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What is full-time leave
Company-wide leave, or collective leave, is leave that applies to all employees of an operation or company. It involves stopping all work for the duration of the leave and employees are ordered to take time off during this time. Such leave can be given to the whole company or to a specific part of the company (for example, a specific workshop or department). Often, full-time leave does not apply to, for example, security or maintenance staff.
What the Labour Code says about all-working holiday
In general, the Labour Code says that leave is determined by the employer, with the agreement of the trade union, on the basis of a written leave schedule. In doing so, it should also take into account the interests of the employees. The employer should allow its employees to take the whole of their annual leave and should also allow employees to take one part of it as at least two consecutive weeks. When an employer determines the duration of leave for its employees, it must give them at least 14 days’ notice in writing.
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In practice, this usually works by the employer publishing a leave plan or asking its employees to report leave, which it then either approves or disapproves. Thus, the employer always has the final say on leave. It is therefore not impossible for your employer to order leave without your prior request or agreement.
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In addition, your employer can cancel your scheduled leave and even take you off it. However, in this case, the employer is obliged to reimburse you for any costs you have incurred as a result of the cancelled leave. If you have already paid for flights and accommodation in Sri Lanka, for example, which cannot be cancelled, your employer must compensate you for your costs.
The Labour Code also provides that the employer may, in agreement with the trade union and with the consent of the works council, determine the collective use of leave. But only if this is necessary for operational reasons (e.g. for inventory, deep cleaning, cleaning of machinery or repairs). In this case, the collective use of leave may not exceed two weeks and, in the case of artistic ensembles, four weeks. In practice, this will most often be during the summer holidays.
What if you have already taken your leave
It may happen that you have already used up your holiday for the year. However, your employer has now ordered you to take another two weeks of collective leave. So how does this work in this case?
Your employer should assign you some work in this case. But if this is not possible, then your employer is obliged to give you back pay, which should be equivalent to your average earnings. This should be the same as the pay you would have received if you had taken ordinary paid leave.
It is not possible for your employer to order you to take unpaid leave. It is the employer’s responsibility to organise the leave and it is therefore an obstacle on the employer’s side. Therefore, it is only his problem that you have already taken your leave.
Full-time leave during the probationary period
The probationary period is for getting to know each other. The employee has time to make clear whether he likes the company and wants to work there. And the employer in turn can get an idea of what the employee is like, what his work ethic is like and how he fits in with the company. This protects both parties by allowing them to give immediate notice during this time without having to comply with the two-month notice period.
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The law does not stipulate its obligation, but regulates its duration. For traditional positions, the maximum duration is set at three months. For managerial positions, it is six months. If you have a fixed-term employment relationship, the probationary period may not be longer than half of the total duration of the employment relationship.
As far as the probationary period and full-time leave are concerned, again, your employer cannot order you to take unpaid leave, but must find you a job or give you traditional paid leave. In fact, it is possible to take leave even before entitlement. However, you can also expect that your probationary period will be extended by the period of leave.
Where you can encounter collective leave
You may encounter industrial leave mainly in various factories and industries where regular maintenance, repairs or upgrades to equipment are required. So, you are likely to be affected if you work in the following industries:
- Manufacturing: facilities involved in production are often subject to plant shutdowns for maintenance of machinery, equipment and infrastructure.
- Petrochemical and Refining: Refineries and petrochemical plants have scheduled downtime for maintenance, inspections and repairs to ensure safety and compliance.
- Power Generation: Power plants have scheduled shutdowns for maintenance, inspections or equipment upgrades.
- Mining: Mining operations require shutdowns for maintenance of heavy machinery, processing plants and safety inspections.
- Artistic companies: full-time leave often involves various artistic companies such as ballet companies or theatres. This is usually during the summer holidays. The reason is that these companies would not be able to function normally if their performers were to drop out due to summer holidays.
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Advantages and disadvantages of full-time leave
- No one is at work: and with that comes the fact that no one will call you on your leave because they need help with something or want you to do something.
- Vacation security: With a sabbatical, you simply have the security of knowing that you will get your vacation. In some exceptional cases, it is possible that your employer may carry your leave over to the next year. However, this is only possible for operational reasons or because of an obstacle to work on the employer’s side.
- Improved working environment: There is usually a lot of cleaning, repairs and upgrades that take place during a company-wide holiday. This means you’ll return to a cleaner and better functioning environment. The fact that you and all your colleagues return to work refreshed then adds to the better working atmosphere.
- Late scheduling: If a full-day vacation is an annual affair at your company, it probably also has a clearly set date. In this case, you are therefore able to prepare for your holiday in advance. However, there can be a problem if the sabbatical is something unusual and the employer gives only a few weeks’ notice. In this case, you may already have problems planning what you will do on your holiday. Not only will you only have a few weeks to decide, book your stay and make travel arrangements, but you will also have to, for example, find a pet sitter, which is difficult to find in the summer, and even more so at the last minute.
- Other plans: Maybe you’re not a fan of summer sunbathing and would rather spend 3 weeks somewhere in the mountains in winter. In the case of an all-work holiday, you’re unfortunately out of luck and have to adapt to your employer’s plans.
- Partner with a sabbatical: In the event that both you and your partner have a full-week holiday at work, there may be unpleasantness yet to come. This is because your holidays are unlikely to coincide, making it impossible for you to go out together.
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As can be seen from this comparison, full-time leave has more disadvantages than advantages. But unfortunately the laws are clear on this and you have to accommodate your employer. Nevertheless, it is almost always possible to agree on some kind of compromise and arrange unpaid leave at other times, for example. Alternatively, you always have the option of finding another job where collective leave is not an option.