Time off. It’s something that is extremely important to employees. It gives them the opportunity to relax and come back to work completely recharged. However, leave isn’t limited to just relaxation— it could include emergencies too. Whatever your employees’ reason for taking time off may be, leave and absence form a very important element of a company’s payroll.

There are two major challenges that exist— tracking employees’ leave, and reviewing their requests to take time off.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t get the importance it should. This is because leave isn’t something that is really easy to manage— it comes with certain challenges. These challenges that line managers face in terms of leave management, can cause a number of negative implications for a company. However, before delving deeper into these implications, identifying the challenges is crucial. There are two major challenges that exist— tracking employees’ leave, and reviewing their requests to take time off.

Challenge #1: Keeping track of leave

While employees appreciate the fact that their employers are flexible when it comes to taking days off of work, line managers can find it quite difficult to keep track who’s on leave when, and for how many days. What further complicates this situation, is when different employees have different amounts of vacation days left. It’s then up to the line managers to keep track of these remaining days— seems pretty hard, right?

Challenge #2: Reviewing requests for leave

Sometimes, it can be quite a difficult task for a line manager to review a number of leave requests at the same time. This happens when many employees submit their leave requests around a similar time— a couple of weeks before the holidays, for instance. Some of the employees may submit their requests via email, some may do this on a paper form, while some may just verbally request the manager for some time off of work.
This obviously makes it quite hard for managers to review every single request effectively, and efficiently. If leave requests aren’t submitted to the manager efficiently, the manager may lose track of all the pending requests, which could lead to an even bigger problem like understaffing.

When data isn’t tracked the right way, managers end up with distorted data.

Because of challenges like these, the management finds it difficult to obtain the information needed to plan and make decisions— the right kind of data is needed to do this, as it helps the management get a good estimate of the overall picture.
When data isn’t tracked the right way, managers end up with distorted data that leads them to make decisions that aren’t always in the best interests of the organization. This problem may cause the management to believe that manual data collection is the best option, which will most likely result in them becoming discouraged and losing interest in this responsibility. This, in turn, can cause a number of negative implications for the company.
What follows are a number of implications (that aren’t exactly the best) caused by poor leave management systems:

Poor employee scheduling

Poor employee scheduling Did you know that profitability and employee scheduling are closely linked? A while ago, it was quite simple to schedule staff in order to meet various business goals. However, today, with flexible working hours, employees working shifts, and job sharing, scheduling staff can be quite complex. If absenteeism isn’t managed well, it will result in poor employee scheduling, which can subsequently lead to quite a bit chaos in an organization, in the form of a poor skill mix to achieve certain goals, a flawed workflow, and difficulty in meeting deliverables.
The consequences of this could be workplace stress, poor productivity, higher absenteeism rates, and employee conflicts.

Negative impact on employee performance

Taking too much time off, or not taking time off at all, can both have a negative impact on the performance of employees in the workplace. For instance, if an employee takes too much time off of work, they will clock in fewer hours at work, and end up not being as productive as they can actually be. Similarly, if a staff member doesn’t take time off to recharge and maintain a good work-life balance, they may end up overworked and stressed, which will eventually lead to performance issues.

Abuse of “sick leave”

A necessary benefit for all employees is sick leave. However, some organizations suffer from what is called “sick leave abuse”. This abuse of sick leave can cost an organization the loss of a lot of money. So, why do some employees abuse sick leave? Well, if the organization’s leave management system is poor, and employees get wind of this, they begin to take advantage of the flawed system and begin violating the organization’s attendance policy.
Two examples of the abuse of an organization’s attendance policy include:

  1. The employee not informing the manager that he/she will be taking the day off
  2. The employee not submitting a medical certificate if requested


A poorly managed leave system could also result in some employees not being able to take time off when they really need it. As a work-life balance is important to an employee, not being able to take time off of work when really needed, may significantly demotivate them.
This is why, it’s necessary to keep score of how many employees are absent, and when certain employees are going to be on leave; so that staff members that really need to take time off are able to do so.

Crunch on resources right before an important deadline

Without a strong leave management system in place, it can be quite challenging to track the availability of employees. Keeping track of human resources in terms of who’s on leave, and who is available to work, is extremely vital for managers— especially when a project is almost due.
This is why it’s important to know which employees are available in order to create a project delivery schedule so that deadlines can be met.

Liabilities in terms of finances

There are certain laws that dictate that employees are entitled to paid leave— if unnecessary leave is accumulated, the financial liabilities of the company increases. This is because, a company is bound to reimburse the pay as when required by the employee, such as at the time of separation.
This is why, it’s extremely important for the line manager to keep track of paid leave, and report it to the management on a regular basis.

Final thoughts

To sum it up, a solid, strong leave management system can help by significantly improving employee-employer relationships.

To sum it up, a solid, strong leave management system could not only empower line managers, and help them manage their employees better, but it can also help by significantly improving employee-employer relationships. Furthermore, it will ensure continuous productivity throughout– even when employees are on leave for long periods of time.
This, in turn, could help reduce the number of negative implications a company has to deal with in terms of absenteeism and can aid the preservation of employee satisfaction. If you’ve got any more tips for SMEs in terms of leave management, do share them with us.