What is annual leave? How do I become eligible for it?
Annual leave is time off work granted to you by your employer in which you receive your full salary. An employee becomes eligible for annual leave if she/he has completed a period of 12 months service to their employer. Annual leave matures six months from commencement of employment and it can also be taken on a pro rata basis. The duration of annual leave is 28 days and it is inclusive of the weekly rest period and all public holidays falling therein.
Annual leave is covered under Sub Part D of Part III of the Employment and Labour Relations Act, No. 6 of 2004.
I am a temporary worker. Am I eligible for annual leave?
The condition for one to be entitled to annual leave is that you must have worked with the same employer for 12 months. So even if you worked as a temporary employee, if the amount of work adds up to 12 months you will be entitled to annual leave.
Under certain conditions the law allows payment of leave on a pro rata basis. For example, if you work for a duration of nine months you could still be entitled to annual leave on a pro rata basis. The pro rata amount of annual leave is usually calculated at the rate of one day’s basic wage for every 13 days the employee worked or was entitled to work.
Is this leave compulsory or can it be accumulated?
Generally, it is in the spirit of the law that annual leave should be taken during the same leave cycle. However under the law, an employee applies for leave and it is the mandate of the employer to determine the time when the leave is to be taken. The employer has the mandate to carry it forward but it should not be later than six months after the end of the leave cycle or twelve months after the end of the leave cycle if the employee has consented and the extension is justified by operational requirements.
In the event of termination or resignation, when an employee has some outstanding/accrued leave the employer is liable to pay this amount.
At what rate is annual leave paid? Do I get my full pay?
Yes, you get your full wages. In fact, the law requires the employer to pay your remuneration before the commencement of your leave. On top of your ordinary remuneration, the Regulation of Wages and Terms of Employment, Order, 2010 requires you to be paid Leave Travel Assistance and the same is payable once in two years. The purpose of this is to assist you in catering for your transport during your leave. The law does not stipulate an amount which should be paid. The employer and employee to negotiate the Leave Travel Assistance amount and either put it into a Collective Bargaining Agreement, Human Resource manual or employment contract.
Can my employer pay me an amount of money in substitution for my annual leave?
The law prohibits payment in substitution of leave whether you as an employee agree or not. The leave days are meant to provide an employee time off to relax, so that you can come back to work with a fresh mind and full of energy.
Annual leave becomes payable only upon termination/resignation or expiration of a contract and when the employee has accrued a number of leave days.
Neither is an employer allowed to call an employee to work during the period of annual leave.
If I take maternity leave this year is my annual leave going to be forfeited?
No! Maternity leave can not cancel out your annual leave even if both of them are taken within one year. This is because annual leave and maternity leave both serve a different purpose. Section 31 (5) provides that an employer shall not require or permit an employee to take annual leave in place of any leave to which the employee is entitled.
In the case of an emergency and I need paid time off, will I still be entitled to my annual leave?
Yes. If you have taken some paid days off during the leave cycle you would still be entitled to annual leave but minus the number of days during the leave cycle which were granted to you at your request.