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Manage time off policies - Sage HR Essentials
Manage time off policies - Sage HR Essentials

How to set up and manage your time off polices in Sage HR Essentials.

Oliver Cook avatar
Written by Oliver Cook
Updated over a week ago

📎NOTE: This guide is for Sage HR Essentials. If you have the Leave Management module, use our other guidance for time off policies.

Time off policies allow you to keep track of how much time off employees have taken, what they’ve taken, and how much leave they have left to take. Different types of time off policies help you establish the type of leave the employee has taken. For example, whether it is annual leave or sick leave.

In Sage HR Essentials, by default, there is one pre-defined policy that you can use called 'Holiday'.

You can edit this policy so it is specific to your company's needs. You can also create two more policies.


  • Annual leave

  • Sick leave

  • Parental leave

To get to your time off policy settings:

  1. Click your name on the top right, then click Settings.

  2. On the settings menu click Time off, then click Policies.

Add a new time off policy

Click Add new policy to create a new policy. You can't add more if you already have three policies.

Name and describe the policy

Give the policy a name and a description. This description appears to employees when they are request time off.

How do you want days to accrue or be allocated?

Allocate either a number of days or hours, which can be allocated either:

If you choose once or accrue based on an event there is nothing else to enter regarding allocation and time off allowance.

If you select per year and accrue or based on time worked and accrue there are some further fields to fill out such as reset dates or allowance.

Reset dates determine when the accrual cycle ends. This is when accrued days expire - unless you allow carrying over days into the next cycle.

Default working hours

Enter what the default working hours are for the policy.

Weekends and public holidays as workdays

  • Select whether you want weekends to count as work days

    When enabled, all time off requests falling on weekend days will be counted against the time off policy allowance

  • Select whether you want public holidays to count as workdays

    When enabled, all time off requests falling on public holidays will be counted against the time off policy allowance

Carry over

Select whether you want unused time off to be carried over or not into the next calendar year.

You can configure your settings so that a maximum amount of days will be carried over the following holiday year.


Scroll down, click General, then select the options in this section that you want to apply.

Show time off policy in Calendar

If you untick Show this time off policy in Calendar, time off requests from this policy don't appear in public calendars. They are only accessible via reports and employee profiles.

Allow employees to see name of policy on calendar

If you do allow a time off policy to show on the calendar, you can either allow:

  • Everyone to see the name of the policy n the calendar

  • Colleagues to see a specific name that you can customise. For example, 'Out of office'


Scroll down, click Condition, then select the options in this section that you want to apply

Allow employees to request time off from this policy

When you enable this, any employee assigned to this policy can request time off themselves using this policy.

If you only want an admin to be able to request time off for an employee using this policy, make sure this option is not selected.

Don't allow to book more days than there are remaining in current period

This prevents users being able to book more days that they have available in their balance for the current period. For example, you can't book 3 days off if only 2 days are remaining.

Additional fields

Scroll down, click Additional fields, then select the options in this section that you want to apply.

Show details field

You can choose for there to be a details section in a time off request.

You can make it so that this field is mandatory too.

Allow to upload an attachment

You can choose for there to be section in a time off request to upload an attachment. For example, this could be for a doctor's note in a sick leave request.

You can make it so that this field is mandatory too.

Payroll settings

Scroll down, click Payroll settings, then select the options in this section that you want to apply.

  • Select whether this is paid leave or unpaid leave

  • Select whether the policy is short-term or long-term

Finish creating the time off policy

When you finish applying your settings for this time off policy, click Create. You can assign employees now by selecting the relevant employees, and then click Save.

📌TIP: Alternatively you can click Cancel and assign employees to this policy later.

Wait a few moments and then refresh your page. The policy now shows in your time of policy settings.

Edit a time off policy

To edit an existing time off policy, click Settings on the policy.

Make your changes, then click Save.

For more information about the time off policy settings, we cover this in the Add new time off policy section.

Assign employees to time off policy

When you create a time off policy, you can assign employees to it. This makes it available to select when requesting time off for them.

If the time off policy already exists, you can assign employees retrospectively.

If you choose specific employees, you can click Eligibility and then select or deselect employees to be assigned to this policy.

If it is set to assign to everyone, then all employees will be assigned to it automatically.

Delete a time off policy

You can only have a maximum of three time off policies in Sage HR Essentials. If you want to add a new policy you must either edit an existing policy or delete an existing policy so you can add a new one.

To delete a policy click on the bin icon, then click Yes, go ahead to confirm you want to delete it.

📎NOTE: If an employee has leave in Sage HR you will get a reminder in the pay run screen within Sage Payroll to make sure you add the payment/absence in payroll too.

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