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Here's why your company MUST have an unpaid leave policy

by , 02 April 2015
Requests for unpaid leave are a common workplace occurrence. And there are several rules that fall under the notion of the unpaid leave policy.

Today, we're going to look at this in depth and show you what you need to know.

Everything you need to know about unpaid leave

First of all, remember that leave without pay should only be considered in exceptional circumstances and granted subject to specific written conditions imposed by a Departmental Manager/Section Head in consultation with Senior Management. Your company's unpaid leave policy must make this very clear.

Furthermore, you should establish that in all cases, your employee will be required to maintain his/her contributions to statutory and other funds.

Another rule that you should include in your policy is that all annual and accumulative leave must be used before unpaid leave is taken.

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The exceptional circumstances being:

1. In the case of protracted illness, where;
1.1 The sick leave entitled has been exhausted; or
1.2 All accumulated annual leave has been taken.
(In such cases, the employee will be entitled to approach UIF to claim ill-health benefits.)

2. Study leave if the course isn't related to the employees work:  
2.1 Study leave must be planned and organised well in advance and in consultation with the relevant superior;
2.2 Employees may take one working day's study leave for the day on which the actual examination is written or test undertaken;
2.3 Employees may take one working day's study leave to prepare for the examination; and
2.4 The total number of days of study or preparation leave may not exceed five days in any one year.

3. Factors to be taken into account when considering whether to grant unpaid leave are.

• The reason for the request;
• Length of service;
• Work performance
• Attendance history; and
• Attitude towards the company

There you have it. Unpaid leave is a tricky subject. Put a policy in place so you don't get it wrong.

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