A Leave Policy is a set of rules and procedures that govern employees entitlements with regard to different types of paid and unpaid leave during their term of employment.
Employees requesting leave for absence to attend personal matters/vacation is an inevitable scenario at the workplace. Therefore, you must establish a clear policy that communicates the rights of employees with regard to the different types of leaves they are entitled to. It will minimize the scope of disagreements and create a healthy environment for the employees.
There are different types of leaves while some are mandatory by law such as maternity leave. therefore, as a business, you should understand the legal requirements with regard to leave entitlements of your employees and periodically update the policy to ensure compliance with applicable laws.
The 12 types of leaves you need to include in your leave policy:
Every company needs a leave policy. Whether you are start –up with handful number of employees on board or a multi-national corporation, you need to establish a leave policy to set out guidelines for employees to take time off from work. In fact, a well-structured leave policy is a reflection of the work culture and environment that you as an organization aim to provide to your employees. Also, it is a form of employment benefit that you will extend to the prospective employees as a part of their package to join the company.
Leave Policy is essential for many reasons such as:
A Leave policy outlines all the types of leaves that are due to the employees during their term of employment. It defines the rules governing the eligibility, entitlement, accrual and procedure for approval of leave.
This article will give you kick-start in establishing the leave policy for your company. It covers all the important provisions to include in a leave policy to protect you as well as your employees.
Clueless about the different types of leaves that your employees are entitled to? Here is a list of 10 types of leaves you can include in your leave policy:
Employees can apply for annual leave when they need time-off with pay for a vacation or any personal reasons. It helps the employee to take a break from work and re-energize, without loss of pay. The number of annual leave entitlements depends on the employment status/length of service etc of the employee.
To understand the legal minimum regarding annual leave entitlement, read more at : https://docpro.com/blog/employment-contracts-from-an-employers-perspective-what-to-look-out-for-with-templates
Annual leave policy must include:
Sick leave allows the employees to take time off from work to address their health needs.
Employees can apply for sick leave when they are unable to perform their duties due to illness or injury, or need to obtain professional services of health care practitioners.
Sick Leaves are a benefit available for the well-being of your employees. It encourages them to take time off from work and recover from illness/attend to their medical needs without the fear of losing pay. In absence of such a policy, employees will continue to work in spite of being ill and endanger the health of other employees.
In times of COVID-19, it is even more essential to have a sick leave policy in place to provide a safe and healthy workplace to all the employees.
Here are some key provisions that your policy must include with regards to sick leave:
Maternity Leave refers to the leave allowed to pregnant employees to take time off from work before and after childbirth.
As an organization, you must ensure that the maternity leave policies are in compliance with the applicable laws. If you want to understand the legal minimum regarding maternity leave entitlements, then read more at: https://docpro.com/blog/employment-contracts-from-an-employers-perspective-what-to-look-out-for-with-templates
What to include in the Maternity Leave Policy?
A good Maternity Leave Policy must provide for:
Once you have been notified of the pregnancy by the pregnant employee, you are prohibited to dismiss/terminate her employment contract until the end of her maternity leave.
Paternity Leave is a benefit that allows a male employee to take paid leave after birth.
If you want to understand the legal minimum regarding Paternity entitlements, then read more at: https://docpro.com/blog/employment-contracts-from-an-employers-perspective-what-to-look-out-for-with-templates
What to include in Paternity Leave Policy?
A Paternity Leave Policy must outline:
In many countries, it is not mandatory to provide for paternity leave to the employees. However, irrespective of the applicable laws, companies are creating paternity leave policies to provide a work-life balance and enable the expectant fathers to bond with their babies.
Adoption leave is available to the employees before or after the placement of a child in the household through an adoption agency. Parents who have a child through surrogacy are also eligible for adoption leave.
In many countries, adoption leave is not a statutory requirement and the employer has the flexibility to define the entitlements. It is becoming more common for companies to offer leaves to parents adopting a child to accommodate more diverse family structures.
What to include in the Adoption Leave policy?
In the case of adoption, only one parent is eligible for adoption leave. So, when a couple adopts a child they need to choose who will get adoption leave and paternity leave amongst them.
The policy must include:
A parental leave policy is a family-friendly policy that gives an opportunity to the employees to balance their job and family obligations. The policy enables the employees to take time off from work to attend to matters relating to their children.
What to include in Parental Leave Policy?
Some of the essential elements of a parental leave policy are:
Bereavement Leave is a period of paid or unpaid leave granted to an employee at the time of death of an immediate member of the employee’s family.
Bereavement leave is also known as compassionate leave. It can be used by the employee to attend rituals, grieve the loss of a loved one and take care of any related personal matters.
Typically, companies offer few days of bereavement leave to their employees irrespective of the local laws. If the provision of bereavement leave is mandatory as per the laws applicable to your company you may want to check if it should be paid/unpaid.
What to include in Bereavement Leave Policy?
A Beareavement Leave Policy must outline:
What is the study leave?
Study leave, with or without pay, may be granted to an employee to undertake education, training and development activities. Many companies offer study leave to enable the employees to pursue additional qualification and upskill in his/her field of work.
Is study leave mandatory by law?
No, you are not legally required to pay employees if they request for time-off to study. Therefore, it is at your complete discretion to approve the study leave with or without pay.
What to include in the study leave policy?
It’s important to define the terms of study leave so you do not treat every request for leave to study differently. The policy must specify:
What is Sabbatical Leave?
Sabbatical leave allows the employees to take an extended break from work with the employer’s approval. During the sabbatical period, the employee continues to be employed by the company but does not perform their professional duties.
The employees can use the sabbatical leave to pursue personal interests such as travel etc. It is a benefit that you can consider to offer your employee for long service with the company.
What to include in Sabbatical Leave policy?
Sabbatical leave is not mandatory by law, you have the full discretion to determine the terms of sabbatical including the period of sabbatical, paid or unpaid holiday etc.
However, It is important to have a clear and transparent policy to avoid any ambiguity. Here are some key elements you must include in the policy:
What is Unpaid Leave Policy?
The policy allows employees to apply for unpaid leaves for personal reasons subject to approval by the employer. When an employee runs out of paid leaves they can apply for unpaid leave to extent their holiday such as in case of maternity leave/sick leave etc.
What does Unpaid Leave Policy include?
A well-structured unpaid leave policy gives clarity to the employees about their entitlements and facilitates the employer to manage such leave request in a fair manner.
The policy must outline:
Can the employer unilaterally instruct the employee to take unpaid leave?
No, an employer is not legally allowed to instruct an employee to take unpaid leave unless otherwise agreed in the employment contract. The employer’s right to require an employee to take unpaid leave must be expressly stated in the employment contract otherwise it could amount to a breach of contract.
Casual leave is granted to employees when they cannot report to work for a couple of days due to any personal reasons. The employees can avail these leaves without loss of pay.
Casual leave cannot be utilized for a vacation and you can cap the number of casual leaves employees can take per month.
The policy must include:
What is Employee Rest Day?
An employee under a continuous contract is entitled to not less than 1 rest day in every period of 7 days. The rest day must be a continuous period of 24hours during which the employee does not need to work for the employer.
What to include in the leave policy for a Rest Day?
What are Statutory Holidays?
Statutory holidays are the holidays granted by the government and must be followed by all organizations. Statutory holidays are also known as public holidays.
What to include in the leave policy regarding Statutory Holidays?
Key points to consider about Statutory holidays are:
Doc Pro offers an Employee Handbook template that includes the terms for rest days and statutory holidays: https://docpro.com/doc1158/employee-handbook-manual-company
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Comprehensive Leave Policy (Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Bereavement Leave, Maternity, Paternity Leave, Casual Leave, sabbatical leave, statutory holidays/public holidays, unpaid leaves)
It is a comprehensive leave policy template that includes all the different types of leaves with their eligibility criteria and procedure to apply.
Please note that this is a general guide on the different types of leave that a leave policy must include. This does not constitute legal advice. As each business, may be different, you may want to speak to your local lawyer.
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