3 Hows and Whys of Smart Leave
Management During the Epidemic

As the COVID-19 outbreak makes its way around the globe, some international businesses are compelled to shift their entire offices to work from home. Others are under an obligation to provide their employees with temporary lay-offs to keep everyone safe and sound or give extended sick leave opportunities to affected individuals.

The above factors have complicated employee availability monitoring to a significant extent. Besides, team communication in companies that valiantly continue to operate remotely has become much more challenging.

These newly emerged difficulties can easily overwhelm managers, especially in case they have no prior experience in teleworking. Nonetheless, efficient methods to reduce managerial anxiety and control the situation better are readily available.

Let’s take a look at what you can do.

1. Create a Remote Work Policy

A remote work policy is a document specifying what is expected from employees when they work from home. It usually covers such matters as working hours, cybersecurity, employee rights and responsibilities. Moreover, it can include the description of recommended (and mandatory) tools and strategies that your subordinates could use to perform better.

Some of the most helpful tips would be as follows:

  • To keep confusion down, adopt a systematic approach to work on projects and task coordination. Assume implementing Kanban – this tool visually displays the statuses of different pieces of work and, hence, facilitates progress monitoring.
  • Integrate time tracking into your workflow and track work hours daily to boost performance efficiency and stay aware of any productivity issues.
  • Strictly observe the schedule to avoid overworking and psychological drain due to lower-quality time off duty.
  • Adhere to the organizational communication plan and use the right instruments to interact with colleagues and share important information.

For more recommendations on how to improve productivity among remote employees, check our guide to working from home for beginners. There, you can learn how to arrange a perfect workplace, optimize work processes and enhance team collaboration while telecommuting.

2. Promote Awareness of Sick Leave Compensation Among Employees

Since health risks are now very high, it is particularly important to ensure that your subordinates understand which benefits they can count on when feeling unwell. Therefore, consider detailing and updating your sick leave policy and educating workers on issues related to this type of time off.

Make certain you adhere to all the new federal and state regulations that require employers to offer an extended list of benefits for workers in the context of a public health emergency.

Emergency leave benefits in the United States

The United States Congress has recently enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In line with this law, US workers are legally entitled to have 14 days of extra paid leave that can be used not only in case of the disease or illness but also when one needs to stay home with a child if their school is closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Besides, isolated and quarantined employees, as well as those whose workplace is temporarily closed, are too eligible to receive emergency leave benefits. If your business has fewer than 500 staff members, you are obliged to follow these directives.

Emergency leave benefits in Canada

Canadian employees unable to work due to the coronavirus-related illness are entitled to paid leave (CSC Code 699). Besides, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit has been introduced in the country. In accordance with this policy, some individuals who involuntary stopped working due to the COVID-19 outbreak may get temporary financial support in the amount of $500 a week. If the income of your workers equated to at least $5,000 in 2019 and if you have no choice but to close your business for 14 consecutive days or more, don’t forget to assist them in applying for this vital benefit.


3. Implement a Tool for Employee Leave and Schedule Management

When a portion of your essential employees continues to attend the workplace, and others either work from their self-quarantine hideouts or take time to recover, it can be very difficult to monitor who is absent during the workday and why. In this regard, you may largely benefit from implementing a piece of software for leave and schedule management. With its assistance, you’ll be able to not only introduce more transparency in organizational time management but also increase the accuracy of PTO accrual.

Let’s explore how you can manage employee availability issues by using actiPLANS.

Add customized leave types in your absence monitoring system

Regardless of whether your business has entirely shifted towards the remote work model or is operating in the usual format even now, by integrating more kinds of leave into your internal systems for absence tracking and PTO accrual, you’ll make the overall picture of employee availability clearer.

We’ve already introduced such a leave type as Stay Home to actiPLANS, and your workers may utilize it if self-quarantined but still performing their jobs. Once an employee marks a specific calendar period as Stay Home, it becomes highlighted with violet in the Schedule of Colleagues after a manager’s approval. Here is an example of how it looks:

schedule-colleagues

To maximize transparency in terms of employee availability during the epidemics, you may diversify the list of actiPLANS leave types even more by adding a few other custom items. Here are several options to consider:

  • Remote Work – Suitable for employees who started to work remotely even before the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Sick Leave (COVID) – As opposed to a standard sick leave that can be used for a variety of health conditions, this type of time off is meant to be applied solely by those affected by the coronavirus. This category allows monitoring infection risks within your organization, but it should be employed very cautiously and considering all the relevant ethical issues.
  • Family Leave – Could be utilized by workers who need a break to take care of a sick or seriously ill family member.
  • Part-time Work – Will allow your subordinates to demonstrate that they cannot perform their duties full time during particular periods.
  • Office Work – Fit for essential employees who are required to be physically present at the office.

You are free to create other leave types in actiPLANS if you think they’ll reflect your situation better. In any case, don’t forget to set up PTO balance rules for each of them based on your preferences, organizational policies and legal requirements.

Modify schedules and add comments

Those working remotely during the quarantine may often find it hard to be present at their home-based workplaces at regular hours. Some employees will likely need to take care of small children or have to fight off multiple distractions created by other relatives who also happen to stay at home and do their own business there.

In cases like these, it’s always helpful to create notes in the personal schedule in actiPLANS mobile app by choosing between such options as “I’m coming late” and “I’m leaving early.” It is also possible to write clarifying comments there so that your colleagues know when you’re available or why you’re absent:

mobile-app-screenshot
mobile-stay-home

Accrue payments by using Leave Time & PTO Report

As you can already see, actiPLANS brings details in the work hour planning and facilitates scheduling at both the individual and organizational levels.

Besides, such precision helps improve the accuracy of pay calculation. To simplify the process even more, utilize the Time & PTO Report feature that will provide you with a thorough overview of leave types and the amount of time off taken by each employee:

leave-time-pto-report

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