Work schedule: how to manage employees vacations and days off requests?

A company is obliged to grant paid vacations and days off to its employees. The larger the structure and the larger the teams, the greater the headache of managing vacation and absence requests. Employers need to satisfy their employees’ needs, while at the same time meeting the company’s operational requirements, particularly during periods of increased activity. The increasing complexity of the leave system and the various laws governing it make it more difficult to process requests and create schedules. The use of leave and absence management software is the solution for establishing consistent schedules and ensuring the smooth running of a company.

How do I create a vacation schedule?

A schedule is a paper or digital document containing an employee’s working hoursrest days and vacation periods. It generally takes the form of a calendar or table. This tool is essential to company organization and personnel management. The schedule can be created manually, using an application such as Excel, or automatically, using online HR software.

Planning stages

Define your company’s operational needs

The first step in establishing a vacation schedule is to define your company’s operational needs. Depending on the sector, certain months of the year are conducive to increased activity (seasonality, project completion). You need to identify these periods and anticipate your human needs accordingly, to avoid running out of manpower. If you’re faced with simultaneous requests for time off during a busy period, you’ll need to prioritize the company’s productivity and make sure you have the necessary resources. But make sure you’re fair in dealing with requests, and offer alternatives in line with company policy.

Establish a clear leave and rest days policy

Before creating schedules, a company needs to define its policy on taking employees’ leave and rest days. This must include :

  • how to apply
  • deadlines
  • priority criteria
  • periods during which it will not be possible to take leave (peak periods).

Once established, the employer must ensure that all company employees are informed.

Choosing the right staff scheduling format

Employers are free to choose the format of the schedules they wish to offer their teams. It’s up to the employer to select the form best suited to his or her company, between a paper or digital version. What’s important is that the document is as clear as possible, to avoid misinterpretations that could lead to absences. The advantage of designing schedules using personnel management software is that employees can access their calendars at any time. The formats offered by these tools are easy to read and can be easily modified in the event of last-minute unavailability.

Employers’ legal obligations regarding paid leave

To find out what an employer’s obligations are in terms of paid leave, you need to refer to the French Labor Code and collective bargaining agreements. Employers are obliged to grant paid leave totheir employees in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down by law. All employees are entitled to paid leave, regardless of their type of contract (permanent, fixed-term or temporary) or working hours (full-time or part-time).

When can employees take their leave?

A company agreement generally sets the period of leave entitlement. If no date has been set, you should refer to the collective bargaining agreement for your sector of activity. Alternatively, the employer can set the vacation period after consulting the company’s employee representatives. This may cover the whole year, or just certain months. In all cases, it must include the statutory period from May 1 to October 31. The order of departure and the dates chosen will be communicated to the teams at least one month in advance.

What is the legal vacation entitlement?

An employee who works a full year accumulates almost 30 working days, or 5 weeks’ paid vacation (at the rate of 2.5 days per month). Vacation entitlement is calculated on the basis of the authorized vacation period defined in the collective bargaining agreement, by the employer or, failing that, during the legal reference period running from June 1 of the previous year to May 31 of the current year. During this period, an employee is obliged to take a minimum of 12 days’ leave and a maximum of 24 working days. Employees may choose to take their leave in instalments (when they have more than 12 working days), and to take the remainder in one or more instalments (in the absence of special provisions). Calculating vacation pay There are two ways of calculating vacation pay for employees. Employers must choose the one that is most advantageous for their teams, between : One tenth of the total gross salary received by the employee during the reference period The remuneration the employee would normally have received had he/she worked. An employer who fails to comply with the rules governing paid leave is liable to a fine of €7,500 per employee concerned.

Employers’ legal obligations regarding rest periods

To be legal, a schedule must respect employees’ working and rest times as defined by law and collective agreements, i.e. :

  • 10h maximum daily working time
  • 48h working week
  • 35h minimum rest per week Maximum 6 working days per week

Employers are obliged to forward their schedules to the labor inspectorate, which will ensure that the legal working hours in France are respected and enforced.

Optimize management of vacation requests and days off

Focus on communication and flexibility

To create a vacation schedule that satisfies both employee and employer, a company needs to encourage communication and promote flexibility. Taking into account the wishes of its teams helps limit unavailability and dissatisfaction. Flexibility is also important in responding to unforeseen circumstances such as family emergencies or health problems. You can propose arrangements such as telecommuting or alternative working hours whenever possible. To avoid conflicts and last-minute changes, encourage your employees to plan and communicate their vacations and days off in advance. This will enable you to anticipate organizational difficulties and find alternative solutions if necessary.

Using personnel management software

The use of scheduling software facilitates the management of all types of leave(paid leaveRTTsick leaveparental leave) and rest days. Employees have access to a personal online space where they can submit their leave requests directly. The human resources manager receives instant notification and can process the request more quickly. Employees can manage their requests more autonomously, thanks to a dashboard displaying their leave balance in real time. Employers can keep track of each employee’s leave, since they have access to all schedules online.

HR management software makes it easier to process schedule changes and leave requests. The process is fully automated, reducing the risk of input errors. The tool generates schedules automatically, taking into account the information and modifications indicated by the employer.

Keep track of vacation time over the year

Once leave has been granted, be sure to follow up and assess theimpact of absences on the organization. The aim is to see whether you have managed leave requests correctly, and whether the company’s operational needs have been met. This may include analyzing periods of peak activity, or gathering feedback from employees in the field. This information can be used to adjust vacation policy and optimize work schedules. Using personnel management software enables you to monitor absenteeism rates within your company, thanks to reports generated automatically from information transmitted by the HR department.

Before embarking on the creation of vacation schedules, a company must first determine the human requirements it needs to ensure productivity during periods of low and high activity. The next step is to define a clear policy on vacations and days off. Employers are obliged to communicate these rules to their teams, in a clear and comprehensible manner to avoid misinterpretation. They must also respect certain legal obligations defined by law and collective agreements. To optimize the management ofemployee leave and absence requests, a company can use HR management software. These tools have the advantage of automating requests, notifying managers instantly of changes requested by employees, and modulating schedules without making mistakes. They enable overall monitoring of all leave granted to teams, and allow company policy to be adjusted where necessary.