Manager checklist – best practice for managing leaves end to end

While you’d need to approach each person individually, we think there is a certain best practice when it comes to managing extended leaves, which is useful to get familiar with.


Complete the checklist below to assess how much support you’ve offered to your team members taking leaves and what else you can do to set them up for success.


Support you can offer before they go on leave

  • Congratulate if they are expecting a baby, empathize if they are going through a difficult personal situation.

  • Ask for their specific needs

  • Familiarize yourself with types of leaves available, company policies and law regulations

  • Plan & assign the necessary back-ups to minimise impact on the business

  • Ask your employee to document their tasks & responsibilities, as well as some of their unique know-how, projects and contacts

  • Plan the handovers with your employee at least 1-2 months in advance

  • Update the team on your reportee going on leave. Be sensitive if the leave is connected with the serious medical condition and plan what to communicate along with your reportee.

  • Discuss with your employee how, how often and for which issues they want to be contacted during their leave. F.ex. ask if they want to be contacted in case of manager change & be present during the handover or when a big reorg takes place.

  • Set the return date (although understand that it may change)

  • Reassure that they are valuable employee and that they contributed a lot to the team. Reinforce & summarize their skills & achievements. (For expecting mothers this can be done in a team setting on their last day at work before leave)

  • Reassure that they have a place in a team when they are back and that you will be happy to welcome them.


Support you can offer while they are on leave

  • Attend check-ins at agreed frequency. Share most important updates. Verify their leave plans.

  • Familiarize yourself with flexible work arrangements policy. Send a copy to your reportee.

  • 1-2 months before they are back, schedule a longer chat with a person returning from leave (if they agreed with you that they want to be contacted for that matter):

    • Discuss business needs & priorities of your team and organization. Explain the structure and KPI’s.
    • Discuss opportunities in your team
    • Ask what they are interested to take on in the team
    • Agree the scope of their role: responsibilities, projects, KPIs
    • Discuss their flexibility needs and brainstorm how you can make it work given the needs of the business and your team. If needed support your employee in making a case to HR for new flexibility work arrangement.
    • (Sick leaves only) Discuss job accommodations that are needed for your employee returning to work
    • (Sick leaves only) Prepare job accommodation agreement in writing and get it signed
  • Schedule a chat with a person, who is backing up. Discuss their career options and new role scope.

  • Include your returning reportee in quarterly plans.

  • Make sure that the basics are in place: your employee has a desk to sit, their security card is working etc.


Support you can offer when they return

  • Send an email to welcome your employee back.

  • Update the team that the person is back – be sensitive if they are returning after the sick leave. Make sure you communicate what you agreed for with your reportee.

  • Set expectations with your reportee:

    • Communicate how the success looks like from your perspective
    • Agree on flexibility arrangement
    • Agree on mutual expectations towards the amount of travel involved
    • Together create a ramp up plan. Agree time & support that they need, define together with your manager 2-3 manageable goals for the first 3 months.
    • Ask whether they have any concerns and how you can help
  • Accommodate time for their ramp up. Include ramp up as one of their goals for the quarter

  • Sign them up for trainings and online classes (if applicable)

  • Support them in finding a role-related and return-related buddy

  • Suggest scheduling shadowing sessions (if applicable)

  • (For sick leaves only) Ask your employee what to do if they become unwell at work and who to contact if necessary

  • (For sick leaves only) Discuss how and when you will keep in touch with your employee if they are absent from work because of illness or disability related reason