Human Resource

Open Source Leave Management System – PHP based

It’s early year 2009 and I noticed several search terms related to Leave Management System. Some of the search terms include:

  • Free leave application php
  • Open source web leave tracking system
  • Download source code for online leave management

Obviously people are looking for ways to manage leaves and absences in a more organized manner. Photo by James Cridland

There are many advantages of utilizing a web based leave tracking system:

  • Eliminates paper based leave application forms
  • Leave applications can be submitted online
  • Leave applications can be approved online
  • Both the leave applicant as well as the approver can view the remaining leave days as well as historical leave applications

So if your organization is still managing staff’s leaves using hardcopy papers, it’s time to implement a web based leave management system.

Most HR Management systems (HRMS) out there have this particular feature built in. Enterprise HRMS such as Peoplesoft, SAP HR and Oracle HRMS has leave management capability which can be customized to suite your organizations leave management processes. For those who can’t afford to implement these enterprise software, your organization can consider implementing open source solutions.

An open source leave management system which is php based is OrangeHRM.

OrangeHRM is simple and easy to use for the administrators, applicants and approvers.

Employees can easily:

  • Apply for leaves online where upon submission, the supervisor will be notified via email that there is a leave to approve
  • View the number of remaining leave days
  • View historical leave taken

HR administrators can easily:

  • Define day offs
  • Define holidays
  • Assign available leave days for each employee
  • View a list of employees going on leave within a specified time period
  • Define leave types such as annual leave, unpaid leave, compassionate leave, etc

To have OrangeHRM up and running, there are two options. Option one would be to get a technical person who is familiar with the LAMP environment to download OrangeHRM and help set up / configure OrangeHRM.

If your organization doesn’t have a technical staff, you can subscribe to OrangeHRM’s On-Demand where there is nothing to install and maintain. Just pay a minimal fee depending on the number of users you have and you’re good to go.

For more details on OrangeHRM, check out their website.

So far the only free an open source leave management system that I found is OrangeHRM. If anyone knows of another one with similar capabilities. please do highlight in the comment box below. Paid versions of leave systems are also welcomed, but do make sure it’s good and affordable. With the economic downturn, we all need to be careful with our IT / HR spending.

The above article reviews OrangeHRM, an open source web based Human Resource Management system.

OrangeHRM allows organizations to better manage their workforce by providing an online system which assist in common HR functions such as timesheet management, leave management, track employee details and more. I’m giving OrangeHRM a 3/5 star rating as I believe it could do more to provide better functionality in terms of leave management. But as an overall HRMS product, it’s done a pretty good job considering the fact that it’s an open source system.

Date published: 05/01/2009
3 / 5 stars

About the author

Bob Lee

Hi! My name is Bob Lee and I’m a web developer / technical writer who specializes in developing and reviewing web applications. As an entrepreneur, blogger, developer, and tech enthusiast, I have been in this field for more than 10 years, and have been loving every minute of it.


  • I too have not seen another product which is open source and free for leave management.
    Just to add to the leave feature, it has many other modules like time tracking, benefits, recruitment etc.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for posting about OrangeHRM, we really appreciate the support.

    OrangeHRM additionally covers Personal Information Management, Employee Self Service, Time&Attendance, Benefits, and Recruitment, all free of charge.

    Teresa Gabbert,
    Community Representative
    OrangeHRM Inc.

  • I agree OrangeHRM maybe the only opensource at the moment, however they still lack many features and its not practical to be used in real corporate environment.

    And though they tend to get comments from the forums (in other words, they get free quality testing) from the users in the forums, however, they tend to charge for simple features that should be in the software.

    For example, they have leave management system, but one who is away on medical sick, could not even post or attach a proof slip for medical sick.

    And they approval system is limited to a single approver workflow (though the software support to have more than one user as the approver). For example, if an employee applies for leave, either his immediate supervisor or department head would be able to approve the leave. This may not be ideal, if you want the workflow to go similar to this:

    Employee Apply Leave > Supervisor Supports Application > Department Head Approves.

    On the administration side, say example you would have 50 employees with 6 type of leave category and to allocate leave for these employees, you will have to manually define and allocate leave employee by employee manner. So, this translates 50user x 6 leave type = 300 times. The more employees you have, the longer time u will have to spend as it doesnt support rule based leave configuration.

    They do have categories of employee, you can define whether an employee is in Management or Skill worker. However, these EEO categories have little or minimal use to leave management. You cannot even define different leave configuration for different category of employees, which defeats the purpose of having the EEO in the OrangeHRM system.

    Now, you might argue that its open source and that the community should assist in enhancing the system. However, I must point out that the support from the creators of orangehrm is extremely poor and many times when you ask question in the forum/email, you will get a reply to subscribe to their customisation package.

    They have one of the worst open source forums due to their “ineffective marketing strategy” that most of time suggest users to subscribe to their customisation package. There were one or two contributors in the forum, who have abandon Orangehrm due to this mentality.

    OrangeHRM use the coomunity to get free quality testing and free marketing for their services.

    OrangeHrm is a good concept, but its not ready for real office environment. You will spend more time seeking answers than making the software to work.

  • Don, I do agree with all of your points.

    OrangeHRM is an open source HRMS suitable for organizations with less than 20 staffs. If there are more than 20 staffs, I can really imagine the pain for the administrator to manually define and allocate leaves for each staff. At the moment the organization I work with has less than 20 staffs so it’s still bearable.

    As for leave approval workflow, yes, it only supports a single level of approver. Again this feature is suitable for smaller organization as staffs seldom have that many heads to report to. In our organization, we only report to aingle boss so workflow isn’t a problem.

    I have seen implementations of Leave Management using Sharepoint. Leave administration is really easy and workflow can be easily assigned to different approvers using However the cost to implement this sort of system is really huge and time consuming too.

    SO we can see that there is indeed a market for enterprise open source leave management system. For now, we can only rely on OrangeHRM. Hopefully more open source players would take up this opprtunity to fill the gap. Perhaps those from SugarCRM could create SugarHRMS… that would be really neat.

    Btw, I find SugarCRM to be one of the best open source solutions out there in terms of features, support and most importantly provides value.

  • Hi Don,

    I too agree to many points that you raised.
    You have pointed some of the good features lacking in OrangeHRM.

    1. Quota allocation based on EEO category.
    2. Multiple supervisor approval.
    3. Proof slip attachment for medical leave

    The requirements captured through forum or any other means are not actually omitted.
    Many of them get added to the product based on the demand from the community.
    Almost all the good features are considered but can’t expect them to be added so soon.

    So if anyone need to expedite the development, OrangeHRM charges. Its reasonable right ?

    Check for the new features that are going to be added to the next stable release 2.5. They are too such features requested by many.
    Some are ..

    1. Attendance reports separated from project timesheets(Employee, Supervisor and Admin view)
    2. Resume attaching for job applications
    3. New theme
    May be leave list for supervisors also get added.

    Btw they get free quality testing as well as provide free support too through the forum.

  • Hi,

    You said “I have seen implementations of Leave Management using Sharepoint. Leave administration is really easy and workflow can be easily assigned to different approvers using However the cost to implement this sort of system is really huge and time consuming too.”

    Now, im looking for the Leave Management System running on Sharepoint platform. The sharepoint is already in place at my office and we have implemented the free Resource Reservation system on it.
    My Question:
    Is there any free version of this Sharepoint-based Leave system on the net? If no, do you know the vendor who you have seen the implementation before?

  • Ed,

    I havent seen a free version of Sharepoint based Leave system, but I guess Leave Management is something that you can try to build depending on your key requirements.

    If you have MOSS 2007, there are basic workflow capabilities already in place. I believe this workflow capability is built on top of the Windows Workflow Foundation. This is a good resource on WWF.

    So to implement your leave management system on Sharepoint, it really depends on how much automation is required. Some would just create a custom list with the necessary fields in it, and use that to track absenses without much approval routing. I have also seen aspx forms built and integrated with workflow engine to have an end to end leave management system.

    I guess moving forward, you can try to contact your local Sharepoint Implementors for a demo and quotation. They should have something like this already since it’s just forms together with some workflow capabilities. This could be one starting point.

    If I do see any free Leave Management System which you could easily integrate into Sharepoint, will let you know.

    Also, have you read this case study. Might be of value to you.

  • I searched on google and I had a hard time located the right info….until I found your blog.

  • I think this is really a nice tool for companies. My previous employer is actually having a hard time tracking our leaves before. I hope they now have this.

  • hello! i m sawan
    i m eager abt to know hw the leave management will work on the internet.
    what would be the design fr a leavemanagement.

  • ProcessMaker is open source BPM and Workflow. It is a PHP application with an architecture very close to Orange HRM. Combining ProcessMaker + OrgangeHRM might be exactly the solution a lot of people are looking for for leave management. ProcesMaker already has an out of the box leave management workflow and it can easily update the tables in OrangeHRM via web services or direct connection to the MySQL tables of Orange.

  • SGN, I would recommend this one called CATS Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Download via this URL,

    This open source tool is no longer supported as the developers have turned the app into a SAAS web based tool.

    Check out the free version of CATS, It allows you to store up to 2000 CVs for free and its something you can begin right away without having to install anything.

  • i want demo and zip of leave managment system for the company policy. u can send and attach this application.

  • I saw this one listed on another forum… TimeOffMinder. The website doesn’t really offer much info so I don’t even know if it’s legit, but I thought I’d post it anyway, just in case.

  • TimeOffMinder is a free, open source, simple and effective web-based tool to efficiently manage employee/personnel time-off like vacation, sick, personal, etc. in small, medium and large enterprises/organizations.

    It is a Sourceforge project:

    It runs on FreeBSD, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Server, Fedora and other flavors of Linux.

    Support, hosted versions of the application, customization etc. is available via

  • Hi there I can recommend you to have a look at it suited me the most, for it has lots of tools such as CRM, Project Management, Accounting and Finance, HRMS and many others. If you have a look there around you will find many other interesting things. And the best part is the price which is affordable and also has discounts. Wish you all luck. NJoy!

  • Hi Bob, do you use Google Apps? If so, then do have a look at Appogee Leave. It’s especially designed to work with Google Apps so it automatically imports your users and syncs with your user’s Google Calendar. Unfortunately it only works with Google Apps so isn’t much use if you don’t use it…hopefully you do!

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