I filed a leave application for two days but my boss refused to approve it because some of my co-workers have unauthorized absences. This made her very upset and I am affected by this current situation in the office. Is my boss violating any of my rights as an employee? Can I push through with my leave without the approval of my boss? Will this be used as a ground for my termination? I know that my two-day leave will not affect our company in any way since we are just starting with our new housing project and my task is only related with the documentation of buyers. Considering that we still do not have buyers, I have nothing to do at this point. I hope you can advise me on this matter. Thank you and more power.
Our Labor Code mandates the grant of a yearly service incentive leave of five (5) days with pay to private employees, provided that they have rendered at least one year of service with their employers. However, the aforestated provision does not apply to the following employees: (a) those who are already enjoying a similar benefit; (b) those who are already enjoying vacation leave with pay of at least five days; and (c) those employed in establishments regularly employing less than ten employees or in establishments exempted from granting this benefit by the Secretary of Labor and Employment after considering the viability or financial condition of such establishment (Article 95, Labor Code).
In addition, the said provision does not apply to government employees and any of its political subdivisions, including government-owned and controlled corporations, managerial employees, and field personnel and other employees whose performance is unsupervised by the employer, including those who are engaged on a task or contract basis, purely commission basis, or those who are paid a fixed amount for performing work irrespective of the time consumed in the performance thereof (Section 1, Rule V, Book III, Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code of the Philippines).
We, nevertheless, wish to emphasize that the use of the leave benefit by the employee is not without limit. An employee must secure prior approval from his or her employer before he or she can avail the same, otherwise the employee will incur unauthorized absence. A single instance of unauthorized absence is not in itself a ground for termination of employment. But incurring repeated and frequent unauthorized absence may be considered as gross and habitual neglect of duties, which is a lawful basis for termination of employment (Article 282 (b), Labor Code of the Philippines).
Applying the foregoing in your situation, we cannot consider your boss as violating your rights as an employee. It must be stressed that you are not entirely denied of the leave benefits. It may be said that, based on the facts you mentioned, your boss is merely regulating the use of said benefit considering that your officemates have incurred several unauthorized absences.
We do not advise you to push through with your leave despite the disapproval of your boss. The reasoning that your two-day leave will not affect your company given that you are just starting with your new housing project will likewise not justify an unauthorized absence. Thus, it will be most prudent for you to simply ask for reconsideration from your boss and explain to him the reason why you need to take a two-day leave, if the same is really necessary.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org