What Is an Annual Leave Plan?

An annual leave plan is a comprehensive document that details and monitors the annual leave credits of an organization’s employees. It is a yearly plan or planner that is typically used by Human Resource professionals for timekeeping and payroll purposes.    

According to an online article by CNBC, statistics showed that 76% of private sector workers receive paid vacation days. The average worker with five years of work experience was granted 15 days of paid vacation leave, as of 2017. In the same year, a study also reported that around 52% of Americans did not even use up all their vacation days.

Types of Employee Leave 

All companies or organizations have their own policies with regard to employee leave benefits. But generally, awarding a standard number of leaves to employees has become the norm. There are different kinds of leave from work, with each type addressing a specific purpose. These different types are discussed in detail below.  

Sick Leave. Sick leave ought to be a basic right for any worker or employee. It is the human condition to fall ill, get injured or simply wear out at times. When one fails to take care of his or her physical and mental health, there can be dire consequences. Institutions and organizations have to acknowledge this and apply it to their policies accordingly. Fortunately, sick leave from work is widely acceptable and practiced. It can either be paid or unpaid, depending on the status or nature of your employment. Although the number of paid sick leave days highly depends on the company or organization, it is still reasonable to file for an unpaid sick leave. The point is that employees should use their sick leave credits responsibly and appropriately. Vacation Leave. Another basic type of leave is vacation leave. Along with sick leave, vacation leaves are fundamental in the sense that they help encourage a healthy work-life balance. The popular saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” rings true in this sense. If employees fail to take advantage of their vacation leave credits, they are effectively wasting a valuable opportunity. If balance is the key, then one’s life should not solely focus on work. Taking time out for yourself is crucial for overall well-being and health. If employees continuously work long hours without any break or time off, at some point a worker will experience burnout and feel depleted as a result. Thus, knowing when to step back and regroup is absolutely critical for anyone who strives to have productive and meaningful work. Maternity and Paternity Leave. For employees who are also parents, maternity and paternity leaves are a basic right. This is especially applicable for new or first-time parents and employees who don’t have anyone else to care for their children. On the part of the company, an employer must always respect the right of an employee to file for maternity or paternity leave. The length and duration of a maternity leave will depend on the policies of the state or national laws of a country. Regardless, paid maternity leave is non-negotiable in many organizations and companies across all sectors. Child-rearing is no easy task and newborns need the full attention of their mothers and fathers as primary caregivers. Further, a paternity leave is generally much shorter compared to maternity leave. Sabbatical Leave. A type of leave that is not quite common is the sabbatical leave. Not all employers can afford to extend this kind of leave to their employees. However, these are usually special cases and it is usually upon the company or management’s discretion that sabbatical leaves are awarded. A sabbatical is essentially an extended leave that may last for several months to a couple of years, depending on the employer’s arrangement. This type of extended leave is more prevalent in academic institutions as compared to private businesses. For instance, a tenured professor may be granted a sabbatical leave to pursue further studies or to attend educational programs abroad. Lastly, a sabbatical leave is not typically paid since it can last months or even years. Afterwards, an employee can return from a sabbatical and either resume his or her former duties or be assigned to new tasks. Bereavement Leave. A bereavement leave is offered to employees who have recently suffered a loss of a loved one. Mourning the death of a family member, close relative or loved one is never easy. Companies who recognize this may grant their employees leave benefits that can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Most people need time to process their grief fully and may find it difficult to attend to daily responsibilities. Taking a break from work can definitely help a bereaved employee deal with the death more intentionally. Aside from granting bereavement leave benefits, some companies even go the extra mile to sympathize with their employees by offering flowers and other kind gestures.

Vacation Leave Ideas

It is important for anyone who has a job to take a break once in a while. Vacation leaves ought to be considered valuable and therefore, should not be wasted. If you are planning to file a vacation leave, check out these ideas if you are looking for a more meaningful and worthwhile break.    

Go on a retreat. How a person spends his or her vacation leave is entirely up to them. Most go out of town, on beach trips or travel abroad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing new places and experiencing different cultures; if anything, it can expand one’s knowledge and deepen one’s understanding of the world. But if your goal is to get to know yourself better and explore your interior, deeper self, a spiritual retreat may turn out to be a worthwhile endeavor. Whatever religion or faith you subscribe to, there is just no alternative to self-awareness and self-care. If going on a faith-seeking retreat can help you find or rediscover yourself, then it may be worth a try. Sometimes, all it takes to find inner peace is by retreating from the rest of the world even for just a brief period of time. Enroll in a class. If you want to be productive even on vacation leave, try enrolling in a class. Take up a new skill or refine an old one; many people lose some abilities over time especially if the skill isn’t practiced regularly. A vacation leave presents the perfect opportunity to pursue a hobby or interest. Whether it is cooking, dancing or even experimenting with make-up, there are classes today for all sorts of interests. Many classes don’t take too much of your time and offer flexible schedules. Dedicating a week to attend a yoga class or even committing weekends for a guitar lesson is already a big step. The point is to find a class that you are truly interested in and one that can bring joy and growth to your personal life. Fulfill a passion project. How many people are guilty of not having enough time to pursue the things they want due to work conflict and busy schedules? A vacation leave is the perfect time to complete whatever you have left unfinished. Whether it is a promise you have yet to fulfill or a personal project you started but never got to finish, you finally have the time to do so. Some people are craftier than others and they enjoy welding or building things with their hands. Others need to pursue their creative side by painting, performing, or even creating content for their video blogs. The bottom line is that a passion project is an endeavor that rarely feels like work primarily because it is an activity you love to do.

How to Create an Annual Leave Plan

To create an annual leave plan, you need to prepare the right information so it will be that much easier to plot your leave plan. If you are looking for a more convenient way to craft a plan, save time by using any of the sample templates above. Simply choose a template that suits your needs and follow the step-by-step guide below. 

Step 1: Define the Objectives 

The first step is to define the goals of your annual leave plan. What is the purpose of creating the said document? Crafting an annual leave plan is typically the task of Human Resources. It is their job to plot and implement the necessary leave policies  and ensure that these are communicated effectively to all employees within the organization. This section does not need to be long. Ideally, a couple of direct and concrete objectives should be enough.   

Step 2: Design the Format

The first step is deciding which format is suited to your needs. You can design your leave plan any way you seem fit, for as long as it is comprehensible and accurate. The annual leave plan must also be comprehensive and informative; make sure to provide as much data as you can. Data, especially figures and numbers, can be better represented using a table or chart. You can even incorporate a spreadsheet within your leave plan if that will help organize and convey your information better. The bottom line is that you should design your annual leave plan in such a way that the format enables you to project your plans and data in the most coherent way.  

Step 3: Give Detailed Information 

In an annual leave plan, details are everything. A leave plan that is too vague or general may not be the best kind of plan. Clarity and comprehension should be top of mind when crafting your annual leave plan. Therefore, it is absolutely important to explain and describe your plans in detail. For example, you can define terminology, use concrete action items and provide  formulas for calculating leave credits. Define and expound on the various types of leaves that apply to your company. Distinguish each one from the other by creating clear headings for sick leave, vacation leave, holidays, etc. 

Step 4: Provide Calculations 

Lastly, if you want your annual leave plan to be credible or reliable, make sure to provide accurate calculations in describing the process of acquiring leave credits. Indicate the different formulae used in projecting employee leave benefits. Provide examples to further strengthen your argument. You can also organize your figures in a table or chart if you prefer. Whatever approach you decide on, just keep in mind that calculations help promote transparency and clarity in your leave plan.     


What is an annual leave plan?

An annual leave plan is essentially a comprehensive HR document that outlines leave benefits for a company’s organization and at the same time, may also serve as a tracking sheet for employee leaves.

How do I make an annual leave plan?

To make an annual leave plan, you need to use the right format in order to make it easier and more convenient for you to monitor leave days of employees. Refer to the tutorial guide in the previous section for more detailed instructions. You can also use any of the downloadable leave plans available above.

What are the types of leave?

There can be several types of leave that may or may not be applicable to a particular organization or institution, depending on company policies and state laws. Some common examples include sick leave, vacation leave, birthday leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, bereavement leave, and casual leave.

An annual leave plan should be comprehensive, accurate and detailed. Since there are different ways to present an annual leave plan, it is also important to know what format works for your organization or company. Browse the sample templates above to choose a free template that suits your needs!