Leave of absence
A leave of absence (LOA) or simply leave, is a period of time that one must be away from one's primary job, while maintaining the status of employee. The term may be used more restrictively to exclude other periods away from the workplace (e.g., vacations, paid time off, holidays, hiatuses, sabbaticals, working from home programs), with LOA used for exceptional circumstances; generally, such an arrangement has a predefined termination at a particular date or after a certain event has occurred.
Generally, paid leaves of absence are given at the request of the employer, or per some statutory or contractual requirement. Some examples of generally paid LOA include employee injury on the job, bereavement, jury duty, or if the employer is performing repairs or other activities in the building where the employee normally works which prevents them from performing their duties.
Unpaid LOAs are generally at the request of the employee or as a result of suspected misconduct on the part of the employee. A leave of absence may be obtained for a variety of employee-requested reasons, including active duty call-ups for reserve military personnel, or to attend to the health needs of the employee or of a family member of the employee.
In many jurisdictions, it is up to the employer's discretion as to whether or not an employee's request for a leave of absence is approved. In the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 defines certain circumstances under which approval of a leave of absence is compulsory. Additionally, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) dictates certain circumstances under which a LOA must be granted.
During periods of time where the employer's market is sluggish, some employers offer certain classes of employees an opportunity to take an unpaid leave of absence as extra vacation time, in an effort to temporarily reduce operating expenses without the complications of performing a layoff, and potentially losing critical employees permanently. Such a period is referred to as a leave of absence in lieu of layoff.
In academia, "unpaid leave of absence" has no negative connotation. It is used to give the opportunity to a professor or staff member to assume a non-conflicting position (e.g., political position) without losing his/her original affiliation.
Continuation of benefits
Generally, continuation of certain benefits, such as medical insurance, is maintained. Other benefits such as Life Insurance normally require the employee to pay the premium in order to be continued during the LOA.
For those benefits that are based on an employee's time in his/ her job, the period of the absence may be included in the tallies of consecutive service for certain benefits. If the time is not included, it is simply omitted from the tally, but not considered a break in service.
Types of leave of absence worldwide
In India, a Government service holder under the Union Government or any Provincial (State) Government can avail the following types of leave of absence during the service period:
- Earned Leave : Leave of absence which is earned by the employee by dint of period of duty in service but usually credited in advance to the leave account in two installments per year at a rate 2.5 days per month (30 days per year) . The leaves, if not availed, get accumulated up to 300 days, but no more and also the employee remains entitled to a cash equivalent of the 80 days of such leaves not availed on the day of retirement from service.
- Half Pay Leave: All Government servants are entitled to 20 days of HPL for every completed year of service with all kinds of availed leaves included in the concerned year. These leaves get accumulated, if not availed without limit and credited in advance in two installments per year. They are the basis of calculation of commuted leave available to the employee after completion of one year of service.
- Commuted Leave: Two half pay leaves due can be commuted to one fully paid commuted leave. Commuted leave not exceeding half the amount of half-pay leave due at any point of time can be taken on certified medical ground. Whereas 90 days of commuted leave can be availed during the entire service period without any certified medical ground.
- Leave Not due: This leave of absence can be availed by an employee in the same manner as that of commuted leave but in advance under good faith on the part of the sanctioning authority that the employee shall clear the debt by accumulation of half pay leave through subsequent years of service till his retirement. Such leave is limited up to a maximum of 180 days at a stretch and 360 days in the entire service life.
- Parental leave (Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave)
- Study Leave: Maximum 03 years available after completion of at least 05 years of service.
- Extra Ordinary Leave: Leave when no salary is to be given to the employee because he will be or was absent. This leave is granted to regularize unexplained absence resulting into discontinuation of service or can be opted by an employee when he needs a break and takes time off from duty.
- Casual Leave: This leave is not strictly a leave because the employee is considered to be on duty and responsible.
- Child Care Leave
- Hospital Leave
- Vacation Department Staff Leave: Employees who work in departments where yearly seasonal vacation is admissible can't earn leave. Other leaves are applicable.
- Special Disability Leave
- Child Adoption Leave
- Educational Leave of Absence: Leave of absence to continue schooling or complete a degree.