Ask the Workforce Wizard

Ask the Workforce Wizard

Question:

I am in the process of building a business case to change our method for approving/denying time-off requests and I was hoping to provide supporting data from others in the industry.

I am interested to know the way you determine your agents’ time-off requests. Do you base it on performance, tenure, a combination, or first-come, first-served? Or perhaps another method? Thanks in advance!

Answer:

We put this question out to several of our “wizards” and got several different answers:

  • We offer two six-month PTO bids: January-June and July-December. For most departments, PTO bids are for permanent employees ONLY based on a combination of performance and tenure. Bid requests are based on a minimum allowance per day; however, if a person requests a week long period, we process the request based on the 60%/40% rule. That is, if they were approved 60% of the days based on available allowance, we will automatically approve the other 40% even if allowance was not available. After the permanent employees complete their bid, we open the rest of the days to everyone (temps and perms) on a first-come, first-served basis. Waitlisted days are reviewed during a two-week schedule run to approve over allowances. Employees will know the status at the release of the two-week schedule run.For another department, we offer the two six-month bids for the year. However, permanent employees will bid first based on performance, tenure, and available allowance. After permanent employees complete their bid, then temps will bid on what is left over based on their performance and tenure. Once bids are completed, then it becomes first-come, first-served to all.
  • The best arrangement I have had was to have a six-month bid twice a year. This does not mean ALL vacation had to be planned but it allowed people to get early dibs in. Time off was awarded through a ranking process based on tenure and performance for the bid. After that bid, everything became first-come, first-served for the six-month period. I did my bids in November covering January-July, then another bid in May for end of July-January.
  • We currently open one month at a time, six months in advance (e.g., we open July in January), and it is first-come, first-served. We are in the process of revisiting this.
  • Our vacation and sick time is allocated in one PTO bank.

Vacation Bids: Once yearly based on seniority. Due to high season, vacation time is blocked Jan-Mar. Must bid all vacation time except for 5 FLEX days that can be used/scheduled throughout the year.

Individual Time-off Requests (hours or days): Based on work group / span and end time of request in order received via our software.

  • I believe it works best with semi-annual bids based on performance (with tenure as the tie-breaker), then first-come, first-served after that. This gives incentives for new hires to perform well since they can see the light at the end on getting some preferred time off.