You will recall that in Part I of The Employee’s Rights, one of the protections set out as being guaranteed by the Employment Act was that of the right to minimum standards set out in that Act. In Part III, we propose, based on interest, to start to deal with statutory minimums for leave, the focus being on annual leave.
An employee who meets certain conditions may be entitled to “leave” that is, time off from work which does not allow an employer to treat the employment contract as terminated or the employment relationship as broken down.
In some circumstances, the employee must be paid as if he/she worked, and in others, the employer is not required to pay wages but must grant the time off.
Types of Leave under the Employment Act:
- Annual leave
- Maternity Leave
- Sick Leave
- Supplementary Family Leave
Annual leave is what we more commonly refer to as vacation leave. You must work in order to earn it.
- How much leave are you entitled to
If you are a monthly paid employee, you earn 2 weeks’ leave after the first year and 3 weeks’ for each succeeding year.
Daily paid or hourly paid employees earn leave as follows: 1 working day for every 15 days or 120 hours of work. Where the employee works for half days, a half day is equal to one day, but only for the purpose of calculating leave.
- When are you entitled to enjoy your leave
Under the Employment Act, you are only entitled to take time off for vacation after you have worked for a year.
The Employment Act guarantees that the employee must have an opportunity to consult with the employer on when the employee will proceed upon leave, but the ultimate decision on the date for leave is the employer’s.
As a general rule, leave should be enjoyed within 6 months of when the leave became due, but there is latitude for the employer and employee to decide and agree otherwise.
The period of leave must not coincide with or include: sick leave, maternity leave, notice of termination and or public holidays.
- When is your salary to be paid if payday is included in your leave period
Your wages must be paid no later than the last working day before you start your holiday, unless you agree an alternative date or arrangement with your employer.
- What happens if you are terminated and you have not enjoyed all annual leave earned
Your employer must pay for all leave earned at the date of termination. The reason for the termination is irrelevant for that purpose. What is important is that you have earned the leave, that is, you have had an anniversary of your employment, and you have not yet enjoyed your leave.
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