Navigating leave management without a system and HR policies is quite challenging. With the number of public holidays in South Africa, employees are becoming more strategic about their annual leave. It is possible to take only a few days off and still have a significant amount of time off. For example, if you take four days of annual leave in April, you will have eight days off in a row. Because Worker’s Day falls on a Sunday and the holiday extends into Monday, May provides the potential for a four-day weekend for a single day’s leave.
While this may not seem like a negative situation for employers, it can quickly turn into one. Essentially, employees can take leave on the days before or after a public holiday, or even on both those days. With these options at hand, employees can significantly extend their leave days. The idea of extended leave periods may leave employers wondering how to best prepare and account for employee off days to ensure that their businesses are run as effectively as possible during these times.
Efficient leave management can help companies and HR managers navigate this tricky situation, which is what we will explore in this blog article. Read on to learn more about leave management in South Africa. We will also explore the importance of leave management and give five tips or best practices for this HR functions.
Do you need additional expertise on the human resources front? MASA’s HR specialists cover all aspects of an employee’s life cycle within a company, from recruitment and selection to training and development and dismissal. Contact us to discuss how our HR and payroll services will suit your specific requirements.
What you should know about leave in South Africa
The first step in establishing a competent employee leave management system is to get acquainted with labour regulations. You don’t need to become a legal expert; your payroll provider will handle all the complexities. Still, you need to be aware of what applies to your organisation throughout its many locations so that you may advise your workers properly.
Section 19 of Chapter 3 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act
(BCEA) outlines workers’ rights to all forms of leave. Employees who work less than 24 hours per month are exempt from all forms of leave regulations. Here are the different types of rest that your employees may take, depending on the terms of their employment contracts:
- Annual Leave
- Maternity Leave
- Sick Leave
- Family Responsibility Leave
- Study Leave
- Leave for Religious Holidays
Knowing what days your employees are entitled to and having an organised system to track and record this is essential. By understanding the legislation regarding annual leave policies, sick leave and medical certificates, injuries, family responsibilities, religious holidays, and study leave, you can maximise the benefits of your available leave policies and reduce the number of unproductive days.
Your payroll should also be linked to the correct holiday lists for your employees so that you can provide them with this information when they make a leave request.
5 tips and best practices for effective leave management
Managing employee absences may be a problematic issue. Leave requests arrive regularly, and someone must reply to them, ensure that employees do not all take leave on the same days, and record the different dates in the company’s payroll system.
The tedious tasks of filing, scheduling, and tracking employee leave can be time-consuming, especially if employee requests generate extra work or need special handling. Here are five tips and best practices that managers can use to optimise their leave management.
1. Know the law
South African labour legislation clearly covers the scope of leave entitlements that employees are entitled to and the guidelines employers must follow to manage employee leave fairly. The BCEA is the go-to for understanding the legislation and its application regarding leave and absenteeism in South Africa.
Employers do not have to be legal experts, however. HR and payroll specialists like MASA are here to take the burden off companies by covering all aspects of employee management. Not only can an HR specialist reduce errors in leave reporting and payroll calculations, but they also stay updated on tax and labour regulations while ensuring legal compliance.
2. Set up clear policies
After familiarising yourself with the legislation, establish a clear leave policy for your staff and make sure they understand it. Employees have a right to know how many days of leave they are entitled to and the requirements for further leave.
Your company’s policy should also provide a precise leave notice period. This should include how far in advance employees must apply for leave and any days that are prohibited. To reduce employee dissatisfaction, everyone should follow the same policies and rules and have a transparent channel for resolving potential problems or grievances.
3. Monitor and track employee leave
After the policy is established, it is critical to track and measure it. By monitoring and tracking leave, companies can better understand their employees’ behaviours, how they choose leave days and how it impacts their performance. Thankfully, software tools make this task simple and can provide critical insights for improvement. This process can also reveal any inconsistencies in the reporting and documentation of absenteeism and how it is reflected on the payroll.
4. Integrate your HR and payroll
Employers or HR managers must update the payroll system when an employee is on leave. A precise record must outline how much to compensate each employee for their work days.
Today’s modern, automated solutions allow companies to integrate HR and payroll software and ensure data is automatically shared between programmes. This will reduce your and your team’s administrative workload and give you more time to focus on other businesses.
Having a centralised HR and payroll system with a built-in leave management system will ensure the tracking of your data and the accuracy, safety, and compliance of your information.
5. Promote open communication
Leave management isn’t just about what goes on behind the scenes in HR. Your employees need to feel comfortable speaking to you and know that you will take their concerns regarding leave seriously. Often, personal issues drive employees to take leave in the first place, such as chronic medical conditions or unexpected emergencies.
Management should set up and promote transparent communication channels so employees can discuss the issues that may cause them to miss work. Doing this will significantly reduce the incidence of unauthorised absences, which can negatively impact your operations.
Leave it to the specialists
Managing your employee payroll and other HR administrative tasks can be time-consuming and costly when compliance issues arise. Leave and absenteeism is only one of several tasks in your HR department that can bring operational risks to your company if not supervised correctly. However, there is another solution.
By partnering with a payroll and HR specialist with the right competencies and experience, you can drastically reduce time-consuming human resource activities for enhanced cost savings. At MASA, we offer comprehensive human resources and payroll solutions to businesses across various industries.
Whether you’re having issues with leave-related payroll entries or undocumented employee payroll deductions, we can provide an HR solution with unmatched payroll knowledge and experience. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get ahead.