Annual Leave and Holidays

Paid Vacation / Annual Leave

The Employment Code Act of 2019 provides for annual leave to all workers on completion of twelve months of service. The full-time workers are entitled to at least 2 days of annual leave/paid holidays for one month of service. The total annual leave is 24 calendar days per year and is independent of weekly rest days and Public Holidays.

While the earlier law limited the calculation of annual leave benefit to basic pay, the Employment Code Act takes into account full pay, i.e., basic pay, allowances and the cash equivalent of any allowances in kind applicable for a period not exceeding one month, but does not include payments in respect of any bonus.

The annual leave benefit formula is:

(FP x D)/26 Days

where FP = full pay

D=number of accrued leave days

Employees are entitled to one month's basic pay as well as other allowances for a period of one month prior to proceeding on leave. Part time employees are also allowed paid leave of absence in proportion to the number of hours worked in a month (a full time worker works 48 hours per week). An employer pays the entire amount, including holiday allowance, immediately before the worker proceeds to leave. Casual and temporary employees are not entitled to annual leave.

Schedule of annual leave is mutually agreed between the parties. If the employment contract expires before a worker could acquire the right to annual leave, compensation for leave is paid as two days full pay for each completed month of service. If a worker is not granted annual leave during the 12 consecutive months after leave becoming due, employer must pay wages in lieu of leave yet not taken.

Source:§36 and 37 of the Employment Code Act of 2009; §5 of the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (General) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012); §5 of the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Shop Workers) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012)

Pay on Public Holidays

Workers are entitled to paid holidays during Festival (public and religious) holidays. These include memorial holidays and religious holidays (Christian origin).

The Public Holidays are usually 11 in number. It includes New Year’s Day, Youth Day (12th March) , Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Labour Day (1st May), African Freedom Day (25th May), Heroes Day (First Monday in July), Unity Day (Tuesday following Heroes Day), Farmers Day (First Monday in August), Independence Day (24th October), and the  Christmas Day.

The workers are entitled to a fully paid public holiday if he/she does not, without the permission of his employer or other reasonable excuse, absent himself from duty either on the day immediately preceding or on the day following such public holiday. Amount of payment received during public holidays is the basic pay, the cash equivalent of any food which may from time to time be provided, and working or other allowances where applicable up to one month, but does not include payments in respect of any bonus.

Source: §2 & Schedule of Public Holiday Act, 1964; §35 of the Employment Code Act, 2019

Weekly Rest Days

While the earlier Employment Act 1965 had no clear provision on weekly rest days, the Employment Code Act of 2019 requires a rest day of at least 24 consecutive hours in every period of 7 consecutive days.

Under the new law, the weekly rest day can be any day of the week on which workers are not required to work under the contract of employment. Shop Workers’ Wages Order, however, clearly specifies that shop workers, other than mangers, must not be employed on a Sunday.

Employers are further required to allow a meal break of one hour and one health break of at least 20 minutes or two health breaks of at least 10 minutes each. 

Source: §76-77 of the Employment Code Act, 2019; §3(1)(f) & 5(2) of the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Shop Workers) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012)

Regulations on Annual Leave and Holidays

  • Employment Code Act, 2019
  • Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (General) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012)
  • Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Shop Workers) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012)
  • Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Domestic Workers) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012)
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