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Can Employers Refuse Holiday Leave If You Used Your Sick Days?

can employers refuse holiday leave if you used your sick leave

As we approach the festive season, many employees take some time off from work to spend time with friends and family. However, what if your boss says you can't take off?

Health and safety protocols during the Covid pandemic meant that as soon as you started displaying Covid-19 symptoms or came into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, you were sent home.

This time away from work may have resulted in you exhausting your sick leave. This could also mean that once these sick days were exhausted, you dipped into your annual or holiday leave.

Employment Law Specialist & Managing Director at Molatudi Attorneys, Osborne Molatudi says that while annual and sick leave are dealt with separately in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, an employer can choose to regulate them together. This may be stipulated in your employment contract.

Molatudi explains that while your employer cannot on the basis of exhausting your sick leave deny you annual leave, the employer can dictate who’s annual leave is approved for a period of time. He adds that this is especially true for employers who are more busy during the festive season.

He said, “if there is no agreement about the time at which I as an employee want to take leave, then the employer has the final say”. This is the case for annual leave. He adds that sick leave that has been exhausted is a different matter.

Molatudi added that it would not be unreasonable for an employee to request leave on an unpaid basis. This as the employee would have known when they were applying that their annual leave was exhausted.

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