Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Holiday / Sickness Cover

How do other organisations handle role accountabilities for Holiday  (Vacation) / Sickness cover?

We are still transitioning to Holacracy so are dealing with these tensions as they arise however we have operationally important role who will be on leave in 2 weeks time.

I know the LL must ensure the role is filled or provide cover if not, so is it also the LL accountability to action the allocation of accountabilities to others for short term absence like this.

Does this have to be via governance even if short term?

6 Replies
Jean-Michel Gode

Hi Leo,

Lead Link may assign the role to another people.
You may also assign two people for the same role with an "absent focus".
You may adopt through the governance process policies defining replacement and transition rules.
You may create a role in charge of these topics.
Just build the tension driven solutions you need using Holacracy rules.

Hope that helps,

leo white

Thanks for you input Jean-Michel


leo white

This has progressed a little further today so I hope it's reasonable to continue this thread a little further. 

The question being raised by members of our team is about meeting ones role accountabilities 365 days per year. 

Using the Holacracy process the roll filler has decided to propose a policy that passes accountability for the practical elements of the role she cannot meet whilst absent back to the circle that is requesting the accountability be met. 

Obviously this can go through the Governance integration process for objection and testing, but as we are all still learning Holacrcay I'd like to be prepared for the confusion that may ensue from this!

I am the lead link of the super circle in which the roll filler sits,  so I could intervene and assign a second role filler but this now seems to go against what the roll filler wishes to propose as the best solution.

Has anyone had this type of situation before?

Is a policy that assigns authority / responsibility back to the requesting party ever going to make it through Integration smoothly?

......You know what's crazy? the accountability in question is ordering sandwiches for a meeting - it's always the small things that get you!

Any input much appreciated.




Hi Leo,


As Jean-Michel says, you can assign someone to that role with a focus “Back-up of [Nameofthecurrentrolefiller]”. That's up to the Lead Link.

If you don't want to do that, we have some clients defining policies to state that if a role-filler is absent, he/she must find someone to take his/her roles during the absence. But I think it is powerful to see the back-ups on GF.

I don't know about your policy because we are specifically talking about persons/role-filler not roles itselves.


I agree with both Jean-Michel and Margaux.  Best to attack this through governance, and the possiblities are endless.  You could even have a "Backup" role accountable for "Performing the accountabilities of roles x, y, and z on a short-term basis in the event of holiday or sick leave of the primary role-filler for that role."

As to your question of the role-filler putting that work back on the other role who raised the tension, it sounds like a valid proposal (and one that would not be easy to object to!).

leo white

Thanks both for you thoughts.

Hopefully we can get this resolved via governance , but failing that I will look at assigning a second role filler via my LL role.