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Here’s How To Make The Most Out Of Your Work Leaves

Have you been daydreaming of that long vacation at the beach, or perhaps at a cold destination to beat the city’s scorching heat? Instead of just allowing your brain to go places, you should physically enjoy your vacation. Check out our tips on how you can maximize your work leaves and take that break you so, so deserve.


1. Know Your Privileges

The Philippine government only mandates five (5) days (increased to 10, if Senate Bill No. 1614 gets passed into a law) of service incentive leaves (SIL) for employees who have rendered at least one year of service. Because our labor laws do not name specifics for sick leaves, vacation leaves, and emergency leaves, it’s up to employers to define and add to those days. Employers providing leaves five days or more do not have to provide the additional SILs, and businesses have the freedom to decide the number of leaves beyond the mandated five. Apart from the SILs, companies are required to give maternity, paternity, and solo parenting leaves, plus VAWC leave and MCW special leave for women.

Familiarize yourself with these company imperatives, including rules on overtime or working on off days, such as offsetting or accumulating hours for extra leaves. Other leaves (like study leave) given as incentives are a major plus you can work on, that can help guide your career trajectory.


READ: Expanded Maternity Leave: What You Need To Know


2. Plot Out The Year

The plus side, despite the limited SILs, is our country’s love for holidays and special non-working days. Take advantage of these to plot out your vacations. The Philippines, and Asia in particular, hold more festivals and feasts than European and American countries. We have a total of 18 public holidays a year, just second to India with 21! This excludes special non-working days declared for specific regions or provinces.

Use this guide from Official Gazette and lay out the year to help you plan ahead. Make use of long weekends for your major trips to minimize the use of your leaves, which you can reserve for emergencies. Another upside of planning early is snagging great vacation deals, so keep an eye out for seat sales, tour packages, and hotel promos, too.


3. Club Leaves With Holidays

Along with plotting out the year, you can also pinpoint which long weekends, or holidays close to weekends, you can add one or two VLs to to maximize your vacation. Do this for your out-of-the- country or long haul local trips.


4. Spread Vacations Out

If your work environment is high-stress and you often need time to unwind, do yourself a favor and spread your leaves out, filing early for VLs where you think you’ll need them most (i.e., after budgeting, sales pitches, campaign periods, ad seasons, and the like).

Allot some long weekends for rest at home. Do some spring cleaning or a total recharge with Netflix marathons and window shopping. Plot your VLs on weekdays for some much needed R&R to cut the work week and get the breather you need. Get a massage or go to the spa.

Just make sure you’re off the grid and your bosses and teammates know you’re on total break. The whole point of taking a leave is to rest and recharge, so go and do just that.


5. Make It Worth Your Time

Sometimes, an out-of-town break on a long weekend just won’t do. It’s a pain when you need a vacation for your vacation and when going back to work means dragging yourself out of bed. Take VLs to help you bounce back if that’s what you need, and book low-season travel months to steer clear from the crowds, lines, and waiting times. You can also avoid popular destinations on long holiday weekends, fiestas, or big events happening in the locale. The best time to book are the week before or after the holidays. You’re still not completely off season and you’ll get the most out of your trip (and your sanity) but you may be sacrificing more VLs than you should.


READ: Last Hurrah For Summer: How To Make The Most Of This Season


6. Bank Your Leaves

If you don’t see the need to use up all your leaves, save them for the year after or covert them to cash. According to our labor laws, the five SILs are commutable or convertible to cash at the end of the year (in the new bill, the added five days cannot be carried over to the next year and no cash equivalent). Check your company policies to secure the leaves that you can bank.

Eyeing that long holiday break next year? Plan ahead and save your leaves for that. Or if you don’t have any particular trips to take, keeps the leaves for rainy days or cash them out for extra savings. Either way, it’s a win-win situation!


Dying to book that trip? Keep these tips in mind and make your leaves work just the way they should for you. You’re entitled to this work incentive, just remember to prepare ahead, take staffing plans into consideration, schedule your trips with your office in advance, inform those who need to know, and leave work without any pending on your end while keeping your team’s workflow organized. That way, you can take a sweet break, worry-free!


Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash.