How to Manually Manage PTO

By Brett Derricott

As the person responsible for overseeing your organization’s time off, yours is a big job! If you’re using spreadsheets, emails, and/or paper forms to manage PTO, that job can quickly become overwhelming. You have a lot of people counting on you:


Company owners and executives rely on you to make sure the company’s workforce takes enough time off to be well rested and healthy. On the other hand, you need to also ensure that employees aren’t taking more time off than they should.


Accounting and finance personnel are counting on you to make sure time off data is accurate for financial reasons. If your company pays out unused vacation/PTO time at year end or when an employee leaves, you have a financial obligation to track PTO data accurately. If your company adds account balances to pay stubs this is another reason you’re expected to manage PTO and track this data in great detail.

In a state that has specific laws relating to sick time (as many states now do), you are legally obligated to administer sick time in a specific way. That generally involves rules for carryover, accruals, and more.


Employees naturally have a big stake in this as well. The time off hours do belong to them, after all! They expect that accruals are accurate, and that their various time off account balances are up-to-date at all times. Having access to an accurate, current account balance helps employees plan vacations and other time off.

Additional Responsibilities

In addition to feeling the pressure from each of these stakeholder’s expectations, you also have specific responsibilities that can take up to several hours per week, if not more:

  • Creating and communicating the policies for each category of time off, such as vacation, sick, PTO, unpaid, bereavement, etc.
  • Calculating and running accruals, whether on an annual basis or a pay-period basis.
  • Ensuring all PTO requests are properly vetted and approved. If managers are involved in the approval process, you need to coordinate with every manager in the company in this process.
  • Keeping a company time off calendar up to date.
  • Updating each employee’s account balance as time off is taken, and keeping a record of all PTO requests.
  • Resolving disputes or confusion when an employee disagrees with their account balance as reported to them.
  • Calculating any PTO carryover/rollover at year’s end, if applicable.
  • Manually tracking and updating accrual rates based on tenure (years-of-service).

Although time off tracking can be done manually with spreadsheets, emails, and paper forms, this is an extremely inefficient approach, fraught with potential risks due to mistakes. At Built, our job is to save you dozens of hours per month. If you’re ready to move beyond the pain of a manual process, let us know and we’ll show you how our system can help!