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How can organisations manage global employee leave compliance?

17 May 2024 5 min read

managing global employee leave compliance

Managing leave in any one country comes with certain regulations and rules that must be followed, but for organisations that operate in several different countries, global employee leave compliance becomes even more complex.

Employees are legally entitled to many different types of leave across the world – including annual leave, parental leave, bereavement leave and sickness leave – and the laws regarding each of these varies widely from country to country. For example, all countries in the EU have a minimum annual leave entitlement of 4 weeks, whilst in China, the statutory allowance is 5 days. You can read more about how annual leave entitlements vary from country to country here.

If your organisation operates internationally, you’re challenged with meeting different local laws and regulations related to absence and leave entitlement laws. It can a be a sharp learning curve if an organisation expands into a new country, for example, or routinely moves employees from one country to another.

And when managing a global team, having visibility of all absence and leave, carryover, absence rates, productivity levels and resourcing, is a huge challenge. Especially without a streamlined system for managing absence and leave, and relying on manual methods such as paper and spreadsheets.

The challenges of managing employee leave on a global scale

Varied leave types

Certain types of leave, such as maternity, paternity and parental leave, can look very different from country to country. For example in some countries like Vietnam, parental leave is not into maternity and paternity entitlements. Instead, both parents are entitled to a total of 18 weeks’ leave collectively, but only one parent can take leave at any one time. In the UK, maternity leave is 52 weeks, while paternity is 2 weeks.

Similarly, there are different rules surrounding adoption leave, dependents leave, and bereavement leave, with differing entitlements and rules on how these can be used around the world.

This presents a challenge for global organisations, that must ensure they are adhering to local laws for the countries they operate in. Several employees in different countries could be taking parental leave at any one time, but the duration, pay, return processes and terminology surrounding that parental leave could vary greatly.

Language barriers

Communicating leave policies and procedures clearly can be a challenge when employees speak different languages. Organisations need to ensure their leave request processes and any related information are available in multiple languages.

Cultural and religious differences

Cultural and religious holidays vary greatly around the world. A globally operating company needs to be aware of these differences and ensure their leave policy is flexible enough to accommodate them. This may include being aware of any public holidays that take place in different countries. The UK for example has 8 bank holidays but some countries, such as Columbia, has an many as 18 public holidays.

Leave tracking and record keeping

Keeping accurate records of leave taken by employees across multiple countries can be a logistical nightmare. This is especially true if the organisation uses manual methods for tracking leave requests. Different branches of the business might be using their own methods for tracking absence and leave, making for an incredibly disjointed approach that it is hard to streamline for an accurate picture of how much leave is being used, what your absence rates are, and when your employees are actually taking time off.

How to successfully manage global employee leave compliance

Standardise where possible

While complete standardisation might not be achievable, look for commonalities across leave policies in different regions. This can help streamline processes and make it easier for HR and people managers to manage absences and leave requests.

Centralised policy with local variations

Develop a core leave policy that applies to all employees, then include addendums that address local legal requirements and cultural norms in each country of operation.

Clear communication

Make sure your leave policy and procedures are clearly communicated to all employees in their native language. This includes providing information on how to request leave, what types of leave are available, and how leave balances are calculated.

Transparency and fairness

Ensure a fair and transparent leave approval process across all locations. Avoid situations where leave requests are more readily approved in some countries compared to others.

Training for managers

Train managers on the nuances of the leave policy, including local variations and how to handle requests effectively. This empowers them to make informed decisions while maintaining a positive employee experience.

Promote work-life balance

Encourage employees to take advantage of their leave entitlements. A well-rested workforce is a more productive workforce.

Leverage technology

A comprehensive leave management system can handle the complexities of global leave policies. A system like edays can automate tasks such as leave approval, sickness tracking, calculate remaining entitlements, provide in-depth absence reporting, and ensure global compliance with local regulations.

How edays can help with managing global employee leave compliance

If you want to successfully manage international leave compliance like Trimble, Syngenta, and Monster Energy, you just need the right system on your side. Such a system will make the whole process simple, streamlined, and automatic.

With edays, Trimble is now able to cater to each country’s individual absence rules seamlessly, ensuring local regulations are being followed with clear workforce visibility across the Netherlands, Romania, Germany, and more. You can read the full transformational success story here.

Our solution seamlessly integrates with your existing HR and payroll systems. So you don’t have to worry about manually calculating holiday allowance and other statutory rights for every international employee. It’s flexible, easy-to-manage, and it handles different compliance rules across the world automatically.

Our system won’t just help you stay compliant with international employment law – with accurate, powerful, and comprehensive reporting and insights we can help you spot emerging absence trends to make more strategic business decisions. We’ll also improve visibility and collaboration between your international teams, while a range of features will help drive a culture of wellbeing across your whole global organisation.

See how edays absence management software can help you

See how edays absence management software can help you

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Harry Customer Success Manager at edays
May 17, 2024

Harry is Head of Customer Success here at edays, helping organisations to get the very best out of their edays system. His experience in SaaS and HR brings valuable insight into how organisations can better manage their people, processes and productivity.