The Bindle Blog

Updates from Bindle, plus other stuff you might like

Benefits of Using Employee Vacation Tracking Software

Posted by Dan on Aug 29, 2021

Most businesses offer some type of paid time off to their employees, whether it is sick leave, vacation time, or personal days. Offering paid time off has several benefits, especially if you want to retain your employees over the long term. However, it can be difficult to keep track of all leave and absences. Many businesses end up losing a lot of money because they don’t calculate PTO effectively. Fortunately, things are easier today because you can use employee vacation tracking software for this purpose. Here’s a look at the numerous benefits of such software:

How to Show PTO In Your Team Calendar with Bindle

Posted by Ben on Aug 21, 2021

Having a shared PTO calendar for your team makes everyone’s life easier. When everyone knows who’s on holiday and when, scheduling and planning becomes a lot simpler.

Bindle can automatically update your team’s PTO calendar, whether that’s Apple, Google, Outlook or any calendar app that uses the iCal format.

It only takes a minute to setup, and from there Bindle will automatically keep the calendar up to date for you (and your team).

Here’s how to do it.

Calculating Paid Time Off – What is the Best Option for Your Business?

Posted by Dan on Aug 18, 2021

Paid time off is a perk businesses can offer their employees to keep them happy and retain them over the long term. Different businesses have different approaches to PTO based on their unique requirements. Some are obligated by their local laws to provide some sick leave or paid time off benefits whilst others provide it as an added incentive for their employees. Here are some tips on how you can make it easier to calculate paid time off:

Managing PTO at Your Dental Clinic

Posted by Ben on Aug 15, 2021

Scheduling employee vacation days when you’re part of a small dental clinic can be a nightmare. Even though you probably want to give your team a generous, flexible PTO policy so they can take a vacation now and then, the logistical challenges can make it hard.

In this article, we’re going to run through what you need to do in the short-term to ensure easy PTO tracking and management for the future of your dental clinic, including:

  • Developing an effective PTO Policy for your dental clinic
  • Calculating & tracking PTO & Vacation Day accrual
  • Avoiding chaos when employees go on vacation!

Why Most Unlimited PTO Policies Don't Work

Posted by Ben on Aug 2, 2021

How many of us have dreamed of having unlimited vacation time? No PTO balance to manage, no accruals to wait for for that week away - perfect, right?

Of course, if you ask anyone what the biggest drawback is for an unlimited PTO policy, you’ll probably hear:

“But what’s to stop employees from taking off too much time and not getting their work done?”

In many workplaces, that may well be a legitimate concern. In practice however, the majority of organizations that have implemented an unlimited PTO policy have a completely different problem:

“Employees aren’t taking enough days off - they’re burning themselves out.”

How is this possible? To understand, we’ll look into:

  • the psychology behind vacations and productivity

  • why employees take (or don’t take) time-off

  • the potential benefits of an unlimited PTO policy (and how to actually reap them)

  • practical steps for tracking, measuring and understanding when employees most benefit from PTO.

3 Employee Vacation Tracking Strategies for Law Firms

Posted by Damien on Jul 18, 2021

As your law firm grows, you’ll likely find that keeping track of your employees’ vacation days, accrual and PTO becomes more and more difficult to manage.

In this article, we’re going to run through three different PTO management strategies that will make vacation tracking easier not only for yourself or your office manager but for the entire team as well.

How to Track a New Employee's Vacation Days in Bindle

Posted by Ben on Jul 15, 2021

Setting up a new employee in Bindle is a quick and simple process, but you will need to make a few key decisions in the setup process to ensure their vacation days are accruing the way your business needs.

In this article, we’ll go through how to add, customize entitlements for and welcome a new employee to Bindle.

If you aren’t already using Bindle, it’ll help if you sign up for a free 30 day trial here and follow along with the steps, as that way you can test it out with your team right away.

Vacation & PTO Tracking for Technology Companies & Startups

Posted by Ben on Jun 13, 2021

Vacation & PTO Tracking Policy for Technology Companies & Startups

For Technology and Startup companies, developing a policy Paid Time Off (PTO) or Vacation for your team is less about compliance and more about attracting and managing the best talent.

As you’re growing your team, the way you track and manage PTO and vacation days will likely change - after all, when you’re a team of 3, it’s pretty easy to stay on top of everyone’s vacation plans, but in a team of 50…?

In this article, for each stage of your business growth, we’re going to go through:

  • Statutory requirements for PTO, including FMLA and state legislation
  • The best PTO accrual methods for technology companies and startups
  • Using PTO as an effective perk to attract talent
  • Encouraging employees to take vacations for mental health and productivity

How to Calculate PTO Accrual

Posted by Damien on Apr 25, 2021
This article covers PTO calculations for the US. Head here if you'd like to calculate annual leave for Australia instead.

How much paid time off or vacation time am I entitled to?

In the USA, there’s no federal requirement to grant employees paid time off including any of the 10 federal holidays.

This means that the exact amount of PTO you’re entitled to can vary from workplace to workplace. Every company may calculate PTO accrual differently.

However, the state or county you’re in may have laws that entitle you to a certain amount of sick leave.

For example, Californian employers must allow employees to take up to 24 hours or 3 days paid sick leave per year. There are also extra requirements for paid time off provisions if you’re a contractor working with the federal government.

Ultimately, this means that there are 3 key places you’ll need to look to understand how much vacation and PTO time you’re personally entitled to:

  1. State and County Legislation (for the bare minimum PTO you’re entitled to)
  2. Your employer’s PTO & Vacation policy (for understanding how your PTO is accrued, when you’re entitled to it and how to apply for it)
  3. Your own employment contract (for specific additional vacation entitlements you’re entitled to)

The return of the Bindle bus

Posted by Howard on Aug 18, 2020

Look what rolled back in to town this morning, a little bolder and more modern than when it disappeared off on its travels a few months ago.

“Where have you been?”, we asked. “What were you doing?”. The bus maintained its usual enigmatic silence then trundled off round the corner, leaving us to wonder.

Use Bindle to track Work From Home days

Posted by Howard on Jun 9, 2020

Bindle is ideal for tracking all the different things that take people out of the office. Historically, this has meant things like PTO, Vacation and Sick Leave. Increasingly it includes days spent Working From Home.

One of the first companies to use Bindle to track WFH days pointed out that their staff don’t require approval to book and change WFH days. They asked if we could make Bindle more flexible in this area. We were happy to oblige.

PTO Policy Generator

Posted by Damien on Sep 19, 2019

If you’re an administrator or owner of a growing business you might find that as your business begins to scale and you take on more workers that you might want to formalize the process of taking time off by putting in place a time off policy.

By creating a clear time off policy you’re protecting both you and your employees and you’re helping your business run more smoothly.

Here at Bindle we’ve made the process of creating a time off policy really simple by building a free time off policy generator, made especially for small business owners in the United States.

Australian Leave Policy Generator

Posted by Damien on Aug 8, 2019

Having a clear leave policy in place is a good way for your business to avoid ambiguity and confusion around what to do when taking time out. It’s also a good idea to avoid potential conflict and misunderstanding if at all possible.

It’s just common sense for everyone to be on the same page, right?

Bindle to the rescue! We’ve made a free tool to generate leave policies for Australian companies.

Privacy Policy Updates

Posted by Damien on May 7, 2018

We value your privacy and want to be transparent about the data we collect, how we use it and your rights to control that information, which is why we’ve made some updates to our Privacy Policy and we’ve revised our Terms of Service to be consistent with these changes.

We made these updates to reflect the high standards established by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a set of laws passed in the European Union.

Free Vacation Tracker For Employees | Bindle

Posted by Damien on Feb 17, 2018

At Bindle we’ve created a free time off tracker for Excel. It’s a free spreadsheet for you to download and use to record time off requests and to calculate remaining time off balances.

Time off tracker screenshot

This Excel template is basically a free time off manager for you to track employee time off. It is a great tool to use if you know your way around Excel a bit and you have around 5 employees or less.

Bindle ❤️ Slack

Posted by Damien on Aug 8, 2017

Announcing another Bindle integration! Bindle now works with Slack, the super-popular messaging app for teams.

Bindle now integrates with Twist

Posted by Damien on Jul 18, 2017

We’re happy to announce that Bindle now integrates with Twist, the communication tool for teams who believe there’s more to work than keeping up with group chat apps.

Time off allowances based on years of service

Posted by Damien on May 25, 2017

We‘ve just made a great little improvement to Bindle. The ability to automatically increase time off allowances based on years of service.

Adding important company events to Bindle

Posted by Damien on May 2, 2017

We’ve just added a great new little feature to Bindle. The ability to upload important upcoming company events.

This is useful to remind staff of things like busy periods, office closures, and holiday block out dates when they’re requesting and approving time off.

Share the love

Posted by Damien on Apr 30, 2017

You can earn some great discounts for your company simply by tweeting about us, following us on twitter, or referring a friend.

Custom entitlements

Posted by Damien on Apr 11, 2017

We’ve been busier than usual at Bindle recently. Too busy for regular blog updates, it seems!

We’ve enhanced Bindle to make it more suitable for places like the U.S.A. where there aren’t that many legislated rules about time off.

Basically, in the States it’s a free-for-all. Bindle can now cope with that.

A PTO tracker made for the U.S.A.

Posted by Damien on Nov 10, 2016
American flag Photo Credit: Mike Mozart

Whoah, what a week?!? Anyway, moving swiftly on…

For a month or two (or three) we‘ve been toiling away and learning all we can about how paid time off (PTO) works for companies in the U.S.A. I’ve recently blogged about our findings.

Based on our research, we added some features to Bindle and turned it into the best leave management system for U.S. small businesses.

10 Final considerations when creating a PTO policy

Posted by Damien on Oct 27, 2016

This concludes the series of posts on 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

Using the information in this series, you should now be able to draft a clear and concise PTO policy that’s right for you and your staff.

9. Choosing the right leave management system

Posted by Damien on Oct 26, 2016

This is a post in the continuing series about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

You can choose to encapsulate and enforce compliance to your company’s paid time off policy by using a system as simple as a booking request form in a Word template, a clearly communicated approval process, and a single spreadsheet.

You can even download a free PTO tracking spreadsheet we’ve created to help you out.

This has the obvious advantage of being fairly simple and inexpensive to set up.

When you reach around 10 employees or more, you might find things start to get a little harder to manage.

8. PTO payouts upon termination

Posted by Damien on Oct 25, 2016

This is a post in the continuing series about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

In the U.S., depending on what state your employees are located in (including your staff working remotely), it may be left to your discretion as to whether or not you decide to pay out PTO balances upon termination of employment.

7. ‘Use it or lose it’ clauses, and accrual caps

Posted by Damien on Oct 24, 2016

This is a post in the continuing series about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

To limit the total amount of paid time off your business has to pay out, you might like to consider putting in place a “use it or lose it” policy.

This means that staff have to use all of their accrued leave in any given year, or they forfeit all their remaining time off.

6. When to start each PTO year?

Posted by Damien on Oct 21, 2016

This post is part of the series of articles about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

Ahhhh, T.G.I.F. Anyway, on to business…

Another thing to consider when drafting your PTO policy is when to start each PTO year.

The two main options are to start the PTO year at the start of the calendar year, or to start each year on the anniversary of each employee’s start date.

Each option has their own implications depending on the other policy clauses you have in place.

5. How much PTO should you offer your staff?

Posted by Damien on Oct 20, 2016

This is a post in the continuing series about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

Perhaps if you’re not a fan of these new-fangled unlimited time off policies and you’re unsure about how much PTO to offer your staff, you might like to take a look at some nation-wide averages.

To arrive at your final answer though, you’ll also need to consider additional factors such as how competitive your industry is for finding and retaining top talent.

4. How is paid time off (PTO) earned?

Posted by Damien on Oct 19, 2016

This post is part of the series of articles about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

Now that we’ve written about the 3 broad categories of PTO policies that are out there, it’s time to start thinking about some additional considerations.

This post focuses on the different methods for earning PTO. You’ll need to decide which one is right for your business.

3. The PTO bank policy

Posted by Damien on Oct 18, 2016

This is the forth post in a series about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

As mentioned several times in a prior posts, PTO policies generally fall into 3 broad categories:

  • Unlimited PTO Policies
  • Traditional PTO Policies
  • PTO Bank Policies

This post focuses on the third option; the PTO Bank Policy

2. The traditional paid time off policy

Posted by Damien on Oct 17, 2016

This is the third post in a series about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

As mentioned in a previous post, PTO policies generally fall into 3 broad categories:

  • Unlimited PTO Policies
  • Traditional PTO Policies
  • PTO Bank Policies

This post focuses on the second option, which is still the most popular (especially with large organizations), but is gradually falling from favor; The Traditional Paid Time Off Policy.

1. The unlimited paid time off policy

Posted by Damien on Oct 16, 2016

This is the second post in a series about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy.

PTO policies generally fall into 3 broad categories:

  • Unlimited PTO Policies
  • Traditional PTO Policies
  • PTO Bank Policies

This post focuses on a type of PTO policy that is gaining popularity among progressive businesses in extremely competitive sectors; The Unlimited Paid Time Off Policy.

10 things to know when creating a Paid Time Off (PTO) policy

Posted by Damien on Oct 16, 2016
We’ve recently consolidated and updated our advice on PTO policies. See the Bindle Guide to Paid Time Off for our latest thoughts.

Firstly, apologies for the click-bait title. I just couldn’t help myself.

This post is the first in a series about 10 things to know when creating a PTO policy. The series is aimed at U.S. small business owners and administrators.

It outlines your 3 main policy options, plus some additional considerations for you to think about.

The series will help you craft a competitive PTO policy that allows you to attract and retain top talent, while giving you a rough idea about your legal responsibilities, and the relative administrative burden certain policy options might entail.

Right-o, chocks away!

A time off manager made for New Zealand

Posted by Damien on Oct 12, 2016

The simplest web-based leave management system for Australian small businesses now has some features built specifically for small businesses in New Zealand.

All you need to do is sign up and Bindle will automatically detect your location and set up leave types, rules, and intelligent default values for you.

When you enter new people into Bindle and they’re located in New Zealand, Bindle does things like…

Reviews, releases, and robots

Posted by Damien on Jul 17, 2016

Whoah, time is flying by. I can‘t believe it is July already. Summer in California. Yay! Anyway, time for an update on what we‘ve been up to if you haven’t been following us on Twitter.

Since I last wrote, we‘ve been busy investigating chatbots, releasing some oft asked for improvements, adding some more endpoints to our API, and getting some fantastic reviews on Capterra.

A message to start‐ups searching for a logo

Posted by Damien on Mar 23, 2016

What‘s the right logo for us?

That‘s one of the questions Howard and I have asked ourselves since we started this Bindle thing.

We decided like responsible adults that we would put it off until the answer became obvious, and get on with more “important” things.

But after a while I realised that we needed something, anything that gave people an inkling about the ideals of Bindle and the people behind it. So, I decided on a lovely blue camper van.

Partner accounts

Posted by Damien on Mar 21, 2016

Today we announce the launch of Bindle Partner Accounts.

Partner Accounts are specifically designed for HR consultancies, accounting & bookkeeping firms, and their clients.

A Partner Account allows you to access multiple Bindle accounts from one place, so you can easily manage leave bookings and balances for all your clients.

Partner accounts are simple to get up and running and are completely free, forever. Sign-up for a free account here. It costs nothing, and there are no contracts to sign.

Add your own holidays

Posted by Damien on Mar 12, 2016

Bindle now allows you to add your own public holidays and company wide days off.

You can even apply a customised calendar to an individual employee, meaning their leave balances will always be 100% accurate no matter what their regular weekly schedule. Obviously, this is an especially good feature for part-time employees.

Long service leave for all Australian states and territories

Posted by Damien on Feb 22, 2016

We’ve finished all the long service leave calculators for all Australian states and territories.

The way to calculate long service leave balances is slightly different for each Australian state and territory, so we built a specific calculator depending on where you work.

After we had created calculators for Victoria and New South Wales, the rest just fell out without too much trouble. 🎉 Yay!

Now all Australians can see their current long service leave balance, check future balances, and make long service leave bookings.

Long service leave for New South Wales

Posted by Damien on Feb 10, 2016

We’re on a bit of a roll here…

People located in “The Premier State” can now book long service leave using Bindle.

As we mentioned in the last post, each Australian state and territory has a different way of calculating long service leave (LSL) entitlements. This means we need to create a separate leave calculator for each one.

2 down, 5 to go.

LSL 4 NSW ❤️ Bindle

Long service leave for Victorians

Posted by Damien on Feb 7, 2016

THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING! Now you wonderful folks in Victoria can book long service leave using Bindle.

Every Australian state has different rules for calculating long service leave balances. This means we need to build a slightly different balance calculator for each state, so the other states are in the pipeline and will be released real soon. Promise.

Also use Bindle to book parental leave

Posted by Damien on Jan 31, 2016

Following hot on the heels of adding the ability to make compassionate leave bookings in Bindle, we’ve added maternity & parental leave as well.

Now you can book compassionate leave

Posted by Damien on Jan 26, 2016

We’ve added another oft requested feature to Bindle. You can now use Bindle to book compassionate (or bereavement) leave.

Season‘s Greetings

Posted by Damien on Dec 27, 2015

Like most people, I get a bit nostalgic and reflective at year end and I wanted to make a note of saying thanks to everyone for their support this year in helping Howard and I with Bindle.

(It‘s hard to make something like this not sound like an awards ceremony acceptance speech, but whatever!)

What we've been up to lately

Posted by Damien on Nov 20, 2015

Well, we have been having a busy time here at Bindle, but not just working on Bindle.

Howard and I both decided to eat our own dog food and use Bindle to book some time off. What a great idea. Howard took off to Bali (indah!) and I travelled to Italy for a few weeks (fantastico!). And here’s a picture, or two…

Email reminders for approvers

Posted by Howard on Sep 30, 2015

Everyone’s busy. Dealing with annual leave requests is no-one’s most important job of the day. Sometimes things get missed.

To make things just a little bit easier, Bindle now sends you a daily email reminder if you have outstanding leave requests to respond to.

Email reminder

Free leave spreadsheet

Posted by Damien on Sep 13, 2015

At Bindle we’ve created a free Excel spreadsheet for you to download and use to record leave bookings and calculate leave balances.

Spreadsheet screenshot

This spreadsheet is a great tool to use if you know your way around Excel a bit and you have around 5 employees or less.

Recommend Bindle - get a $50 gift card

Posted by Damien on Sep 4, 2015

We believe we’ve got a great product that’s getting better all the time. A lot of our customers think so to.

$50 iTunes voucher One of your options

We’ve been looking for a way to reward people that help us spread the word about Bindle.

Here‘s what we came up with.

View the Wallchart in your own calendar

Posted by Howard on Aug 28, 2015

We’ve just put the finishing touches to a major new feature. You can now view the Bindle Wallchart in the calendar apps you use every day on your computer and phone.

Apple Calendar showing Bindle events

To set this up, click View the Wallchart in your own calendar at the bottom of the Wallchart page in Bindle. In most cases, this will open your calendar app and ask you to confirm the subscription.

Annual leave around the world

Posted by Damien on Aug 21, 2015

I now live in California, but I grew up and spent much of my adult life in Australia. A great place. Clive James (a great Australian) writes eloquently about the successful liberal democracy Australia is. For me, his words invoke a place where the idea of a “fair go” is a social aim, and when compared to just about anywhere else, is largely attained.

This is exemplified in the way Australia treats its workers. Through the National Employment Standards, all Australian workers are provided 10 minimum employment entitlements. One of these is a minimum of 4 weeks paid annual leave. That’s right, in all Australian states and territories, paid annual leave is enforceable by law.

How to calculate annual leave in Australia

Posted by Damien on Aug 7, 2015
Need to make a quick calculation? Use the free Annual Leave Calculator from Bindle. Want to understand how the calculations work? Read on…

How much annual leave am I entitled to?

Paid annual leave is one of the 10 minimum entitlements of Australian workers under the National Employment Standards.

All full-time workers are guaranteed a minimum of 4 weeks paid annual leave. If you’re a shift worker you may be entitled to 5 weeks.

HROnboard Founder Peter Forbes joins Bindle as an advisor

Posted by Damien on Jul 18, 2015

I am pleased to announce that my good friend Peter Forbes has joined Bindle as an advisor.

Peter and I have known each other for a little while. 17 years in fact. We first met working at a HR software firm together. It was my first job in IT, and even though we’re the same age, he was already one of the “old hands”. I’ve looked up to him ever since.

Bindle is now a paid product

Posted by Howard on Jul 15, 2015

We are delighted to announce that Bindle is now a paid product.

Right from the start it’s been our intention to build a business for the long term. We believe the best way to do this is to charge a fair price for a great product with outstanding customer service.

Our pricing couldn’t be simpler.

New free annual leave calculator

Posted by Damien on May 7, 2015

We’ve just added a new free annual leave calculator to Bindle.

This is just a really quick way to calculate how much leave your employees have accumulated under the Australian National Employment Standards.

You just enter when they started their job, and how much leave they’ve taken and click calculate.

More control when you add staff

Posted by Howard on Apr 15, 2015

We’ve just added some new features to Bindle that give you more control over adding and inviting staff.

Previously, when you added a new user, Bindle immediately sent them an invitation email with details of how to activate their account.

Some of our customers wanted to get everyone set up before sending any invitations, so we separated the two tasks.

Hiding leave balances

Posted by Howard on Apr 9, 2015

Some of our customers are happily using Bindle to keep track of who’s off when, but aren’t quite ready to use it to track leave balances.

This all works okay, but there are quite a few places where Bindle shows these customers balance information that they don’t want to see.

Clearer context for approvals

Posted by Howard on Mar 20, 2015

We’ve just made a quick improvement for approvers. Now when you view a request Bindle tells you how many other people are off on the requested dates.

Approval page showing who else is off

Booking history - all is revealed

Posted by Howard on Mar 12, 2015

You can now see the history of every booking in Bindle. This includes when they were created, if any changes have been made and who approved or rejected the request.

Booking page showing booking history

We’re taking requests

Posted by Howard on Mar 5, 2015

We’ve just added two new features requested by our customers.

First up, is there someone in your company who needs to be notified whenever leave is approved or cancelled? Maybe they are involved with payroll or need to keep some other system up to date.

Administrators can now go to the Company page and enter an email address that will be cc’d on all approval and cancellation emails.

CC email entry screenshot

Just deployed - new reporting functionality

Posted by Howard on Feb 18, 2015

We’ve just added a major new feature to Bindle. Administrators can now download reports for use in Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet programs.

All you have to do is decide the time period you want to cover and hit Download. In a few seconds you’ll get an .xslx file which you can open in your spreadsheet program.

Report page

Now with added Personal Leave

Posted by Howard on Feb 6, 2015

You can now use Bindle to manage your company’s personal leave.

Staff report personal leave just like they book annual leave - by clicking or tapping Make A Booking, selecting the required leave type and entering their dates.

Questions, questions*

Posted by Howard on Dec 5, 2014

If you’re looking for more in-depth information about Bindle, maybe our FAQs page can help you out.

FAQ page

How to change new user defaults

Posted by Howard on Nov 19, 2014

When you create a new user in Bindle, they get the default public holiday calendar and annual leave allowance for your company.

If these defaults don’t suit you, go to the Company page in the Admin section to change them.

And we’re off!

Posted by Howard on Nov 12, 2014

I am really pleased to announce the launch of Bindle, the smartest way for your company to book, approve and generally keep on top of staff time off.

For several months now, Damien and I have been toiling away on Bindle behind closed doors. We are (finally) ready to let the rest of the world in (preferably not all at once) to kick its proverbial tyres.

Established 2014. Made with ☕️ and the occasional 🍺 in California and the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.

© 2020 Bindle Software
Stock photos by Freepik