IceHrm Looking for an HR software for Your Company?
Masha Masha is a content developer at IceHrm. You can contact her at masha[at]

Does your Leave Policy Meet your Organization's Needs Effectively?

  Reading Time:

HR teams and managers are probably breathing a sigh of relief that summer is coming to an end.

Now that the hot temperatures are behind us and the kids are back in school, the usual rush of summer vacation requests will likely have subsided. This means that department heads have full rosters at their disposal for the first time in weeks - and for many, the return to full staffing cannot come soon enough.

Although this can vary from industry to industry, it is common for many companies to experience a decrease in production during the summer period. For example, recent studies have found that in addition to an overall 19% decrease in workplace attendance, productivity can also fall by up to 20% - not particularly encouraging considering that many companies are struggling to achieve their strategic goals and that overall absence times at work are higher than they have been in over ten years.

The same studies have also found that workers are often distracted by seasonal events such as festivals, the prospect of upcoming vacations, or even sports tournaments. This means that as the mercury rises, the likelihood of short-term absences (planned or unplanned) increases.

Even if the approaching autumn means for many an end to the increase in absences during the summer holidays and a return to usual work routines, it will only be a temporary lull...


The summer months are a great reminder that to manage absence effectively, you need both the right culture and policies in place.

If your company has experienced difficulties in allocating appropriate resources, scheduling conflicts, an increase in unplanned short-term absences, or even holiday booking inconsistencies over the summer, it's likely that your absence policies are simply not fit for purpose.

And just because summer is over doesn't mean that there are no more problems like this. After all, there are only a few months until winter - and you can be sure that many employees will want to take vacation during the upcoming Christmas break. Are you expecting a repeat of the absence problems you experienced this summer? If so, now is the time to act.

So how can you best keep the company’s wheels turning smoothly during the holiday season, strike the right balance in absence management, and keep employees both productive and engaged? Let's look at some key actions every HR team should take...


Now is a good time to remind your employees of your absence policies and the correct procedures for requesting annual leave and calling in sick. All too often, absence policies are explained to employees as part of their onboarding... and then never mentioned again. No one knows what to do anymore, and managers can forget important tasks like discussions about returning to work.

Make sure your absence policies are clear, simple and accessible to everyone - from executives to recent graduates. If you have an HR portal, this is a good place to store the policy and all related documents so employees can find the information they need. HRIS platforms with automated and integrated absence management modules make it easier for managers to get an overview of how many employees are absent at any given time, so they can ensure that work resources are being used appropriately.


A little forward planning can help reduce holiday anxiety. Remind your employees that if they have important holiday plans - a family wedding abroad or a trip to celebrate a special birthday - they need to put the dates on the calendar well in advance.

Make it clear to your employees that it is not a given that all vacation requests will be approved. Although you will do your best to accommodate staff requests, they should do their research before making a firm booking. Also try to keep an eye on the major sporting events in the summer (e.g. the World Cup or European Championships, Wimbledon, etc.) so that you can predict when employees may want to take vacation.

If necessary, you can try to avoid problems related to sporting events by allowing your employees to watch or listen to important events in the workplace. In this way, you can promote team spirit, support a positive work culture and show that managers have a "human" face and perhaps want to get involved themselves!


Make sure you treat all vacation requests fairly and that this is clearly stated in your absence policy. If there are conflicting requests and too many employees want time off at the same time, you may want to use a first-come, first-served basis or set up some sort of roster - but remember that the company's needs should always come first.

Be careful not to favor one group of employees over another (even non-parents sometimes want time off during school holidays). And above all, you shouldn't leave it to employees to argue among themselves.

Disappointed vacation plans can lead to resentment among colleagues and lead to disagreements within the team. Make it clear that the final decision about granting leave is yours and that while you will do your best to help, the needs of the company must also be taken into account.


Absence management systems can help you keep track of ongoing short-term illnesses and absence rates across the company. Make sure employees know that their absence rate is being recorded and that they will be held accountable if it reaches unacceptable levels or they do not communicate effectively with you about why they are absent.

Return-to-work conversations are a useful way to find out what's really happening - sometimes an issue with caring responsibilities can masquerade as an illness, and the employee may actually need support but be afraid to ask for it. Giving employees feedback on how long they have been absent from work can also be a useful exercise. Often they are not aware of how much time they have lost and are able to pick themselves up again when confronted with the facts.

It's worth noting at this point that if your company regularly experiences unplanned short-term absences, there may be bigger issues at play. Emphasizing the consequences of continued unplanned absences will not necessarily resolve them.

Poor work-life balance, workplace stress, disengagement and burnout due to high workloads can lead to an increase in unplanned absences. While it is important to clearly address absences with your employees, it is more important to understand the reasons for the absence rate.


A flexible approach to vacation requests is key to keeping all employees happy while ensuring business needs are met. You might consider giving managers the opportunity to relax the rules, e.g. how many employees can have time off at the same time if they deem it appropriate. They are in the best position to assess what is working and what is not on their teams and can make decisions based on actual staffing needs.

For example, the overlap of vacation requests in August is not a big problem if business is also quiet at that time and a depleted team is still coping. So allowing employees to leave earlier/arrive later and make up time is another option that can help reduce unplanned absences, but also promote a healthier work-life balance - a key element to a thriving one Corporate culture and employee satisfaction.

When employees see that you are meeting them halfway, they are more willing to go the extra mile to ensure their work is not compromised.

In summary, ensuring your leave policy is effective is crucial for maintaining productivity and employee satisfaction. By implementing clear policies, planning ahead, promoting fairness, staying vigilant, and being flexible, HR teams can navigate absence management successfully with IceHrm.

How HR Software Can Identify Bad Managers

With many companies struggling to fill vacancies in a cooling labor market, retaining hard to replace talent is order of the day....

5 Ways to Strike the Right Balance With Absence Management

Don't keep the information your system gives you to yourself. If you share them openly with employees, they will understand why it is important to keep absence under control and will be much more willing to support the measures you put in place....

IceHrm   Create your IceHrm, installation today.