Home » General » Who Has the Right to Determine Leave? [column]

Who has the right to determine leave? What right does the employer have on determining an employee’s leave? As you might agree, leave time has been the most contentious work-related issue boggling the country at the moment. As it stands, many workers confess that their leave decisions are mostly determined by their employers, a situation which leaves them in virtual slavery.

Having to decide when one can rest is one privilege that a worker might take as solace for all the things that he or she has to do to the satisfaction and expectation of the employer.

Working time, it must be noted solely belongs to the employer and whether a worker likes it or not for as long as he or she wishes to continue being gainfully employed must adhere to what is needed there, but then it seems leave is also being controlled by employers thereby making a worker nothing.

My question now is, is it really difficult for employers to let workers decide when and how they wish to exhaust their leave days?

We used to know of forced labour but now there seems to emerge forced leave cancellation and forced leave when employers feel it suits them and not when it suits workers.

The issue of leave is usually a hot issue but crucial one that requires professional handling on both workers and their employers. In many companies there is a general trend where employees fill in leave focus forms stating when they want to go for leave.

Leave to my understanding, is a special time that a worker is fully entitled to without interruption. It is a time where a worker can organise and fulfil some of his or her life dreams and desires without thinking about work.

For some who are better organised it is that time where they get to enjoy travelling to different holiday destinations with their families.

What I have come to notice is that many employers if not all are deciding when and how an employee’s leave must be spent. By this I give for example, a worker who wants to go for leave in August on specific dates and he or she had indicated say in January through a leave forecast, the time for his or her leave because there are family issues to be solved.

What we see is that employers will again start telling the worker that the company has so much business to be done during that same time and they cannot afford to let the worker go for his annual leave, he or she must postpone it to later dates.

What this entails is that here the company is not affording the worker his full labour rights.

To make matters worse the employer in many cases will not even bother to discuss with the worker whether this is possible or not but they simply give it as an instruction which the worker finds hard to reject for as long as he or she still expects to be employed. This is totally wrong in my view.

The worker will then be forced to go on leave where he or she does not have a purpose for it or to state it bluntly, the worker’s leave will not be productive as it should have been but wasted, yet management at the same company can plan their leave maybe for holidays or other things and are not in any way disturbed or affected.

A worker has so many things that he or she is disaantaged and leave is one thing that he or she should have control over as a way of compensating for such things that they lack or that are always controlled by the employer.

Some of the things that workers lack include poor or no protective clothing, poor salaries, poor working conditions, unfair treatment at work and in some very bad companies workers endure bullying by employers or senior subordinates.

Leave in this instance, I will equate it to how special school holidays are to school children. It is a time that they and their parents can plan uninterrupted how and what they will do as a family.

For their teachers, I also realised this is the same time that they plan to further their education like going to University on block release programmes or other private studies.

Companies or employers are taking aantage of the current harsh environment where jobs are scarce and the job market is dwindling thereby forcing workers to dance to their tune, all in the fear of being fired or victimised.

Source : The Herald

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