Employers mandated to give workers 5-day yearly incentive leave

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Dear PAO,
I will be undergoing a major surgery and the doctor advised me to take a one-month leave after the procedure. However, my earned leave credits are not enough to cover my leave for the said period. Does our labor law give special leave benefits for employees in my situation?
Ms. Employee

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Dear Ms. Employee,
The Labor Code of the Philippines only mandates the employers to give their employees a yearly service incentive leave of five days with pay (Article 95, Labor Code of the Philippines). This shall be granted to an employee who has been in service within 12 months, whether continuous or broken reckoned from the date he started working, including authorized absences and paid regular holidays unless the working days in the establishment, as a matter of practice or policy, or that provided in the employment contract is less than 12 months, in which case the said period shall be considered (Book III, Rule V, Section 3, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code). Notwithstanding this, our laws do not preclude the employers in giving similar or more beneficial leave benefits to their employees. The common practice nowadays is that employees in the private sector are given monthly sick and vacation leave credits which they may use as the need arises.

There is, however, a special leave granted to women who have undergone surgery. However, only surgeries caused by gynecological disorders are covered by this benefit (Section 18, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9710). Gynecological disorders refer to disorders that would require surgical procedures such as, but not limited to dilatation and curettage and those involving female reproductive organs such as the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, breast, adnexa and pelvic floor, as certified by a competent physician. It shall also include hysterectomy, ovariectomy and mastectomy (Section 1, Guidelines Governing the Implementation of the Special Leave Benefits for Women Employees in the Private Sector). If your surgery was caused by a gynecological disorder, you shall be entitled to the said special leave provided you have complied with the following conditions, as stated in Section 2 of the said guidelines: 1) you have rendered at least six (6) months continuous aggregate employment service for the last twelve (12) months prior to your surgery; 2) you have filed an application for leave in accordance with Section 3 hereof; 3) you have undergone surgery due to gynecological disorders as certified by a competent physician.

On the other hand, if your surgery was not caused by any of the gynecological disorders, you may only exhaust your earned leave credits to cover the period that you will not be reporting for work. If it would not be enough, then you shall not receive compensation for the days which will no longer be covered by your leave.

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.

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