Who can approve a request when a supervisor is on leave?

Personio allows employees to register their working hours or to request time off at any time, including periods when their main approver (usually their supervisor) is, for example, on paid vacation or sick leave. These requests often require immediate attention and cannot wait for the supervisor to be back.

There are two possible workarounds, outlined below, that can be applied within Personio to ensure that all approval requests (and absence requests in particular) are processed while a supervisor is on leave or absent.

Workaround 1: Create a Temporary Approver

You can create a temporary approver who will act as a substitute and will be able to approve the employee's approval requests while their supervisor is on leave. 

If an employee reports to a supervisor and a project manager within a different team, you can assign the project manager as the temporary approver. Alternatively, you can assign a supervisor's direct report as the temporary approver.

Follow these steps to ensure that a temporary approver can process a request:

  • Navigate to Settings > Employee Roles > Members, and create and assign a custom employee role (for example, Substitute Approver) to the temporary approver. 



  • Navigate to Settings > Employee Roles > Access Rights and assign the appropriate access rights to the custom employee role, if applicable. For example, if the approval request is linked to time tracking, then you will need to grant the employee viewing rights to Attendance data. If the request is linked to time off, then you will need to grant the employee viewing rights to both Absence and Calendar. 


  • Navigate to Settings > Approvals to define the group of employees that will have the new temporary approver as their approver. Click on the relevant tab (Absence / [absence type] , Attendance, etc) and click Manage employee filters to create an employee filter that matches the supervisor's direct team (for example, the Customer Service team). Click on Add new ruleset to add the relevant approval steps using both the employee filter and the custom employee role.

    If the temporary approver shall manage different types of requests (several absence types request, attendance requests, etc), you will need to repeat this step in all the relevant tabs.


  • The temporary approver will then be able to approve all the requests coming from the supervisor's direct team while the supervisor is absent.

    For absence requests, we recommend that the supervisor selects the temporary approver as their substitute when requesting their absence through Employee profile > Absences. By doing so, the temporary approver will receive a substitution request and will be reminded about the upcoming absence requests that will require their attention.

  • Once the supervisor is back, revert the changes. Navigate to Settings > Approvals, click on Manage employee filters and delete the employee filters that you created specifically for the temporary approver.

For more information on approval processes and managing substitutions, have a look at the articles Approval Processes and Reminders with Multiple Supervisors and Managing Absence Substitutes.

Workaround 2: Manually Approve Requests as an Administrator

As an administrator, you can access an overview of all open approval requests, and process these requests from the Workflow Hub. For example, you can act as an approver when a supervisor is absent or on leave. This not only applies to the administrator, but to any employee with editing rights to Attendance data or Absences.

This workaround should only be used for urgent cases to prevent the disruption of internal team workflows, arrangements, and responsibilities.

Approval Requests

Approval requests that are pending for less than seven days display as an on track approval, and approval requests that are pending for more than seven days display as an overdue approval in the Approval requests widget.


Follow these steps to manually approve requests:

  • Navigate to Workflow Hub > Approval requests.
  • To view all open (on track and overdue) approval requests and see who is responsible for each approval request, click on View all approvals.
  • On the Open Approval Requests page, click on the name of the employee who is responsible for approving the request listed under the To be approved by column.
  • You will be taken to the Profile of the relevant employee. Click on Log in as this employee and approve the request manually.


For more information about the Workflow Hub and the Workflow Dashboard widget, read this Help Center article on the Workflow Hub in Personio.



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