Leave, out of office and sickness

With ChurchSuite you can record and track Leave, Out of office and Sickness through the Calendar module. This has a number of advantages: from a human resources perspective it facilitates managing your staff's leave entitlement. From a church management perspective, it means that your staff know with one glance at the calendar whether a member of staff is away on a particular day. Here is how to use this convenient set of features. Importantly, leave is not visible on your public/member-facing calendar (e.g. if your calendar is embedded in your church's website, or in My ChurchSuite).

In this article

Overview of the Leave functionality
Adding leave
Recording rota unavailability when adding Leave
Creating custom Leave types
Editing or cancelling leave
Sending leave notifications to line managers
Managing user Leave allowance
Starting a new holiday year?
Deleting a user's Leave setup
Keeping on top of the changes to Leave Setup with 'change logs'
Sickness recording
Frequently asked questions

Overview of the 'Leave' functionality

The Leave functionality in ChurchSuite operates on a "trust" basis and is not intended to be an "approvals" system. While each church will have their own internal processes for handling leave requests, optional line manager notifications can be configured in each user's Leave Set Up, but there is no accept/decline option for leave requests currently.

By adding Leave in the Calendar module, team member absence and time off can be helpfully displayed on your ChurchSuite calendar to help with event planning, as well as ensuring staff are not clashing with their leave bookings. This feature is also useful for your volunteers with user accounts - to know when they are going to be absent too.

All users with Calendar module access will be able to view Leave on the Calendar in ChurchSuite, enabling teams to work collaboratively and share this important information. Please note that the Calendar only shows Leave for working days - so if a leave sequence is added for Monday to Friday, but Wednesday is not a working day for that user, the Calendar will not show leave on the Wednesday. For multi-site churches, the Calendar only shows leave for users that have permissions for the site being viewed.

The Leave functionality also allows churches to record different Types of Leave. Holiday is the only leave Type that removes time from a person’s leave entitlement. You can also add custom leave types in the Calendar module's options.

Leave entitlement (Holiday entitlement) for each Leave Setup period can be created for any active user. Adding a future Leave Setup in advance will enable users to book their future leave. Use the View selector to switch between different Leave Setup periods.

The Leave Setup page provides an informative summary of each user's annual leave, showing their entitlement for the Period and a progress bar showing how much Leave has been used and the amount remaining. Users who have exceeded their leave entitlement (permissible by an override option) are shown in red.

The Leave section provides a helpful summary of leave allowance and entitlement remaining for each user. The Leave Setups can be filtered for different leave period.

The Leave Summary report in the Calendar module's reports section provides a helpful list of the leave taken and a summary of total leave taken/remaining, for each user. The report can be filtered for a designated Leave Setup Period and by User Group.

Adding Leave

Go to "Calendar" > "Leave" and click Add Leave.

Complete the Leave details - the Person (listed as their user name), [leave] Type and any optional Notes, and finally the Dates. Users can optionally add a block rota unavailability booking when adding their leave, saving them a further task.

When adding dates - select Add date(s). Note the option to Exclude public holidays? - this feature enables you to choose whether a Leave booking in respect of a public holiday should be deducted from their Leave entitlement. By default public holidays are excluded from leave bookings, meaning that public holidays don't count as a reduction in leave entitlement.

If a User attempts to add Leave in excess of their annual Leave allowance, an Allowance Exceeded warning message is displayed when attempting to save a leave booking, with the option to override - to Ignore allowance and create the leave anyway, or to amend the Leave date(s) accordingly.

Once saved, the leave booking is added to the list of leave for all users. For multi-site churches viewing as a specific site (rather than "All sites"), you will only see Leave bookings (and Leave Setup) for those users who have access to the site you are currently viewing.

Recording rota unavailability when adding Leave

When adding any type of Leave, including custom leave types, users whose profile is linked to their Address Book contact profile can optionally add a block booking of rota unavailability in respect of date range of leave being booked. The Unavailable checkbox is only provided where the user is linked to their contact profile and where there is an active Leave Setup for that user.

Adding unavailability - intended functionality

Note that unavailability is block-booked as "All day" covering the full range of working dates in the leave booking sequence, irrespective of the individual days within the range of the sequence. So if a leave sequence is added for Monday to Friday, but the Wednesday is not marked as leave or is not a working day, unavailability will still be block-booked for the full Monday to Friday. Similarly, if a leave sequence is added for Monday to Friday, but only Tuesdays and Thursdays are working days, unavailability will be added for Tuesday to Thursday. In these instances, if you wish to be more specific and avoid inaccurate block-bookings of unavailability when adding leave, then the user should manually add their unavailability separately from their leave.

Care should be taken when automatically adding unavailability where multiple leave bookings are being processed in a single leave entry - for example, adding a leave entry for 1st April and the 30th September in the same leave booking would result in block-booking unavailability for 1st April through to 30th September! In this example, process each leave period booking individually.

Once unavailability has been added when adding leave, subsequent changes to that leave entry (including deleting leave) will not update the original unavailability block booking - unavailability will need to be edited separately.

The option to add rota unavailability is only available when a new leave booking is being made - there is no option to add or edit unavailability when editing an existing leave booking.

The "Unavailable" check box will not be visible if: -

  • The user profile is not linked to a contact profile in the Address Book.
  • The Unavailability feature has not been enabled (or is disabled) in the Rotas module settings.
  • The user does not have an active Leave Setup profile in the Calendar module.
  • Your church does not have the Rotas module.

Creating custom leave types

While ChurchSuite includes most common Leave types, it's also possible to add custom Leave types in the Calendar module's settings.

Editing or cancelling leave

To edit or cancel leave, click through to the Leave list. Use the View, Type and User filters to narrow your search results and locate the leave booking that you wish to edit or cancel.

Click the action cog menu on the right-hand side of the leave booking and select the appropriate option - to View, Duplicate, Edit or Delete the selected leave booking.

If you wish to simply cancel (delete) one or more dates from within a leave sequence (perhaps where a person is shortening their holiday), select to Edit the leave entry and click the 'X' next to a date to delete. Remember to save your changes.

Sending leave notifications to line managers

Within each user's Leave Setup you can designate one or more Line Managers who will receive an email notification when a leave entry of any type is added to the Calendar module. A line manager must also be a user.

Managing user leave allowance

Ordinarily, a user requires Manage module or Administrator permissions to access the Leave Setup section. However, it is possible to restrict access further to just those users within designated User Groups. To do this, head into the Calendar module's options and scroll down the page to the Leave Setup visibility option. Select which User Group(s) are able to access the Leave Setup section - see the related support article for creating User Groups. Save your changes before navigating away from the module options. If you are one of the users responsible for managing leave, remember to add your own user account to one of the User Groups that leave setup visibility is restricted to!

Next, in the Calendar module and hover over the Leave menu - you will see a choice of My Leave and Leave Setup. Select Leave Setup.

Select Add leave setup from the Add drop-down button.

The Add leave setup page is opened.

From the drop-down list, select the Person for whom you're adding a leave setup, and optionally set their Line Manager(s) who will receive leave request notifications. Enter the leave Period representing your organisation's leave period/year for that person, and the Leave Hours.

In the example below, the user "Paul" works 3 days of 7 hours each week. His leave entitlement is 5 weeks, so his leave hours are 3 x 7 x 5 = 105 hours. Notice that the Days worked by staff member have been set in respect of the 3 days this user works. ChurchSuite uses these working days to determine which dates within a leave booking are to be treated as leave days that are deducted from the user's leave allowance.

When you have finished adding all the information, click Save Changes. Repeat this process for each user who you want to manage leave allowance for.

Starting a new leave year?

You'll need to make some preparations for the start of each new Leave period for your church. Users will not be possible to add Leave for a future leave period until this has been done. The easiest way to do this is to Duplicate an existing leave setup.

From the list of Leave Setup, select Duplicate from the action cog menu on the right-hand side of the list.

Be sure to make any necessary changes - in particular, update the leave Period dates to reflect the new Leave period and check that the Leave Hours and Days worked are still appropriate. You may find it helpful to use the Notes box to add details of any changes you are making for the new leave period.

Remember to Save Changes before navigating away from the page.

Deleting a user's leave setup

If at any point you need to delete a user's Leave Setup, simply select Delete from the cog action menu on the right-hand side of the Leave Setup list.

You'll be taken through a two-stage confirmation process. Deleting a user's leave setup for a period will delete all leave bookings associated with that leave period. Deleting leave setup is not reversible - delete with caution!

Keeping on top of the changes

Whenever changes are made to a user's Leave Setup, a record of the change is added to the changes log, visible at the bottom of the Leave Setup page. The log includes the change date and time, the user that made the change, and a description of the change. There is also the option to Undo changes made.

Sickness

While all users are able to record most types of Leave - holiday, compassionate leave, out of office, including any custom leave types you have added - sickness requires a user to have "Manage" permissions for the Calendar module in order to be able to add sickness leave against a user. This is intended functionality to ensure that statutory leave records for sickness (which may give rise to a payroll adjustment) are managed appropriately by a manage-level user and prevent use-only level users from adding sickness records themselves!

Frequently asked questions

Can I manage staff expenses and time sheets using ChurchSuite?

No, the Calendar module's "Leave" functionality is only intended to provide information helpful to event management i.e. knowing if key users/team members will be absent when planning events. In this regard, ChurchSuite is not intended to be a replacement for your designated HR software, which can better manage expenses and time recording of staff members.

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