April 19, 2022
Time Off Requests: The Complete Guide for Managers
If you’re a manager or a business owner, employee time off requests are not exciting. It may even give you ...
You can run from it. Hide from it. But there’s no escaping the fact that, as a business owner or leader of a team, your employees are going to have to take leave at some point.
Annual leave/vacation days, sick leave, and many more types of leave are a non-negotiable employee benefit in 2022. If you don’t offer this to all your employees, you’re soon going to lose them to better offers from other companies.
The key to making sure you can offer a competitive leave package, without it disrupting productivity, is robust leave tracking practices. And employee leave tracking apps do most of the legwork for you, of setting up a schedule and cutting down the time you usually spend managing time off requests.
Whether your business is small, large, or somewhere in the middle, an employee leave tracking app can help you. Read on for the 10 best leave tracking apps out there today.
Flamingo is the simplest way for Slack-based teams to track and manage leave.
It’s a Slack app, which team members interact with to send time off requests. The same app sends a notification to the relevant manager whenever there’s a leave request, and they can approve or deny the request without having to leave Slack.
Flamingo gathers all approved and pending leave requests in an easy-to-view vacation calendar in the Flamingo web app, which is where admins can also customize their team settings, leave policy (such as how many vacation days employees are given), and access reporting on employees’ leave records.
You can also set up automatic notifications to a Slack channel to let the rest of the team know when someone is going to be away, and export leaves from Flamingo to an external calendar app like Google Calendar.
Flamingo is exclusively for Slack teams at this time, so if your team doesn’t use Slack, you’ll want to look at another option. But if you are on Slack, there are no apps that beat the simplicity and intuitive nature of Flamingo’s leave tracker.
Free trial. No credit card required.
BambooHR does a lot more than just leave tracking. It’s a full-stack HR platform, giving your HR team all it needs to manage hiring, onboarding, compliance, compensation, performance management and offboarding.
Part of this is tracking PTO and other forms of leave. The BambooHR system for leave tracking offers an efficient alternative to paper forms/email and manual data entry, and automatically integrates time off requests with your payroll system.
While the platform is extensive, it is also pretty complex. It’s also somewhat costly. So if you’re looking for a simple leave management tool, there are other options that are better fits.
Gusto is a tool similar to BambooHR, in that it handles a whole range of HR tasks. The big benefit, again, is not so much the leave tracking element. Most people who sign up for Gusto do so to use their payroll and accounting features.
If you’re looking for a payroll tool and a leave management tool, you can get both by using Gusto. However, do be aware that Gusto’s leave tracking feature is only available on their second tier up, which at 12/mo per person is a little costly if you’re upgrading just to use this feature.
Cezanne HR is an HR platform catered more towards the UK market than BambooHR and Gusto are. So if you’re a British company, and want a tool that’s designed specifically for the challenges and culture of the British workforce, Cezzane HR is a solid choice.
The time tracking features in Cezanne HR really set it apart from other full-stack HR platforms, which makes it a good choice if your business has a lot of hourly employees.
Zenefits offers an HR platform with a little more flexibility than a couple of the others on this list. If you want a lightweight platform, without payroll management and a few other complex features, their basic plan is a good, affordable alternative to something like BambooHR. Leave tracking is included on this tier, where some of the other tools require a higher subscription level to get this.
It’s still more pricey and complex than other choices, particularly if you’re looking for a tool specifically for leave tracking.
With LeaveBoard, you’ve got something that falls in the middle of a full-stack HR tool (like Zenefits or BambooHR), and a dedicated leave tracking app (like Flamingo).
LeaveBoard is designed primarily for leave tracking, but offers a range of broader HR tools as well, such as an employee database, employee profiles and payroll reports.
It comes at a much more affordable price, compared to full-stack HR tools – but understand it’s also a much more simplified and powered-down tool.
WhosOff primarily tackles leave management, instead of focusing on doing it all in terms of HR. That can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your point of view, but for most people looking for a leave tracking app, it’s best to find something that focuses on that and that alone.
WhosOff is quite affordable (pricing is displayed in GBP, as it’s a UK-based tool, but it’s suitable for businesses anywhere in the world). While integration with other tools – like Slack or MS Teams – would be nice, it’s a decent alternative if your business is not on either of these platforms.
Calamari is a simple and affordable leave tracking tool for modern startups. It comes with integrations for Slack, MS Teams, Asana, and a number of other platforms, allowing you to integrate your leave management system with wherever your team collaborates the most.
Along with leave management, Calamari also offers an attendance management module, making it easy for employees to clock in and out and track their working hours. It’s an additional cost, but it’s a handy thing to have in the same app, should your business need it.
Jira (part of Atlassian) is a staple of many product management teams. If you want to keep everything, including your time off and leave tracking, within this platform, the Leave Tracker app is a solid choice.
It costs $1.50 per team member, and has a pretty simple workflow for tracking and recording vacation and sick days. You can’t do a lot of complex things with the app, but it will suffice for a lot of teams.
If you don’t see the need to sign up for a leave tracking app – let’s say you’re running a small team, or only have a small number of leaves you need to record – Google Sheets makes a fine alternative.
With Google Sheets you can build a leave tracking spreadsheet, totally free, with the flexibility to set it up however is most intuitive for you.
You’ll start to feel the limitations when your team starts to grow, but as a small, early-stage startup, you could do worse than Google Sheets.
There are plenty of quality leave tracking tools out there, to help you spend less time managing leave requests, and more time actually growing your business.
If your team is on Slack, and you don’t need anything complex like a full-stack HR tool, Flamingo is the best option for you. It’s simple, user-friendly, and makes your life easier, right out of the box.
If you need more, such as a tool that also manages payroll, accounting or other HR processes, consider a platform like BambooHR, Zenefits or Gusto. And if your company is just starting out, and you’re not sure yet about signing up for a leave tracker software, Google Sheets makes sense as a stopgap solution.
Free trial. No credit card required.