Avoid PTO “Uh-Ohs”

Have you ever had to tell one of your direct reports that his bi-weekly paycheck was going to be less than he anticipated? If you haven’t, just take a moment to put yourself in my shoes. The payroll manager has just called to explain that even though your employee, let’s call him “Dan,” was approved (by you) for PTO the week prior, he technically hadn’t accrued enough PTO to cover the entire week. “But I asked him if he had enough PTO to take his vacation!” you exclaim. “He told me he had plenty of PTO hours to cover his time off.”

Some might say the employee is at fault for not being responsible for his own hours. Others might point fingers at the manager and think, ‘Well, the manager’s approval is part of the checks and balances the company has in place.’ Regardless of where the blame ultimately lies, this very unfortunate situation could have easily been avoided with a more transparent system for processing time off accruals.

In stratustime®, the advanced accruals module gives employees the power to project accrual balances in the future, allowing them to wisely plan for work absences. If Dan and I had been using stratustime, here’s how the situation would be been different:

  • Dan would log into his employee dashboard and click to request time off.
  • An interactive calendar would allow him to select his requested days in the future and would show Dan how many PTO hours he had available for that future event, taking into account any days between now and then that had already been approved.
  • Depending on the way the organization has configured the system, if Dan does not have enough PTO to cover his request, the official “request” feature can be disabled, preventing him from requesting this time entirely. Or, an organization can choose to allow the request to process, putting the ball in the manager’s court.
  • As Dan’s manager, I would immediately receive an email notifying me that he has submitted a time off request. By viewing the request in stratustime, I could see exactly how many PTO hours he had, and see the impact his request would have on his balance. It’s then up to me to approve or deny. Most likely, in this situation, we’d have a conversation because perhaps Dan may be willing to take some unpaid time off. Or, maybe he can adjust his request to ensure his paycheck is not affected.

It’s so interesting to me. Knowing what I know now, I can’t believe how blindly my team made such important decisions. Perhaps this particular scenario with Dan isn’t extremely common, but the impact even one event like this can have on employee/employer trust and overall engagement is substantial.

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