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Managing the challenge of absence in Sage People

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It might feel like this year is slipping away, and many people won't want to hear this, but the end of 2020 is rapidly approaching. By the time you're reading this, there will be less than 90 days until Christmas!

With this in mind it's worth thinking proactively. The usual checklist  (check out our Handy 2020 Sage People Checklist that we previously posted) and end of year activities will obviously need to take place (we'll talk more about this in future communications), but this year, managing absence has proven to be a unique challenge that we see many of our customers continuing to struggle with.

We often field questions from our customers around absence rules. In particular what to do when someone needs to carry over more leave than their policies would normally allow. This year, due to the travel restrictions and safety concerns as result of the pandemic, employees have been taking far fewer holidays. This comes with certain challenges. Below are some of the thoughts and approaches from a few of the businesses we've supported:

"I want to ensure people are taking their allowances"

Part of being a responsible employer is making sure that your employees take their well-deserved and allocated time off. With so many people working remotely and there being little incentive for taking holidays, many businesses have found that their people haven't been taking that much needed time off. Help is on hand - reports and dashboards can be a fantastic tool to help you keep an eye on those colleagues that may have excess holiday to use up in these final few months of the year.

In particular, take advantage of some of the great functionality that's readily available within Sage People. Absence balances are refreshed daily on the employee's employment record. You can add this to a report and by using a summary report, you can include formulas to show holidays remaining per month. Complement this by incorporating formatting onto a dashboard (for example, if a colleague has more than 5 days per month remaining, highlight these records in red to show that action might be needed). If you want to communicate this out to managers, consider WX reports to highlight these days remaining.

"I don't want everyone taking their holidays at once"

A side effect of people not taking their holidays during lockdown is that they've started to build up. While many businesses asked colleagues to take a minimum number of days per month at the height of the pandemic (often 2 days per month), not everyone did. Now that people are fast approaching the end of the year and need to take days or risk losing them, there's a worry that too many people will start taking time off and productivity will slow down. In Sage People, we find that the team calendar view is great for combatting this. By putting a guide or reminder of the functionality into an HR Noticeboard, it is a great way of prompting managers to review their teams capacity.

"We just can't accommodate the number of holidays remaining"

It might be too late for the number of days remaining to be taken before the end of the year in a viable manner. Luckily Sage People absence accrual patterns are flexible and robust enough to tackle this in a few short steps. Also absence accruals are constantly calculated, so you don't need to load changes to people's patterns. Consider adding to your number of carry over days, rather than allowing 5 days to be carried over, increase it to 10. If you don't want all 10 additional days being taken next year, you can even extend the carry over months so that they can be taken over the next couple of years. All of this can be applied in a matter of minutes.

What Next

If you'd like to know more about how you can set up any features mentioned in this article to support your team through the unique challenges this year has thrown up, contact us on tel +44(0)1908 030360 or email: Alternatively complete the ‘Get in touch’ form and a member of our team will contact you directly.