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Creating Time Off Policies

Learn to create different kinds of time off policies

Shoshana Fleischmann avatar
Written by Shoshana Fleischmann
Updated over a week ago

One of the most important aspects of running a business is managing and approving your employee's time off. This could be a vacation, a sick day, or simply a day off. When it comes to time off each of your employees should know and understand, from the first day of work what the policies are regarding time off. Policies should be clear and accessible to your employee, and they should know exactly how much time off they receive whether it's paid or unpaid, and their current balance. When employees don't have access to this information, it demonstrates that time off is not a priority to the company, and that can hamper employee productivity. With Connecteam's time-off feature, you can create all the policies you need, in a way that is transparent to both your managers and employees.

In this article we will go over:

The Differences Between Policy Types and Policies

A Policy Type: refers to the type of time off you would like to give your employees.

These can be, for example, time off, sick leave, jury duty, parental leave bereavement, and so on. A policy type can be either paid or unpaid. To add a policy type click on 'Add Policy type' in the paid or unpaid sections and then select the policy type or create a policy type.

Policies: are created under a policy type and allow managers to set rules that can be specific to the employees assigned to the policy. For example, Paid time off for full-time employees or Paid time off for part-time employees.

Let's use an example to better understand the differences.

We added a policy type called paid time off. This is the type of time off I'm giving employees. We have however two different policies because there are full-time and hourly employees. Under my paid time off policy, I will create two policies one for my Full-time employees and one for my hourly. Each policy will contain the relevant rules, and be assigned to different users.

Connecteam the difference between policy type and policies

💡 Tip: Employees can only be assigned to one policy under a policy type. If we continue with the example above, this means each employee can be assigned to either the Full-time PTO policy OR the Hourly Employee PTO, but not both.

What Policies Can Be Created?

Once you added your policy type it's time to start adding the policies. This can be done by clicking on 'Add policy'. We will show you how to do this step by step below. Before we begin setting our policies however it's important to understand what policies can be set with Connecteam. Although you can set as many policies as you need each policy can be limited and unlimited, regardless of if it's paid or unpaid, or what type it is. If a policy is limited then it can be fixed or hourly.

Let's go over the main differences between these below:

Limited Vs Unlimited Policies

  • Limited policies are policies where the amount of time off employees accrue each year is limited, and this is the amount of time the user is allowed to take. In limited policies, employees maintain a balance based on the amount of time off they have saved or taken.

  • Unlimited policies have no restrictions on how much time off employees can take. Employees have no balance and can take as much time off as needed.

Limited Policies: Fixed vs Hourly

When a policy is limited the amount of time an employee accrues (ie. receives) can be either fixed or hourly.

  1. In 'fixed amount' limited policies, employees receive a certain number of hours or days per year. For example, an employee might accrue 150 hours each year.

  2. In 'earned per hour' limited policies, the employee accrues time off based on the number of hours worked. For example for every 40 hours of work, they might get 8 hours.

How to Set Time Off Policies

In Connecteam, limited and unlimited policies are set differently. In this section, we will break down the steps of setting both limited and unlimited time off policies.

How to Set an Unlimited Time Off Policy

Step 1: Add a Policy

To begin navigate to your Time off feature on the left sidebar. Once inside choose whether you want to create a paid or unpaid policy, click on 'Add policy', and choose the policy type or create a custom one. After that, you'll immediately get asked to create your first policy. Let's click on that!

In the example below you can see I choose to create an unpaid personal day policy type.

Step 2: Name the Policy

After selecting 'Create first policy', you will name your policy and choose if the policy will be calculated by hours or days.

Then, decide if it is limited or unlimited. Since in this example we are creating an unlimited policy we will select unlimited and select next.

Step 3: Set the Policy General Settings

Now we will set our general settings for the policy, meaning on which days of the week the policy is in effect and how long a working day is. Then we will decide whether or not a time off request needs a manager's approval, and if needed we set the limit for how many days before the time off request can get submitted. Finally, we click on 'Next step'.

In our example, we set the working days to be Monday to Friday 8 hours a day. We require the manager's approval, but there is no limit to how far in advance the request needs to be made. Take a look at how this looks below:

Step 3: Creating a time off policy connecteam

Step 4: Assign the Policy

Now we select the users to whom we want to assign the policy and select the next step.

Step 4 Creating a time off policy connecteam

💡 Tip: If the policy applies only to a certain group of employees for which you create a smart group, you can use the filter to quickly find them.

How to filter for users in Connecteam

Congrats! You have created your first policy!

Take a look at how the process looks from start to finish below:

Now let's get started on how to set up other types of policies that are not unlimited.

How to Set a Limited Time Off Policy (Fixed and Hourly)

Limited policies are set up similarly to unlimited policies, but require a few extra steps - including setting your employee's balance. Before setting up limited policies we recommend you come prepared with a list of your employees' current time off balance. Now let's get started!

Step 1: Add a Policy

Similar to above, navigate to the Time Off feature on the left sidebar, choose to create a paid or unpaid policy, and click 'Create policy'. Then click '+ Add type', choose your policy type or build a custom one, and select 'Create type'. Click on the option to create your first policy. In the example below I create a Paid Time Off Policy.

Step 2: Name the Policy

After selecting 'Create first policy', you will name your policy and choose if the policy will be calculated by hours or days.

Then decide if it is limited or unlimited. Since we are creating a limited policy I select limited.

Step 3: Choose if the Policy is Fixed or Hourly

Now I need to decide how the limited time off accrues, as mentioned previously it can be fixed, meaning the employee received a certain amount of time off per year, or hourly, meaning employees accrue a certain amount of time off based on their hours worked.

In this example you can see I choose fixed and entered 200 hours - the amount of time off my employees receive per year.

Step 4: Set the Accrual Cycle

Now I will decide how they receive the time-off determining the accrual cycle. The options are: By the employees' anniversary date, at once at the beginning of the year, or throughout the year in pay periods. Then I will press the next step. Note that if you set the accrual settings as hourly you can skip this step because there is no accrual cycle for hourly employees.

In our example, I selected throughout the year in payroll periods. By default, the payroll period matches the one set in my time clock, but it can also be adjusted according to your company's needs.

Step 4: Creating a limited time off in connecteam

Step 5: Set the Policy's General Settings

Now we set our general settings for the policy as done above. We set the days of the week the policy is in effect and how long a working day is. We decide whether time off requests need a manager's approval, and if needed we set the limitation that determines the minimum time in advance users can request time off. Finally, since this is a limited policy we decide if there is a carryover limit - meaning from the number of time off hours the user accrues how many hours can be moved to next year. Then press the next step.

Step 5: Creating a limited time off policy in connecteam

In the example below you can see I set the working hours to be Monday to Friday, the day length to be 8 hours, requests as requireing approval, to have a 4-day limit and I allow 50 hours to be carried over.

General Settings of a time off policy in connecteam

Step 6: Assign the Policy to Users

After setting the policy itself, it's time to assign it to users as done above and press next.

Step 6: Assigning users to a time off policy in connecteam

Step 7: Set the Time Off Balances

Now that we assigned users we need to set their time off balances - meaning how much time off they accrued until now. Since you are moving your time off to Connecteam, it's important to understand that for each user this is a unique number as each employee may have accrued or taken a different amount of time off. Enter the balance next to the assigned users and when done, press the next step.

Step 6: Setting balances to a time off policy in connecteam.

Congrats! You just created another policy. Now that we are done with that let's go over how these policies appear for users.

Examples of Time Off Policies

Now let's go over a few examples of policies we can have

Unlimited Policies: Jury Duty

For jury duty, creating an unlimited paid policy for jury duty would be ideal.

We would create an unlimited policy because it is never up to the employee how much jury duty they are called for.

Limited Fixed: Paid Sick Leave

With sick leave, you can create different policies depending on the rules and regulations of the country you live in. Some countries require you to offer employees a certain amount of sick leave and it's paid, while other countries require none at all. In our case, our employees are entitled to a fixed amount of 250 hours of Paid Sick Leave.

Another place you may use a limited fixed time off is for paid holidays, floating holidays, or bereavement leave if your company offers these.

Limited Hourly: Paid Time Off for Hourly Employees

If I have employees who are hourly workers, they may not work a fixed amount of hours and therefore are not entitled to a fixed amount of time off. Instead, they earn time off based on the number of hours they work. In hour case our employees early 16 hours for 120 hours they work.


In this article, we went over the different policies and how to create them. We learned about unlimited and limited policies. When using limited policies we learned about fixed and hourly policies and when to use each one. Finally, we went over a few common examples of policies you might be using in your organization and how to set these up.

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