vacation scheduling

I have approximately 200 hourly employees whose vacations I keep track of each year. Quite a few of these employees schedule all of their vacation at the beginning of the year (this could be up to 20 days)then throughout the year they request vacation days that they do not have available to schedule. This becomes very frustrating as I used to ask them what days they want to cancel, etc. I got so fed up that now, the first day they schedule without any remaining time left, I just cancel their days for the rest of the year and tell them to reschedule if they want to take any more days because I don't know what day(s) to cancel.

I'd like to know how others handle vacation requests and if anyone else has this problem. I have asked management if we can only let employees schedule vacation from January through June, then in June they can schedule their days from July through December since most of our employees have run out of vacation by June. Management said, "No. This won't work." I can't remember the last time anyone was turned down for a vacation day so that isn't a problem. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I may be able to resolve this. Our company is very lenient towards the employees. Thanks for any help you can provide.


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Most departments in our organization handle requests the way you described. Makes sense to me. However, when I read your post it struck me that some employees are taking their total vacation at the beginning of the year. Do they accrue it throughout the year? If so, what do you do if they leave before accruing what they have taken? Our payroll dept sends supervisors a report stating how much time employees have taken and what they should have accrued by the end of the benefit year. Employees are only advanced up to half of what they will accrue for the rest of the year. So if an employee wanted to take time before it was accrued and would accrue 10 days for the entire year, they would only be allowed to take 5 days. Just a side note.
  • Our employees get all of their vacation for the year on January 1 which is how they are able to schedule it all at once for the upcoming year.
  • Maybe I'm missing something but it seems that if an employee wanted to schedule a vacation day, or days, that they didn't have available I would deny the request unless they informed me what day, or days, they wanted to cancel.

    At my former company I tracked vacation for 300+ employees and, if I received a vacation request for an employee who didn't have any vacation available, due to already having them scheduled, I denied the request. The employees quickly learned that if they wanted to get their vacation approved, they needed to indicate, ON THE VACATION REQUEST FORM, what day(s) they wanted to cancel to allow them the time available to get their new request approved.
  • I track vacations for 100+ ee's they accrue their time on their anniversary dates and can schedule there time a minimum of 4 weeks prior to the days off. At the beginning of the year I notify each ee of how much vacation time they have until their anniversary and what they will get after their anniversary so they can plan it out.

    When I get a request for vacation I verify if they have the hrs available if not I inform them and they refigure their days off or cancel until they get more hrs.
  • I'm going to take a page out of Pork's songbook for this one. Bounce this responsibility to unit or departmental managers and supervisors. That way the task is not only spread out but the reponsibility is placed with the personnel who are ultimately accountable for managing it. They know better than HR knows what workload fluctuations are and they can implement the seniority system and manage this at their level much more efficiently than I can in HR. Placing this work reaponsibility on managers and supervisors will also result in more efficient implementation of your vacation policy and they will more likely be able to crack down on the knuckleheads who don't give a hoot about the frustrations THEY are causing you.
  • I agree with Don. This is the way that we handle vacation requests in our practice. It would be impossible for one person to keep up with scheduling vacations, changes, running out of PTO, etc. Each supervisor completes a request for leave, checking to make sure that employee has leave available and it is forwarded to payroll.

  • Where I work, the supervisors approve or deny vacation time. We accrue vacation time on a monthly basis. I send a list to the supervisors that shows the balances for their staff. It is up to the supervisors to make sure their staff members have enough vacation time before approving. Due to the nature of our company, most employees need to request their time off a month in advance, but some staff members are required to request time 3 months in advance. Employees will be denied vacation if they do not have the time. Vacation may not be used in advance. Our advice to employees is to plan carefully. We approve requests based on when the requests are turned in, not by seniority.
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