Leave, out of office and sickness

ChurchSuite's Calendar module includes 'easy-to-use' functionality for recording and tracking Leave, Out of office and Sickness. This has some distinct advantages: from a human resources perspective it facilitates managing your team's leave entitlement - and from a church management perspective it means that your team know with one glance of the calendar whether a key person is away on a particular day, which is especially helpful when planning events!

In this article

Overview of the intended functionality
Restricting user access to leave setups
Adding a leave setup for a user
Starting a new holiday/leave year
Adding leave requests
Adding rota unavailability
Leave approval
Adding custom leave types
Deleting a leave setup
Sickness recording

Overview of the intended functionality

ChurchSuite's 'Leave' functionality is part of the Calendar module only and is not accessible from any other part of the ChurchSuite ecosystem. Leave is shown on the module's Calendar to help users with event planning and help key staff avoid clashing leave requests. iCal feeds for user leave are also available (see related article).

You can add a Leave Setup for each user, which determines how many hours of leave they are entitled to take within the Leave Setup period and the expected working days and hours each day. Your users will be unable to submit leave requests of any type unless a Leave Setup is covering their leave request dates.

Line managers can be designated to each user's Leave Setup and they are notified when leave is added. If leave approval is enabled on a Leave Setup, line managers and Administrators can approve or decline (with a reason) pending leave requests, which will send an approval response back to the user. Approved leave can be later declined and vice versa. When leave is edited, the user and Line Manager(s) (minus the person who took the action) are notified. Similarly, if a user chooses to edit leave that has already been approved/declined, line managers will be notified of the leave request as if it was being added as a new request.

If leave approval is disabled, leave requests are added as if they had been approved by the user who added them and no approval information is shown in the Calendar module.

Access to the Leave Setup section is only available to Calendar module users who have at least Manage permissions for the module and to Administrators. However, it's possible to further restrict Leave Setup access to one or more User Groups so that Calendar module users with Manage/Admin permissions are unable to access the Leave Setup section if they are not User Group members.

Leave requests for 'Holiday' is the only leave type that is deducted from Leave Setup entitlement. Leave requests for all other leave types are recorded cumulatively without restriction for each Leave Setup period. There are several system leave types that cannot be edited or removed - Holiday, Out of Office, Working from Home, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Time off in Lieu, Compassionate Leave and Sickness. Additionally, through the Calendar Module Options, custom leave types can be added. Note that leave requests can only be made if the request includes at least one working day - it is not possible to add leave requests for just non-working days.

A user with Use permissions for the Calendar module will be able to view/add/edit/delete their leave; a user with at least Write permissions (inc. Administrators) will be able to view/add/edit/delete leave for any users (subject to their site permissions).

When adding a leave request the user is warned if it overlaps with any existing leave previously entered and validation detects if a 'Holiday' leave request takes a user over their Leave Setup allowance (with the option to override).

When adding a leave request a user can optionally select to add unavailability covering the full leave request period (even if the date range of working days within that period is shorter). If a leave request is subsequently changed, the unavailability will change automatically to match. If the leave is subsequently deleted or declined, the unavailability is removed.

The remainder of this article explains how to add leave setups for your users and how to manage the leave requests you receive.

Restricting user access to leave setups

Any user with at least Manage permissions for the Calendar module (and Administrators) can access the Leave Setup section.

However, it's possible to further restrict Leave Setup access to one or more User Groups so that only Manage/Admin users who are user group members can access the Leave Setup section. To configure this, head into the Calendar module's settings via the cogwheel icon in the top-right corner of the module.

On the Module Options tab scroll down to the Leave Access setting and click Edit to select the User Groups that the Leave Setup section is Visible to. If you are a Line Manager or need Leave Setup access, make sure that your user account is a member of one of the selected User Group restrictions - otherwise, you won't be able to access the Leave Setup section! See our related support article for further information on creating user groups.

Notice also the options to define custom Leave Types (explained later in this article) and the default settings for Standard Working Week and Working Day that will be applied to new Leave Setups; however, these defaults can be overridden when a new Leave Setup is added.

Adding a leave setup for a user

Working within the Calendar module, hover over the Leave menu and select Leave Setup. Within the Leave Setup section, click Add leave setup.

On the Add leave setup pop-up, select the User to whom the Setup relates - only active users can be selected. Enter the Leave Setup Start and End date range, typically a 'leave year'. You'll add a new Leave Setup (or duplicate an existing one) for each user and leave period/year. A user's Leave Setups cannot overlap with other Leave Setup periods - typically they run consecutively.

Enter the Leave Hours. Leave entitlement is expressed in hours rather than days since some employees may work variable hours within their working week - for example, taking a day of leave on a Tuesday might be a different number of hours from taking a day of leave on a Wednesday. Leave Hours may require a manual calculation. In the example below the user works 5 days of 7.5 hours each week. Their annual leave entitlement is 5 weeks so the Leave Hours are calculated as 5 x 7.5 x 5 = 187.5 hours. You may find the Notes field useful to keep track of the calculations you make.

Optionally assign one or more Line Managers who receive notifications when leave requests are added, edited or deleted. Optionally enable leave Approval - leave requests are added with a pending status that requires approval by a Line Manager or Administrator. See later in this article for further information about leave approval.

Finally, select the Days Worked and set the number of hours and working times - note that working times do not have to correlate to the number of hours. For example, some organisations may allow an hour's lunch break and others 30 minutes - the working times are an indication, whereas the number of hours is expected to be precise. ChurchSuite uses Days Worked and the number of hours to determine which dates within a leave request are treated as leave days to be deducted from the user's Leave Setup allowance and which dates are non-working days to be ignored. Click Save to add the leave setup.

The Leave Setup "View" page is shown summarising all the settings you've just added. You can return to this page at any time in the future to Edit and make changes to a user's leave setup. When making changes to a user's leave hours or working days/hours, these will impact existing leave requests for the leave setup period.

The Leave Setup section lists the setups for each user within a filtered leave period - use the View filter to switch to a different leave year. The Search can be used to filter long lists of Setups, with the matching list auto-filtering as you type a user name. The Usage column shows leave requests and leave entitlement remaining - pending status leave awaiting approval is shown in orange and approved leave in green. The leave setup Actions can be used to View, Edit, Duplicate or Delete a Leave Setup.

Starting a new holiday/leave year

You'll need to make some preparations for the start of each new leave period. Users will be unable to add leave requests of any leave type not covered by a Leave Setup. The easiest way to do this is to Duplicate a user's existing Leave Setup. From the Leave Setup section select Duplicate from the Action menu on the right-hand side of a user's existing Leave Setup within the list.

On the Duplicate leave setup pop-up make any necessary changes; in particular, check the User and update the Start and End date range to reflect the new Leave Setup period. Check that the Leave Hours, Working Days and Line Managers are still appropriate, perhaps where your organisation's leave policy increases leave entitlement for each completed year of service. You may find it helpful to use the Notes box to add details of any changes you are making for the new Leave Setup period. Click Save when you are finished.

Repeat the above steps to duplicate and add a new Leave Setup for each of your users for the new holiday/leave year.

Adding leave requests

Users with at least Write permissions for the Calendar module can add a leave request on behalf of any user. Those with Use permission can only add their leave requests. Leave requests are added in the Leave Requests section of the Calendar module, accessed by selecting Leave from the menu bar - click Add leave request...

Complete the Add leave request pop-up form. A leave request is added for the full date range specified, regardless of the user's working days within the leave request period - only working days are counted against the selected leave Type and only Holiday working days are deducted from the user's remaining Leave Setup entitlement. A leave request must include at least one working day - it's not possible to submit a leave request that doesn't impact any working days.

A warning alerts users to requests that will exceed their allowance. Users can then either amend their requested dates or ignore the excess and submit the leave request.

When submitting a leave request, a list of related working days is shown. For each All day working day listed, users can select AM or PM and change the Hours, perhaps to record a half day. Remember, it's the leave request Hours that are deducted from the user's 'Holiday' leave entitlement.

The option to Exclude public holidays (ticked by default, but the default can be changed in the module's settings) will deduct working days that fall on a public holiday from the leave request and will not count them as a deduction from the user's Leave Setup entitlement.

For 'Holiday' requests only, the Add leave request pop-up shows a leave usage indicator - showing approved (green) and pending (orange) leave, including the current request as a proportion of total leave entitlement for the selected Leave Setup period. Click Save to add the leave request.

If Leave Setup Approval is disabled, the request is added as if it had been approved by the user who added it and Line Manager notifications are sent. If Leave Setup Approval is enabled, the leave request is added with a pending status and Line Manager notifications are sent. After saving a leave request, the leave request's "View" page is shown. From a leave request "View" a user can Edit or Delete a leave request. Administrators and Line Managers will also see options to Approve or Decline (see later in this article) the request.

The Leave Requests list can be further filtered to view past or future requests, with additional filters for status, leave type and user. For a user with Use-only permission for the Calendar module, you will only their leave requests listed. Users with at least Write permission for the module will see requests for all users listed.

For multi-site customers, users only see requests for users who have access to the site they are currently viewing. If viewing as "All sites" you will only see Leave for users who have access to the sites that you have permission to access.

Where Approval is enabled for a Leave Setup, the Leave Requests list includes a visual indicator of each leave request's status - either pending (i.e. still requiring review/approval), approved or declined. Line managers and Manage/Admin users can approve and decline a leave request and a previously declined leave request can be later approved (and vice versa).

An Administrator can approve/decline any leave request. A user with at least Write permissions can approve/decline any leave request except their own (unless they are their own Line Manager!). A Line Manager can approve/decline any leave request for a user they line manage. A user with Use permissions will not see any other user's leave requests and is therefore unable to approve/decline them, even if they are a Line Manager (although they will still receive add/approve/decline/delete notifications).

If the leave request dates differ from the expected dates (based on the user's current Leave Setup working days), a mismatch warning message is shown (below). This scenario can occur if a user has an additional working day added to their Leave Setup mid-way through the year, but a leave request has already been entered. Existing leave requests do not auto-update to match the setup changes - this is a manual task to update them. For example, a Leave Setup says that a user works two days, Monday and Friday, and on 1st January they submit a leave request for December 24th-31st as leave. This is added as 2 working days of leave. On 1st July the user's working days are adjusted to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The existing leave request will not auto-update, but viewing the leave request will inform the user that the leave request no longer matches the Leave Setup working days. Click the resolve link will update the leave request working days to match the Leave Setup's working days.

Leave requests can be edited by the user or by any user with Write, Manage or Administrator permission, with the change notified to the user and their line manager (minus the person who took the action). For example, a line manager doesn't receive a leave change notification for changes they made to a user's leave request.

Where unavailability was added from a leave request, editing the request and changing the start/end dates will also update the unavailability entry to match. Similarly, editing a leave request and ticking Unavailable when it was not ticked previously will add unavailability, and editing and unticking Unavailable will remove any previously-added unavailability in the Rotas module.

If a user chooses to edit and change a leave request that has already been approved or declined, a message is displayed advising the user that the leave request has previously been approved/declined and that the changes now being made will require new approval by a Line Manager. On saving the changes the Line Manager(s) will be notified of the leave request as if it was being added as a new leave request.

Where a Leave Setup does not require approval, leave requests can be deleted at any time by the user or by any user with Write, Manage or Administrator permission. If unavailability was added when the leave request was added, deleting a leave request will also delete the unavailability.

Where a Leave Setup does require approval, leave requests can be deleted at any time by the user, by the Line Manager or by an Administrator. When leave is deleted, the user and Line Manager(s) (minus the person who took the action) will be notified of the deletion. Deleting a leave request will also delete the unavailability.

Adding rota unavailability

As introduced in the previous section, when adding a leave request for any leave type, users are also able to add matching unavailability to the Rotas module. The unavailability is added for the full leave request date range, regardless of the user's working days within that date range. This has the distinct advantage that those viewing the module's Calendar or the Unavailability list in the Rotas module will easily be able to see at a glance when a key team member is absent - which may be wider than just their working days.

If a leave request date range is subsequently changed, the unavailability entry is automatically updated to match. If a leave request is subsequently declined or deleted - or if Unavailable is subsequently unticked on a leave request - the unavailability entry is automatically removed.

Leave request unavailability

The Unavailable tick box will not be visible when adding leave requests if: -

  • The user is not linked to a contact profile in the Address Book (because unavailability is added for contacts, not users).
  • The Unavailability feature has not been enabled (or is currently disabled) in the Rotas module's settings.
  • Your organisation does not subscribe to the Rotas module.

Leave approval

Ordinarily, leave requests are added as if they had been approved by the user who added them, with no further "approval" information shown.

However, where Requires Approval is enabled for a user's leave setup, a line manage user or Administrator viewing the leave request has actions available to Approve or Decline the request. Each time leave is approved or declined the user and date/time of the action are recorded in the leave request's Changes log.

Clicking Approve will update the request status to Approved. The leave request user will be notified of the status change. Approved leave can be declined (which will remove any previously linked unavailability).

Clicking Decline will ask the user to enter a decline reason (required) and update the request status to Declined. If unavailability was added when the leave was added, the unavailability will be deleted. The leave user will be notified of the status change. Declined leave can be approved (which will add unavailability if the option is ticked on the request).

Leave permissions explained...
  • A user with Use permissions who does not line-manage anyone will only see their leave, with no access to Leave Setup, including their own.
  • A user with Use permissions who line manages other users will see their leave and that of the users they line manage, with no access to Leave Setup.
  • A user with Write or higher, permissions where Leave Setup access is not restricted by a user group will see leave for all users, with full access to Leave Setup.
  • A user with Write or higher, permissions where Leave Setup access is restricted by user group, and the user is not within those user groups, will see their leave and that of users they line manage, with no access to Leave Setup.
  • A user with Write or higher, permissions where Leave Setup access is restricted by user group, and the user is within those user groups, will see leave for all users, with full access to leave Setup.
  • A user with Administrator permissions where Leave Setup access is restricted by a user group, and the admin is not within those user groups, will see leave for all users, with no access to Leave Setup.
  • A user with Administrator permissions where Leave Setup access is restricted by user group, and the user is within those user groups, will see leave for all users, with full access to leave Setup.

Adding custom leave types

While ChurchSuite includes commonly-used leave types - for Holiday, Out of Office, Working from Home, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Time off in Lieu, Compassionate Leave and Sickness - it's also possible to add custom Leave Types in the Calendar module's settings. Click Edit to make changes.

On the Leave Types pop-up click Add Type. Custom leave types added in this way are immediately selectable in the Type drop-down list when adding leave requests.

If you subsequently delete a custom leave type, existing leave requests for that type will be changed to Unknown, but the leave requests are retained.

Deleting a leave setup

If at any point you need to delete a user's Leave Setup, select Delete from the Action menu on the right-hand side of the Leave Setup list. This is a destructive action that deletes all leave requests linked to the leave setup.

Sickness

While all users can 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 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!

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