Hi, I am working as HR in an organization. We have casual leaves. The policy is CL's cannot be clubbed with the weekends. We do not want to encourage staff taking leaves on weekends without any genuine and unavoidable reasons. We mention the same during induction. But we do not consider this as LOP. If we notice any staff continuously taking CL's clubbing weekends we caution them.

I normally do not take CL's until and unless it is the last option. Unfortunately, it happened that in 2 incidences(1 in March and 1 in August). I was forced to take leave on weekends due to my daughter's ill health. Both the leaves were approved by my immediate reporting Managers.

But I understand, my colleagues are talking behind me about it, whenever I tell anyone to avoid taking Casual leave with weekends. I am a bit confused about how to tackle this matter.

I seek advice from the seniors, as an HR how should we handle this issue. Thank You.

From India, Bangalore

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Dear Pooja MB,

The problem is not with you as an HR professional, but it is with the strange rule of not allowing to club the casual leave with the weekend.

Good to note that your company has given a facility of casual leave. However, by imposing a condition of not allowing to link it with the weekend, it has curtailed freedom too.

The dictionary meaning of the word casual is appearing or singled out by chance. If the events are planned, then naturally a person avails of the earned leave. Nevertheless, when the events happen by chance or one has to face unforeseen events, then a casual leave comes in handy.

In your case, backbiting is going on against you because employees perceive the unequal application of a rule to avail of casual leave. When they apply for the casual leave that is clubbed with the weekend, they are reminded of the rules. But when the HR person does the same, the leave is approved considering the grounds to be genuine.

To tide over this problem, ask the employees to propose to remove this rule whenever a town hall meeting happens in your company.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear Dinesh Sir, Thank you for your inputs. Will try to speak with the concerned authorities.
From India, Bangalore
Dear Pooja,

I think that at last by the compulsion of certain circumstances you have yourself become the victim of the very rule you normally enforce in the organization. Some times it happens in everyone's career because of the strict and ruthless implementation of the rules. The two occasions you mentioned are inevitable as a mother cannot be indifferent to her child's sudden sickness and only just because it was a genuine and exceptional situation, the leave was approved by your superior.

But, such an unpleasant situation gives us an opportunity to have some sort of honest and dispassionate introspection of the very rule that is strictly and solely restrictive in nature prohibiting some mischiefs so as to defeat the concession granted by a corresponding rule. If there is no such rule, clubbing of weekly holidays with casual leave would probably become a regular practice of employees, so as to affect the organization's smooth performance. At the same time, such a rule should not be enforced for the sake of the rule itself and the leave sanctioning authority should have some discretion and this discretion shall be exercised by such authority in a reasonable fashion depending on the general work culture of the organization.

From India, Salem
Dear HR colleague,

What you preach , you have to practice and set example to others as HR leader.

I don't know if you were the outhor of this rule. But when the rule expects everyone to respect it , you as policy initeater, conscience keeper and role model, must do so without exception. When you had to avail of the CL on two occasions by clubbing it to the weekends, perhaps much agaist your will , you could have chosen to request management to treat it as LWP to set example to others.

As regards, changing the rule in favour of permitting clubbing, it is management' s call. There is nothing good or bad in it. In fact , I know an organisation which allows clubbing just to enable employees to enjoy long weekends. It is the way one looks at it.

But I am not in favour of allowing it by using discretionary powers by leave sanctioning authority. Because , in principle it looks good, but in practice it is looked at as discrimination because no two circumstances are identical as had happened in your own case. Instead , it is far better to either allow it wholeheartedly or stay with the present rule by following it to the letter and spirit and without exception.

Regards,
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai
Leave is concession to employee. It is not employee's right. Sanction of leave is discretion of management. Management has to use judiciously sanction leave. We can say, the leave which is applied for sufficiently in advance and is sanctioned or not rejected, can be clubbed with any other leave or paid holiday or weekly holiday. Work can be planned. In case of mass leave, even when applied for in advance, can be rejected.
From India, Pune

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