Setting up leave and absence plans – 3 – leave plans

Edit: 22 November 2019 – a few new fields have been added to leave plans, which have changed how others work. There’s no point leaving the old version of this post active (it’s not like anyone’s using the old version of Talent) so I’m going to add them to this post now and edit what I originally wrote. 


Leave plans set the rules by which employees earn leave. They’re legal entity specific, which is handy, because in my experience there are massive geographical variations in leave related legislation, and even within large organisations where there have been multiple mergers/acquisitions/other TUPEs. A worker can be enrolled on as many leave plans as you like, but only on one plan per leave type.

To set up leave plans you go to the leave and absence workspace, then Links > Setup > Leave and absence plans. Then you fill in the plan form. I’ll try and explain here what each field does.

Details – Name / Description

These two are fairly self explanatory – but one useful thing to know is that the leave plan name isn’t visible to the worker when they’re booking leave. They won’t know for example that they’re booking leave from a ‘1984 legacy plan from old company name’. If that’s what your plans are known by in HR, go for it. Once you’re up and running with leave the place you’ll see the plans listed most often is when enrolling a new hire into plans, so make sure they make sense to your users in that context.

Details – Leave type

This is where you select the leave type that applies (and by extension, the workflow that applies when workers are booking leave of this type. Remember that this is what the worker sees when they’re selecting options from the drop down. If you’re creating a new leave plan, the plus sign on this form gives you the option to create a leave type from the leave plan form. Personally I’m a stickler for doing things in the right order (leave types first, people) but please yourselves.

Details – Start date

This is the earliest date that workers can accrue leave against a plan. You can be enrolled on a plan before the plan has technically started, but you can’t accrue any leave for that period. In my example, I want to roll out leave booking in self service from 1 January 2019, so I selected 1 January 2019 as my plan start date.

Details – Enrolled workers / Upcoming enrollments

You can’t edit these directly, they’re a query showing how many workers are already enrolled on this plan, or are about to be enrolled on this plan from a future date. They’re both handily hyperlinks so if you want to click through to a list of those workers, you can do so to your heart’s content.

Accruals – Accrual Frequency

This refers to how often you want an accrual based award to be made under this plan. In my example, workers are granted additional leave at the end of each leave year, so I’ve set mine to ‘Annually’. In a lot of European countries I’ve seen leave being granted on a monthly basis in which case you’d set this value accordingly. It can only be set once – as soon as you’ve got people enrolled on a plan, you can’t change the accrual frequency any more.

Accruals – Accrual period basis

Aaah, this is one of my favourite fields. Essentially this is asking what, for each worker, should indicate the start of an accrual period. In my example we have a static leave year. Everyone is awarded leave at the beginning of January. So I’m going to pick ‘plan start date’ from this list. But I’ve seen a lot of other examples. Some companies for example use the anniversary of joining as a prompt to award more leave. Some use the employee’s birthday (nice gesture). Some use another completely random date. In those cases they would use ’employee-specific date’. Your accrual periods then become whatever date you’ve selected as the accrual period basis, plus the interval you’ve indicated in your accrual frequency.

Accruals – Accrual award date

A great little addition this one, which wasn’t in earlier versions. This allows you to set when in the accrual period the award actually gets made – is it at the start (‘Accrual period start date’, obvs), or the end (‘Accrual period end date’). Previously the default was set to make the award at the end of the accrual period and there was no option to change that. If you’ve been using Talent for a while, and you’ve got leave plans that were set up before this field was added, those plans will be set to make the award at the end date of the accrual period, which is still the default setting. What this assumes is that you have to work a certain period to earn the leave corresponding to that period. It’s not so useful in the UK though because we rarely have that situation. More often you’ll be given an entitlement at the start of the year (‘accrual period’) which is pro-rated if you’ve only worked part of the year. So I’m going to pick ‘accrual period start date’ as an option here.

Accruals – Accrual policy on enrollment

This one’s critical if you’re operating a UK-typical model of entitlement awards. It defaults to ‘Prorated’, and where you used to have to override this, now we’ve got the ‘accrual period start date’ option, you can leave it as pro-rated. Here’s what happened before when all accrual awards were made at the end of the leave period:

  • Employee starts in role in the middle of your leave year – say 1 July in my Jan-Dec example
  • When they join, you complete a balance adjustment to make sure they have the right part-year entitlement to see them through until the next leave year. Remember that accruals run just annually based off the plan start date. They won’t be automatically awarded any balance until the end of the leave year. So you do a balance adjustment to grant them, say, 13 days.
  • At the end of the leave year, you run the accruals process (more on that later). If you’ve left this field as the default (‘Prorated’), Talent will calculate that they only worked half of the leave year, and prorate their entitlement accordingly. Their award for the next year will therefore be only 13 days.

Now, the award is made at the start date of the accrual period (or the enrollment date, whichever is later). Now you actually want Talent to pro rata the amount of leave awarded, to account for the fact that they’ve only worked part of the year. That saves you a job doing manual adjustment.

Accruals – Accrual policy on termination

I haven’t yet found out why I need this, so I’ll update later when I’ve found a use for it. For now I set it as ‘no accrual’, because I don’t want anything to happen automatically. I suspect it’s what you want to happen if someone leaves, but I (still) haven’t poked it enough to be confident.

Accrual schedule – Accrual type

Two options here to indicate how much leave someone should accrue. One based on how many months service, and the other based on how many hours they’ve worked. The first one is the default. The second one is fairly new, but means you can import hours worked from another product (like D365F&O or a 3rd party timesheet system) and have that indicate the rate of leave accrual. I’m going to focus on months of service as I’ve come across that more often.

Accrual schedule – Months of service / accrual amount / minimum balance / maximum carryover

If you have a scenario where workers with more service are granted more leave, you set that up here. Workers must hit the milestone indicated in months of service (based off a date on their worker record which is indicated at enrollment) in order the rules for accrual amount, balance and carryover to be applied as specified in that row of each table. The minimum balance is set to indicate if workers are allowed to ‘go negative’ on a leave balance, and if so, by how much (so if you want to enter sickness as a leave type without setting up a balance, you need to make sure you’ve allowed people to go negative on the plan here). The maximum carryover indicates how many hours or days can be carried into the next period. If you’re setting maximum carryover, make sure you know how the sequence of carryover and accruals works, as you may not get the results you expect. I’ll come back to that later in the series.

Accrual schedule – Grant amount

Although this is in the table, I’ve called it out separately because it’s a bit different. A grant amount is only awarded at the point of enrollment. When I first learned this functionality I assumed a grant amount would be given every year when accruals where run, regardless of accrual entitlement. Not so. A grant amount is awarded to an employee at the enrolment date, and never again. In my UK-leave-year example, I tend not to use grant amounts. The reason being that in most cases when someone joins, they join in the middle of a leave year, and I therefore need to go and manually calculate their prorated entitlement for the rest of the year (Talent doesn’t do it for me, sadly). If I’ve put in a grant amount, in the plan, I still need to go in and adjust the balance to make it accurate, but I’ve added an extra calculation that I have to do (working out the difference between the grant amount and the actual entitlement). If there’s no grant amount, I just put in a positive value for the actual entitlement, and I’m all done. There’s also less risk if I forget to do an adjustment if there are no grant amounts, because I don’t give the employee any balance (they’ll soon shout) rather than giving them too much (they’ll probably be a bit quieter).


Once your plans are created – you’re ready to enrol some workers.

November 2019 update: Our plans were created before the Accrual award date field was added, so somewhat undesirably, they were all set to award at the end of the leave period (Dec 2019). What we actually wanted was for accruals to take place at the start of the leave period (Jan 2020) though, which would also help with the carry over situation mentioned elsewhere in the comments of these posts. Realising we could change this setting even with workers enrolled on the plan, we changed it, and acknowledged the warnings about accruals. All seemed to go great and the future dated accruals for next year went fine, but on further investigation we realised that accruals had also been run for the start date of the current leave period (2019). Balances were artificially inflated. This was easy enough to fix with some judicious editing of the leave and absence bank transactions entity. Even then though, we found that changing the accrual award date seems to have thrown out any balance forecasting – regardless of having run accruals or not. In summary, if you’re going to change this setting, do so carefully and test thoroughly (preferably in a test environment which is a copy of production).

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