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Well Being Rewards: Time Off for Self-Care

Updated: Dec 23, 2020





Context


Well-Being has been on people agenda of Corporations for many years. It’s not new to hear about

unconventional leaves and holidays such as – Biological Leaves for Women, Paternity,

Adoption, Vacation-Days and Elderly Care. Many companies in India have opened up to the idea of giving ‘time off’ for reasons not conventionally and sufficiently provisioned by the Law. However more than the days it the open mindset to accept the need for self/family care, that matters


Leaves in India are governed by an Act, enacted by every state. People are entitled to a certain number of days of leaves per year in addition to the holidays and weekly days off. Generally, three types of leave are provisioned for under the Laws i.e. Earned/Privilege leave, Sick leave and Casual leave depending on States but generally similar and awarded with full wages.

Earned / Privilege leave: Reasons to avail them may differ in companies but are generally

required to plausible, expected to be planned and stated in writing. People can also carry

forward or encash such leaves up to a certain limit varying from state to state. Broadly this

type of leave is 18-20 days a year.

Casual Leave: Generally granted for unanticipated events, for a day or two due to

exigencies, but varying as per State. Generally, companies prefer to restrict it to a short

duration. But if someone wishes to avail such leaves for a longer time, one needs prior

permission. Mostly employers expect a plausible reason, after re-joining. Such a leave is

generally, not permitted to be clubbed with other leaves, week-offs and holidays. Broadly

this type of leave is 10-12 days a year

Sick Leave: Can be availed only in case of sickness, require a medical certificate and vary as

per State Laws

Broadly Earned leaves and Casual Leaves offer 25-30 days of total time off to any working

person in India. Earned leaves being about 60-70% of such leaves.

Concern


The number of days of leaves offered under the three categories seem sufficient but it is not

the days which may be the common concern but the need for an ‘Open Mindset’ to

respect the needs of people which they may want to keep private. Many surveys in India have indicated that the average % of time a person is at work through the Working Week, excluding the hours needed for sleep and commuting it comes to 72%, not counting the time needed for meals, daily hygiene, exercise, chores, reading/personal time.

Studies in India have shown that Overtime, Lack of Work Life Balance and Lack of

support from Managers constitute the top reasons for ‘Workplace Stressors’. At least 30-

40% respondents will feel so in any survey. While allowing time off for ‘personal care’ and

not asking any questions for it may not directly resolve the issue of workplace stress, but let

us also empathise with the fact that taking time off also allows people to introspect/reflect on

their life’s situations and gain a clear perspective, which can only support them and any

person may need such time more often than waiting for a planned 10-15 days of vacation

time once a year.

Perspective - Solution


People give a lot from their lives to achieve results for their employers. It would be so much

better for Employers to consider empathising with their need for ‘Time Off for Care’ for

self/family and accept such needs with a ‘No Questions Asked’ policy. All needs of

physiological and psychological nature for self/family requiring privacy, can be considered

under a broad category - ‘Time Off for Self-Care’ and ‘No Questions Asked’ for it. The

Casual Leaves of 10-12 days a year, could be considered under this category, while special

additional leaves for legitimate reasons can also be considered depending on the specific

talent needs in a Company.

So to conclude I would like to say that while it is good to introduce special leaves for all

respectful reasons for any gender/age group, let us also adopt an open mindset of

‘Not asking Questions’ for a certain amount of Time Off needed by people

and not restricting it in ways that discourage availing them. Need for such time off could

be of any nature or to give time to life’s many demands, let us respect the privacy of it.

Vinit Verma

Consultant & Proprietor

HRNetwork Plus Consulting

(Consulting and Advisory in HR - Compensation, Benefits, Policies  HR ERP/SAAS Systems and Digitization)

www.hrnetworkplus.com

Note: The views expressed by author are personal, belong solely to him and do not represent any people, institutions, or organizations that the author may or may not be associated with in personal or professional capacity, in past, present or future. Any of the expressed views are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, organization, association, company or any individual


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