You can keep an annual leave record using these three methods.

  1. The old-school paper and pencil method. You get to create your own custom system, but you’ll probably be using printed leave tracking forms or templates. When you rely on this method, you’ll be manually putting in time off requests and updating your team’s leave entitlements by hand.
  2. Using a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet helps you organise information — and it’s easier to access than a piece of paper (i.e. you can use it from wherever you get internet). It’s also a bit more secure. You can lose a piece of paper, but spreadsheets can be stored safely online. But just like the old-school method, when you use a spreadsheet, you’re stuck making a record by putting the information in manually.
  3. Using annual leave recording software. Good annual leave recording software will help you automatically keep a record of someone’s annual leave. By using software, you save time (because you don’t have to manually update leave throughout the year), and you’re also cutting down on calculation mistakes and human error.

Our article here provides an in-depth analysis of each annual leave record.

Note: Throughout this article, we mention our own software, Timetastic. Our fabulous software provides you with an accurate annual leave record with instant updates, so you can stay on top of your team’s annual leave throughout the year. Free yourself from the burden of tracking annual leave yourself with our help.

Start your one-month free trial today.

1. The old-school annual leave record sheet

2021 Attendance Calendar: Date, Notes, Excused Hours, Unexcused Hours, Total Hours.

The old-school method for recording holiday and sick leave is to keep an annual leave record with pen and paper. It’s unlikely you’ll use notebook paper for this — instead, you’ll find tracker templates like this special attendance calendar you can buy on Amazon.

The benefit of using an attendance tracker — over just using your own blank paper — is that it has some structure to help you get started.

This one comes with 25 sheets. The idea is that everyone on your team gets their own sheet for the current calendar year. You’d fill out their name, their department, employee number, and hire date.

When someone takes leave (whether a holiday, a sick day, or any leave type) you’d pull out their personal calendar and add their leave dates. On the other side, you can add up their sick hours and holiday hours.

Should I use a pen and paper annual leave record? 

Although it sounds easy, the problems that can arise can cause you a lot more issues. The truth is, we don’t think this is a great way to keep an annual leave record for several reasons:

  1. It’s untidy - Leave requests constantly change throughout the year. Having to write and modify changes with a pencil or pen is laborious and it gets messy. 
  2. It’s hard to share with your team - If you only have a single physical tracker or sheet, how can you share this with those who need a copy? Being able to share your annual leave record with payroll, management and employees is important.
  3. It costs you time - The administrative burden of manually adding time and leave requests to a tracker means spending lots more time on tracking leave. You can save a bucketload of time and energy if you use a software app, especially as your business grows.
  4. It’s easy to make errors - If you’re writing in different figures, leave requests and holiday dates - then making a mistake is easy. This means someone may be short-changed on their annual leave balance or have a payroll dispute where accounting doesn’t have the most up-to-date employee annual leave record.

The Bookends Bindery Case Study

One of our customers — The Bookends Bindery — knows the problem of using this method to record annual leave. Before switching to Timetastic, they used a physical wall chart. Their feedback below provides an insight of the issues they faced. 

 “On this little chart, everything was crossed out or scribbled in. People would change their minds and soon the wall chart became difficult to read.”

You can see from our analysis and the feedback we’ve received where the problem lies using this method. You may find a template that works best for your business, but we advise exploring alternatives for a clean, fuss-free approach to recording annual leave.

2. The spreadsheet-based annual leave record

If you’re not impressed with using pen and paper (and who could blame you), then the next option is using an Excel spreadsheet. You can create a leave tracker in Excel from scratch, or use a free template available online.

To show you how this works, let’s look at TrumpExcel. A handy template to keep an annual leave record. To start with TrumpExcel, you need to put the year in. Then switch to whatever month you’re currently in, add employee names, then start tracking their time off requests. You can track different leave types, such as a holiday, sick leave, maternity/paternity leave, and more.

When you put in new leave for a staff member, it gets tracked on the right-hand side of the spreadsheet:

TrumpExcel: Leaves This Month, Leaves This Year, Leave Breakup, Working Days, Leave Name, Code

Should I use a spreadsheet to record annual leave? 

The big question is whether a spreadsheet like TrumpExcel is an efficient way to track annual leave. We’ve assessed the pros and cons with some of our thoughts below:

  • You can’t put in annual leave balances. There isn’t a spot in this spreadsheet for annual leave balances, which means you just need to know everyone’s leave balance or have it stored in a different document. It’s good to know if someone on your team took 30 days off, but it’s better to know how many holidays they get to use a year.
  • You don’t have a way to handle time off requests. There’s a clear line between time off requests and your company’s annual leave record — people have to ask for (and take) time off for you to record something. Whether you use Excel spreadsheets or pen and paper, you have to use two different systems: one to handle time off requests, like emails and text messages, and another for your annual leave recorder.
  • It isn’t easy to remove employee names. As staff personnel changes, you want an easy way to add and remove names. But when you’re using a spreadsheet, you’ll have to either copy and paste the names into a different tab or hide their cells.

There are two big advantages of using a spreadsheet, over pen and paper:

  1. Spreadsheets are easier to share. You can just email a link or add someone to your spreadsheet, and they can easily see their leave balance.
  2. Spreadsheets are easy to change. Unlike marking up a wall calendar with ink, or erasing existing time off requests, you can just change the dates with a few clicks in a spreadsheet.

But these two pros aside, TrumpExcel — and spreadsheet templates like it — are really just a digital alternative to pen and paper. You still have to manually update your team’s annual leave. That means it’s still more time-consuming than it has to be, and you can easily make mistakes and not realise until much later in the year.

Check out our article on staff planners for excel find out the pros and cons of this annual leave record spreadsheet.

3. Using annual leave recording software (like Timetastic)

Our favoured approach is using software to record annual leave. Leave behind manually written processes and clunky spreadsheets and opt for an automated approach.

To show how much easier, faster, and more reliable software can be, we’ll look at Timetastic in this section.

With Timetastic, you can:

  • Choose days or hours. You can pick whether you offer annual leave as days or hours. You can also change leave balances for each employee, which is perfect for companies that have different leave entitlements for junior and senior employees.

    Plus, you can also add time in lieu for individual staff members. For example, one of our customers (Curiousa & Curiousa) gives their staff time in lieu if they’ve worked longer than standard hours during the week.
  • Book time off. Your team can book time off on Timetastic’s mobile app or by logging in through their browser. This is a big win — by housing both parts of an annual leave record in one tool, you completely eliminate the chances of recording the wrong information. Time off requests are submitted in Timetastic, and they’re recorded in Timetastic. It’s all connected.
  • Track everyone’s leave balance. In Timetastic, you can quickly see your team’s leave balances, letting you know how much time each team member has left in the year to take off.
  • Get absence summaries emailed to you. You can get daily or weekly email summaries letting you know who’s out for the day.
  • Spot absence trends. You can see which type of leave is most commonly taken, and when it gets taken. This is a nice feature for when you don’t just want to track annual leave, but when you want to analyse the data a bit deeper.
  • See who needs a holiday with ease with the fantastic Burnout Board feature, an easy way to see which team members need a holiday.
  • Integrate with your other tools, like Slack and Microsoft Teams. You can integrate Timetastic with Slack and MS Teams, so you can approve or decline requests directly from the tools you use daily. You can also integrate with any shared calendar that uses a link feed (like iCal and Google Calendar).

Let’s go over the different ways you can pull up your team’s annual leave record.  If you like what you say, why not start your journey with Timetatsic with a free one-month trial?

Your company-wide Wallchart

When you log into Timetastic, you see your Wallchart. This gives you a quick view of who’s off in the month.

Your new Wallchart in Timetastic

Your Wallchart gives you a quick view of who’s off in the month, and why.

Leave types are colour-coded and use a descriptive icon, so you can see if someone is on holiday, study leave, compassionate leave, and so on.

You can set up different departments if you have a bigger team. For example, some of our users have a marketing department, an HR department, and a customer service department. You can view either your entire company at once, or you can filter down by department.

You can see all of your team member’s names on the left-hand side. And next to their names, you’ll see a number. That’s the amount of holiday entitlement they left to take.

You don’t need to add anything up, or go looking for different tabs on a spreadsheet. From your Wallchart, you can see who has leave coming up (including what type of leave), and you can see how much leave everyone on your staff has left in the year.

An individual breakdown of annual leave

Our helpful video below provides an overview of how your annual leave record looks and works.

Your employees record of time off

When you click on someone’s name, you get a full calendar view and summary of how much leave they’ve taken throughout the year.

In the image above, you can see my name. You can also see that I have 15 holiday days to use this year, and that I already used 12 of them, which means I have 3 holiday days remaining.

You can also see my non-deductible leave balance. I took 3 days of compassionate leave, and 1 sick day.

Again, this is much faster and easier than having to manually add up everyone’s time off broken down by each leave category. And because I booked all of these leave types via Timetastic, there’s no room for error. You don’t have to personally enter or double-check my time off requests. It’s all handled for you by Timetastic.

Timetastic also gives you a breakdown of how much leave your team has taken, what type of leave was taken, and when in the year it was taken. This is called Absence Insights.

Absence Insights: Your organisation's absence data, at a glance.

You can see how many people are on your team, how much time off they’ve booked, and how much time off they have left in the year. You can also see any pending time off requests that need your attention.

If you scroll down, you get to your Burnout Board. Your Burnout Board tells you which of your team members are overdue for a holiday.

Burnout Board: See who might be overworking or in need of a break.

This is another benefit of using software like Timetastic instead of pen and paper or even Excel templates. You get your annual leave record, but you also get the information you need to manage your team.

Exporting your team’s annual leave record out of Timetastic

If you’re the kind of person who needs to deep dive into trends or do some detailed analysis of your annual leave records, then you can export Timetastic data directly into a spreadsheet.

When you export your annual report, you’re getting:

  • All bookings that happened in the year.
  • All holiday deductions.
  • Current individual leave allowances.
  • Any carry forward values that go into the next year.
Annual report: Choose the year

You can pick the year you want to look at, and then export the information into a spreadsheet (.xls, .xlsx, etc.).

Export your annual leave report by User ID and Payroll ID.

The information is broken down into two tabs: allowances and leave.

On the allowance tab, you get a summary of how every individual has used their allowance, what they’ve brought forward, what they’re carrying forward (i.e. their remaining leave or any earned time in lieu).

On the leave tab, you get all requests and bookings, including any request that was declined or cancelled.

Record annual leave seamlessly with Timetastic

Now you’re aware of how much easier tracking annual leave can be. So, if you’re looking for the fastest, easiest, and most affordable way of keeping an annual leave record, we recommend you try Timetastic. 

We offer an initial one-month free trial so you familiarise yourself with all the great features before purchasing. Explore the following benefits: 

  • Allow your team to book their own time off
  • See leave balances updated in real-time
  • Get handy summaries sent straight to your inbox with the latest leave updates
  • Check exactly how many number of days your team has left in the year 
  • Access all your data in one easy-to-use accessible platform

Start your free trial today.

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