Workday Absence Management in the Age of COVID-19

8 min readNov 10, 2022

We are facing unprecedented difficulties today with the COVID-19 virus and businesses are being asked to respond swiftly. Here are a couple of things to consider before adjusting/adding to your Workday configuration in response to the pandemic:

  • Do you have a workforce where “work from home” is possible and is being taken into consideration?
  • Do you require tracking both employees and any Contingent Employees?
  • Will time not worked be paid or unpaid?
  • Are you a covered employer under the Family First Coronavirus Reaction Act (FFCRA)?

As soon as you have made the decisions on your plans and what you want the experience to look like for your employees, you will need to decide how to make it happen. You have several choices in Workday ranging from easy, to complex. Whatever you determine to do, you wish to utilize reliable days to make certain that you can quickly go back to these adjustments as the requirement requires. There are many ways you can use Workday Absence to adapt your system to the current crisis

( Please keep in mind that best practice recommendations may vary relying on your existing lack of configuration, business requirements, and also the necessity of the new configuration.).

Below are some examples of solutions for COVID-19 policies:

1. Establish a “Work from Home” Time Off Plan

If you are a client who employees to log WFH days for much better manager visibility, workload management, or simply better insight into how COVID-19 is impacting your worker's work practices, you might think about setting up an accrue-as-you-go time off plan for “Work from Home.”.

Usually, time off plans have limited accruals which make up workers’ balances that can be requested through time offs. For our purpose, an accrual calculation would equal the “Time Off Total” requested. Thus, any requested quantity will be permissible and will translate directly to the worker’s balance.

The advantages of setting up such functionality are:

  • Employees have control over their requests which removes the requirement for high-volume maintenance from system administrators and Human Resources Allies.
  • Employees would need to do the familiar tasks of requesting a work-from-home day through their Absence Schedule, and then will route to the manager for approval (or can be exempt from approval if preferred).
  • Managers have visibility to all work-from-home employees through the currently existing Group Lack Worklet.

Not all businesses are the same, and this is not always required in the case of hourly employees who would still be entering their time anyways, or where all workers are WFH due to closures and it is thought workers are functioning unless time off or leave is logged. Yet if you wish to keep track of the workforce who are at home for the first time, this can be a good choice.

2. Modify your existing configuration

The first choice you will need to make is whether you are most likely to use an existing plan or if you will be building a new one. If you are planning to make use of an existing plan, a few of your alternatives would be:

  • Update the lower limits to enable employees to go negative on a strategy that typically does not permit it.
  • Expand the carryover expiration day to enable workers to have their carryover balance available longer than usual.
  • Boost accruals or include new temporary one-time accruals to increase the worker’s present balances.
  • Add factors to the time off to permit better reporting on which absences are connected to COVID-19.
  • Update eligibility to include new employees that you might not have included in this plan before.
  • Develop a new time off specific to these changes. You can either make this available to workers or hide it so that it is offered to Managers and Administrators.

No matter the changes you want to make, we strongly encourage you against editing and enhancing any type of existing estimations! We advise you to constantly build new regulations and estimations. And constantly upgrade time off plans to new efficient dates. While it may seem less complex to edit existing computations, it most likely will have an unfavorable downward impact on the rest of your Workday setup. As computations and regulations are not effective-dated, modifying them changes the outcomes of computations for their entire existence in the tenant. Thus, anything that you change might have an unfavorable retroactive effect on the workers’ balances and pay. Moreover, if an edited calculation is being used in multiple places, recognizing and rectifying the damages after the modification would call for considerable effort.

Structuring new estimations and upgrading existing time off strategies with a new effective date is the best technique to avoid creating retroactive problems. We also suggest you reach out to your Workday professional to determine the best setup to support these new requirements.

3. Setup paid time off/leave needed under Families first Coronavirus Act (FFCRA)

If you are an employer covered under the FFCRA, new time off strategy( s) and new leave type might be needed to support the following paid time offs should be made available to employees registered under the FFCRA:

2 weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at the employee’s routine rate of pay when the employee is incapable to work due to the fact that the employee is quarantined;

Two weeks (up to 80 hrs) of paid sick time at two-thirds of the employee’s regular price of pay since the employee is not able to work due to a bona fide need to take care of an individual based on quarantine, or look after a youngster (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care carrier is shut or unavailable for factors related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a significantly comparable condition as specified by the Secretary of Health And Wellness and Human Services;

Employees hired for at least thirty days, have additional 10 weeks of paid family leave at two-thirds of the worker’s regular rate of pay where an employee is not able to function due to a bona fide demand for leave to take care of a kid whose institution or childcare service provider is shut or not available for factors related to COVID-19 can be intermittent so might want to discuss recurring time off linked to leaves (similar to how we would set up regular FMLA).

( Please note that you should CONSTANTLY consult your lawful guidance before implementing any of these plans. These are the FFCRA standards, and instances of points we have seen and established over the past couple of weeks to help clients in planning for this crisis.).

4. If you are not covered under FFCRA or would rather develop a new configuration, we advise that you create a Leave Type for COVID-19.

Unlike Time Off Plans, leave types are much more flexible, and this makes them a perfect solution to lasting absence and/or lack for an unknown amount of time. With leaves, you may pick whether to permit employees to request leave on their own or not. Additionally, you can manage “on leave” visibility for employees.

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Reporting Considerations

Along with establishing modifications to time off plans or leaves, you can also examine what reporting capabilities you have conveniently offered and what new reporting you might require in the near future. Your company may also be requesting a number of evaluations and malfunctions of different data about your workforce during this time around for critical business decisions. Some Workday standard reports you may find useful for understanding your present workforce:

  • Headcount Report.
  • global Impact.
  • Employees on International Assignment.
  • Employees on leave
  • Directory by Location.

The following reports might be available in useful in examining your workforce effects from COVID-19 by filtering system the report outcome by time off plan or leave type:

  • Time off Liability.
  • Time Off Balances — Efficient dated.
  • Workers on leave

Before developing a new report, remember to examine if there is a Workday Requirement report that you can use for your requirements. You can run the “Workday Standard Reports” or “All Custom-made Reports” to see what reports you contend your disposal.

Data Integrity

Also, consider evaluating the following vital data points to ensure your business is up to date:

  • Employees without emergency calls — Recognize any employees without emergency calls and have employees upgrade the data.
  • Employees missing out on a home address or telephone number — Examine the missing population to ensure several streams of communication are available to the entrepreneur. Having several means to get in touch with workers is essential when transitioning to a temporarily remote workforce.
  • When you have employees identified that may require emergency situation contact information or other telephone and/or address changes, action by:

1. Using Distribute documents or Tasks to send an inbox task to employees.

  • This is a computerized method to include numerous jobs (Change Personal Details, Change Contact Information, Change Emergency Calls) in one inbox item.
  • Limit who gets the job( s) by using a condition rule on the review action of the Distribute documents or Tasks Business process.
  • TEST! Ensure the appropriate employees receive the task( s) and they have the ability to complete all the To-Dos.

2. Send a personalized alert to your employees to remind them to go into their accounts in Workday to ensure their emergency contact information, residence address, phone number, and possibly even beneficiaries are all updated in Workday.

  • Trigger this sort of personalized alert by developing a custom-made report.
  • Configure a personalized alert and define the text that you would want the employees to receive.
  • TEST! Make sure to verify that you have a suitable population identified in your report output so the alert is sent out to the appropriate people.

3. Contact them directly to request they upgrade these things.

As stated previously, please make sure you are examining these policies with your legal team before carrying them out. We understand there are lots of alternatives out there, and we would ENJOY learning through others regarding what they may be developing by themselves internally or creating for their customers.


Bottom line, if you count on the power of Workday and what it can do, then you need to believe in the power of Workday Absence Management as well!

Also, for more such informative and engaging articles on the Google Cloud Platform, feel free to visit our website.

At ZaranTech we offer self-paced online training on Workday Absence Management. To learn more about our courses, feel free to visit our website.

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In the end, as always, thanks for reading, and remain safe around!




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