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.
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.
Consultant & Proprietor
HRNetwork Plus Consulting
(Consulting and Advisory in HR - Compensation, Benefits, Policies HR ERP/SAAS Systems and Digitization)
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