Vacation Requests and Approvals

Vacation Requests and Approvals – Form Based

Typically, vacation requests and approvals for an employee is done with the involvement of three individuals/groups – the employee that issues the request, the supervisor for the approval, and HR for the record keeping.

The vacation requests and approvals process is usually done between employee and supervisor via an email and/or paper form. The supervisor may record the employee’s planned vacation time in a Word document or Excel spreadsheet. At some point after the approval (and maybe even after the employee has taken the vacation time), the approval form / Word document / Excel spreadsheet makes its way to HR so the employee’s vacation bank can be manually updated.

Form Based Vacation Requests and Approvals – The Issues

There are four issues with form based vacation requests and approvals

  • Accuracy – with the emphasis on manual entries, errors can sneak into the official record
  • Timeliness – until the approval record makes its way to HR for record keeping, the employee’s vacation bank is out of sync with reality – in essence, two different versions of the truth
  • Liability – if an employee leaves, there is a reconciliation of what outstanding vacation should be paid out to, or paid back from, the employee – without an accurate current balance, the organization will pay out too much, or recoup too little, from the departing employee
  • Effort – in all of this, there is time and effort expended on the part of HR to ensure, as much as possible, that records are correct and complete, and to create reports for analysis and reconciliation purposes

Vacation Requests and Approvals – HRIS Based

If the HRIS provides an Employee/Manager Self Serve (ESS) module, then workflow and record keeping of vacation requests and approvals is automated. It’s a simple, three-step process that takes HR record keeping out of the loop…

  1. The employee logs on to the ESS module to create an online vacation request. An email goes to the supervisor alerting to a pending request.
  2. The supervisor logs on to the ESS module to approve or deny the request. An email goes to the employee announcing the result.
  3. If the request was approved, the ESS module creates absences records for the period in question in the HRIS attendance module, and the HRIS reduces the employee’s vacation bank accordingly.

Benefits of Automated Vacation Requests and Approvals via HRIS

  • It’s 100% accurate – no manual data entry, so no possibility of transcription errors
  • It’s 100% current – as of the last approved vacation request; no need to wait to reconcile emails, memos, phone messages, or post-it notes
  • Full built-in reporting and analysis capability – for costs, trends, liabilities
  • It’s 100% automatic – HR can take themselves out of the loop and let the HRIS do the record keeping