4 Ways Your Payroll System is Letting You Down

June 8, 2017 | BizRun Team
Payroll system

Whether you implemented the payroll system you use at your company or it was grandfathered in before you started working there, you’re at the mercy of its flaws and shortcomings. And while a payroll system may be excellent at getting your staff paid, it’s not always the best system for managing paid time off. For that, you may need a supplemental solution. If any of the following complaints sound familiar, it may be time to start shopping for an effective PTO software solution.

1. PTO approval isn’t easy

Likely, your payroll system only tracks accrued paid time off and doesn’t help with the actual process of an employee requesting vacation time and getting supervisor approval. Maybe you didn’t even realize that there was an option outside of hunting down managers that need to approve paid time off requests. Good news: there is. PTO software can automate the approval process as soon as a request is made in the system, so that you’re not physically running around to get it.

Why you need a better solution: If you stop to add up all the time you spend with pending PTO requests that can’t be processed until the appropriate managers approve or deny the request, as well as the time you spend talking to those managers to nudge them into making that decision, it really adds up. Having mechanisms that facilitate getting these approvals faster means you have more time to focus on other aspects of your job.

2. It doesn’t provide visibility into schedule conflicts

Payroll systems are great at payroll, but they provide so little data or support for PTO that they’re pretty inefficient in this department. If you have an analog PTO policy where employees come to your office to request time off, you have to also manually create a calendar to see who else has requested time off in the same period. Because of the inherent clunkiness and opportunity for mistakes in this approach, you might approve someone’s vacation when you already have three other people out of the office. That can mean major issues when it comes to keeping up with customer service and productivity in your business. Since you were the one to approve these various requests, it’s on you to ensure that the rest of the team picks up the slack while everyone else is out.

Why you need a better solution: Wouldn’t it be great if the employee requesting the time off could see for themselves whether their request conflicts with someone else’s? Being able to instantly spot any potential schedule conflicts will streamline PTO approval and ensure that your business is always staffed for maximum productivity. A good PTO software solution will provide this.

3. It doesn’t display real-time PTO accrual

When an employee receives her pay stub, the time off available that is reflected on it may be out of date. First, the pay period was a week or longer ago, so she’s accrued more time off since then. And if she has taken time off since that paycheck was processed, she actually has less PTO available than her pay stub indicates. So having an employee rely on her pay stub for her PTO balance is less than ideal.

Why you need a better solution: Let’s say an employee thinks she has 16 hours available in PTO because that’s what her recent paycheck indicated. So she asks for two days off next month. You’re about to approve the request, but then you realize she took half a day off last week because she was sick. So you’ve spent time digging through her records to find out what her “real” PTO is. That’s time wasted. A PTO solution should provide both you and your employee real-time PTO data that would ensure she could self-govern her time off and only ask for what’s actually available.

4. It definitely can’t forecast future accruals

In a given year, many employees know when they want to take time off. Maybe her sister Mary is getting married six months from now, so your employee Farrah wants to take time off for the bachelorette party and ceremony. But because your payroll system is so archaic when it comes to managing PTO, Farrah can’t easily calculate how much time she’ll have by the time the wedding rolls around. So she waits until it gets closer. On the flip side, you really like your staff to put in as much advanced notice as possible for their vacation requests. But how can they do that if they don’t know that they’ll have enough time off?

Why you need a better solution: It’s important for both you (from an HR perspective) and your employees to be able to forecast paid time off. Payroll systems rarely do that. A comprehensive PTO software will be able to calculate future time off, so when employees request time in the future, the system can verify if they have enough accrued or not.

BizRun does this by indicating that they’ll be “borrowing” PTO hours from future accrual. If you as an HR manager are okay with that, you can approve the request. However, if the request will eat into next year’s PTO accrual, you might ask the employee to modify her request to only use this year’s accrued time.

Investing in PTO tracking software will help you and your employees streamline time off requests, gain real-time insight into current and future accruals, and avoid schedule conflicts. It will give your people the tools they need to avoid putting in requests they shouldn’t – for time off that exceeds what they’ll earn or that conflicts with other requests. It will also help ensure that your employees actually take the time that they have earned.

More than half of employees leave vacation days on the table each year, and that’s a liability that you may have to pay out when they leave your company. Ready access to PTO information means your employees can more easily request and take time off. And you’ll spend less time managing them to do so.

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