The Best PTO Tracking Software: Options for Every Type of Business

Andrew Buck April 6, 2022

Managing and tracking paid time off (PTO) in your business can be a giant hassle. It can also be a breeze, depending on what type of software you use, and the PTO management system you have in place.

There are multiple reasons why you need to get this right. An efficient PTO tracking system will help you avoid issues with short-staffing due to employees taking leave. It will also reduce strain on your admin and HR teams, or the founder, in the case of a new startup that doesn’t yet have an HR department.

Your PTO tracking system is also important to make it easy on your employees, and to keep them motivated and performing at their best.

Read on to learn more about the best options out there for PTO tracking software, suited specifically for your business and its needs.


How Much PTO is Average in the US and Around the World?

Why Different Businesses Need a Different PTO Tracker

Every single business is unique. When choosing software or setting up internal systems, each business is going to have its own unique needs, in order to find something that works effectively for them.

You wouldn’t expect a McDonalds franchise, an accounting firm and a bootstrapped software startup to all operate the same way.

Depending on the type of business, the size, and a variety of other factors, certain PTO software solutions may be more or less suitable.

Think, for example, about your company’s existing workflow. Are you on Slack? MS Teams? An internal company intranet?

Ideally, you want your PTO tracker to integrate with your workflow, rather than adding extra complexity to your business.

That means allowing time off requests on your existing communication channels, rather than adding a whole new system for people to learn.

Then there are feature needs, which are likely to be different from company to company. Do you need attendance tracking (such as tracking time employees clock in and out) as well as absence tracking?

How about payroll integrations? There are certain compliance features that are a must for large companies or enterprises.

On the other hand, smaller and more flexible businesses – such as remote companies and startups – may need a lot fewer features. These companies will be looking for the simplest solution, without the need for complex bells and whistles.

Trending: 15 Slack Hacks to Improve Your Workflow & Productivity

Is PTO Management Software Even Necessary?

In a day where we have a different piece of software for everything, do you really need another expensive subscription?

Technically, you can manage employee PTO manually.

If it’s a physical business, you can use paper records, while a remote team could use spreadsheets to track who’s taking time off and when.

The problem is, this is massively inefficient. These systems generally result in a lot of errors, which disrupt productivity and hurt morale, and they take a lot of upkeep.

The time spent setting up and managing manual systems can be better spent on other areas of the business.

If you simply add up the time savings of using a PTO management software, you’ll often find it’s paid for itself already – and that’s before you even consider additional benefits, such as:

So, while you can rely on manual processing to manage time off requests, you’re almost always going to get value out of switching to a PTO tracking software.

Further Reading: 5 Reasons to Use Absence Management Software

Find the Best PTO Software to Suit Your Needs

Your business is unique. You know what you need from a PTO software, and I don’t. So it would be irresponsible to come out and say that one tool is clearly the best, no matter the type or size of the business using it.

Whether you need a simple, no-frills employee time off management tool, a way to record and track trends with employee absences, or a full-stack tool for HR and HR processes, there’s a tool out there that fits the bill.

We’ve put together a few recommendations for different types of businesses, to help you choose the PTO tracker that’s going to fit your business the best.

Best PTO Tracking Software for Slack Teams, Startups and Remote Teams

Modern companies need modern software tools.

Remote teams, small and growing startups, and teams that operate on Slack need a PTO software that doesn’t add any unnecessary complexity to their workflow.

These businesses need to keep it simple. Tools that save time are particularly valuable, as there’s often no dedicated HR staff or department to handle these tasks.

Flamingo is the best option for companies in this category. It’s built from the ground up for remote teams, by a remote team, so it’s a natural fit for modern organizations.

Flamingo absence management software

Flamingo collects employee time off requests without leaving Slack, all in just a few clicks. You can review and approve leave requests in Slack too, making for an ultra-streamlined system for tracking PTO.

It gives you a clean and easy-to-view leave calendar, automatically updated with all pending and approved leaves, to give you a top-down view of your team’s schedule, to ensure you have adequate staffing.

You also have the ability to create custom teams (for different departments, locations or projects), and customize your leave policy with different leave types and allowances.

Leaves can be synced up with external calendar apps, such as Google Calendar, to once again fit your existing workflow.

Flamingo makes your life easier, not harder, which is exactly what you want in a PTO tracking software.

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Best PTO Tracker with Attendance Tracking

Some companies need attendance management features mixed in with their PTO tracking software.

This is generally for when your employees need to clock in and out to get paid, as opposed to getting paid a flat salary per month/week/etc.

In this case, paid time off allowances may be calculated based on time worked, in which case you’ll want to integrate your attendance tracking software with your PTO system, to make it easy to maintain the correct number of PTO days for each employee.

Calamari is a good solution for these businesses, without getting into overly complex solutions designed for high-level, enterprise teams. It offers both attendance tracking and leave management modules, and easy management of leave requests and timesheets via their web app.

Calamari PTO tracking software

Calamari also integrates with Slack, MS Teams, Asana, Google Workspace and several other tools popular with remote and agile teams. At $4.5 per employee per month (for both leave management and attendance tracking modules), it’s a fairly affordable solution for growing companies as well.

Best Full-Stack Paid Time Off Tracker for Large Businesses

When we get into the territory of larger businesses, a more complex absence management solution becomes necessary.

As well as a way to track time off requests, enterprise-level organizations need features like time tracking, payroll management, tax forms, and other forms of documentation for compliance purposes.

For these companies, it’s best to get a software system that condenses all of this into one tool, to avoid dealing with dozens of siloed systems that are supposed to work together.

BambooHR is a popular full-stack HR tool, offering a host more features than just PTO tracking. BambooHR also helps you manage the hiring and onboarding processes, compensation (which includes PTO tracking features), and company culture/performance management.

BambooHR PTO tracking software

GoCo is a similar option, also coming highly recommended by HR professionals. It, too, allows you to handle your whole HR workflow with one software tool, from applicant tracking, hiring and onboarding to payroll to benefits management.

GoCo PTO management software

For small to medium businesses, these tools are overkill, with a lot more features and complexity than is necessary. The price is also prohibitive for growing startups.

However, if you’re at the stage where you have a dedicated HR department, and compliance has become a priority, you might want to look at a full-stack HR/PTO software like those above.

PTO Tracking Software for Small Teams (Pre-Revenue)

How about the other end of the spectrum entirely? What if your business is very small – perhaps just yourself and a few employees – and maybe not even making revenue yet?

If you’re in this position, it might not make sense to you to pay for a software tool. Maybe you’re bootstrapping, and want to save every bit of money to put towards building and launching your product.

In this case, Google Sheets can make a good alternative to paid software. It’s more time-consuming to manage leave with a spreadsheet than with a dedicated software tool, but if your team is only a few people, it might not make that much of a difference.

The advantages are that Google Sheets is free, and it’s easy to customize to fit what you need from it.

Want to use Google Sheets to track PTO in your business? Click here to get a free PTO tracker template for 2023, you can start using straight away.

Flamingo also suits small, pre-revenue businesses, with a free plan for teams of up to 10 members. So, as long as your team is still made up of just a few people, you won’t have to worry about any recurring expenses.

You’ll only start paying once your team grows. And by this time, you should be at the point where revenue is starting to come in, and it makes financial sense to sign up to a tool that’s going to help you save time and run your HR workflow more efficiently.

Final Thoughts on PTO Tracker Software

The right PTO tracker software makes your business run smoother, more efficiently and with fewer HR-related hiccups.

Saving time on HR tasks and HR processes and enhanced employee satisfaction are just a few of the benefits of using an employee vacation tracking tool.

Choosing the best tool is something for each business to decide on their own, based on their own needs.

For most modern companies, in the small to medium range in size, Flamingo offers the best range of features, without getting overly complex, giving you just enough to work with while remaining simple and easy-to-use.

Flamingo is also a great fit for brand new, bootstrapped or pre-revenue companies, as it remains free for teams with just a few people, before moving onto an affordable and flexible pricing model once your business grows.

Larger businesses may want to consider a full-stack HR software, that also handles payroll, time tracking, onboarding, compliance and more.

However, if you don’t need a tool that does all this, try Flamingo free now to take control of your PTO tracking system.

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