We know creating Time Off policies can sometimes be tricky. In this article, we'll walk through the entire process step by step - ensuring you know exactly how to customize a policy to your unique company needs.

*Please note: this article covers how to set up a Time Off policy post launching Sapling at your org. If you're looking for information on how to initially set up the Time Off module pre-launch, check our Recommendations for Rolling Out Time Off.

Time Off Overview

The Time Off tab provides an overview of different leave components for all team members within the organization (active and inactive). With the Time Off tab, users can see a snapshot of the following:

  • Available Balance: This shows a summary of their applicable Policies and Time Off balances.

  • Estimate Future Balance: This allows team members to enter in a future date, and see accrual details until that point in time. *note: For unlimited time off policies, this will be greyed out as there are no accruals

  • Time Off- Upcoming: This shows requests that are in the future - both pending or approved. It will also shows any upcoming holidays.

  • Time Off - Historical: This shows requests that are in the past (pending or approved), cancelled requests, denied requests, and adjustments.

Adding a new Time Off Policy

Before setting up a policy, be sure to double check your permission levels. Each permission group a policy applies to needs to have "View" access for their own Time Off information to enable this feature in their Sapling account.

  • Everyone with the "team member" permission level can: view their own Time Off Calendar, current Time Off policies and accrued time, past/upcoming Time Off Requests, Request Time Off

  • Everyone with the "manager" permission category can: view their own Time Off Calendar, current Time Off policies and accrued time, past/upcoming Time Off Requests, view the upcoming Time Off Requests of their direct reports from their Team page, Request Time Off/Approve or Deny time off requests of their direct reports and make comments as necessary

  • Everyone with the "admin" or "superadmin" permission level can: view their own Time Off Calendar, current Time Off policies and accrued time, past/upcoming Time Off Requests, view upcoming Time Off Requests of all employees, Request Time Off, or create, modify or delete all company time off policies

To create a new Time Off policy, navigate from Home > Time Off. Click "Add New Policy" in the upper righthand corner.

The Time Off policy creator has 5 steps: 1) Basic Policy Information, 2) Approvals, 3) Accrual Rate, 4) Accrual Schedule and 5) Time Off Balances.

1. Basic Policy Information

In this section, you'll input all the basic information about your policy, who it applies for, and how it should be tracked: 

  • New Policy Name: name of the policy you're creating (for ex: San Francisco - Full Time Employees)

  • Time Off Type: what type of policy this is (for ex: Vacation, Jury Duty, Sick Leave, etc.) 

  • Icon: what icon you'd like to display with the policy to easily distinguish (for ex: a ✈️ for Vacation)

  • Is this an unlimited policy: If no --> move to the next section. If yes --> you can edit how it's displayed to employees in Sapling (for ex: an unlimited policy that's displayed as "Discretionary Time Off" to employees)

  • How should Time off be tracked: select hours or days

  • Length of workday: input the amount of hours in your standard work day (for ex: 8 hours)

  • On which days: what days are considered working days for this policy (for ex: Mon-Fri)

  • Minimum/Maximum increment for requests: leave on "no" if there is no min/max, or select "yes" to input

  • Who is this policy for: you can select if this is for "All Employees", "Some Employees" (if you select this, you can then input what Location, Department, and Employee Status it applies to), or "Manually assigned as needed" (for specialty policies like parental leave)

2. Approvals

In this section, you'll decide two things: who needs to approve PTO requests (if anyone), and how Sapling should handle outstanding requests.

  • Do time off requests for this policy need approval: if no, skip to the next section. If yes (typically this is the case), you can then select who needs to approve the policy with the options of "Manager", "Specific person", or "Specific permission group." If multiple people need to approve, click the "Add" button to include additional decision makers.

  • How should Sapling resolve outstanding requests: decide how you want the system to handle time off requests that have not been approved or denied (for ex: you can tell Sapling to Auto-Approve or Auto-deny requests after X number of days) 

3. Accrual Rates

In this section, you'll decide how much and how often your team accrues Time Off.

  • How much time can team members accrue: first, decide the amount of total hours/days your team should accrue under this policy (for ex: 120 hours per year, or 10 hours per month) 

  • What is the accrual frequency: this dictates how often team members receive their accrual. This typically aligns with your pay cycle (for ex: if your team gets paid every two weeks, the accrual frequency would be "bi-weekly") 

4. Accrual Schedule

In this section, you'll set the accrual calendar, decide on key rulesets for how and when Sapling handles this policy, and add any special rules around tenureship.

  • When should this policy start accruing: choose when this policy should begin to accrue - either starting on the new hire's "Start Date", or select a "Custom Date" which is set as X days before or after their start date.

  • When should this policy renew: options to select either "On team member's anniversary", "1st of January", or you can choose a "Custom Date" undefined.

  • How should Sapling handle the first accrual: select if you'd like to "Prorate the amount", or have the "Full balance" given at the start of the accrual period.

  • When do accruals happen: select whether time off should start "At the start of the Period" or "At the end of the period".

  • Does this policy have a maximum accrual amount: if this policy has a maximum amount of hours, select "yes" and input the max (for ex: max 120 hours, please note if you allow carryover, then the maximum accrual should be max balance and carryover combined. for ex: if you allow for 120 hours to be accrued in a year and allow for 40 hours to be carried over, then your maximum accrual should be 160 hours).

  • Tenureship: if you have additional time off benefits related to tenureship, you can input those rules here.

*Please note: balances do NOT compound - all added balances are in relation to the original policy amount. For example: let's say you give your team an additional 1 day (8 hours) of vacation for every year they work. This would mean that on their 2 year anniversary, they will earn a total of 16 additional hours of time off.

5. Time Off Balances

In this section, you'll set the rules for what to do with rollover and negative balances.

  • Should unused time off rollover into the following period: choose "yes" or "no" depending on if you want unused time to rollover into the next accrual period

  • Is there a maximum amount of time off rollover: select "yes" if there are a maximum number of hours you'd like to rollover (for ex: 40 hours)

  • Should unused rollover balances expire: select "yes" and set the expiry date if balances should expire

  • Can team members obtain a negative balance for this policy: select "yes" if team members are allowed to have negative time off balances, and choose the max amount of negative hours (for ex: max of -24 hours) 

  • Should negative balances be rolled into the following period: if you selected "yes" for allowing negative balances, you can choose if you'd like those negative balance to be rolled into the next accrual period

Frequently Asked Questions💡

1. When we assign policy to our existing employees, is the amount prorated?

No, for existing employees we need to do a Time Off Import. You will need to upload the desired total credit balance to be available for your team members.

To do this, run a report to pull all of your company emails. Export them to a spreadsheet, and add two data columns: Opening Balance and Effective Date. In the Opening Balance column, put the policy credit amount and this will have to be in hours. In the Effective Date column, put the date in MM-DD-YYYY format. Lastly, turn on the policy and upload the balance. This policy will now be available for your team to use.

2. How can I confirm that the balances were uploaded correctly?

As a best practice, we recommend running a test with one employee and then going to their profile and referencing the adjustment made to confirm balance. You can view this in two places:

  • Time Off Estimator

  • Time Off Historical Tab

3. How can we modify the current balance or delete an adjustment?

You can always make adjustments to the balance to showcase the accurate balance. In addition, you can delete adjustments if they were incorrect.

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