Today I have done some researches and wish to share an interesting topic relating to an employment practice called “sabbatical leave”. Thanks to one of my friends who suggested this topic as assignment for my weekend research.
I have reviewed the Labor Law of Cambodia which was promulgated in 1997. I could not find any provision of the Labor Labor precisely mentioning the term “sabbatical leave”.
I have gone through some sources regarding this topic and it seems to me that sabbatical leave refers to an employment practice in which employee is allowed to take leave or break from works or duties for a specified period and for the agreed purpose, such as studying, receiving training or traveling while employment relation is still maintained. Based on the agreements and practice of enterprises, sabbatical leave can be either paid or unpaid leave. This kind of leave totally depends on the agreed arrangement between the employer and the concerned employee. I have not done research and consequently I do not have the data or statistics of the practice of this sabbatical leave in enterprises or establishments in Cambodia.
In consideration to the above nature or agreed arrangement on sabbatical leave, I personally view that the provisions of the Labor Law of Cambodia regarding suspension of employment contract are relevant. The sabbatical leave which allows the employee to take break or rest from work without payment is a kind of suspension of employment contract based on agreement of both employer and employee.
Article 71 of the Labor Law reads:
The labor contract shall be suspended under the following reasons:…6. Absence of the worker authorized by the employer, based on laws, collective agreements, or individual agreements…
Article 72 of the Labor Law reads:
The suspension of a labor contract affects only the main obligations of the contract, that are, those under which the worker has to work for the employer, and the employer has to pay the worker, unless there are provisions to the contrary that require the employer to pay the worker… Other obligations such as furnishing of accommodation by the employer, as well as the worker’s loyalty and confidentiality towards the enterprise, continue to be in effect during the period of suspension…
Even if the employee is paid during sabbatical leave, it can be treated as suspension of employment contract while the employee is not required to work but the employer agrees to provide payment to the said employee. Alternatively, sabbatical leave can also be considered as one of the paid leaves provided by the employer to the employee in an enterprise and establishment. In this case, arrangement of paid sabbatical leave should be stated and detailed in the employment contract, internal regulations of enterprise, collective agreement or any other agreement.
Under the Labor Law of Cambodia, unpaid sabbatical leave should take place only if there is mutual agreement of employer and employee. However, paid sabbatical leave can be initiated and decided by the employer because the employee is still paid while he or she is on leave.
This text is not legal advice or opinion.