Staff Holiday Planner: Free Template to Manage Holidays

HR people discussing their staff holiday planner

Are you looking for a staff holiday planner? One of the top challenges many organisations face is finding ways to efficiently track holidays. It’s not only a matter of good record-keeping but allows for better transparency across teams (we’ll explain how later on).

In this article, we make the case for staff holiday planners and even offer our own template (and solution) for tracking holidays for your team. We hope you find the read helpful.

Skip right to the chase and download our staff holiday planner template today.

What Is A Staff Holiday Planner?

True to its name, a staff holiday planner is how organisations track holidays, including who is out of the office, for how long and even the type of holiday they are taking. For organisations of any shape or size, keeping a close eye on who’s in, who’s out and for how long is absolutely essential.

If you don’t currently have a staff holiday planner of some kind in place, you’re risking:

  • A general lack of transparency across your organisation.

  • Misalignment between teams (especially dangerous in customer-facing roles).

  • Overall lack of productivity as employees aren’t sure when people are in.

Because the case for tracking holidays is fairly clear, let’s dive a bit deeper. Let’s think about what challenges companies currently face when it comes to tracking absences…

How Do You Keep Track of Staff Holidays?

Let’s start by talking about holidays. The average domestic holiday in the UK lasts 3.3 days, with holidays abroad lasting around 8.7 daysaccording to research from NimbleFins. Given an average holiday entitlement of 28 days, the average result is 8.5 separate domestic or 3.2 international trips.

Even in an organisation of 25 people, that’s potentially 212.5 domestic or 80 international total trips that need to be requested and recorded. And, the more people you onboard, the more that number scales higher and higher.

Right there is the case for a great staff holiday planner. If employees are requesting, on average, somewhere between 4-6 trips each of varying lengths, it’s necessary that your HR team track them (and track them well).

How Do You Organise Staff Holidays?

There are generally three agreed-upon ways to track and centralise various types of leave. These include:

To be sure, each potential solution comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. We’ll break down each alongside some best practices to help you optimise the process.

Option One: Staff Holiday Planner Templates

This is a great time to mention that you can download your own staff holiday planner template by clicking this link. It comes in the form of a handy Excel sheet which you can use to track when people are out of the office – it even comes complete with bank holidays for 2022.

In general, here are some of the pros and cons of creating your own system from scratch or using a template:


  • Easy to use (plug and play option)

  • Little to no up-front investment

  • A high average adoption rate of Excel (your average employee knows how to use it)


  • Difficult to scale with headcount

  • Less data security

  • File risks becoming messy or unusable

Verdict: For a small or growing team, having your own staff holiday planner using a template may be a good place to start. But, it’s easy to see how it can become messy, how the information may not be secure and how a misplaced keystroke can accidentally delete someone’s holiday from your records.

Best Practice: Think about how you can potentially colour code certain absence types beyond holidays. Do you need to have options for compassionate leavesabbaticals or even duvet days? Each of these may need a unique identifier in your holiday planner.

Introducing Modern Holiday Planning & Management

Absence Timeline

Seamless absence tracking that scales with your headcount. See how Personio can help your team with absences today.

Option Two: Holiday Planning Specialised Solution

Your team may also be considering a number of tools on the market that specifically track absences. Here are some of the things to consider:


  • More nuanced way to request and track absences

  • Better oversight of more absence types

  • Available reporting on absences


  • Potentially low adoption rates amongst staff

  • Higher costs for a very specific function

  • Could risk de-centralising overall employee data

Verdict: A specialised solution for tracking absences has a lot of benefits. But, some organisations may find the cost prohibitive or duplicative of what you can get from a more all-in-one solution.

Option Three: All-In-One HR Software Solution

The final option is tracking absences through the absence management feature of an HR software. Here’s how that looks in terms of advantages and disadvantages:


  • Completely centralised and secure data

  • Linked with other employee data and relevant reporting and analytics

  • Tracking every kind of absence type with maximum transparency


  • Not a free option

  • Can take time to properly implement

Verdict: An all-in-one HR software is likely the best option for tracking holidays. That’s because it centralises all employee information, allows employees to see who is off and can even integrate with tools like Google Calendar and Slack to showcase when people are away from the office.

Best Practice: The best part about an all-in-one solution is the opportunity for more employee self service. In an HRIS like Personio, employees can request their own holidays, managers can approve it and then it all gets logged in one handy location. HR has all of the visibility with vastly reduced effort and stress.

Staff Holiday Planning: What We’ve Learned

Having a way to track the holidays of your staff is a baseline. And, while a template or a specialised solution is a great place to start or grow, it can’t really match the benefits of using an HR software that encompasses every stage of the employee life cycle.

That said, you still need a system in place. We hope our holiday planner template helps, but we’d also suggest booking a demo with one of our Personio experts to talk about our absence management platform and how it can pull together all your pressing HR data.

Do You Have A Leave Management System?

The world of work is only becoming more complex. The last thing you should be worrying about is calculating holiday entitlements, tracking them or ensuring you are legally compliant. Allow us to help.

Personio is an all-in-one HR software that helps upgrade your people operations for now and the future. That includes a leave management software that can manage holiday requests, track every kind of leave (from emergencies to sicknesses and bank holidays) alongside all of your other core HR processes.

8,000+ customers in the UK and Europe trust us to help. Get in touch with one of our helpful HR experts today, or start your own free trial to give Personio a go right away.

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