You want your employees to take advantage of vacation time at their discretion, but it’s your job to ensure that you have employees in all departments throughout the year so normal business can continue. The only way to coordinate employee vacations is to create a master vacation calendar. You can use a variety of software programs online or on your computer to compare schedules and properly manage employee vacation time. You can also keep a paper calendar if you prefer that method.

Things You Will Need
  • Calendar program

  • Calendar template

Electronic Calendar

Step 1.

Navigate to the chosen calendar software on your computer or the Internet. Several programs are available for creating an electronic calendar including word processing programs, calendar software or online programs.

Step 2.

Select the option to add a new calendar, and add a name for the company's master vacation calendar. Save it to your hard drive or to the desired location on your network or Internet based upon the software selection. Block out any days or weeks that employees cannot take vacations or inform managers of this option.

Step 3.

Create the profiles for your chosen software that determine the privileges and options people have. For example, you and your backup need global administrative rights to make all changes but managers may only need to add events with start and stop times that you later approve. Add users and their user names to the program and attach the correct profile to them. Let managers create their individual passwords, or add a generic one that they can change. Finally, to make the calendar accessible to all employees, create a profile and password with only viewing options that any employee can use. If you have a lot of employees, you may want to create several generic users and passwords that have viewing options.

Step 4.

Make an electronic template that employees can use to request vacation time from their managers. Add a place for their manager's approval. You can make this template from a word processing or spreadsheet program. Make this template available to all managers to give to their employees when they need to request vacations.

Step 5.

Require department managers to approve vacation requests made by employees. Have the manager type the vacation requests into the electronic calendar but have them forward a copy of the approved vacation request to you. Some businesses require managers to forward these requests as they come in, while others may require vacation request updates to the calendar on a specific day of the week. Review and approve the added vacations as necessary.

Step 6.

Print out a copy of the master vacation calendar on a regular basis and post it in the employee lounge, kitchen or break room.

Step 7.

Keep track of all vacation requests to ensure employees have the time on the books for vacation. Print out approved vacation requests and keep a copy in their personnel files. Forward an electronic copy of the vacation request to payroll for their records.

Paper Calendar

Step 1.

Download a free calendar off the Internet or select a calendar template from your chosen software program. Print a copy of this calendar. You can also get blank calendar templates from office supply stores if needed. Post the calendar in a central location, such as the office kitchen, break room or in the mail room.

Step 2.

Block out any weeks where employees cannot take vacation. You can gray out these areas or put a large X on the days employees are not allowed to take off.

Step 3.

Require employees to write down their time-off requests and forward them to their manager for approval. Once the manager approves, the request is forwarded to you. Then, check the calendar to ensure all areas of your business have the required number of employees before you approve the time-off request.

Step 4.

Add the approved vacations to the company calendar as needed. Forward approved vacation requests to payroll and keep a copy for the employee's personnel file.


Before you establish a company vacation calendar review the company policy and procedure section for vacations. If you do not have one, you will need to create the policy and the how-to procedures for requesting vacations following the procedures chosen for electronic or paper calendars.

Make certain that the policy includes information that indicates requests are subject to manager's approval and available vacation time. To clarify any issues with the policy, you may want to include language that delineates a first-come, first-serve basis for fairness, but indicate when multiple employees apply for days off over the same period at the same time, vacations are granted by seniority.

Include the time-off request form in the procedures section of the employee manual. Pass out updated copies for inclusion in the manual as needed.


Review your policy and procedures to ensure they comply with state and federal laws. While companies are not required to give employee vacations, when they do, they must comply with federal and state laws in the program's administration.

Include a vacation accrual chart in the policies so employees understand how much vacation they are entitled to by their years of service.