Published 27 September 2019, The Daily Tribune

Leaves from work are essential benefits given to employees to allow them sufficient time for leisure or relaxation, recovery from sickness, attending to certain personal obligations and activities, among others. However, since there may be hard-working Pinoys who may not be familiar with the different types of work leaves, a rundown of these work leaves thus becomes useful.

Vacation Leaves (VLs) and Sick Leaves (SLs)

VLs and SLs are the most commonly used work leaves by employees. The numbers of SLs and VLs to which employees may be entitled are subject to employers’ discretion, and are usually stated in the employment contract, staff handbook and/or company policies.

In the Philippines, there is no law which mandates the grant of SLs and VLs. But once these leaves are given, these may not subsequently be unilaterally taken away by employers as they may already constitute employees’ benefits which cannot be diminished under the law.

Service Incentive Leaves (SILs)

A yearly SIL of five (5) days with pay are granted by law to every employee who has rendered at least one (1) year of service. All employees are entitled to SIL, except: those employed in the government and any of its political subdivisions, including government-owned and controlled corporations; managerial employees; field personnel; those enjoying VLs with pay of at least 5 days; those employed in establishments regularly employing less than 10 employees, among others.

An employee may either use his SIL credits or commute them to monetary equivalent if not exhausted at the end of the year. If an employee entitled to SIL does not use or commute the same, he is entitled to the commutation of his accrued SIL upon his resignation or separation from work. (Auto Bus Transport System, Inc. v. Bautista, 497 Phil. 863 [2005])

Under R.A. No. 10361, a domestic worker who has rendered at least 1 year of service is entitled to an annual SIL of 5 days with pay, and unused SILs shall not be cumulative or carried over to the succeeding years and shall not be convertible to cash.

Maternity Leave

Under Section 3 of R.A. No. 11210, all covered female workers in government and the private sector, including those in the informal economy, regardless of civil status or the legitimacy of her child, are entitled to one hundred five (105) days maternity leave with full pay and an option to extend for an additional thirty (30) days without pay. The law does not distinguish whether the female worker gave birth via caesarian section or natural delivery.

Enjoyment of maternity leave cannot be deferred but should be availed of either before or after the actual period of delivery in a continuous and uninterrupted manner, not exceeding 105 days, as the case may be.

Note that maternity leave is granted to female workers in every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, regardless of frequency.

If the worker qualifies as a solo parent under Republic Act No. 8972, she is entitled to an additional 15 days maternity leave with full pay.

Paternity Leave

R.A. No. 8187 grants paternity leave of 7 days with full pay to every married male employee in the private and public sectors for the first four (4) deliveries of the legitimate spouse.

Paternity leave was later modified through the passage of R.A. No. 11210, which under Section 6 thereof, gives any female worker (entitled to maternity leave benefits under said law) an option to allocate up to 7 days of her 105-day maternity leaves to the child’s father, whether or not the same is married to the female worker. This means that married male employees may now enjoy a total of 14 days of Paternity Leave should their female worker-spouses exercise their option under the law.

Parental Leaves for Solo Parents (R.A. No. 8972)

Parental Leave of not more than seven (7) working days every year shall be granted to any solo parent employee who has rendered service of at least one (1) year, in addition to leave privileges under existing laws. The purpose of the law is to enable the solo parent to perform parental duties and responsibilities where physical presence is required.

Special Leave Benefits for Women (Section 18, R.A. No. 9710)

A woman employee having rendered continuous aggregate employment service of at least 6 months for the last 12 months shall be entitled to a special leave benefit of two (2) months with full pay based on her gross monthly compensation following surgery caused by gynecological disorders.

Special Leave for Victims of Violation of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Law (Section 43, R.A. No. 9262)

Female employees who are victims under R.A. No. 9262 are entitled to take a paid leave of absence up to ten (10) days in addition to other paid leaves under the Labor Code and Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Said leave is extendible when the necessity arises as specified in the protection order.

Any employer who shall prejudice the right of the person under this section shall be penalized in accordance with the provisions of the Labor Code and Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Likewise, an employer who shall prejudice any person for assisting a co-employee who is a victim under this Act shall likewise be liable for discrimination.

Other work leaves may include, among others, birthday leave, study leave, bereavement leave, emergency leave, calamity leave and rehabilitation leave, which for being non-statutory leaves, are subject to employers’ discretion.

The availment of the foregoing work leaves are subject to specific requirements under the law and/or the employer’s existing policies.

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