Types of Leave

All about Annual Leave, Maternity Leave, Bereavement Leave, Sick Leave, Study Leave, Compassionate Leave and Salaries on Mywage Zambia.


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Pregnant, sick, bereaved, studying or just tired and need rest? Discover which leave you are entitled to. 

Annual Leave:

This is the total number of off days an employee is entitled to annually. It excludes Sundays and gazetted public holidays. These total numbers of days accrue either monthly, eg two days per month or sometimes fixed, eg 18 days per annum. Annual leave is most often paid leave unless otherwise stated. In most institutions leave pay is equal to the monthly salary. 


This is usually done at the discretion of the employer. It entails “selling” excess leave days back to the employer in exchange for cash. Excess days would constitute those leave days left over after one has proceeded on leave.

Maternity Leave: 

This leave is granted to a female employee who has delivered or is about to deliver. 

In Zambia, all non-represented/non-unionised workers are allowed 120 working days unpaid maternity leave (this figure excludes weekends and public holidays). This includes soldiers, public service workers, domestic workers, police, and teachers in public or government schools.

All workers whose employers allow them to form or join unions or be represented are allowed 90 days paid maternity leave (this figure excludes weekends and public holidays), with provision to negotiate for more time (4-6 months) through collective bargaining. This includes teachers in private schools, doctors in private health facilities, accountants, bankers, miners and in journalists.

This leave does not reduce annual leave days nor affect monthly pay. Excess days arising from illness as a result of delivery are also granted at no cost or effect to the employee as provided for under law.

This leave is special as it excludes access to any other leave available. One cannot be stopped from taking it even if you have no leave days or have already been on leave. It’s the only leave that is purely exclusive.

However, maternity leave can only be taken by an employee who has completed at least two years of continuous service with her employer.

Find out more: Your Questions and Answers on Maternity Leave in Zambia.

Sick Leave: 

An employee is granted this leave for the purpose of medical reasons, either recovery from illness or to seek medical attention. Sick leave is often negotiable for unionised employees; but the statute states 90 days on full pay and the next 90 days on half pay and thereafter the employee is medically discharged from employment.

Local Leave (Casual Leave): 

This is a type of short leave, ideally ten days, which one can take to attend to personal issues if provided for by the employment contract. These days are normally reduced from the accumulated annual leave days explained above. However, this type of leave will not in any way affect your paycheck.

Compassionate Leave: 

This leave is granted when one has had a bereavement of a registered family member. Mostly, the maximum is ten days and it’s paid for.  So you don’t lose either your annual leave days nor your pay for the absent days. 

Nursing Leave: 

This is leave taken when one has to stay home and nurse a registered child or spouse. Usually the time frame is negotiated, but where it is fixed it usually does not exceed 30 consecutive days in any given year. As above, it is also paid for and does not affect the accrued annual leave days nor monthly pay.

Study Leave: 

This is time off given for the purpose of undertaking studies or sitting for exams. This varies in institutions in terms of length. Also, it’s paid for and does not affect either annual leave days or monthly pay.

However, this usually has a condition in terms of eligibility (you must have served the company for a specified period) and then the study programme must have relevance to your job. And one can usually only access this once a year, unless otherwise negotiated.

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