Create an attendance policy, organize sick leave, and speedily approve staff vacations with smart absence management tools.

Manage Absences With flair

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Introduction to Absence Management
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Managing employee absences can help businesses ensure continuity and minimize disruptions in the workplace. It’s important to have coherent policies, procedures, and systems in place to handle holiday requests or unscheduled staff leave.

The flair HR app and the Employee Hub help companies create an organized absence system that respects employees' rights while keeping operations flowing smoothly.

Depending on regional regulations, organizations need a framework customized for their specific country – with flair you have access to the tools needed to stay compliant at all times.

How To Set Up Absence Processes
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From your flair HR Homepage on Salesforce, click on the HR Admin page. From there, go to Attendance > Absence Categories and Policies.

Here you will notice a simple three-panel screen, which displays your absence options in a Kanban board view. Let’s walk through the options available to you.

Absence Categories
Build an absence management strategy and manage employee leave according to the situation. Create and view the reasons for which your employees can officially be absent. The reasons are customizable and can include instances like Sickness, Family Leave, Vacation Days, or Overtime. Learn more about absence categories.

Absence Categories

Accrual Policies
An accrual policy sets out how absence entitlements are calculated. This section allows you to manage the number of days that employees have available for a specific category of absence. For example, a company might have a policy of providing employees with 28 days of vacation per year. You can manage this policy here. Learn more about accrual policies.

Absence Request Policies
Absences like vacations or study leave should be planned in advance. Adding a minimum time notice for certain absences helps you to avoid short notice requests. You can make those changes directly on the flair HR app.

To give you an example, let’s set a minimum request notice for employee vacations. To do this go to the Absence Settings in the flair HR app. In your Absence Categories, go to Vacation Days and navigate to the Accrual Policies section. Use the down arrow to select Absence Request Policies and then click Create.

Now you have the option to add restrictions. Of the given options, tick the box labeled Minimum Amount of Notice Required. Next choose the number of Days, Hours, or Months, an absence request needs in order to be accepted.

If you tick Require Document Upload, employees will be asked to upload a document along with their Absence Request. This document could be a medical letter, for example.

Accrual Policies

Under the third panel, Employees, you can assign accrual policies to staff. For example, you can choose which employees are eligible to request Overtime absence.

Employee Settings

Creating Absence Categories
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In your flair HR app on Salesforce, visit the HR Admin page. Click on the Absence Categories and Policies subheading to start creating categories of absences.

Absence Categories and Policies

This section of the flair HR app on Salesforce shows a screen displaying three panels: Absence Categories, Accrual Policies, and Employees.

Absence Categories

Select Create on the Absence Categories panel to devise an absence type. It will reveal several important fields.

Create a new absence category in flair
  • Icon: Choose an icon that staff will associate with this absence. This icon will display on the Employee Hub. For example, a leaf icon could signify vacation days.
  • Name: Write the naming convention for your absence e.g. Vacation or Illness.
  • Type: Display how you count absences, either in days or hours.
  • Target Hours Deduction: Define how target hours are calculated for this Absence Category.
  • Group: Add the absence category to a group, if you have already created one.
  • Requires Approval: If you check this box, absence requests in this category will be sent to the employee’s manager for approval
  • Public: If left unchecked, this absence category will be hidden for other employees in the Employee Hub. If an employee requests an absence in this category, the reason for the absence will be hidden from their colleagues.
  • Paid: If left unchecked, the duration of the absence will be subtracted from the employee’s weekly timesheet hours.
  • Unlimited: If left unchecked, this absence category will be limited. You can set the limits in the accrual policy. Unlimited absence categories, like sick leave, do not require accrual policies.
  • Compensatory Time: Check this box for absence categories that are used to compensate employees for working overtime.
  • Export in Payroll: Check this box if the absence category should be exported in the payroll documents. Sick leave and vacation should be exported to payroll, while a work-from-home policy would normally be left out.
  • Restrict Absence Deletion: If this box is checked, employees will not be able to delete their absences.
  • Time Tracking Restricted: Check this box to prevent employees from recording time worked during this type of absence.
  • Special Rules: You can type any additional information in this field and it will appear in the Add New Absence section of the Employee Hub.

Once you’re happy with your new absence category, click Save to finish. Then you can begin to enable absence categories for employees.

To make them easier to find, you can reorder and group your absence categories. Simply click and drag the categories to change the order in which they appear. If you would like to create a group, click the down arrow next to Create and select Group Categories.

Group and organize absence categories in flair HR

The order and groups you choose for your absence categories in Salesforce will also be reflected in the Employee Hub. For convenience, we recommend putting the most commonly used types of absence, such as vacation or sick leave, towards the top of the list.

Absence category groups shown in the Employee Hub

Limited absence categories require rules that need to be defined. You can do this by creating an accrual policy.

Absence Request Policies
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Not every business will have the same absence request policies. That’s why flair makes it easy to customize your settings for absences.

To do this, select Absence Settings in the flair HR app on Salesforce and visit the kanban style board. Clicking on the downward arrow beside the Accrual Policies heading will reveal a new setting field – Absence Request Policies.

Here you will be able to set the mandatory requirements surrounding certain absence requests.

For example, make it a requirement for employees to upload a doctor’s note after a specific period of sickness. Or set the minimum notice period for a vacation request. Once you have made your policy changes, they will appear in the Employee Hub.

Absence Request Policy Feature on flair HR.

Viewing Absences on Salesforce
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flair provides a complete overview of workplace absences, including upcoming days off and requests for leave.

From the Employees page on the flair HR app on Salesforce, it is possible to view and enable absence categories on each staff member’s profile. For more in-depth information, you can simply click on an absence category within a staff member’s profile.

Setting Up a Standard Vacation Policy
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Most standard vacation policies are based on the number of working days an employee has during a given period. For example, if your full-time employees work five days a week, your standard policy may be to give them 26 days of vacation per year.

To configure this policy in flair, you will need to complete a few steps.

Create a Workload Template
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First, you need to make sure you have set the correct workload for your employees. To do this, go to the Attendance section of the flair HR app and select Workload Templates. Click New Workload Template and give your workload a name, e.g. “Full-Time Office Worker”. Select whether to count hours by week or by month, choose the first day of the week, and select the relevant time framework. Lastly, use the Skip Time Tracking checkbox to select whether time tracking is enabled or not.

If you chose a fixed, weekly workload, you will now be able to set the working hours per day in a normal working week, as well as start and end times and break length.

For flexible workload models, simply select the hours per working day.

Creating a flexible workload template

Assign a Workload
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Once you’ve created your workload template, it’s time to assign it to employees. In the Attendance section of flair HR, click the Workloads tab. Here you will see a list of your employees, which you can filter. Employees with a warning icon ⚠️ next to their name have not yet been assigned a workload.

Use the checkboxes to select employees, then click Assign Workload Template. Choose which workload template to assign and set the Start Date. If you are already using flair, the Workload Start Date should be the same as the employee’s contract start date. If you are switching to flair and would like to start the vacation allowance from the start of the year, you will need to choose January 1 as the Workload Start Date to ensure that vacation days are properly allocated.

If needed, you may also set an End Date, after which the workload expires. When you’re finished, click Assign.

Assigning workloads to multiple employees

Flexible Workloads
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Flexible work has become a major employee benefit and, in recent years, more companies have adopted it. flair supports this change in working culture, and by using our HR app you can create easily adjustable and flexible workloads at any time.

To set up a flexible workload, go to an employee’s record in the flair HR app and select the Time And Workload tab. Click Add New Workload to create a workload from scratch or select Add From Template if you want to use one of your existing templates.

Creating a flexible workload

Give your workload a name and a start date, and choose a workload type (either weekly or monthly). Now change the Workload Model from Fixed to Flexible. Make sure that the FTE (full-time equivalent) percentage is correct. Full-time employees should have an FTE percentage of 100%, whereas a part-time employee who does half the hours would have 50%.

If the employee works completely flexibly and their working days vary from week to week, you can keep the standard Availability Template (Monday to Friday). Simply change the daily working hours to reach the desired total weekly hours, e.g. 40 hours.

If the employee has a rotating work schedule, click on Add New Week and adjust the weeks as needed. When you’re finished, click Save.

Defining a flexible workload for an employee

Now that you have assigned this new workload to an employee, you will see a calendar view showing their working schedule. Because this is a flexible workload, you can simply adjust the workload by typing the actual working hours into the calendar.

For example, if Mia covers for a colleague on a Sunday so she can take Tuesday off, then you would remove the hours from Tuesday and add them to Sunday. Please remember to adjust the workload when there is a change so that vacation and sick days can be calculated accurately.

You can easily update flexible workloads to reflect the actual days worked

The last thing you need to do to ensure that employees with flexible workloads receive the right amount of vacation and sick days is to create a new accrual policy. Open the Absence Settings tab in flair HR and click the Create button in the middle column. Fill in the fields to create the policy and make sure to select the “Prorate based on FTE percentage” option in the Workload Proration Type dropdown list. This means that employees that work flexible hours will receive vacation and sick days based on the FTE percentage you defined earlier.

Creating an accrual policy for flexible workers

Set Up an Accrual Policy
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An accrual policy determines how employees earn or build up (accrue) days of leave. Typically workers earn holiday leave by working a certain amount of days a year.

This type of accrued leave policy can be implemented through the Accrual Policies Panel on the Absence Settings page of the flair HR app.

If you create a limited absence category, you’ll need to define and create accrual policies. Vacation days are a good example of a limited absence category type of leave.

Let’s take a look at how to create a New Accrual Policy on the flair HR app:

Click the Create button on the Accrual Policies Panel and it will display several fields for you to define your policy:

  • Accrual Policy Name: Put a title on your policy. Is it a policy for vacations, sick leave, etc?
  • Absence Category: Select the category you want the policy applied to
  • Amount: Set a limit on the number of days per absence. E.g. 28 days for annual leave.
  • Interval: Choose the time over which the amount of absences is accrued
  • Proration: Define how much vacation employees receive based on how many hours they work or how many days or months of the year they have been part of the company
  • Expiration: Designate if accrued absence days can be carried over to another year

Change Absence Allowance Based on Years of Service
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You can also increase the amount of leave granted to employees based on their years of service.

To do this, when creating a new accrual policy, scroll down to Amount Change Rules and click the checkbox labeled “Define amount change rules based on years of service”.

You will then see some additional options. Click the Accrue Amount Rules In Advance checkbox if you would like the additional days earned after years of service to be used before the basic allowance defined at the top of the page.

In the Interval dropdown, you can choose whether the additional days accrue yearly or in the same accrual interval you defined earlier in your accrual policy.

Now you can define your Amount Change Rules:

  • Apply After: The number you enter here indicates the number of years of service an employee must work to gain additional absence days.
  • Change Amount By: The number you enter here defines how many absence days will be added.

The number in the field Change Amount By is added to the original accrual amount. For example, if new employees start with 25 days of vacation but receive 1 extra day after their first year and another extra day in their second year, you would enter the value 2 in the second rule, as shown in the screenshot below.

  • Add Rule: Click this button to add another rule. You will need a new rule for each accrual amount change you wish to make.
Editing a vacation accrual policy to add additional allowance for longer-serving employees

Standard Proration Settings
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Proration occurs when an employee joins or leaves an organization during a calendar year and therefore is only entitled to a specific portion of their annual vacation allowance. Rules on how vacation should be calculated vary from country to country, but here are some examples:

In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, vacation is allocated based on days worked. To set this up in flair, select the following options:

Workload Proration Type: Prorate based on number of working days
Period Proration Type: Prorate by days

In the UK, full-time employees get one-twelfth of their vacation allowance per month. In flair, you would select:

Workload Proration Type: Prorate based on number of working days
Period Proration Type: Prorate by months

Vacation Expiration Settings
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There are four different options for how accrued days expire:

Option 1: Never
Vacation days never expire.

Option 2: At the end of an accrual interval
Vacation days will expire at the end of the interval. For example, if you selected a yearly interval, vacation days will expire at the end of the calendar year (December 31).

Option 3: Unlimited carryover
An unlimited number of vacation days can be carried over into the following year. You can set the day and the month when the carried-over days will expire.

Option 4: Regulated carryover
A limited number of days may be carried over into the following year and expire on a specific date. For example, you could allow a maximum of five vacation days to be carried over until the end of March.

Assign Accrual Policies to Employees
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On the third and final panel of the Absence Categories and Policies page, you can assign your accrual policies to employees. Click on Assign to fill in:

  • Start date
  • End date
  • Select employee name

Click Assign To in order to complete the process.

Mass-Assigning Absence Policies
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You can also mass-assign absence categories and accrual policies to save time. The process is similar to assigning an individual employee to an accrual policy.

From the Absence Settings page in flair HR, choose the absence category and accrual policy you want to assign, then click Assign above the right-hand column.

Choose a start date and, if necessary, an end date. Then click Select Employees. Here you can select all employees or choose them individually.

For more options, click Show Filters. Now you can filter the employees by location, department, position, and more. For instance, in this example, we’ve chosen to assign our 28-day vacation policy to all active employees at every German location. To do this, we clicked on select Location > Equals and then selected all German locations from the dropdown menu.

Assign absence policies to multiple employees at once

Click the checkbox in the top-left corner to select all employees then click Add. You can now repeat the process with different filters or, if you’re finished, simply click on Assign To Employees. Now you've assigned that policy to multiple employees at once.

Automatically Import Public Holidays
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Every country or region has a variety of public holidays, which vary from year to year. Having this information in your system allows you and your employees to plan absences properly.

You can easily import local holidays into your flair HR app. There are two ways to do this.

To import public holidays into your employee absence calendars, use the Salesforce App Launcher to open the Calendars page. Click New to create a new calendar and give it a name. You can set a Start Date and End Date for the calendar or leave these fields blank. The Type field should be filled with PUBLIC_HOLIDAY. Then click Save.

On the next screen, you will see a calendar. Using the Calendar Subscription box on the right side of the screen, toggle “Automatically add calendar periods” to Active. Next, click Define Country Calendar.

You can now select which local public holidays to import. There are three levels: Country, State, and Region. This allows you to choose specific public holidays that are particular to your employees’ location. For example, in countries such as Germany and the United States, public holidays differ from state to state. There may even be public holidays specific to a region or city within a state, as is the case in the German city of Augsburg. You can import these specific holidays by selecting the available options in the dropdown menus.

Once you have selected the public holidays that you want to import, they will appear in red on the calendar. Hovering over these marked days will show you the name of the holiday that will be observed. When you are ready, click “Save and add holidays for this and next year” to insert the holidays into your calendar.

Using this method, flair will automatically add public holidays for the next two years for your chosen location – so you don’t have to manually update it every year.

Automatically import public holidays for a specific country or region

It is also possible to customize your holiday calendars by clicking the Add Period Manually button. Here, you can create your special holidays to complete your public holiday calendar. Simply give your holiday a name, start date, and end date, and click Save to add this holiday to the specified year. You will have to repeat this process for successive years if needed.

Once you have created a Calendar, you can assign it to a group of employees. Simply open the Employee Workload Templates page, edit an existing Workload or create a new one, and choose a Calendar from the field named Public Holidays Calendar. These public holidays will now appear in the personal absence calendar of every employee who has been assigned this Workload.

Assign a public holiday calendar to employees in flair

Alternatively, you can import public holidays for a specific location via the Locations page.

Select a location, then click on the Import button in the Holidays component.

View holidays for each office location

Now select a year for which you want to import public holidays, and all public holidays for this location will be shown. Select the ones you want to import, and click Import.

If the public holidays are not downloaded automatically, please check that your location address information is correct (street, postal/ZIP code, state, country, etc.).

Importing local public holidays for an office location

And that’s all! Now you have imported your local public holidays into flair.

Imported public holidays for an office location
List of imported public holidays for an office location

Manually Adding Public Holidays
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In flair, an employee can only be assigned to one location – this is the main location of their employment. But what if, for example, you have remote workers who are entitled to holidays from multiple locations?

In this case, you can manually add public holidays. First, create a location for the group of employees who are entitled to holidays from multiple regions. Next, give this new location an address (for example, the address of your headquarters), and import public holidays for this location using the instructions above.

Now, on the Location page, click New in the Upcoming Holidays box. You can now add a name and date for the holiday, and choose whether it is a full-day or half-day holiday. You may also select whether a holiday is official or unofficial (e.g. a company-specific celebration).

Manually adding holidays
Manually adding holidays

Absence Requests for Employees
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For convenience, employees have multiple options when it comes to requesting a leave of absence through flair. Let’s explore the options.

Employee Hub Absence Requests
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A tool for all staff, the cloud-based Employee Hub is an online management portal that helps staff members complete HR tasks. It is also available via the flair Android and iOS mobile apps, as well as the Mac app. Here’s how absence management works on the Employee Hub:

  • Employee Hub: From the Employee Hub dashboard, you can make a simple request via the New Absence button
Employee Hub
  • Under the Absences header displayed on the sidebar to the left, you will find the buttons Overview and My Absences. Both allow you to create absences.

How To Request an Absence
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When adding a new absence, select an option from the absence categories your company has created. For example, your employer may have created designated categories for vacation or sickness leave.

  • Next, choose the dates of your absence request under the field titled Period. You may also add a comment, and then simply click Create to complete the request.
  • Depending on the chosen category and its accrual policy, your absence may need approval from a manager. If not, its status will change immediately to Approved under the Upcoming Absences heading.
  • Once the approval status of an absence changes, you’ll be notified if it has been accepted or rejected via email. Under Settings in the Employee Hub, you can set your absence notification preferences.

Commenting on Absences
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Open and clear dialogue is important in the workplace. The flair comments feature for Absences allows colleagues to communicate better. By adding a comment in the Absences section on the Employee Hub, you can clear up any queries or say thanks for a vacation approval.

To do this, click the Speech Bubble icon on an existing Absence request and begin the conversation. You can also attach a relevant document, like a doctor’s note. Send a link or add an emoji and an image. Then press Enter to send your message.

Future Vacation Deduction
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When an employee books vacation days a year in advance, the flair system as a standard deducts the vacation days from the allowance from the following year.

This approach ensures that employees can still take their vacation days in the current year.

If an employee has any unused vacation days from the current year, those days will be deducted first when taking a vacation after January 1st in any given year.

This policy ensures that employees have the opportunity to use their vacation days from the current year before starting to utilize the vacation days allocated for the next year.

Mobile Absence Management
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If you have the flair mobile app, you can view and request absences from your smartphone. This is useful in a few situations. For example, if you don’t have access to your work computer but still want to check when your colleagues are returning from vacation. Or if you’re planning your next vacation while out and about.

On the home screen of the flair mobile app, you can see which of your colleague are absent and when they are returning.

There are two ways to request an absence in the app. You can either click Request Absence on the home screen to quickly submit a request, or you can click on the Absences tab at the bottom of the screen. Here you will see your remaining balance for each absence category, any upcoming absences you have planned, and their approval status.

Tap on an absence category, such as Vacation or Sick Leave, to choose which kind of leave you want to take. You will see your remaining days for this category and, after choosing a start and end date, how many absence days you will use. You can add an optional comment for your manager and then, when you’re ready, tap Submit.

Download our free mobile app for iOS and Android.

Absence Request Approval
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flair provides employers with a straightforward way to manage staff absences and requests for leave. Below we explain how to approve requests from employees.

Approve Absence Requests as a Manager
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When an employee requests an absence, you will receive a notification with details about the request via email. The following steps can be taken to efficiently manage an absence request:

  • The My Team section in the Employee Hub is where managers can view all absence requests. As a manager, you can review requests here or also open the Absence Requests tab on the sidebar.
  • By clicking on an employee’s pending absence request, you can view further details. It is also possible to leave a comment. For example, you may want to explain why a request is being denied or ask an employee to consider different dates for their absence.
  • Once you have made a decision, simply click on Accept or Reject to complete the approval process. The employee will then be notified.
  • Absence requests may also be approved under the Messages tab of the flair app on Slack.
Absence Requests

How To Check the Approver of an Absence Request
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If you want to check who is responsible for approving an absence request, follow these simple steps.

First of all, open the Absences page in the flair HR app and select the absence you’re looking for. Now click the Related tab.

Check absence approver

Under Absence Approval Requests, you will see the name of the approver and the status of approval. If you click on the Absence Approval Name, you will see further details. For example, the Last Modified section shows you when the status of the approval was last changed and who made the change.

Check absence approver

Slack Absence Requests
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Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool that facilitates communication and teamwork within organizations. It can be used to send instant messages, send files, and make calls, but also comes with many useful integrations that can streamline your working day.

You can integrate flair with Slack to avoid switching between apps when carrying out simple HR tasks. Here’s how you can use flair’s Slack integration for absence requests.

First, open the Apps page in Slack and search for the flair app. If you can’t find flair in the list of apps for your workspace, you will need to install flair from the Slack App Directory. Once you’ve successfully enabled the flair app for your Slack workspace, you will see the app Home screen. You can view your upcoming absences and check which of your colleagues are absent on the Home screen of the flair app in Slack.

Slack Absence Requests

If you want to take some time off, click the Request Absence button. Choose the type of absence you want to request, select a start date and end date, and leave an optional comment for the person who reviews your absence requests. You can use the Start Period and End Period options to request half-day absences. Once finished, click Submit to send the request.

If you are responsible for approving absences, you will receive a notification in Slack when someone makes a request. You can approve or decline these requests without having to leave Slack – everything will be synced with the Employee Hub.

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