What is unpaid leave? When does unpaid leave take place? This article will answer to these questions based on the Labor Law of Cambodia.
Unpaid leave refers to time off taken by a worker and during which he or she does not get payment from his or her employer. Unpaid leave takes place when a worker has taken leave or time off on the occasion or due to reason which does not fall under any type of the paid leaves provided by the Labor Law. To understand when worker takes leaves without wage payment, it is important to know the paid leaves provided by the Labor Law.
Under the Labor Law of Cambodia, workers are entitled to several types of paid leaves. These leaves include weekly time off, public holidays, annual leave, special leave, maternity leave and leave during notice of contract termination.
- Weekly time off. The Labor Law prohibits employer from using the same person for a continuous period of more than 6 days in a week. This weekly time off must have a minimum period of 24 consecutive hours. In principle, all workers are allowed to take weekly time off on Sunday. (Read more Weekly Time Off in Cambodia)
- Public holidays. Every year, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training issues a Prakas (ministerial order) determining the paid public holidays for all workers in Cambodia. Khmer New Year, Phchum Ben Festival and Water Festival are examples of paid public holidays. (Read more Another day off if public holiday falls on Sunday)
- Annual leave. The worker is entitled to one and half work days of annual leave per month of continuous work or service in an enterprise. Under the Labor Law, only worker who has been working for one year is entitled to use his or her accrued annual leave. However, in practice, most of the enterprises or companies allow their workers to take annual leave soon after they pass the probation or from the commencement date of employment of the workers. (Read more Annual Leave in Cambodia)
- Special leave or personal leave. Special leave is given to worker on the occasion that there is any event directly affecting the worker’s immediate family. For example, the worker gets married; his wife delivers a baby; his or her child get married; husband, wife, father or mother of the worker is sick or die. The worker is entitled to 7 days special leave per year. If the worker still has annual leave, the annual leave will be deducted by the number of special leave the worker has taken. If the worker has already used all of his or her annual leave, the worker still enjoys the special leave by working for employer to compensate the time off the worker has taken. (Read more Special Leave in Cambodia)
- Maternity leave. During the maternity leave, women workers are entitled to 90 days leave with half payment. (Read moreWage during Maternity Leave in Cambodia)
- One hour leave for breath feeding. Within one year after child delivery, a mother who breath-feeds her child is entitled to one hour per day during working hours to breath-feed her child.
- Leave during notice period of contract termination. Worker under the undetermined duration contract (UDC) is entitled to take paid leave 2 days off per week to seek new employment during the notice period of contract termination. This leave is not provided to worker under the fixed-duration contract (FDC). (Read more Notice of Termination of Unspecified Duration Contract)
Other than the paid leave above, there are cases where workers are absent from work due to reasons beyond their control, such as absence from work due to work-related accident or illness, or non-work-related accident or illness.
Worker cannot work due to work-related accident or sickness is also paid at the normal working rate. However, if the worker cannot work for a period more than 4 days, he or she is entitled to compensation for temporary incapacitation from the employer. The compensation and other benefits of the workers who have not been able to work for more than 4 days are now provided by the National Social Security Fund. Leave from work due to accident or sickness which is not a work-related one is a reason for contract suspension and during which the worker is not entitled to payment under the Labor Law. However, in practice, most of the employers pay workers for two or 3 months in full or partial wage. (Read more Cambodia: Leave due to sickness)
If a worker wishes to take unpaid leave, he or she needs to obtain written approval from the employer. Taking leave without permission or approval from employer constitutes a misconduct which may be subject to disciplinary actions and in the worst scenario, the employer may dismiss the concerned worker. There are cases where internal regulations of the companies or enterprises rule that a worker who is absent from work for 3 consecutive days without notice and reasonable ground is deemed to make serious misconduct and will be dismissed from the enterprise or company.
Source: Labor Law of Cambodia, promulgated in 1997