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Four Items to Include in Your Leave Policy

Four Items to Include in Your Leave Policy

When situations arise such as COVID-19, your company’s leave policy becomes one of the most important documents in your company. A leave policy is a set of rules, guidelines, and procedures that employees must follow to take time off of work. Creating these rules is no simple task and many factors must be considered. As you work on your company’s leave policy, here are four items you may want to include.

Leave Considerations

Your leave policy should let employees know under what conditions they can take time off of work without the time affecting their employment. This is not as simple as establishing a list of appropriate time-off requests. Throughout the country, there are state and federal laws that require employees to receive time off for certain situations such as jury duty, sick leave, etc. These laws can vary by location so it is important you are familiar with your current area. A few leave considerations examples you may want to research and mention in your policy include: 

  • Bereavement
  • Jury duty
  • Medical leave
  • Military leave
  • Vacations
  • Sick leave

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are changing their policies to mention situations such as a pandemic where employees may need to request time away from work as well. 

Will You Receive Paid Time Off? 

One question that many employees will have regarding their time away from work is if they will receive paid or unpaid leave. You must make sure this information is clear in your policy. For example, parental leave may be necessary for a pregnant woman. Some companies can be very generous in offering paid leave during this time of recovery, while others may not. You will want to offer detailed information about what employees can expect during their time away from work. 

The Process To Request Time Off

What is the process your employees must complete to request time off? Even if they are gone for a single day or for several weeks, do you have a formal process for time off requests? Will employees need to submit a formal request, a 7 or 14-day notice, etc.? Having a set process in place and explained in detail in your leave policy will ensure that all employees follow the same rules, there are few issues, and management can better manage their staff and schedule

Maintain Flexible Policies

Your leave policies must be consistent and follow all local public health guidelines. However, these guidelines can change daily. For example, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses, restaurants, and other establishments were shut down in a matter of days. Some schools were closed overnight, forcing many parents to work from home to care for their children and assist with online schooling. 

Having a flexible leave policy will help your entire staff when these challenging and uncertain times occur. It will also help to ease some stress that employees may feel when they or a family member is sick, a tragedy occurs, or another issue arises that requires time away from work. 

Once you have a leave policy established, make sure it is followed and that employees have access to it. If changes must be made to the policy, make sure all employees are aware of these changes.