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I have a subordinate who has gone on annual leave, he booked the time off with me through an online HR system.

When I mentioned to my team today that he was on annual leave it came to a surprise to them.

Normally, when people go on annual leave in our office, they email around and let people know a week before they go on annual leave. Also, when on annual leave an out of office notification is normally configured in Outlook. Neither are mandatory requirements of the role.

The subordinate has gone on annual leave and has not emailed the office or set his out of office status. I appear to be the only person he told.

This is regarding annual leave, not a resignation or being made redundant.

Is it up to me to inform people of my subordinates leave or is it up to the subordinate to inform people?

closed as off-topic by gnat, Erik, paparazzo, Snow, Mister Positive Oct 30 '17 at 13:01

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  • Having been on the other end of this in similar circumstances to those you describe, I'm going to ask you: are you reasonably certain that the individual in question regularly receives these apparently ad-hoc emails when others take leave - or is this person regularly surprised when someone else is apparently awol and they're simply following what they see to be the same (lack of) procedure? – brhans Oct 30 '17 at 13:55
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    You dropped the ball, end of story. Why does anyone need to make a public announcement before going on leave? You are the manager, you are responsible for managing the team, and that you includes the team members' availability (or lack of). If a team member going on leave bothers the others that much, then you should inform the team. The team member who went on leave is not responsible for getting the other people's work done, you are. Honestly, why exactly are you required in the team if the team member has to take care of such an announcement? – Masked Man Oct 30 '17 at 17:10
  • Is this person's role of a nature that it matters that they're out of the office for a week or so? Are other people relying on them? If so, it was your responsibility to coordinate so as to ensure no work is getting held up. If not, it doesn't really matter. Their failure to set their out-of-office auto-reply on their email is a bit of a faux pas on their part though. Likewise, it would have been nice if they had put their absence in a visible Outlook calendar or similar. – Jonathon Cowley-Thom Nov 6 '17 at 11:28
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Is it up to me to inform people of my subordinates leave or is it down to the subordinate to inform people?

In most of the companies I have worked for, its up to the manager to inform the team when someone goes on leave. The other aspect you may wish to consider is are there other teams that this individual works with that may need to know as well?

The subordinate can do it, but if the manager handles the communication, the perception will be that you are on top of the situation and have a plan in place.

The key though, is that someone let's the team know and that the information is not discovered on the team members last few days before heading off on leave.

The other advantage of letting your team know early on is that they will be able to help you get all the little nuggets of information that might be required to keep the ship afloat while the individual is out of the office.

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Is it up to me to inform people of my subordinates leave or is it up to the subordinate to inform people?

Because you are in charge, it's up to you to make sure it happens. You can direct members of your team to inform everyone themselves. But if they don't do it, then you must.

If it is important that coworkers know when one of their team is out of the office, you should check to see if that team member has already informed others about the absence. If not, you should do so.

Some shops have morning or weekly status meetings. That is an ideal place to mention the list of team members who won't be around in the upcoming time period.

That's how I handled it with my team. I made sure they always knew when I wasn't going to be around. And if the team members didn't announce it themselves, I made sure everyone knew when others weren't going to be around. That way everyone could plan for the absence accordingly.

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Normally, we let the Out of Office assistant do the talking for us and don't bother about emailing the team or the world in general that we're out.

Additionally, project managers are informed of availability for people working for them, so any booked vacation time is relayed to the responsible PM.

We have an online resource plan that shows availability of each team member that gets updated whenever someone books vacation time. If someone doesn't respond to the email, we look at the resource plan and see if there's a planned vacation period booked.

As to what your backup is to the OoO notice, it's up to you.

Who needs to know in your particular team really depends on how the team is made up and what work they're doing. You should only really notify people if they need to know. If someone in my team is working on another project or work-steam, it really doesn't matter to me if they're in or out.

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