I am currently a complainant in a criminal case, which I filed against my boyfriend for violation of the law on anti-violence against women. Because of my required attendance in the hearings of this case, I am unable to go to work regularly. I was informed by a friend that I am entitled to leave benefits while my case is ongoing. Is this true? Can you please advise me on my rights concerning the leaves I am entitled to under the law? Thank you for your advice!
According to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262, known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, employed victims of this crime are granted leave privileges to allow them to attend and process their complaints.
Section 42 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 9262 states that:
“At any time during the application of any protection order, investigation, prosecution and/or trial of the criminal case, a victim of VAWC who is employed shall be entitled to a paid leave of up to ten (10) days in addition to other paid leaves under the Labor Code and Civil Service Rules and Regulations and other existing laws and company policies, extendible when the necessity arises as specified in the protection order. XXX” (Emphasis supplied)
In order to avail of the said leave privileges, the victim should obtain, free from charge, a certification that a case is filed under R.A. No. 9262, from the Barangay Chairman, Prosecutor, or Clerk of Court, as the case may be, and present this to her employer who is mandated to provide the said leave privileges. For government employees, the same requirements apply in addition to the filing of an application for leave citing R.A. 9262 as a basis(Ibid.).
The law also provides that the availment of the ten-day leave shall be at the option of the victim-employee which covers the days that she has to attend to medical and legal concerns, and that leaves that are not availed of are noncumulative and cannot be converted into cash (Id.).
Lastly, the law states that the employer or agency head who denies the application for leave, and who shall prejudice the victim or any person for assisting her shall be held liable for discrimination and violation of R.A No. 9262(Id.).
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com