming absences in one place, your company can plan ahead and reduce the impact of these absences on your operations.

Below are three best practices to keep everything running smoothly:

1.Set clear expectations.

First, make sure employees know what to expect by setting clear policies for paid time off and other types of absences. Some companies promote "hyperflexibility" in the form of unlimited PTO policies, assuming employees will ensure they still get their work done. Other companies have a strict “three strikes” policy for unexplained absences.

While some flexibility for emergencies is important, setting clear expectations upfront, particularly during the onboarding process, can reduce uncertainty about when it is appropriate to request leave and when it is not.

2.Digitize everything - and digitize everything.

Digitization refers to the process of scanning or converting analog documents into digital form, while digitization means converting an entire workflow or process so that it can be performed digitally.

The more you digitize and digitize, the more benefit you will get from your absence management software. You have access to more data to create reports and a digital log that documents compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and FMLA.

Additionally, with increasing digitalization, employees and their managers can access relevant data across more types of devices and even use a mobile app to submit or approve vacation requests.

3.Automate what you can.

Absence management software can further reduce the time your HR team spends processing vacation requests by automatically calculating vacation balances and sending real-time notifications as soon as an employee submits a request.

Absence management tools can also continuously monitor FMLA compliance and notify your team as soon as they detect a violation.

While automation shouldn't replace human insight and decision-making, it can reduce the number of tasks your HR team has to complete manually.

Streamline absence management through automation

Absence management software helps your company monitor employee absences and deal with cases where employees do not show up for work.

The best absence management software is usually configurable and has multiple modules that integrate with other types of human resources management software.

IceHrm makes it easy to monitor absences with our cloud-based software. By automating repetitive tasks and digitizing your workflows, you can reduce the time it takes to calculate accrued vacation and approve or reject vacation requests.

Effective absence management is pivotal for HR teams to handle various leave types, comply with regulations like FMLA, and enhance workforce planning. IceHrm's cloud-based software provides a seamless solution, automating processes, ensuring compliance, and simplifying return-to-work procedures for a more efficient HR management experience.

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