Handling a Leave Request

Shawnee Love   •  
February 12, 2015

If you have never had one before, the first request for leave from an employee can be an uncomfortable experience -like trying to find your way blindfolded through an obstacle course.

If you find yourself in that situation, here’s what to do:

Shameless plug alert:  Call us.  We can talk you through your legal obligations and your procedural and operational considerations.

If you want to do it on your own, then:

  1. It is best to start by gathering information on your legal obligations.
  2. Consider your organization’s past precedents and look for any established procedures on handling the type of the leave your employee has requested.
  3. Reflect on the operational realities you will face having that person away and how you will get the work done.  Don’t forget that you have to keep the job open if the leave is one you are legally required to offer your employee (such as maternity leave, medical leave, compassionate care leave, etc.).  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t backfill on a temporary basis.
  4. Meet with your employee about their leave request and ensure you have all the facts.  Firm up planned leave start and end dates.  Advise your employee how often you will be in touch during the leave (this is really important for keeping people on long term leaves connected to the business and dramatically increases the likelihood they will return from leave). Agree on next steps.
  5. Follow up the meeting with a letter (or email) confirming what you have agreed to and any other steps or requirements that need to occur to effect the leave.  That letter will be your plan going forward and while things may change, the planning process you have gone through will prepare you to flex accordingly.

All that is left to do is execute the plan.