Vacation tracker

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Tracking employee attendance doesn't end the moment they leave the job site, turn off their computer, or log out of the remote office. The proper time tracking policy includes tracking all types of attendance, including employee vacations. Why? Because it helps to save money and prevent payroll errors.

What is PTO and why is it important?

When talking about employee vacation, it's important to begin with paid time off (PTO) since the two are closely interconnected.

PTO is any time off that an employee is compensated for and it includes different types of days: vacation time, sick leave, personal time, federal holidays, family leave, maternity and paternity leave.

PTO is important because it helps to ensure clear compensation policies and fair pay for employees. That, as a result, contributes to the growth of the company—adequate payment keeps employees motivated and satisified.

Why track employee vacation?

Tracking the vacation days of your employees is crucial to keep your company running effectively.

Here are all the reasons and benefits why it's worth tracking vacation as part of PTO:

  1. Proper attendance and leave management: approve, modify, and decline leave requests to know what's going on with employees.

  2. Accurate work hours tracking: It'll provide you with in-depth time tracking data for smarter business decisions.

  3. Higher efficiency: When you know how to allocate time, your team is more productive.

  4. Better workload distribution: When someone from your team is absent, you can evenly share the workload, or plan it to better organize work schedule.

  5. Improved payroll processing: Tracking attendance helps to keep payroll smooth and effective.

  6. Accurately track accruals: This allows you to better plan time off for employees and budget, and create a transparent vacation policy for your company.

Overall, when you monitor vacations of your employees, you can improve time management, boost morale in your team, and, therefore make your company profitable.

The current state of employee vacations in the USA

In the United States, there are no federal laws mandating paid vacation or paid time off (PTO) for employees. These benefits are typically determined by individual employers and are governed by employment contracts or company policies.

However, many states require employers to provide employees with documentation detailing paid time off policies. And employers must ensure employees understand their paid time off policies.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "in 2021, more than one–third of private industry workers received 10 to 14 days of paid vacation after one year of service. After 10 years of service, 33 percent of private industry workers received between 15 and 19 days of paid vacation."

Each state has different policies on employee vacation and PTO. You can check all regulations in our condensed guide on state labor laws.

Note: If you're from outside the USA, make sure to check your government and local laws on vacation time, as they may differ substantially from those in the USA.

How do you record employee vacation?

The easiest way of recording employee vacation is by tracking PTO. And you can do it with a good time tracking software—TimeCamp, a free forever PTO tracking software.

It's a unified system for managing employee time. TimeCamp offers automatic time tracking with intuitive features that make it easy to adhere to any PTO policy and easily monitor days off.

Here's how team managers can administer team's time with TimeCamp PTO tracker (note that it's the simplest, and most effective way to record employee vacation):

  1. You track time with a fully automatic time tracker.

  2. All your tracked time is available in timesheets with precise time entries (it may be necessary, e.g., for hourly employees or if you provide workers with paid time off based on hours worked an need to track accruals).

  3. You can check all the data for accuracy in reports.

  4. The attendance module allows you to set different types of days.

  5. Also, you can create approval workflows with PTO requests to have a high-level overview of what's happening with employees and administer attendance.

Whether you're a small company, a manager, an HR department, or an individual, TimeCamp can help you better manage your time.

Key features to look for in a vacation tracker

Here's what to look for in a good PTO tracking software so it serves its purpose:

Automatic time tracking

Because you don't need to spend extra time filling timesheets manually. An automated system is important for 3 main reasons. First, because it saves time on paperwork and tedious administrative activities. Second, because it's accurate and provides you with deep data.

And lastly, it saves money you'd otherwise need to spend on the additional software and put in the red tape.

Customization options

A good software should let you personalize it to your business needs and company's policy. Look for an app that gives you the possibility to turn on/off functionalities you may need or not need.

This includes integrations with other tools (be it third-party apps, built-in tools, or API).

Tracking billable time

Sometimes, this feature may seem unimportant but it's one of the key elements. It helps to track accruals for those who are given vacation based on hours worked.

PTO accrual rates are typically defined as a certain number of hours per pay period. For instance, an employee might earn 4 hours of PTO for every two-week pay period worked.

Attendance and leave management

For a unified system of tracking different types of days. This helps to better plan schedule and workload. That, in turn, ensures proper budget allocation.

Free version

A free plan with unlimited number of users and projects is a must. It helps to test the software and check whether or not it's what your business needs. Free plan is also helpful for those who are on a tight budget.

Implementing a vacation tracker: a step-by-step guide

While implementing a vacation tracker may seem to add extra work, it's quite the opposite. The right tool will help you optimize business processes and make it easy to track vacation days of your employees.

Here's how to do it with TimeCamp, step by step:

1) Create PTO policies

First of all, you'll need to set up leave policies. That includes paid and unpaid leaves.

Decide how you pay your employees, what days they're getting paid for, and what the rates are, what's the accrual vs. lump sum, can employees request time off in advance?

Also, research federal, state, and local laws related to PTO. Ensure compliance with laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and state-specific leave laws.

TimeCamp is compliant with laws and ensures secure data storage.

Why is creating PTO policies important? You need them to determine how your employees should track time. This helps prevent miscommunication and ensures accurate time data, which in turn saves money and eliminates human error.

2) Track time

Sign up or log in to your TimeCamp account. You can register here. And set up all the necessary information you may need for tracking vacation (projects, tasks, subtasks, billable rates, or budget).

TimeCamp tracks time automatically and gathers all the data on work hours that you can later access in neat reports and transparent timesheets. Your team can always change time entries.

3) Set up attendance specifics

To track PTO with different types of days, you'll need to enable the attendance module in settings.

TimeCamp offers distinction to 11 types of days: working day, remote work, non-working day, holiday, parental leave, sick leave, business trip, absence, vacation leave, special leave, and free day.

You can also log overtime hours. It's particularly important for non-exempt employees.

Other specifics important for tracking attendance include:

  • Default length of the day (helpful when you hire employees who work part-time or on an hourly basis).

  • Away time (the desktop app registers when you're away from computer; the away time is treated as an unpaid break, but if you assign an activity, this time will be counted into an effective working time).

  • Idle time tracking

  • Time rounding

  • Break log

  • Adding time for others (if you're a manager, you can add or edit time entries in the employee timesheets).

4) Set up user roles

These are necessary for proper approval workflow. TimeCamp allows you to create an expanded organizational structure of users. You can create multiple groups with separate settings and set 4 user roles: account owner, administrator, supervisor, user. You can also invite guests.

There are also different time tracking permissions. This ensures correct leave tracking with a smooth approval process. Only specified users can approve vacation days.

5) Monitor and review PTO records

As a manager, you can easily manage PTO requests in TimeCamp's easy-to-use attendance module.

For more security, you can set the setting so that each PTO request must be approved by the manager.

And as an employee, you can send the request to the management with just one click. And quickly view how much PTO you've already used in your attendance dashboard.

Secure and User-Friendly Vacation Tracking Software

An effective employee vacation tracking is not just about keeping tabs on who's in and who's out. It's about fostering a culture of trust and respect.

By implementing the right employee vacation tracker, setting clear policies, and communicating openly with your team, you can streamline the process while ensuring everyone has the opportunity to recharge and come back refreshed. Remember, happy and rested employees are more productive and engaged, ultimately contributing to the success of your company.

Try TimeCamp today and help your team achieve the perfect work-life harmony!

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