Why do you need a vacation tracker?
Employees should remember that any time-off you get from work that’s paid is one of their most significant employment benefits which they should never take for granted. Never rely on your paycheck or other similar documents for time-off information. Neither should you calculate this by hand. The best recommendation on this matter is to store the details of your paid vacation using a vacation tracker.
You can create one from scratch using either Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel or download an employee vacation tracker template. It might feel intimidating at first, but it isn’t really that hard or complicated. You can even download a vacation and sick time tracking spreadsheet where you can itemize all of your vacation information.
You may think that this way of tracking your vacation days seems redundant as the information is already contained in your pay statement or paycheck slip. But are you confident that the data contained there is completely accurate? Keep in mind that your pay slip is usually printed out by an external service provider.
This means the information in your pay stub may not be consistently updated. Moreover, mistakes can happen. Here are the most common reasons why you should have a vacation tracker:
- Although your secure HR portal for employees may have a complete list of your accumulated and used vacation days, it doesn’t have the capability to take notes on how you intend to use your time off which you need when planning ahead. You can use the leave tracker to optimize the way you request for your days off.
- When talking about accuracy regarding your employment benefits, don’t limit that to your paycheck’s deductions and salary. Include here the accuracy of your accrued paid vacation numbers to make sure they’re 100% accurate through the tracker. Should you find any discrepancy, report this immediately.
- If you want to make sure that you get paid for every hour of vacation you’ve earned, then that gives you more reason why you should keep track of your vacation days. Make it a habit to track down not just the number of vacation days you’ve accumulated but also when and how you used them.
- Compare the information on your employee vacation tracker against the information on your payslip. Make it a point to review your paystub at each pay period and report any mistakes or inaccuracies to your payroll department so that they can make the required corrections can be promptly made.
- When you enter employment in a company, vacation days are an important part of the overall benefits package. Employees don’t just get paid in terms of money but also receive compensation in the form of benefits including vacation days. Just do some computations to find out how much each of your vacation days cost you financially.
You may presently be in the process of tracking your monetary earnings or your vacation days in a less-than-adequate method. As such, you might miss out on some important details regarding your overall benefits. To be more precise and accurate about these matters, start keeping track of your benefits, salaries, and vacation days.
This is the best way that you can take advantage of these work-life benefits. Don’t just depend on the reminders of the HR department to take your vacation days the whole year round. That isn’t their job. Without a vacation tracker, you might run out of time to use all of your vacation days.
Tips for creating a vacation tracker
It’s not an easy job to manually track down and maintain records on vacation leave details. What more if you’re in charge of doing this for an entire company? That would be an intimidating undertaking. But you can simplify this by creating a vacation and sick time tracking spreadsheet.
This allows for simplified entry of data. Spreadsheet software also has tools which can help to filter, sort, and even perform automatic computations. All spreadsheet apps have their own special features and to help you stay on track, you need to learn the basics in setting up your vacation leave tracker:
- Type in the name of the employee who you’ll create the spreadsheet for on top on the page. Use the first row as the Heading Row but leave the first column blank. Next, create a column name for each of the months, then the last column should be the “Total.”
- On the first column, type “Hours Accrued” directly under the Heading Row. Then type “Hours Used” right underneath the “Hours Accrued” cell. After that, type “Hours Remaining” in the cell just underneath the “Hours Used” cell.
- In the Total column of the row for Hours Accrued, type the formula to sum the data of all the columns for the months. Do the same for the Total of Hours Used row to sum up the data from all of the month’s columns too.
- Type the formula in the Total column in the row for Hours Remaining. The formula subtracts the Total of the Hours Used from the Total of the Hours Accrued.
- Now type in the actual data. If done correctly, the template updates the totals automatically and leaves you with accurate hour results. You can now use this to monitor vacation leaves.
Tips for keeping track of vacations
These days, every HR department uses Excel templates as an employee vacation tracker to manage the time-off requests of their employees. This vacation tracker becomes a powerful management tool for many companies when dealing with sick leaves, holidays, and other requests for time-off.
Personnel with a high-level of Microsoft Excel skills can readily create templates which can help in keeping track on the number of days each employee has for vacation time. But this isn’t the only way to keep track of vacations and other types of leaves.
When working with an Excel spreadsheet, HR has the daunting and complicated task of talking to the employees and ask them to write down all of their vacation requests to input into the Excel file. HR must check that there aren’t any other employees already on holiday during the requested days.
Then they have to calculate the remaining number of days the employee can still request. HR of a big company with a lot of employees need a lot of patience to accommodate every request. They also need extra tutorials to hone their Excel skills.
The HR department has a lot on their hands when it comes to time-off management. This is one task that’s truly time-consuming. They must have the ability to manage the whole company calendar so that their employees can enjoy their vacations while keeping the regular workflow without a drop in productivity.
As the company grows, the task becomes a lot more complicated. Negotiating with every employee can have an effect on the entire workforce. Therefore, the company must come up with a system that works for the benefit of everyone.
Keeping track of other days
Aside from vacation days, there are also other days that the company grant. Those which employees earn legally based on their employment agreements. Here are some of the other off-days which you can include in your vacation and sick time tracking spreadsheet:
- Floating days
These are sometimes granted in addition to the basic company holidays. You may use floaters to celebrate the holidays of your own choice but you have to get the approval of your superior first.
- Personal days
This is another type of day off granted to some employees. You can use personal days for sickness, vacation, or some other reasons which have a personal nature. The term also refers to days employees take from a time-off bank from PTO or paid-time-off policies.
- Bonus days
As the category implies, you can earn bonus days for different reasons. For instance, a company can give its employees a bonus day off for the successful launch of a new product line, a milestone of the company or even for the holidays.
For the salaried exempt employees who aren’t legally entitled to receive overtime pay, they can also earn extra days with pay based on unofficial team or official company policies. For instance, in exchange for a business trip during the weekend or for any extra working hours spent during an event of the company, they may receive compensation in the form of some bonus days off.
But rules on salaried employees may vary for every company. You can do research on how an employer deals with salaried personnel who work outside of the normal hours.
You should keep track of all the categories of paid days. This applies as well to regular vacation days. Wouldn’t you feel bad if you lost a bonus vacation day because you have to fly to a business meeting on a Sunday which is your day-off? That is eight hours or more of your own time that you may never get compensation for!
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