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Ask Slashdot: Open Source Employee Vacation-Day Tracking Software? 108

First time accepted submitter sprior writes "I'm looking for preferably open source software that a business would use to track vacation/sick days for employees and so far have come up empty. I found WaypointHR which looks defunct and I'm looking at OrangeHRM which looks half defunct, half bait and switch, and half strange in general with a bunch of website bugs thrown in. Along the way I've seen a couple of other OS projects which look defunct as well. I realize that a solution might be more than just vacation tracking because once you configure the employee info for a company you tend to want to use that for more than one thing. Paid solutions are a possibility."
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Ask Slashdot: Open Source Employee Vacation-Day Tracking Software?

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  • Calendar? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by should_be_linear ( 779431 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:26AM (#40776149)
    We use Google Calendar for this. It has nice API, which we don't even need (only 20 employees).
    • 100 percent agree.
      Google Calendar. When you need pretty reports you can even export one or multiple calendars to csv and do what you will.

    • by u38cg ( 607297 )
      My (20k employee) company hands out an A4 form every January with your total number of days entitlement written at the top. You keep it, and when you want holiday during the year, you write it down, subtract the total, and your manager signs it off. At the end of the year the form goes back to local HR, who file it.

      My lawn, get off it.

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        Well, I guess that's one way of keeping HR personel employed.

      • At my company, they give you two weeks vacation that you can use any time you want. Well, except for dates when an important project is being worked on, which is all the time. Then on December 31st, when you haven't used any of your vacation, all your days go away because they don't roll over.
        To get around this problem, I just take vacation whenever I want to, and if anybody calls me or sends me an e-mail, then it wasn't a vacation day. Then I keep track of how many extra hours I have worked and how many v
    • Libre Office Calc. You can make it as pretty or as ugly as you like, but either way, the functionality is limited mainly by your imagination combined with your level of expertise and/or willingness to invest the time to customize to your needs.
    • We use Google Calendar for this

      How do you associate the number of vacation days to which an employee is entitled? How to do you forward vacation requests to a manage for approval? How does Google Calendar deduct taken vacation from the pool that the employee has? How does the pool reset at the end of the year? Does Google calendar automatically add vacation days as an employee accrues them? What about vacation carry-over from one year to the next? Is there a mechanism to notify HR / management if an

      • Make the event name the employees number/name/what-ever then export as CSV. Then import into LibreOffice/MSOffice/GoogleDocs and tally the hours/days/star-dates.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Define your own custom content type and date fields then build your calendar view from the calendar views template.

    • by sprior ( 249994 )

      My early thought was Drupal as well, but I'm holding off on purpose to see if an off the shelf application works before I go all custom.

  • by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:31AM (#40776217) Homepage

    how about a spreadheet.

    you could just hook a macro to a button that decrements x days from y employee when they take days off.

    or a database with a simple html front end that lets the hr goon do the same thing.

    • A spreadsheet is a horrible idea. It does not scale well and only is effective if you have a single point of control.

      My company uses spreadsheets to track the usage across 6 physical sites with 3 points of contact. There's essentially three sheets that are kept and must be periodically synced to verify data is identical. It's not reliable. I've seen one issue already where the number of days an employee had were off between the central point and the person who records for the site.

      • I wouldn't say it is a horrible idea, but you are correct in that it won't scale well. I have used spreadsheets successfully on teams as large as twenty, with everyone collocated at one facility. We simply had color coded cells to denote the reason for being out of the office, vacation, training, travel, etc... If the goal is to coordinate among a small(ish) group of people, then keep it simple. If you need to tie this into payroll and coordinate a large number of employees across several sites, then yo
  • Don't track it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cryfreedomlove ( 929828 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:33AM (#40776241)
    Hire adults and let them self manage how much time they need off. They won't abuse it, they'll love you, and you can avoid this complex project.
    • THIS! Why build in additional bureaucratic bs when you can make your company an even better place to work? The US is infamous for making people work every minute of every day as it is - buck the trend, there are benefits for doing so...starting with this overhead.
    • Re:Don't track it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) * <> on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:43AM (#40776381)

      That doesn't work.

      Because the larger the working group gets, the more people need to know that Frank has a week off in two months time - otherwise someones going to book that very important meeting with that very important client slap bang in the middle of it. People are going to see that someones off at the same time as they require, and they are going to mark themselves down for vacation anyway and just argue it out later on.

      But a vacation calendar should actually track more than just vacation time - it should track all planned and plan-able absence time. Vacations, lates, earlies, shift patterns, moved time, training periods etc etc etc. It should ideally track person dependencies - who cannot be off at the same time without serious authorisation. It should track banked hours and lieu time. It should track vacation preferences (I dont agree with it, but some companies give preference to those with children and families during known school holidays).

      Theres an awful lot that a simple calendar or "just let them sort it out like adults" simply won't handle for you.

      In answer to the parents question - I wrote my own, with all the above, about 10 years ago. I'd opensource it if I still had the code.

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        I think Google's calendar can handle this very well. I'm sure Microsoft's Office365 and other calendar tools can handle it equally well.

      • We just have a single OoO (Out of Office) calendar for this exact reason.

        We are spread all over, with remote people. When someone is looking for bob, its really easy to look at the OoO calendar, and see he's out for the afternoon.

        We use zarafa for our email, and a public calendar, but pretty much any groupware (or even davical for just calendars) would work.

      • Re:Don't track it (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TarpaKungs ( 466496 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:34AM (#40777029)

        They'll still book the meeting because they'll forget to check the calendar.

        • But the audit logs will show who booked what first, and who checked what - which is the point of having such a system...

          Plus you can always have the meeting calendaring as part of this system.

      • Because the larger the working group gets, the more people need to know that Frank has a week off in two months time - otherwise someones going to book that very important meeting with that very important client slap bang in the middle of it.

        Hah! You think having vacation time on your calendar keeps them from doing that? Happens every friggin' time. Shared calendars aren't for YOU to manage your time, they are for the clerical staff to manage your time.

      • by japhmi ( 225606 )

        We use a table in an internal wiki. Going to be gone, shade the block for that day grey.

        We're all engineers though.

      • Yeah, it does. I work for a ~1000 person company without any vacation tracking (you don't accrue vacation days, you don't spend vacation days, you take whatever vacation you want). It works just fine.

        And just to prerebut: Yes, people take vacations. All the time.

        • I'm betting those employees in that 1000 person company are not necessary to the sale or production of a service or product. I own part of a local family owned restaurant and surprise, the entire kitchen staff along with part of the wait staff decided they needed the entire weekend off to see a concert and recover from the experience. Of course this couldn't happen without closing down so the requests were granted on a first come first serve basis with me and some family members filling in to accommodate mo

          • We're a tech company. I'm talking about every single person in the company, including the engineers responsible for releasing and maintaining critical services.

            Sure, you can't have 75% of your employees taking the same time off. But if you've hired adults then you find that they can actually be pretty responsible about this sort of thing.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Hire adults and let them self manage how much time they need off. They won't abuse it, they'll love you, and you can avoid this complex project.

      Which is fine and dandy unless you have to comply with labor laws that require documentation of the amount of leave granted. Or accounting rules which require you to report earned time off as a liability.

  • Companies vary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:34AM (#40776257)
    Given how greatly companies differ in the details of their HR policies (when vacation accrues, what forms of paid leave are available, whether employees can 'buy' extra time off), I would be surprised if there is an off-the-shelf solution that fits your needs.
    • What he said. We had to roll our own. There is an astounding amount of "the devil is in the details" when dealing with this subject. For examples: How do you handle accrual of vacation/sick time for an employee whose start date is in the middle of a pay period? Is there a delay before they start accruing? Is there a maximum allowable amount? Does it increase based on seniority? How do you integrate your system with your time clock to deal with hourly employees (don't forget to credit them paid leave for hol

      • What he said. We had to roll our own. There is an astounding amount of "the devil is in the details" when dealing with this subject. For examples: How do you handle accrual of vacation/sick time for an employee whose start date is in the middle of a pay period? Is there a delay before they start accruing? Is there a maximum allowable amount? Does it increase based on seniority? How do you integrate your system with your time clock to deal with hourly employees (don't forget to credit them paid leave for holidays)? What if somebody is out for a span that includes the paid lunch hour? Will you allow entries that would cause the current balance to be pushed into the negative? If not, how will you forecast future remaining time, while taking all these rules into account?

        This is one of those business cases where the ol' 80/20 rule just doesn't cut it. Just tracking who's here and who isn't is pretty simple, but when you start automating the payroll side of it, it becomes many times more complicated and customized.

        Most of those can be answered with the term "pro-rate". Still, your point is valid - do you prorate or not?

  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:36AM (#40776277)

    What do you use to track days/hours worked? Isn't vacation accounting built into that system? If it's not, you're going to be running parallel non-communicating software which gives you multiple opportunities for the databases to get out of sync with reality, and each other.

    • The guy's question sounds like agonizing over the what color car to get before he has even picked out a car.

      Vacation/sick days are something you track from within an employee hour tracking system that you should be worrying about first. And once you've chosen that, your solution is vacation/ sick day tracking becomes obvious.

      • by sprior ( 249994 )

        There is no requirement to track employee hours for us, just days on leave. A spreadsheet on a shared drive worked for a while, but doesn't scale so we're looking for a distributed solution. We're primarily a Linux shop for servers (I'm sure we have some Windows servers as well) and will self host whatever solution is chosen.

    • by DdJ ( 10790 )

      You don't always need to track days/hours worked. For many salaried employees, you get paid an annual salary and your hours aren't really supposed to be tracked.

      The vacation day policy lays on top of that. If you use more than you're supposed to, it's not that you're getting paid for more days than you're supposed to, it's that you're getting paid the right amount but you're also violating company rules/policies.

      (This is how it is for my own job.)

      The vacation tracking system doesn't really need to sync up

      • Yeah, I've worked "salaried - exempt" what have you jobs since 1990, no time clock, no overtime, no hour tracking.

        Every single one of them tracked my days worked, sick days, vacation days, etc. with the same time tracking software used on hourly employees - only difference is that the "exempt" employees always get 80 hours, regardless of what's actually worked.

        I even worked at a place that "didn't track" vacation time for higher level managers - some managers took two month long vacations

  • by blogan ( 84463 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:39AM (#40776321) []

    Or if you want to bust the bank and pay $.99 and not have ads - []

    It's not Open Source, but if there's something specific you want, let me know and I can think about adding it. Or, if you'd like to purchase the entire source and open source it yourself, I'd be open to discussion.

    • by RattFink ( 93631 )

      Perhaps I am misunderstanding the app but from the page it seems like it can only track "your" time off. Can it track time for an business with many employees?

  • by nengard ( 2694203 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:43AM (#40776379)
    I have many such tools bookmarked and shared publicly here: [] Hope that helps! Nicole
  • one of these []
  • My own PTO days are tracked via a spreadsheet. My employer uses Excel, but I keep my own "shadow copy", usually in Google Docs spreadsheets (it has varied year-to-year).

    There are plenty of open source spreadsheets. The first one that I really liked using, many years ago, was "sc", a curses/terminal-based spreadsheet that built upon the vi keyboard commands. It's still around somewhere. My housemates and I used it collectively (via shared directories with ACLs on NFS mounts) to track shared expenses. Th

  • by fitteschleiker ( 742917 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:04AM (#40776663)

    Why the fuck you need open source? You aren't going to modify it, you just think open source is synonymous with free.
    My company uses its book keeping / payroll software to do this, but from reading the comments here, apparently america doesnt have humane
    vacation / sick days forced upon employers, I guess its that "free market" thing that works so well...

    • Not the OP but I will answer why I use open source when I can.

      Yes the cost factor is nice, but I prefer open source because I have more trust that the system isn't leaking information to it's copyright holder. That and the endless update cycle.

      I really with there was an effective way to use cash as a bounty to help pet projects along.


    • by sprior ( 249994 )

      While open source is also a bias of mine, I've also already looked at the source of the packages I've been considering partially for documentation. I've also got a history of taking open source packages and making some tweaks to fit the requirements a bit more. An active developer community around a project is also a critical indicator of liveliness in software and whether it continues to be viable. Note that I said that non-free packages will also be considered, open source is just a preference.

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:08AM (#40776709)

    Open Source Software usually has gaps in Business software.
    First OSS developers tend to have a negative views towards companies. Making free software so a company can make more money just doesn't sit right. OSS does tend to give tools for the IT side of business but a lot less on the side of the people with Suits.

    Second OSS developers are mostly on IT and really don't have a big picture understanding on how to operate a business. (some of them do, but most don't, judging by a lot of the idiotic comments from FSS supporters on how business need to operate) So most OSS Business systems tend to be small and only work for the company the product was designed for, and rarely ever useful in an other company.


  • shameless plug (I work for this company) but there is [] it's not open-source, but it's web based, free to try, and with lots of customizable options for different hr policies, and we offer great customer support
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It may be overkill, but TimeTrex Time and Attendance [] is open source and has a scheduling module with complete accrual tracking and employee self-service for requesting time off. It does a bunch of other stuff too (ie: attendance, payroll), but that can all be disabled in the permission system if you don't want to bother with it.

  • Definitely still a work in progress, but one to watch:

    The Time and Attendance module has been released and implemented in at least a couple places. Leave Management is the next module with an expected first release sometime in October.

  • set up a DB, make a web interface in PHP or ASP. call it done. that way employees can look and request without adding software, and HR can approve, deny and pull reports.

    Honestly, less than a day's worth of work for someone that is mildly capable in web programming.

  • There is a gambas application on sourceforge: Employear, to keep holidays but also normal working days, etc. It is a Linux desktop application written in Gambas, a Java-like language with a Visual Basic like development environment. It stores data in MySQL database. It makes sense to take an open source app; we adjusted some small thing so that we can read data from a timetracker system to auto-fill the normal, worked days.. We use for some years now; the monthly totals are delivered to HRM for payroll
  • I had built an RoR 2.x version based PTO tool to learn RoR (a copy of our company's HTML & JS based tool) but never got around to releasing it. I was going to upload it to but was waiting to port it to v3.x If you want I can upload it to github and you can take it from there.
  • It's funny... Every company I've worked for has built this application over and over... different languages, different platforms to integrate with different generations of desktop / networked calendaring, etc... and even different versions for different departments when there's variation allowed on a per-manager basis. It seems like it's always a bespoke, in-house sorta thing. It's also usually treated as the "get started" application when switching technology platforms... "If we can figure out how to bui

  • It is a pretty large software package and support tends to suck if you don't pay but it is updated consistently is open, and once you get your head around things, pretty easy to extend.

  • How about Outlook, Excel, paper and pencil, Libre Office Calc, etc...
    Write something in PHP, ASP, or whatever.

  • I wrote a program called Remind [] and I use it to track vacation days, who has the support pager, etc.

    It's very old-school UNIX. You enter all your data in a text file and it renders the calendar. I use git for revision control so it's easy to see who booked time off and when.

    I'm guessing Remind will appeal to about 0.001% of the target audience. :)

  • We're a company of about 400 people so off-the-shelf calendar applications wouldn't fit. So when this issue came up, we decided to build our own. It took about a month for a sole programmer, but at least it matches our company requirements perfectly.


  • [] is another web based system that you might want to take a look at, again it isn't open source but it's free for 5 users and reasonably priced for more.
  • Have a look at TimeTrex: [] The type of software you're looking for is often called "Time and Attendance" tracking. Hopefully that helps your Googlefu.
  • OrangeHRM open source has a leave module. They can even apply for leave using it
    • by sprior ( 249994 )

      I've been looking at OrangeHRM for a couple of days and have it installed in a virtual machine. However a few things have made me cautious:

      - The registration page on their website to download the documentation doesn't work.
      - I called their "global" technical support number to report that their registration page doesn't work and got voicemail.
      - They haven't called me back 2 days later.
      - The wiki site for their community version has almost no content and has been polluted with spam links that haven't been cl

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