Risks Associated with Manual Leave Management
Keeping accurate track of employee leave is a challenging, yet necessary task for employers. Relying on spreadsheets or even pen and paper for paid leave or absence management might seem like a cost-effective method compared to automated software solutions. However, manual leave management can put your organization at risk. Becoming familiar with these potential risks can help you understand how important it is to have a more reliable way to handle employee leave.
Failing to stay compliant with federal, state, and local laws on employee leave can create a significant amount of trouble for your organization, which could include legal action and financial penalties. When you have employees requesting time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or a paid family and medical leave (PFML) program applicable in your state or locality, for example, managing this paid leave manually makes it easy to overlook certain factors that could cause you to be non-compliant. This can lead to employees filing a complaint case against you, which might be more common than you think. According to the Department of Labor, there have been 928 FMLA complaint cases filed so far in 2021, including 252 cases of employers failing to grant FMLA leave.1 Using a more efficient method of handling leave requests helps ensure that your organization stays compliant with employee leave laws and regulations.
Data Entry Errors
Having your HR department manually input data on paid family leave or other employee leave, such as disability, military leave, or safe leave, can lead to minor or major errors. Data entry errors, such as the wrong dates on a leave request, can cause problems for employees and stress for employers. Manually entering data for employee leave and having to correct errors is a time-consuming task for your HR department. These errors can end up having a negative impact on work productivity throughout your organization. How common are manual data entry errors? DataStar estimates that unverified manual single-entry data, results in a 96 percent accuracy rate compared to a 99.96 percent accuracy rate for key-verified data. This amounts to around 400 errors out of 10,000 keystrokes.2 While these numbers only reflect a small difference in percentage, 400 errors could be detrimental to the employer and the employee(s) involved.
Request Conflicts and Employee Morale
Having a reliable way to manage time off or leave requests is important to reduce the risk of confusion or miscommunication. If you depend on spreadsheets or emails, you can find yourself in a situation where an employee’s leave request might have been accidentally overlooked. When you have two or more employees requesting leave for the same time, having to go back through your emails and spreadsheets to determine who made their request first can be difficult. You might also have a hard time figuring out how much leave an employee is eligible for or how much they have already used. These issues can reduce employee morale and leave them feeling less confident in their administration’s capabilities. A more dependable method of leave management, such as an automated system, can help you avoid these situations.
Manually overseeing employee leave opens your organization up to the risk of having a staff shortage. When you’re tracking paid family leave or other leave requests through spreadsheets or other manual methods, you have a higher chance of mistakenly approving requests that overlap from two or more employees. This can result in having one or more departments shorthanded, which could cost your organization dearly in terms of productivity or customer satisfaction, especially during busy times or seasons. Switching to a more reliable way to manage leave helps ensure that all your departments always have enough staff on hand.
Manual leave management requires time and focus that could be better spent on handling other job responsibilities. Managers and other staff who are involved in manually handling leave requests have to set aside considerable time to ensure that all information is entered correctly. When errors or issues arise, these require additional time to sort out. This results in unnecessary productivity loss for your organization that can easily be avoided with the use of a more efficient leave management solution. Instead, your organization can have a more streamlined, accurate and dependable method of tracking employee leave.
As leave trends continue to increase, it’s a good time to begin evaluating your current processes. Research trends happening in your state and states near you. Most importantly, stay informed on the Build Back Better Act, as recent proposals include four weeks of federally mandated paid family and medical leave. Visit americanfidelity.com/leave for more information.
This blog is up to date as of December 2021 and has not been updated for changes in the law, administration or current events.