FAQs About Time Off Requests and Approvals in Zenefits

To submit a request: 


  1. After logging in to Zenefits, click into the Time Off application.
  2. On the Overview page, select the type of time off and the dates.
  3. Click Request Time Off.

Mobile App

  1. Log into Zenefits Mobile App, 
  2. Click Time Off 
  3. Click Request Time Off
  4. Select Type of Time Off and dates
  5. Click Submit for Approval

Requests can be submitted for a custom duration. If the account has a minimum increment, workers may only request custom amounts equal to or greater than that minimum increment.

  • By hours, e.g., 2 hours at a time,
  • Half day,
  • Full day, or
  • A series of days.

The number of hours in each day is determined during policy setup.

  • When the request is submitted, hours are deducted from the available balance (pending approval) so they cannot request more than the available balance.
  • For requests over a period of days, any day that is defined as a holiday or a  non-work  day (e.g., Sunday) on the time off policy will not be counted in the calculation of time off required by request.

Administrators and managers can view and edit approved requests for time off directly from the Time Off Overview page.

  • The Time Off Request page allows administrators to change the time off request.
  • Managers can view and edit a historical list of their team's requests from the My Teams time off page.

For each request, the table lists:

  • who the request was submitted by
  • the date(s) of the request and the number of hours requested
  • the status (requested, approved, denied, deleted)
  • the type of leave requested

Workers will be notified by email of any edits to their approved requests.

In the event an individual does not request time off in Zenefits, an administrator or manager can do this on their behalf by following either of the sets of steps below: 

  1. Click on the Time Off app
  2. Select Team in the top navigation bar
  3. Select the name of the worker
  4. Click Create a new time off request at the bottom of the pop-up box
  1. From the Time Off app, click Team Requests from the top navigation bar
  2. Click + Add Time Off

Individuals can also submit time off requests from their own Zenefits account

The amount of time off used will be recorded and time off balance will be adjusted accordingly.

Once a manager or administrator has decided to approve or deny a time off request, Zenefits will let the requestor know.

Example Approved email

Hi Bob,

We wanted to let you know that John Smith approved your request for Vacation from 12/25/ 2019  to 12/26/ 2019.


Example Denied email

Hi Bob,

Unfortunately, John Smith denied your request for Vacation from 12/25/2019  to 12/26/2019.

We've removed this request for time off from our system. You can always discuss this directly with your manager and request it again, if appropriate.

Scheduled requests are the total number of hours compiled from all of an individual's outstanding time-off requests. These outstanding requests include:

  • Time off requests scheduled for future dates
  • Time off requests scheduled for past dates that have not yet been approved for a past date

Scheduled requests example

  • An individual has submitted a time off request for eight hours on a future date. This has been approved by their manager.
  • They have also submitted a time off request for a past day off that occurred last month. This request has not yet been approved.
  • The person has a total of 16 hours in scheduled requests.

Once someone makes a request for time off, Zenefits will email their approver (usually, a direct manager) with details of the request for their review.

Example Request Email

Hey Brandi,

Bob Cratchit submitted a time off request: 

Requested time off: Vacation12/25/2021  to 12/26/2021.

  • Review

No else in your team will be taking time off.

5 other time off requests are awaiting your approval. View all requests.



The Review button will take you to your Zenefits administrator acount where you can approve or deny the request. If no action is taken an email reminder for the time off request will be resent every four days.

When a worker submits a time off request, Zenefits emails the request to the individual's direct manager for approval. If they don't have a manager in Zenefits, Zenefits will send the request to the company's main administrator. At the moment, Zenefits doesn't support request notifications for multiple approvers (e.g., a manager and other HR administrator or another manager).

An individual's time off requests can be approved (or denied) by their direct manager, their manager's manager, or any administrator with Time permissions.

  • Only the individual's manager will receive a notification email for the request. The request can be approved using the links in the email or the manager's Dashboard.
  • Though the primary administrator will not be notified of a time off request if the individual has a direct manager, the primary administrator can still approve or deny the request.

If the request is:

  • approved, the requested hours will be added to the individual's  year-to-date balance and permanently deducted from the available balance. Once it's approved, administrators can still edit the request's dates, number of hours requested, and type of leave.
  • denied, the hours are returned to the individual's available balance. Once denied, requests cannot be approved and must be resubmitted.

1. Workers who have not been assigned a PTO policy in Zenefits will not be able to see the Time Off card on their Zenefits dashboard.

  • If you're not an administrator, talk to your HR contact to have them assign you a policy
  • If you're an administrator, see these instructions to assign someone to a PTO policy.
2. Your company doesn't utilize Time Off through Zenefits. Check with your HR contact to verify how you should be submitting time off requests.

A time off balance can display as negative even if an employer does not allow negative balances.

This occurs when someone makes a time off request for an amount they will accrue by the start of their actual time off period, but is more than their current balance.

Zenefits calculates how much time the worker will accrue by that date and allows them to request the time off, but because they have not accrued this time yet, their balance appears negative.

If you've submitted a Time Off request and need to make an edit to the dates/hours:

  • If the time off request is for a future date: 
    1. Cancel the request and submit a new request.
    2. To complete, go to your Time Off app and select the My Time Off tab. Next, click Cancel on the old request. Navigate back to the Overview tab to enter your new request.

  • If the time off request has already passed:
    1. P
    lease speak with your administrator or HR contact to have your dates/hours edited. As an employee or contingent worker, you will not have the ability to edit a past request.
Any employee or contingent worker level requests will notify their direct managers specifically. If you need to change who receives and approves the PTO request, the direct manager will have to be updated. 

Administrators with Time Off privileges also have the ability to approve/deny requests, but they will not be automatically notified of these requests. In the event a manager is out, we recommend that their direct reports be aware that they may need to notify an alternate approver in the meantime. 
1. Log into Amazon.
2. Search for Zenefits under Amazon’s Alexa Skills or click here.
3. Click on Enable Skill.
4. You will be prompted to log into Zenefits if not logged in already.
5. Authorize Alexa to access Zenefits account. 
6. Upon authorization, there is confirmation that Alexa has been linked to Zenefits account.

Once linking is completed:

1. Say something like “Alexa, ask Zenefits to take time off” or "Alexa, ask Zenefits to take time off December 20".
2. Alexa will prompt a number selection for the account reasons. Say the corresponding number.
3. Alexa will ask the start date of the request.
4. Alexa will ask the end date of the request (if same day, Alexa will ask the number of hours).
5. Alexa reads back the request.
6. Confirmation.


  1. Log into Slack
  2. Open a direct message to Zenefits
  3. You should see a link that says Click here to link your Slack account to Zenefits.
  4. You'll be prompted to log in, using your Zenefits credentials
  5. You should now see Zenefits as an option under your Apps section of Slack

Request Time Off

  1. Anytime you wish to request time off, click on Zenefits under the Apps section of Slack
  2. Send a message containing the keywords "request time off"
  3. Select from the types of time off sent
  4. Specify the dates of your time off request
  5. Specify how many hours you'll be requesting
  6. Enter any notes to your manager
  7. You'll be presented with a summary of your time off request before confirming that it should be sent for approval.

If time off requests are being automatically declined without any action being taken to cause it, and you are a Microsoft user, please check to ensure you've marked `noreply@zenefits.com` as a safe email address. Microsoft has a new security feature that clicks on the links contained in incoming emails to make sure there is no suspicious or phishing activity, which has caused the decline PTO button in these emails to be pressed as a result.

Time off requests will be sent to your manager for approval, even if they’re part of a separate organization in Zenefits. 

When managers view their Time Off app, they’ll see all of their reports’ requests and upcoming time off, even if their reports are scattered across linked organizations in Zenefits.

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