Everyone needs time off work. You, your team, and your directors. Otherwise, you’re heading for burnout — and that’s bad for everyone.
And if most of your team waits until the end of the year to take their leave, you’ll struggle to accommodate everyone — and end up with an unhappy team, wasted time off, or too much carry-over into the next year.
That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your team updated on how much leave they have and the last time they took a break. Plus, you want to give them an easy way to book time off, so they don’t need to jump through hoops or read the fine print of a complicated leave request policy just to take a holiday.
We help you make things easy for everyone by giving you two things in this article:
- Letter templates that you can send your team reminding them to take their annual leave. These templates are good for organising your thoughts. But they don’t solve the root problem of someone not taking a holiday — instead, they’re just a way to address the problem once it surfaces. That’s why we also tell you about…
- How you can use a staff leave app to encourage your team to take their holidays. Unlike templates, a staff leave app will tell you who needs to take time off, so you don’t have to hunt down that info. Plus, a staff leave app will make it easier for your team to check the company calendar and book a holiday.
Let’s be honest: You shouldn’t really need letter templates. Instead, you can rely on Timetastic — a staff leave software that keeps you updated on who needs time off and gives your team an easy way to book their holidays. Start your free one-month trial today.
3 templates for reminding your employees to take annual leave
Template #1: Reminding your employee that the end of the year’s approaching and their holiday time doesn't carry over
Template #2: Informing your employee that they missed the cut-off for taking their leave (and explaining how your carry-over policy works)
Template #3: Informing your employee about mandatory leave
We’ve given you three different templates above for informing someone about the leave they’re about to lose. But a template doesn’t do anything to solve the root of your annual leave problem.
When people aren’t taking their leave, it can be for several reasons, including:
- They’re so tied up in work they don’t realise how long it’s been since their last holiday. (Yes, templates do help you inform your team. But how do you identify who’s overdue a break?)
- They can’t easily see how much holiday time they have to use. Some companies tell their teams in their payslips, other companies have a tracker template they can look up, or they may have to reach out to their manager or HR to find out their leave balance. The easier you make it for your team to see their balance, the more informed they are, and the more likely they’ll take their holidays throughout the year.
- They don’t have an easy way to book leave and are easily discouraged. You don’t want to make your team jump through hoops to take a holiday. The harder it is for them to book a holiday, the more discouraged they’ll get.
Thankfully, there is a better way — using a staff leave app that makes it easy for you to see who needs a holiday and makes it easier for them to book it.
How to make sure your team doesn’t forget to take time off
In this section, we show how Timetastic, our staff leave app, helps your team take their holidays throughout the year.
First, when you use Timetastic, you get access to your team’s Burnout Board. Your Burnout Board highlights who on your team is overdue for a break:
Your Burnout Board tells you how much time off someone has left to use, when the last time they took a day off was, and if they have any bookings coming up.
Second, you also get Timetastic’s Firewire, which is sent out quarterly to you and any department managers you have on your team.
This is the same information in the Burnout Board, but it’s sent directly to you, so you don’t risk overlooking it.
The point is, you now have the information on hand. You know who hasn’t taken enough time off, and you don’t have to trawl through spreadsheets to find out, since it’s delivered directly to you.
The next big thing to solve is making sure your team has the tools to book their holiday. That’s what we will discuss next.
How your team can see their leave balance and book their holiday
Knowing who on your team is at risk of burnout — or who has a lot of leave left to use — is a huge win. But ideally, no one will ever be on your Burnout Board.
Timetastic helps make that a reality by giving your team an easy way to see their leave balance, check the company’s time off calendar, and book their holiday request. They can do this through their browser or through our mobile app anytime they want.
When anyone on your team logs into Timetastic, they’ll see their Wallchart:
Their Wallchart tells them who has approved time off on the calendar, along with their own leave balance, so they can see how much leave they still have left to use.
Note: For privacy reasons, when someone on your team logs into their Timetastic account, they can only see their own individual leave balance. However, when a manager (i.e. someone who can approve or decline leave requests) logs into Timetastic, they can see the remaining leave allowances for everyone on the team.
Your team can also easily book a holiday through their Wallchart:
They simply select the dates they want off, list the reason (i.e. the leave type), provide any more details (if necessary), and then submit their request.
Note: This is what it looks like when you book a holiday using our mobile app.
The request is automatically sent to the right person — usually their direct manager, but this can be anyone you want in charge of reviewing holiday requests. This person can then quickly approve or decline the request, with a full view of any potential holiday clashes in the app.
Once the request is approved, the company Wallchart is updated so everyone can see that new time off has been added to the company calendar.
By giving your team the tools they need to see how much leave they have left to use, and book new requests, you’re giving them what they need to take their holiday leave throughout the year.
This helps reduce the risk of burnout, and it helps reduce any stress your team may feel as the year comes to a close and everyone on your staff is trying not to lose their holiday time.
Quick recap: Why using template letters isn’t the answer
In this post, we gave you three sample letters you can send to your team to remind them they have annual leave left to use or letting them know that leave will be carried over.
But these templates really just help you organise your thoughts. They don’t solve the root of your problem, which is finding out who on your team hasn’t taken leave and giving your team a really easy way to book their holiday.
To solve this problem, you can use Timetastic as your staff leave app.
With Timetastic, you can:
- Check your company’s Burnout Board to see who hasn’t taken time off recently. Plus, we’ll also email you this info at the end of every quarter. This way you know who you need to reach out to, and who to remind about untaken holiday.
- Give your team the tools they need to book time off. With Timetastic, your team can look up the company-wide time off calendar, check how much leave they have left to use, and easily book their annual leave.
For more info on handling staff leave, check out our articles on:
- How to calculate holiday pay for casual workers
- Can employees take sick leave as holiday leave?
- Our free holiday entitlement calculator (UK specific)
- How notice periods work when you leave your job
- What are the different leave of absences you can take? (From parental leave to sick leave to unpaid leave)
- Everything you need to know about sick days during coronavirus
- How much leave entitlement do part time workers get?
- How to calculate someone’s paid annual leave allowance (including how people can accrue leave over the year)
- The best absence management software (from staff leave planners to full-blown human resources platforms)
- How to ditch outdated leave request letters for easy-to-use software