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Level 2

Leave Year start date

I'm trying to pin down the options for when someone's leave year can start, to trigger the automatic update of their balance at year end.


Tl;dr version: Does the start date have to be the same for everyone & the overarching Leave Category page? And does it have to be the 1st of a month?


More detailed: Please can someone confirm if the only acceptable date within a month is the 1st? For example, if the leave year starts on 1st December, then the pay run 1st-31st December will see their annual leave balance update. However, if the date is anything else in December, then the annual leave balance is not updated in the December pay run, and will only update in the 1st-31st January pay run?


I've tested a few dates and it seems that QB will only update the balance when it's the 1st of the month, otherwise the leave is updated the following pay run. This is frustrating as my understanding was that the balance would update based on the pay run in which that date is paid - not that the leave year must start on the 1st of any month (we do not base leave years on the employee's start date).


I also want to check - the Leave Categories section has an overarching date for when leave years start - they all run on the same date. Can this be different per employee or does it all have to be the same date? 


I'm working on a test system to keep our live data clean, but in our live system we have some people paid for January at the end of Jan, and some paid for December at the end of Jan - those paid in December do not get their leave balances updated until the end of Feb (when they are paid for Jan) if the leave year starts on 1st Jan; I was hoping that setting the leave year to 31st Dec would get around this without it being a full month out.


I'm after clarification of whether the leave year must be set for the 1st of any month, and whether I can set different start dates for staff (compared to each other and also to the overarching Leave Categories start date).

QuickBooks Team

Leave Year start date

Hi susanwarren, thanks for your detailed post. The leave year can start from any day in the month (in payroll settings, select leave categories > set 'leave year should start on' to 'the following date') - this is an overarching date that is applied to all pay categories and all employees. Can we check what your pay date is set to when running the December pay run? 

Level 2

Leave Year start date

Hi Georgia, thank you for replying.


I wanted to use just one annual leave category for everyone, regardless of how they're paid, so the date for the Leave Category is 1/01/22, and I then change it in the individual's Leave Allowance Template - this is where I'm finding that the date can only be the 1st of the month (any month is fine, but only the 1st).


The pay date for the December pay run is 1st - 31st December. I have two schedules set up, one to pay on 31st December and one to pay on 31st January, both to cover 1st - 31st December (based on how people are paid).


I've been testing it as I want to be able to show people's annual leave balance for the year at the end of January's pay run - anyone paid for January in January is fine, those paid for December in January need their leave year to start on 1st December.


This is causing a problem for any leave they book in December - it's coming out of the new year's balance while any remaining balance from the old year is deleted, but we can get around that with a manual adjustment as we don't want to have leave carry forward automatically.


I just wanted to be able to set the leave year to start on 31st December as that should mean that any December leave comes out of the old year's balance.


If necessary we can have 2 leave categories - one for those who are paid in arrears and one for those who are paid in-month - I just need to know what the best way forward is as we have been so tangled with our leave structure for the past 2 years that we are testing it completely now before rebuilding the way we do it!

QuickBooks Team

Leave Year start date

Hi there, @susanwarren.


I'll share a couple of details regarding the leave start date in QuickBooks Online Payroll.


Yes, I agree with Georgia that the leave year can be started at any date of the month. 


However, any modifications we make to our leave category settings only apply to new hires. In this case, we must access the employee's leave allowances in their employee profile if you want to alter the leave settings for any of your current employees.


Furthermore, utilising leave allowance templates, we can:


  • To make managing leave for employees easier, create pre-defined sets for leave accrual values.
  • Apply predetermined leave accrual rates to both new and current employees.
  • If accrual rates or procedures change, bulk updates the leave values for the affected employees.


For more information, check out this article: Add a new leave allowance template in QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll. It also includes how to copy and delete a leave allowance template.


 If you need to adjust your employee's leave, visit this article for the detailed steps: Leave Adjustments in QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll.


Alternatively, use this our year-end checklist to learn how to complete this year's payroll. This is to ensure that your year ends successfully: Year-end guide 2022/2023 for Advanced Payroll.


If you require further guidance with leave categories in QBO Advanced, tap me in the comment section. Have a great day.

Level 2

Leave Year start date

Thanks Christine but I think you've misunderstood my issue.


I am very familiar with setting up Leave Allowance templates as we use them individually for every member of staff and have done so for over 2 years.


The issue I am having is that I cannot set their leave year to start on anything other than the 1st of a month. 


If I set the date as the 2nd, or later - then their allowance resets in the wrong month's payroll.


For example:


Leave year starts on 1st December: the pay run which includes 1st December resets the allowance.

Leave year starts on 2nd December: the pay run which includes 2nd December does not reset the allowance.

Leave year starts on 31st December: the pay run which includes 31st December does not reset the allowance.


Therefore - if I wanted to set someone's leave year to 31st December (so that it encompasses the full year), it will not be paid until the pay run which picks up 1st January - not the one which picks up 31st December.


I am not sure if this is deliberate, but it seems to be a fairly large flaw in the software, to suggest your leave year can start on any date, but it's fixed to the 1st of the month.


We have some staff who are paid for December at the end of January. If their leave year says 1st December, then the balance resets in the January pay run, but any leave booked for December comes out of the new year's allowance, and needs to be manually corrected to come out of the old balance.


If their leave year says 31st December, it doesn't actually change in the pay run until the end of February (when their January dates are paid) - which means people do not see their balance for the year until 2 months in to the year, which is not acceptable.


It may be possible to set the Leave Category start date to a different day - but most of our staff need the date to be the 1st January. We have around 25 staff who need a different date, so I will use the Leave Allowance Template for those individuals. However, I can only make the leave balance update in the correct pay run if the date is 1st December, not any other date in December. This causes their leave taken in December to be taken from the wrong year's allowance and need to be manually corrected.


Is this a deliberate feature or a bug? Surely I should be able to set their leave template to any date I choose, and it should update in the pay run where that date is paid, rather than the following pay run.

QuickBooks Team

Leave Year start date

Hello Susanwarren, 


Welcome to the Community page,


So in QuickBooks payroll the leave templates only start from the beginning of the following month, you would have to do a leave adjustment for the month that it should have begun in


Level 2

Leave Year start date

Hi Ashleigh


Please could you clarify what you mean?


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