Leave policy is a significant determinant when an employee signs up for a job. Leave policy in an organization can tell a lot about how well his/her work-life balance will be. Companies these days have gruelling schedules, more so since the pandemic. Working consecutively for more than 12 hours five to six days a week is hectic enough and employees seek reimbursement of their clocked time through weekends and offs.
Why Is a Leave Policy Important?
Leaves are the means to retain the spent energy at work so as to be more productive and efficient at work. There are several types of leaves in a leave policy of a company that helps an employee take some time off. Notably, not all companies have the same leave policy.
Here’s a list of types of leaves a company should consider having in their leave policy.
1. Sick Leave
Sick Leave Entitlement: 9 to 14 days
Sick leave is a leave policy of the company where the time off is given by a company to take care of themselves during an illness. Companies must have sick leave to make sure employees take the days off to recover without having to think about the loss of pay.
Companies are advised to provide at least 15 days of sick leaves in a year. Sick leaves can be carried forward to the following year and should be extended in case the employee has been sick for a longer period or has a severe illness.
2. Casual Leave
Casual Leave Entitlement: 9 to 14 days
Casual leaves are called upon when the employee needs some time off with themselves, during family events, vacations or simply just to relax. Time constraints and working in shifts make employees miss out on the life that is happening outside their cubicles. Rejuvenation is important for employees on all levels and allows them to bounce back with better productivity.
3. Religious Holidays
Leave Entitlement: -
In a country like India, festivities are always around the corner. Unlike other countries around the world, it is not confined just to Christmas. We have a hoopla of festivals during the second half of the year which has consecutive festivals like Eid, Navratri, Dussehra, Diwali and so on. Festivals in India count as the time when people away from home go back to visit their friends and families.
Currently, companies that are outsourcing employees do not allow religious leaves as the parent companies do not associate with Indian festivities. It is necessary, especially in a country like India to provide religious holidays so that the people can experience their cultural activities and reconnect with families.
4. Public Holidays
Leave Entitlement: -
Public holidays are days when the government decides to shut down services across the country. Schools, colleges, and banks remain closed during Independence day, Republic day, Labour Day and the death of a prominent leader. These are government-mandated leaves and every company is advised to inculcate them in their leave policies.
5. Maternity Leave
Leave Entitlement: 7 to 17 weeks
We have come a long way from avoiding hiring married women into companies since the HR department assumed women won't be as efficient as men since they could possibly get pregnant sooner or later. Women too, were hesitant when they thought of applying for better jobs. A mother can take maternity leave before and after the birth of her child.
Companies these days are not only hiring women despite them being married but also, on a humanitarian front, giving paid maternity leaves.
Some companies go as far as providing crashes at the workplace so that the working mother doesn't have to leave her little one alone. This leaves the women employees feeling appreciated and empathized with and also helps them get back to work post-pregnancy.
6. Paternity Leave
Leave Entitlement: 1 to 2 weeks
Postnatal care is of the utmost importance when there is a newborn in the house. So the presence of the father proves to be a huge help in the household. Paternity leave is for fathers of a newborn and to help their partners get enough rest and support.
In most companies, this type of leave is not recognized as it is not bound by law. It is the responsibility of HR to understand the stressful time and make provisions so that men take time off to take care of their newborns.
7. Bereavement Leave
Bereavement Leave Entitlement: 3 to 7 days
No time is said to be enough when you're trying to get over the death of a loved one. Bereavement leaves are leaves taken when an employee is suffering from a loss of life.
Such times are unavoidable and it is only human to allow your employees to take time off to mourn and manage responsibilities.
8. Sabbatical Leave
Sabbatical Leave Entitlement: 6 months
A sabbatical leave is a leave when an employee is in need of a break from work, either for physical and mental illness or to pursue his interests other than office work. It usually extends beyond three months unlike normal leave and assures the employee of his/her employment is intact when they come back.
Sabbaticals are usually taken by employees of educational institutes who are pursuing higher education or are doing any kind of research work.
9. Menstrual Leave
Menstrual Leave Entitlement: Basis on Need
If you are a woman and have to call in sick on the first day of your period, I feel you. If you're a man, you'd argue that it's unfair. But trust me, as I write this, I know thousands of working women would second this thought.
Most young women call in sick on the first day of their period because of unbearable cramps, weakness, or simply because it is impossible for them to get out of bed. Companies like Culture Machine, Gozoop, Matrubhimi are among the pioneer companies to finally address this issue. These companies add up to 6 additional leaves for women employees who cannot get to work during their periods.
10. Compensatory Off Leave
Compensatory Leave Entitlement: Basis on Need
Compensatory off leave is a leave when an employee has worked additional hours in a workweek or when a holiday falls on an employee's scheduled day off. It also provides flexibility at work for employees. These policies and rules generally depend upon the particular organisation.
In the wake of Covid-19, many employers are setting a reset button on their leave policies. While most employers decided to let go of employees to bear losses, many of them have been reducing earned or paid leaves from their leave structures.
Employees who are now confined to work from home are now susceptible to more stress and anxiety. Although many employees found working from home more comforting, others are missing their workplace and the environment it provides for productivity.
The “one size fits all” does not apply to all organizations when it comes to leaving structures. Every company has designed its leave structure to ensure smooth functioning. And it is essential that employees feel appreciated and rewarded so they continue being loyal and be better engaged in their jobs.
What types of leave are Employees entitled to?
Sick Leave, Casual Leave, Religious holiday, Paternity Leave, Period Leave, Maternity Leave and Compensatory leave are the leaves employees entitled to.
What is the leave policy as per Labour law?
The Factories Act has provided annually/earned leave of 12 working days for all the workers who have worked at least 240 days in a year.
How many leaves are allowed in a year?
18 leaves are allowed in a year as per the Factories Act.
Is Sunday included in earned leave?
Saturdays and Sundays shall not be counted as days of annual leave.
What is the Sandwich leave rule?
Under the sandwich leave policy, the non-working weekend days get added to the total leaves if an employee takes leave in the midst of two general leaves.