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5 Best Absence Management Tools for UK Companies

Tracking sick leave, holidays, and TOIL with Excel sheets is time-consuming and can lead to costly mistakes. But with absence management software, you can automate repetitive tasks, implement intuitively simple self-service processes and gain more time to engage and support your team.

Besides, filling up filing cabinets with years’ worth of internal documents simply isn’t sustainable for a growing business. With the right software solution, you can compliantly manage data in the cloud and get back your office space.

In this article, we explore what to look out for in absence management software, how to automate key processes like calculating TOIL, simplify tasks like managing approvals, and what you need to stay compliant as you grow.

Finally, we share our top five recommendations with reference to these key criteria.


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What to Look For in Absence Management Software

A great absence management solution will save you time and reduce manual errors. So, we look at HR software that centralises and automates processes like holiday requests, time-tracking and reports while ensuring you stay compliant.

These are the criteria we consider: 

  • Ease of use: We assess how intuitive each of the platforms on our list are and look at the level of support offered at onboarding and beyond.
  • Self-service tools: We look at which solutions have apps for your employees to easily make requests and log time off, and for managers to approve leave.
  • Automation: We consider which solutions allow you to manage absences with less manual work.
  • Integrated calendars: We look at tools that provide full visibility over headcount.
  • Easy payroll management: We explore which centralised solutions allow you to export payroll data efficiently and error-free.
  • Compliance: We look at tools with solutions for compliance management.
  • Scalability: We look at tools that automate processes and are cloud-based to accommodate large volumes of data.
Pro-tip: Quickly calculate your employees’ annual leave entitlement with our holiday calculator. This tool works for staff with fixed shift patterns and those whose hours vary.

The 5 Best Absence Management Software Solutions

Here are our top 5 recommendations for HR software solutions to streamline absence management. We look at user reviews, pricing information and features from the criteria above.


HRLocker is a comprehensive, cloud-based HR solution that dramatically reduces the time you spend managing absence and compliance. In one place, you can store an unlimited amount of data, manage timesheets, and review sick leave reports to better support your employees.

HRLocker dashboard

Create more accurate reports by logging absences with customised leave types.


Our automated tools manage TOIL, recurring leave and national holidays, and provide a simple workflow in the platform for requests and approvals. In the self-service HRLocker mobile app, as well as being able to manage their holiday, employees and managers get an instant overview of key information.

So, the team have visibility over what they’re entitled to, managers can easily plan, and you have fewer manual tasks to handle.

HRLocker Time Off

Gain an instant view of days off and make manual changes in HRLocker’s intuitive dashboard.

HRLocker’s system is suited to organisations of all sizes and is easy to implement and manage. You’ll be assigned a dedicated Implementation Specialist to help set you up, and you’ll have access to a range of free webinars, podcasts and how-to videos.

What users say

HRLocker users love the platform’s simple interface and find it save them time when meeting compliance requirements:

“The software provides an efficient yet simple platform to easily manage and comply with all our HR responsibilities. HRLocker makes it easy to monitor all annual and sick leave taken by staff, ” Brendan, Principal

“This is the third organisation where I’ve used this software (I introduced it in all three). It’s an easy way to manage employee leave and other HR details,” Hilary D., HR Manager.


HRLocker offers four pricing options. These are:

  • The Freemium Plan. Onboard four users and access most features for free.
  • The HR Essentials Plan. Priced at €4/£3.50/$5 per user a month, choose this if you have more than 15 employees and cover all your basic daily tasks.
  • The HR Professional Plan. Integrate your pension software, access more time-tracking tools, and add error-free payroll and our CPD module for €6/£5.50/$7 per user a month.
  • Tailored Packages. Opt for a bespoke package for a team of over 250.

Key features

Within HRLocker’s all-in-one HR solution, you’ll find:

  • A centralised, GDPR-compliant database for you to store absence information without the need for Excel sheets or physical storage
  • A self-service mobile app that cuts out your manual work by enabling employees to book time off, automatically set up recurring leave and upload documentation
  • Automated tools to save time when calculating TOIL, assign recurring leave, and mark national holidays
  • Error-free preliminary payroll reporting to streamline the employee timesheet and payroll exporting process
  • Easy manual controls so you can add and remove sick/vacation days and customise statutory leave types
  • Charts that improve visibility for managers by providing a clear view of days taken and the remaining balance
  • Reporting and analysis to keep you compliant and review absences across the team at a glance
  • Integrated HR tools so you can onboard employees, manage performance reviews, and oversee projects all within the same platform
  • Award-winning customer care, dedicated onboarding assistance and free professional learning resources for thought leadership and best practices


Timetastic is an absence management platform that was founded by team managers-turned-software developers in 2014.  With a dedicated offering of time-tracking tools and reporting features, it’s well-suited to small businesses looking for a simple way to manage holidays and sick leave.

In one place, employees can request time off, managers can approve, and everyone can view the centralised work calendar.  Its app also offers the same functionality and is very easy to use, making it a great solution for flexible teams on the go.

HRLocker Time Off

You can include company branding inside your Timetastic tracking solution. Source

What users say

“Timetastic eliminated time-consuming spreadsheets. Now employees and supervisors instantly know their balances,” Philip P., Chief Operating Officer.


Timetastic offers a free one-month trial and then a flat rate of £1 per month per user for its absence management solution.

Key features

  • Holiday calendars for your team to track absences and plan the year ahead
  • An app where employees can request time off and managers can approve it
  • Automated tools to ensure national holidays are visible to the team
  • Reports on annual TOIL allowances and absence trends

Access People HR

Access People HR is a solution that started as a payroll tool but is now better known for its extensive HR system. It’s particularly well suited to large companies because it offers cloud-based storage that can handle lots of information and data about employee absence at scale.

Companies working in industries with a high risk of injury, such as construction, may also find Access People HR’s enhanced support for return-to-work procedures useful. These ensure employees across departments are treated consistently and fairly when they return from extended time off.

Screenshot of Access People HR

Gain an instant overview of who is out each day with Access People HR. Source

What users say

“Access People HR has a straightforward interface that was quick to roll out across the organisation. We’re pleased that they’ve recently improved their customer support, with lots of guides available (eg for creating custom reports, workflows),” Graham H., Human Resources Partner


Access People HR offer three packages ranging from £5 per employee per month to £9 per employee per month. All three come with absence management tools, but for the ability to customise the solution to suit your specific needs, you’ll need to opt for the higher package.

Key features

  • An app that employees can use to request holidays and upload documentation
  • Automated tools for employees to log hours and managers to approve absences
  • Absence planner to view each employee’s record and heat maps to visualise employee time off
  • Return-to-work support which guides both employees and managers through the process to ensure compliance
  • Payroll integrations that streamline data exporting

Breathe HR

Breathe HR was founded in 2012 to help companies spend less time managing HR processes. As such, it includes a suite of tools for time-tracking, holiday requests and reporting. 

Their absence management solution is particularly suitable for organisations that use shift schedules because of the integrated rota. With this, you can gain an instant overview of which dates you need to increase your headcount. You can also set  “blackout dates” where employees can’t take time off — for example, during a particularly busy project.

Screenshot of Breathe HR

Analyse absences by leave type inside Breathe HR. Source

What users say

“Each employee has their own area, holiday/work related documents/review requests all held in one place. Our department managers are spending under 10 minutes a day on managing holiday/sickness,” David C., Operations Manager.


Breathe HR provide a free 14-day trial. Then to access rota and absence management solutions, you’ll pay £19 a month per account. You’ll also have to pay £5 per month for three additional HR staff to use the software.

Key features

  • A centralised solution to store absence data
  • An app where employees can request holidays, log sickness and view company policies
  • A manager dashboard where you can view days off on a calendar
  • An integrated rota that pulls through the absence of information
  • Visual reports which allow you to see how much holiday has been taken by each department

Bright HR

Bright HR is a leave management platform owned by the larger HR services and software company Peninsula Group. It was founded in 2015 to help HR Managers more easily stay on top of compliance. For this reason, like HRLocker, it includes a centralised database where employees can upload their own documents.

With enhanced functionality for monitoring lateness, it’s also a good solution for large organisations working with high-pressure deadlines. In just a few clicks, you can view if there are employees who often fail to come in on time.

Screenshot of Bright HR’s absence calenda

Navigate between two absence calendar view types inside Bright HR. Source

What users say

“It keeps all of the information in an easy-to-use space and helps reduce the amount of paper needed for records. The leave request system is great and being able to notify staff when you’ve uploaded documents removes the hassle of ensuring everyone receives the information,” Aaron O., Financial Director.


Bright HR’s packages start at £7 per month per employee and increase depending on the number of HR team members you need to add. You also pay extra for HR software advice.

Key features

  • An app for employees to send documentation and notify managers of sick leave
  • A holiday calculator which tracks entitlement and flags potential clashes
  • The ability to log lateness and review real-time reports about absenteeism 
  • A large database where you can accurately track employee absence with customisable types of absence

Absence tracking in a growing team 

HR software allows you to stay on top of tracking holiday entitlement and storing relevant data without spending hours filling in spreadsheets or filing paperwork. But the best solutions will also automate processes and introduce self-service solutions so you can step back and focus on ensuring a great employee experience.

With HRLocker, employees can upload their documents and request time off, managers gain an instant view of absences and easily make approvals, and you can review timesheets, automate TOIL calculations and mark holidays.

What’s more, if you have any questions as you onboard or digitise your processes, our award-winning support team are always on hand to help.


Book A Free Demo

Save time, reduce error and stay compliant with an all-in-one HR and absence management solution.

Frequently Asked Questions About UK Absence Management Software

What is absence management software?

Absence management helps businesses track and manage leave by automating tasks, providing a space for employees to request days off and providing a centralised location for employee data and company policy.

HRLocker, for example, includes automatic TOIL calculation, a GDPR-compliant space for absence reports and a self-service mobile app where employees can book time off, set up recurring leave and upload documentation.

How do you manage absence in the workplace in the UK?

To meet employee laws, organisations in the UK have to record all employee absences including a reason for each case. They then have to store this data for six years. So, managing absence efficiently means creating a centralised location for employee data and making sure employees have an easy way to request time off.

HR departments also need to ensure that statutory minimum holiday requirements are met and that managers have an easy way to review absence data.

Software like HRLocker makes all of this easy with a self-service portal for employees, extensive reporting and automated holiday calculation.

What’s the best way to track employee sickness and leave?

The best way to track employee sickness and leave is through absence management software and all-in-one HR software like HRLocker. This allows employees to easily request time off and managers to quickly approve or deny those requests. It also automates tasks, provides a centralised platform for tracking absence and creates reports for compliance.

What’s the best way to calculate and manage Time Off in Lieu (TOIL)?

The best way to calculate and manage Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) is to use absence management software that includes automated tools. By pulling information from timesheets, these will track overtime and non-standard hours and calculate time off entitlement based on company policy. Once TOIL is assigned, the software can keep track of how much time off an employee has accumulated and when it’s been taken.

5 Best Absence Management Tools for UK Companies was last modified: April 9th, 2024 by Beatriz Araujo

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