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6 Best Online Staff Holiday Planners to Simplify Your HR Processes

Between onboarding new employees, overseeing performance and productivity and ensuring compliance, you’re already stretched thin. And it gets more challenging if you’re still using spreadsheets or paper-based methods to manage employee leave requests and approvals.

These outdated processes are time-consuming and prone to errors leading to scheduling conflicts, compliance issues, and even poor morale. Maintaining fairness and visibility across the team is a huge challenge.

In this article, we’ll look at the best online staff leave planner solutions and help you make an informed decision based on your unique needs and requirements.

Table of Contents:

  • What to look for in an online staff leave planner
  • 6 best online staff holiday planner solutions
  • Questions to ask when selecting a staff holiday planner
  • So, which is the right online staff holiday planner for you?
  • Frequently asked questions


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What to Look For in an Online Staff Leave Planner

Implementing an online staff leave planner can help you track employee absences and introduce an accurate leave management process, especially when managing remote teams. This ensures everyone can access the same leave options and perks with increased visibility and simplicity.

When comparing different solutions, look for the following features:

  1. User-friendly self-service platform for employees
  2. Easy approval process for management
  3. Simple tracking in your annual leave calendar
  4. Time Off in Lieu (TOIL functionality)
  5. Reporting for compliance
  6. Integrations
  7. All-in-one HR solution

1. User-friendly self-service platform for employees

When you empower employees to take control of their leave requests, you reduce the administrative burden on HR. For example, tools like HRLocker and LeaveBoard let your employees view their leave balances, submit time-off requests, and track the status of their applications.

2. Easy approval process for management

Managers are often tasked with overseeing projects, monitoring team performance, and ensuring deadlines are met. You don’t want them to spend valuable time managing the leave process too.

For example, a tool like Timetastic gives your managers a glance at the employee’s leave history, the impact on the team’s workload, and any overlapping requests. They can deny or approve leave with a single click, and employees get automated notifications — contributing towards an agile and productive work environment.

3. Simple tracking in your annual leave calendar

When managers and employees have a clear calendar view of the entire team or department’s leave requests, they can proactively address potential staffing gaps and redistribute responsibilities to maintain a balanced workload for everyone.

Leave management systems like HRLocker, LeaveBoard, and AnnualLeave offer real-time visibility of everyone’s schedules which also helps identify absence patterns and promote a healthier work-life balance.

4. Time Off in Lieu (TOIL functionality)

When employees are in the office, it’s easy to spot them working overtime, staying late to complete tasks or arriving early to get a head start on their work. But, as companies adopt remote and flexible working, it can be a challenge to keep track of these extra hours. And if not acknowledged, it can make your team feel undervalued.

A platform like HRLocker empowers your team to accurately track and record overtime hours. So, they can request time off in lieu of receiving monetary compensation. This allows your company to foster a positive work culture with a better work-life balance that boosts employee satisfaction.

5. Reporting for compliance

Leave management can come with a host of legal and regulatory problems. Let’s take the case of bank holidays. Depending on which part of the UK your team is in, you may or may not share the same holiday. For example, while there isn’t a Bank Holiday Monday for Easter in Scotland, there is in England and Wales.

And while you’re not required to provide pay for public holidays, you can include them as a part of your employee’s statutory leave.

These regulations often mandate specific leave allowances, accrual rates, and carry-over policies, which companies must follow to avoid potential legal actions or financial penalties. A tool like HRLocker automatically generates reports on leave trends, balances, and usage patterns. This way, you can make informed decisions and policy adjustments that promote a positive and compliant work environment.

6. Integrations

When introducing a new holiday management tool, you’ll ideally need to invest time in training employees on how to use the system. But an integrated software platform that connects to existing systems and enterprise tools (e.g. for payroll and project management) helps minimise the learning curve.

Popular software like HRLocker integrates with widely used business tools like Microsoft Office, Microsoft Teams and Google Calendar. This way you have a flexible tool that facilitates streamlined communication, planning, and processes.

7. All-in-one HR solution

While standalone absence management tools like AnnualLeave, Humen, and LeaveBoard can help you effectively manage leave, you would need to purchase additional tools or look for integrations that can automate other HR functions — like recruitment and onboarding, training and development, and performance management.

An all-in-one solution like HRLocker ensures that all important data is stored in a centralised location, minimising the risk of error, duplicate entries, or inconsistencies across multiple platforms.

Plus, it offers additional free tools like the Holiday Entitlement calculator – you can use it now to see employees’ holiday entitlement as per regulations in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. But it doesn’t provide the at-a-glance visual of HRL’s in-platform solution.

6 Best Online Staff Holiday Planner Solutions

Here are our six recommendations for the best online staff holiday planner solutions. You’ll find an overview of each with key features and pricing.

  1. HRLocker
  2. LeaveBoard
  3. Humen
  4. Timetastic
  5. AnnualLeave
  6. WhosOff

1. HRLocker

HRLocker’s self-service time management solution

HRLocker’s self-service portal lets employees request time off and gives real-time visibility into leave balances and accruals

HRLocker is a cloud-based all-in-one HR solution awarded the ‘All-Star HR Software Company of the Year’ three times in a row and is also included in the All Ireland Business Foundation (AIBF) Register Of Irish Business Excellence, a national body that accredits outstanding companies.

HRLocker’s self-service portal gives your staff an overview of their remaining holiday entitlement (including what’s carried over). Requesting leave is just a question of entering the dates and selecting the reason from a dropdown menu. In the same view, staff can also manage their sickness, training, and documents.

Meanwhile, approval for managers is equally simple: There’s a calendar view, real-time in-app and desktop notifications and the TOIL software that automatically allocates surplus hours as time in lieu.

And if you learn better with video format, here’s a sneak peek into how HRLocker works:

Key features 

  • Time management solution enables your team to clock-in and clock-out, request and approve holidays with real-time visibility into leave balances and accruals.
  • Applicant tracking and candidate management capabilities allow you to attract and hire top talent more effectively.
  • Streamlined onboarding processes ensure new employees feel supported and engaged from day one, improving retention rates and reducing the time to full productivity.
  • Continuous Professional Development (CPD) feature lets you manage and assign training programs, courses, and materials so employees can access resources necessary for skill enhancement and career advancement.
  • Performance management system lets you track progress and evaluate performance so you align individual goals with overall business objectives.
  • The centralised employee database offers a secure, organised, and easily accessible repository for employee information like terms of employment, compensation and benefits, and pensions.
  • Reporting features include automatic generation of reports on employee leave, timesheets, headcount, training and Right to Work documents tailored to departments and teams.
  • Integrations with popular applications like Microsoft Teams, Google Calendar, LinkedIn, and Microsoft Office streamline your workflows.


HRLocker’s platform provides an all-in-one HR solution, with the staff holiday planner and related tools included in the pricing.

You can sign up for a demo or sign up for the freemium plan for 6 months, which supports up to 4 users. If you have a team of 15 members, you can opt for the HR Essentials plan at $5, €4 or £3.50 or the HR Professional plans at $7, €6 or £5.50 per employee per month. But if you have a larger team of 250+ employees, you can request a custom quote.

2. Leaveboard

Leaveboard’s custom leave types feature

Leaveboard lets you add custom leave types according to your company policies. Source

Leaveboard is a cloud-based HR and leave management software that simplifies tracking employee vacations, personal time off, and leaves of absence.

It has a user-friendly interface and a range of features like storing employee directories and records, and attendance tracking, reducing the administrative burden on HR and managers.

Key features

  • The leave management system gives a summary of your remaining leaves, ensuring employee and manager transparency.
  • The team calendar provides a visual overview of all employees’ time off, enabling managers to plan resources effectively and prevent potential scheduling conflicts.
  • The self-service portal lets employees submit leave requests, view their leave balance and history, and access important company information.
  • Customisable multiple leave policies can be tailored to ensure compliance with local labour laws and company regulations.
  • Reporting capabilities offer valuable insights into leave trends, usage, and balances.
  • Integrations with popular tools like Google Calendar, and Microsoft Outlook enable data synchronisation across different platforms.


Unlike HRLocker, Leaveboard is not an all-in-one HR solution, which is reflected in its pricing.

The free forever plan supports up to 9 employees, and if you have a larger team, you can opt for the Pro plan, which starts at €1.25 per employee per month. But if you have a team of 80+ employees, you can request a custom quote for the Enterprise plan and access all the features listed above.

3. Humen

Humen’s team calendar dashboard

Humen’s team calendar gives you an overview of the entire department’s holiday requests. Source

Founded in 2018, Humen is a dedicated staff holiday planner for employees to book holidays or even half-days by filling out a simple form and managers are automatically notified.

Like HRLocker, Humen lets your employees also track any upcoming national holiday or an extra work day. This way, they’re aware of any changes in the company’s holiday schedule.

Key features

  • Form-based leave booking system reduces your employee’s time and effort, making it a more efficient and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
  • The personal vacation statistic dashboard allows employees to view their yearly vacation count, rolled vacation, used-up, and remaining vacation count.>
  • The upcoming events dashboard informs employees about extra work days or national holidays so they can plan their time off accordingly.
  • The time calendar, like HRLocker, provides teams with an overview of the entire department’s leaves, enabling managers and employees to prevent scheduling conflicts.


The pricing plans are not publicly available. But there’s a free beta version of the software and a free trial for the Pro package.

4. Timetastic

Timetastic’s interactive wall chart

Timetastic’s interactive wall chart gives an overview-style holiday calendar, so your team can see who’s in and who’s out. Source

Timetastic is ideal for teams and small companies who need a flexible absence management and staff holiday booking system. Used by 8000+ companies worldwide, Timetastic is cross-platform compatible and has pre-loaded holidays for 3000+ countries across the globe.

Key features

  • Individual calendars give your employees an overview of total holidays taken, days remaining and annual trends so they can make plans easily.
  • Calendar integrations with Outlook, Gmail and Apple automatically sync Timetastic data into your existing workflow.
  • Mobile apps and email notifications let your managers approve or decline holidays requested.
  • The interactive wall chart gives you a company-wide view of who’s in and out from each department.
  • Customisation capabilities let you create departments, allocate employees, and set up annual leave, sickness, doctor’s appointments, and maternal/paternal leave.


As with Leaveboard, Timetastic’s “super-simple staff leave planner” isn’t a comprehensive HR solution.

You can use Timetastic for free for a month with no credit card obligations. And once you’re ready to commit, you can enrol your team for $1.30 per user per month — free for 30 days.

5. AnnualLeave

AnnualLeave’s custom compliance policy feature

AnnualLeave lets you create custom compliance policies with employee entitlements. Source

AnnualLeave is a dedicated employee leave management solution, offering a self-service portal that lets you monitor staff leave trends, track absenteeism, and maintain company compliance — all from one easy-to-use platform.

Key features

  • Customisable leave types like planned (adoption, disability, and annual leave) and unplanned (public service, jury duty, and sick leave).
  • Reporting capabilities help you monitor and track leave trends, entitlements, and employee-specific patterns to identify how unplanned absences affect productivity.
  • The self-service portal lets employees easily submit time off requests from their desks.
  • Customised compliance means you can set specific employee entitlements and company policies for leave in accordance with local labour laws.


You can try the 30-day free trial or use the slider to select the number of employees and get a custom quote. To give you an idea, AnnualLeave charges £1.30 or €1.48 per employee per month.

6. WhosOff

WhosOff’s overtime management dashboard

WhosOff’s overtime management lets you see who’s worked extra hours so you can reward them fairly.Source

Founded in 2006 WhosOff offers dedicated leave management and overtime management systems. What sets this platform apart is that you can set restrictions between staff members so they don’t clash with leave days. Plus, you can set custom overtime types and generate reports for fair payroll distribution.

Key features

  • Customisable leave types and day blocking for public or bank holidays let your staff book holidays without interference.
  • Overtime tracking allows you to create different types of overtime in accordance with your company policies.
  • Customisable overtime policies mean you can set the maximum additional hours each employee can work per week or month.
  • WhosOff API lets you integrate the software into your payroll, accounting, and other HR solutions.


The 2-month free trial is a good way to get hands-on experience with WhosOff, and once you’re ready to invest, you can use the slider to select the number of employees you want to add to the plan and generate a quote. To give you an idea, WhosOff charges £30.00 per month for 20 staff members.

Book A Free Demo

It’s time to break up with outdated spreadsheets! Empower your employees and staff with a full-scale timesheet automation solution.


Questions to Ask When Selecting an Online Staff Holiday Planner

You need to ensure that the leave management platform you choose aligns with your company’s culture, workflows, and goals. Consider asking questions like:

  • Are you a self-service solution? (e.g. can employees submit and track their leave requests independently?)
  • Do you manage sick leave and other types of leaves? (e.g. maternity, paternity, unpaid leave)
  • How customisable is the solution? (e.g. can you tailor the system to your organisation’s specific leave policies, approval workflows, and reporting requirements?)
  • Do you have an automated solution for managing compliance? (e.g. adherence to regional or national regulations, GDPR)
  • Is the solution scalable and able to grow with your organisation? (e.g. can you add new features or users as your company expands?)
  • What’s your policy on TOIL, carrying over annual leave from year-to-year?
  • What kind of customer support and training resources are available? (e.g. live chat, knowledge base, webinars)

So, Which Online Staff Holiday Planner Is Right For You?

Whether you’re dealing with remote teams, managing complex work patterns, or juggling multiple leave policies, a reliable leave management solution can help maintain operational efficiency and employee satisfaction.

All of the software we recommend in this article offers a solution to streamlining the processes around leave management, improving fairness and reducing your workload.

But if you’re intrigued by a solution that also offers a range of HR solutions designed to simplify the work of employers and employees, HRLocker centralises data, automates compliance management, and provides staff with a self-service portal – all in one place.

6 Best Online Staff Holiday Planners to Simplify Your HR Processes was last modified: April 10th, 2024 by Adam Coleman

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Frequently asked questions about online staff holiday planner

You can track staff annual leave with an online staff holiday planner that offers real-time visibility of employee leave requests, integrated payroll and project management systems, customisable leave policies and approval workflows, and comprehensive reporting capabilities. HRLocker, AnnualLeave, Timetastic, and WhosOff are popular online staff holiday planners.

You can organise staff holidays by: 

  • Establishing a clear holiday policy which covers leave entitlement, notice periods, blackout dates, and maximum consecutive days off. 
  • Implementing leave management software like HRLocker that streamlines the process of requesting, approving, and tracking staff holidays.
  • Encouraging employees to submit holiday requests in advance so managers can assess the impact on the team’s workload and make necessary adjustments.
  • Planning for contingencies like unexpected staffing gaps or increased workloads during holiday seasons.
  • Creating transparent policies on Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) so employees know their surplus hours are properly accounted for.

The best way to schedule staff is by: 

  • Understanding staffing needs like workload and peak periods 
  • Defining standard work hours, break times, and shift patterns
  • Using a leave management tool so you can create, and manage employees’ time off efficiently
  • Cross-training employees for dealing with unexpected staffing shortages like illnesses, emergencies, or sudden increases in workload.