Skip to content
Alight named by Fortune as one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ in 2024

Workday Tenant: How organizations can prepare for time off requests after COVID-19


Though a time when COVID-19 travel bans are lifted may seem far into the future, organizations utilizing Workday should begin preparing for an influx of time-off requests and workforce absences.

Countries all over the world face national lockdowns and travel bans in an effort to “flatten the curve”, or slow the infection rate of COVID-19, and hundreds of flights, trips and vacations have been canceled or postponed. Workers who planned to use paid time off (PTO) for travel are now looking to reschedule trips for later in the year once travel is permitted, but there are currently no concrete predictions as to when this will be.

Alight’s guide provides tips on the best way to handle post-COVID-19 time-off requests in your Workday tenant, as well as how to prepare for potential periods of increased absences.

Ensure you have time-off plans configured in Workday

While there is currently no hard deadline for travel bans to be lifted, it is important that your organization is prepared for an increase in PTO requests as soon as possible. The first step is to ensure you have a time-off plan set up in your Workday tenant.

Accrue-As-You-Go time-off plans
This type of time-off plan allows workers to request time off as they need it, in hours or days, until the end of the year. It also allows employees to take time off without being restricted by the availability of a time-off balance. You can review how to create a simple Accrue-As-You-Go time-off plan and leave type with finite entitlement here. You can review the time-off plan using the All Time Off Plans report, and once set up, workers who are eligible for this plan can request time off.

Time-off plan tracking balances
This type of time-off plan allows you to define in Workday the amount of time that is available to your workers during a balance period. For example, this plan allows a worker taking time off on June 30 to use the PTO hours they would have accrued in July-December, in addition to the hours they have accrued January-May.

Make it easy for your employees to take PTO now

If your workforce feels enabled to take PTO now, they may not feel the need to accumulate PTO and use it at the end of the year. You can link your time-off so that workers can request time off intermittently, but still reduce Leave Type entitlement units, giving your workforce increased flexibility with their ability to take PTO.

Create measures to control who takes PTO

Creating validations to prevent workers from exceeding time-off limits has always been an important step in setting up time-off plans; these measures can serve to protect your workforce numbers from depleting. You can prevent workers from requesting more time off than they are allotted through:

  • Time Off Plan Balance Upper Limit

  • Time Off Consecutive Day Maximum

  • Time Off Maximum Time Off Units Allowed per Day

  • Business Process Condition Rules - Maximum Time Off Units Allowed in Request

  • Monitoring how many employees are taking PTO in real-time

Monitor your workforce globally with a custom Workday report

You can create a custom report that shows the Time Off and Leave Reasons for a worker at the country level and organizational level to ensure you are able to stay on top of your workforce count as employees begin to take PTO. This information is useful when revising company policies around vacation and holiday entitlements, as well as allowing managers and leadership to have a good understanding of their workforce capacity at any given time.

Considerations around approvals for time off

If your organization does not feel prepared for a large amount of PTO requests, you may want to review your Request Time Off business process design. Best practice recommends one level of approval for time off that routes to the worker’s manager. Your organization should also consider the mass approval action as an option in the event of large quantities of PTO requests flooding in to alleviate concerns around timely approvals for payroll processing.
If your Request Time Off business process is set up in a manner where requests are being sent to a role other than a manager, then the likelihood of large numbers of approvals sitting in a single person’s inbox is increased. This may impact the timely processing of payroll, so it is important to review your organization’s process for efficiency.