Know Your Employment Rights 4: Types of Leaves


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The most common question for this topic revolves around the number of leaves an employee can avail at any given period of his employment. It is, however, important to note that, leave benefits depend greatly on the policies of the company you are employed with.

As with any other country, leaves are at the discretion of the employer. In Korea for example, employees are given under the Labor Standard Act of Korea, a leave of 15 days after a year of service and 1 or 2 additional days for every year thereof – maximum of 25 days. In the United States, it is common that employees receive 12 days of leave credits for those with a 1-4 years of tenure, if you have been with the same employer for 5-9 years, you get 20 days, and faithful employees with 10 or more years are entitled to 24 days of Vacation Leave per year.

Traditionally, a company in the Philippines allows an employee to take their leaves only after they make it past regularization. There are those who, on day one of employment, can already avail of a pre-set number of leaves. When we talk about the law, the labor code provides for a Service Incentive Leave, this will be discussed further below.

Service Incentive Leave

For private employees, the law mandates the grant of a yearly service incentive leave of five days with pay. The condition is that an employee should have rendered at least one year of employment with the company. If the company, however, provides for a similar provision in the employment contract,

Vacation Leave

Most companies impose a mandatory consumption of vacation leaves in promoting a healthy work-life balance. If you feel that you need to take a break, you can always choose this option to take some time off while being paid the full compensation you enjoy for that day.

Sick Leave

Sick leaves are given to employees to recuperate from their illness. A valid medical certificate or a fit to work is a necessary requirement in filing for a Sick Leave. Some companies do not require documentation if the sick leave is only for one day. Declaring sickness for more than one day mandatorily requires a health certificate – this is somewhat a trust issue if not to make certain of the employee’s well-being.

Emergency Leave

As the name itself implies, these are leaves not filed ahead of time. There are employers who would grant three Emergency Leaves per year but customarily, they are deducted to the earned leave credits.

Birthday Leave

As an incentive, some companies actually grant a birthday leave to be availed of by an employee within his/her birthday month. The number of days and the leave itself is discretionary in nature.

Maternity Leave

This applies to women employees giving birth or who had a miscarriage. She has to have completed three monthly Social Security System contributions in the twelve-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth or miscarriage. The SSS shall pay her a daily maternity benefit equivalent to her full average daily salary.

A maternity leave for normal delivery is 60 days and 78 days for caesarean delivery for the first four deliveries and miscarriages. The expectant mother can decide when to commence with the leave.

Paternity Leave

The law affords a paternity leave of 7 days with full pay to all married male employees in the private and public sectors. It is only available for the first four (4) deliveries of the legitimate spouse with whom the employee is cohabiting. The paternity benefit may be availed of before, during or after delivery, provided the total number of days does not exceed 7 working days and must be availed of not later than 60 days after the date of delivery.

Solo Parent’s Leave

Parents who fall under the definition of a solo parent and who have worked for at least one year in a company are entitled to 7 working days of leave to attend to their parental duties. In applying for this benefit, one has to secure a Solo Parent Identification Card to his/her employer and as with normal leaves, must be filed within reasonable time. Take note that the solo parent leave is totally separate from any other leave benefit.

Leaves for Women who are Victims of Violence Under R.A 9262

Women employees who are victims as defined in Republic Act No. 9262 shall be eligible to apply for a leave of up to ten (10) days with full pay. The main requirement is a certification to be submitted to the employer coming from the barangay where she resides. It must be signed by either the punong barangay or kagawad. The leave to be availed of can be extended as the need arises depending on how the specification in the protection order issued by the barangay or the court. It shall cover medical and legal concerns undertaken by the woman victim.

The woman employee can use the ten-day leave according to how she sees it appropriate. If the leave benefit is not availed of, it CANNOT be converted into cash and shall NOT be cumulative.

Leaves Under the Magna Carta for Women (R.A. 9710)

A salient feature of the magna carta for women covers those who underwent surgery due to a gynecological disorder. They may take a 2-month leave with full pay based on gross monthly compensation. This leave benefit can be enjoyed only if the patient has rendered continuous aggregate employment service of at least six months for the last twelve months.
Number of Leaves
On top of the numerous non-working holidays the Philippine labor force enjoy, there are those who are truly blessed with favorable leave merits. A company can be as generous as giving 15 days or more of VL (Vacation Leave) and 15 days of SL (Sick Leave). Ordinarily, the magic number is 10. Also, unused SLs are converted into cash the following year and Vacation Leaves are mandatory. In the United States, on the other hand, Sick Leaves are “use it or lose it.” Again, it is important to remember that these leaves vary from every employer.

Conversely, the provision in the Philippine law regarding Service Incentive Leaves is exploited by foreign companies. With their operations based in their country, as such, they do not observe local holidays, employees, aside from the regular rest days only get to take a paid time off five times in a year – inclusive of sick leaves. Holiday work is nevertheless paid a premium but no monetary bonus can compensate for rest and relaxation.

Leaves are sometimes accumulated overtime. For example, an employee earns 1.2 leave credits per month. There are also some employers who will grant the full leave credits at the beginning of the year.

When to Avail of Leaves

Leaves should be controlled by management as operations must have adequate manpower to run smoothly and not jeopardize productivity. This being said, leaves are plotted or filed at least two weeks before.  Some can be as lenient as three days, depending on the nature of the business’ operations.

It is relatively important to remember that since these leaves require the consent of management, they solely have the discretion to approve it depending on how they see it favorable for operations.