The 2024 guide to employee vacation tracking

by Andy Nguyen
employee vacation tracking

Curious about employee vacation tracking?

You might be able to remember your employees’ attendance details for a day or a week. However, will you be able to remember their leaves after a month?

That’s why you’ll need to start tracking your employee’s leaves and vacations. Usually, small teams store leave records in an employee attendance register. 

But you’ll have a hard time maintaining these records as your business grows.

Fortunately, we have modern solutions to help with employee vacation tracking.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you should know about employee leave tracking and also highlights the best online vacation tracking software.

This article includes:

(click on specific links to jump to a particular section)

Let’s get started.

What is employee vacation tracking?

Employee vacation tracking is a system that helps you monitor an employee’s single day offs, long vacations, holidays, and other leaves.

What are the different types of leaves?

You can classify leaves into paid and unpaid leaves based on whether employees receive any compensation for it.

Some examples of unpaid leaves are:

  • Casual leave.
  • Vacation leave.
  • FMLA leave.
  • Public holiday.

Paid leaves include:

  • Sick leave.
  • Maternity leave.
  • Jury duty.
  • Paid vacation day.
  • Annual leave and other PTOs (Paid Time Off.)

How can you track employee vacation days?

Let’s take a look at two ways you can track your employees’ leaves and vacations:

A. Using spreadsheet

Vacation tracking using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets requires you to feed all the attendance and leave data in a worksheet. 

You can also use a premade attendance timesheet template, so you don’t have to start from scratch.

Here are a few pros and cons of using an Excel template:


1. Easy to use

A vacation tracking template is easy to use. 

Your HR team members could learn how to track attendance with the Excel templates within an hour or two.


1. Prone to errors

You’ll have to enter the leave data of each employee into the tracker template manually — which can lead to a few errors. 

Additionally, since the records are physical, they need to be adequately maintained. Otherwise, they could get deleted, damaged, or even hacked.

2. Can be manipulated

As Excel templates are easy to use, many professionals know how to use and misuse them. This means that someone apart from your HR manager can change your leave history.

Additionally, if you’re using a Google Sheet, you can’t secure your sheets with a password.

B. Using software

An employee vacation tracking software takes care of all the confusing leave paperwork.

It records the count of each leave type so that it’s easier to calculate payrolls and get leave approvals.

Here are the pros and cons of using vacation tracking software:


1. Reports on each employee

Vacation tracking software automatically prepares leave and attendance reports on each of your employees. Using these reports, you can make important decisions like salary raises, promotions, etc. with ease.

2. Ability to view leave history

With direct access to employees’ time-off history, the HR team can determine whether your employees are slacking off or being chronically absent. 

They could monitor the working patterns of less productive employees and give them appropriate advice on improving their efficiency.  

Wondering how to improve your employees’ attendance? 

Check out the 8 Tips to Create an Effective Employee Attendance Improvement Plan.

3. Accurate tracking with advanced features

Employee vacation tracking software enables accurate tracking of employee time offs and paid vacation days. They also provide other features like compliance, productivity, and payroll management to streamline HR processes.

4. Boosts productivity

When employees know their time off is being recorded, they tend to work better. 

A study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience reported that people perform better when they’re being watched. 

Moreover, employee vacation tracking software has features that allow the manager or HR team to access the time worked by each employee. This way, they can see if an employee can finish more tasks in a shorter period of time.

5. Error free payroll

Using spreadsheets to calculate payrolls is unreliable due to human error.

You can accurately pay your employees and freelancers based on the work hours if you use employee vacation tracking software. You’ll also be able to prevent any financial losses due to incorrect invoices.


1. Expensive

Since software provides extra features and has more benefits, they’re costlier than spreadsheets.

And even after you buy the software, some of them might have advanced features that you’ll need to purchase separately.

So if you run a small business, you might have to think twice before getting vacation tracking software.

6 excellent employee vacation tracking software 

Here are six excellent PTO tracking software available today:

1. BambooHR


BambooHR is a SaaS-based vacation tracker and an HR solution suite. 

It has a centralized employee database, benefit and payroll management, applicant tracking system, and many other features.

Key features

  • Tracks time spent on each project.
  • Approve leaves in a click.
  • Automated employee timesheets.
  • Customizable PTO policy feature.
  • Integrates with Google Calendar.
  • Intuitive desktop and mobile tracking app.


Price available on request.

Customer ratings

  • G2: 4.3/5 (500+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.5/5 (1000+ reviews)

2. Paycor


Used by teams in several medium and small businesses, Paycor is a great HR solution that allows your human resources team to complete their tasks quickly and accurately. 

They offer features to help you manage payroll and tax, streamline the onboarding process, provide training to employees, and more.

Key features

  • View and manage day offs from a single screen.
  • User-friendly dashboard.
  • Cost-effective employee time and leave management.
  • Records hours worked by each employee.
  • Employee self service portal.


Price available on request.

Customer ratings

  • G2: 4.1/5 (200+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.2/5 (50+ reviews)

3. ADP Workforce Now


ADP Workforce Now is a cloud-based software that provides complete human resource management solutions. They can help you save time and effort by taking over tasks like employee attendance management, payroll, talent management, benefits, etc. 

Moreover, it can integrate with other HR applications like iCIMS recruits and Built for Teams to enable you to use its cutting edge features.

Key features

  • Employee self-service leave requests.
  • Automate time tracking, manage work schedule, and attendance tracking.
  • Manage payroll entry and PTO accrual.
  • User-friendly interface. 
  • Easy integration with other desktop and mobile apps. 


Price available on request.

Customer ratings

  • G2: 4.1/5 (2500+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.2/5 (50+ reviews)

4. Zenefits


Zenefits is a SaaS-based platform helping small and medium-sized businesses manage their employees. It can help your HR department manage benefits, payroll, and performance activities with ease.

Key features

  • Collect employee attendance.
  • Track employee PTO.
  • Calculate the number of employee hours.
  • Conduct a performance review of each employee.
  • Create time off calendar feeds.
  • Keep tabs on vacation time.


A free demo is available. Price available on request on their website.

Customer ratings

  • G2: 4.1/5 (200+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.2/5 (500+ reviews)

5. UKG Ready

UKG Ready

UKG Ready is a software that combines human resource, payroll, and workforce management to provide services that reduce your HR team’s workload.

Popular for its user-friendly features, UKG Ready tracks time worked, attendance, PTO, sick day offs, and other tasks.

Key features

  • Helps complete timesheets quickly.
  • Track time off accrual.
  • Calculate payroll.
  • Updates real-time employee data to help decision making. 


Price available on request.

Customer ratings

  • G2: 4.0/5 (800+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.5/5 (200+ reviews)

6. Kronos Workforce Ready Suite

kronos homepage

Kronos Workforce Ready Suite offers a customizable solution for medium to large businesses. The suite has tools ranging from leave tracking, payroll, scheduling, data collection, and more.

Key features

  • Monitor and manage leave balances.
  • Create shift schedules by analyzing employee attendance.
  • Notifications to inform whether an employee is absent.
  • Advanced payroll reports.
  • Available as Android and iOS apps.


Price available on request.

Customer ratings

  • G2: 4.0/5 (800+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.1/5 (740+ reviews)

What are the benefits of an employee vacation tracker?

An employee leave tracker will help your HR team, employees, and the entire business in many ways.

Let’s take a look at a few of them:

1. Less workload

Is your HR team too busy?

They have to hire and evaluate employees, prepare payroll, calculate holiday pay and compensations and salary hikes, update company policies, etc.

Managing all these tasks manually will be so hectic that they might overwork. The pressure of completing tasks will also lead to lower productivity.

So, if you get a leave tracker, it would take tedious tasks off their shoulders. 

They can also manage their workload by investing the extra time in other tasks that require more attention.

2. Record the number of leaves

Every organization has a set of attendance policies.

These policies clearly mention the number of days an employee can take leave in a year and how many of them are paid. Every time an employee asks for a leave, you have to manually update their leave balance and confirm they have the type of leave left. 

This process is highly stressful, as even a small error can cause clashes and subsequently ruin the firm’s reputation.

By using an employee leave tracker, you can eliminate or reduce errors as you just have to input the data, and the software does the rest.

3. Approve leaves after analyzing record

What do you do when an employee comes with a vacation request

You go through your records and check whether the employee has any leaves left.

You would also have to confirm that there’s at least one employee available to take over their important tasks to prevent any hitches in the workflow. 

Even though the overall process consists of only two steps, looking through a long list of names and numbers is taxing and time-consuming.

With an employee vacation tracker, you can access all these details in seconds and schedule work accordingly.

4. Prevent overworking of employees

The longer you work, the more productive you are, right?

Unfortunately, while overworking might seem to benefit the business, the opposite is the truth. An overworking employee won’t have a healthy work-life balance and will be less productive

How can an employee vacation tracker prevent your employee from overworking?

The employee vacation tracker will help you determine the pay period, sign in-out time of your employees. 

So, you’ll know when they’re overworking so you can prevent them from getting burnt out. You can also give them compensatory leaves or pay extra if they have worked on weekends.

5. Helps employees make better decisions

Employees might not necessarily remember the details of their leave unless they keep a record of it. 

They can refer to the leave information with a vacation tracker and make leave requests on the same platform. 

Depending on their leave history, they can take a mini vacation, a day off, or sick leave. You’ll also know in advance about their leaves and can approve them instantly.

6. Calculate payroll easily

While it’s okay to make mistakes while preparing payroll, using an employee vacation tracker will help you reduce them.


An employee vacation tracker will sync payrolls with the accounting record of each employee upon vacation request and calculate their payroll, including paid vacation, and tax in a few clicks. 

Final thoughts

Tracking employees’ leaves on your own isn’t impossible.

But why do that when you have something more cost-effective and reliable?

Getting an employee leave tracker will help your HR team organize attendance data. The tracker will take care of monotonous tasks and give you time to manage other important ones.

So why not pick an employee vacation tracker from the tools we covered above and increase your business productivity today?

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