Rights of Employees

Basic rights of an employee in India

1. Leave is the right of all employees 

Generally, an employee is given the following leaves during the course of his or her employment:

  1. Casual Leave: This is provided to an employee to take care of urgent or unseen matters like a family emergency; for example, employees can apply for casual leave to attend a parent-teacher meeting called for by their child’s school.
  2. Sick Leave: Sick leave is provided when an employee gets sick.
  3. Privilege or Earned Leave: Privilege or earned leaves are long leaves that are planned for in advance.
  4. Other Leaves – Apart from the above mentioned leaves, there are some other paid, unpaid or half-paid leaves which are provided at the discretion of the company. Study leave and bereavement leave are two such examples.

Medical Certificate for one-day sick leave

Usually, when a sick leave exceeds beyond two or three days, depending upon the company policy, employees are requested to submit a medical certificate to sanction the leave. However, in the case of one-day sick leave, an employer should not ask for a medical certificate.

In one of its judgements, the Supreme Court mentioned that an employee will not necessarily seek medical attention if he or she is ill for just a day.

Encashment Leave

An employee can take encashment leave while quitting service, superannuation, discharge, dismissal or death. Leave encashment should be as per average daily wages of an employee.

Type of Leave Privileged / Earned Casual Sick Maternity
Quantum per year 1 day leave for every 20 days worked in the previous year (Eg. 300 days worked = 15 days leave) Nil Nil As per ESI Act OR Maternity Benefits Act
Entitlement On working 240 days in the first  previous year NA NA NA
Utilization To apply for leave 15 days prior. Leave not to be availed more than 3 times a year NA NA NA
Carry Forward Not more than 30 days NA NA NA

Leave during notice period

An employee can take leave during notice period, provided it is for a genuine reason like maternity, health issues, etc.

The Delhi High Court, in one of its judgement, said that an employee can take leave during the notice period if nothing is mentioned in the appointment letter which bars the employee from taking leave during the notice period, if he has leave to his credit and is entitled to the same.

2. Protection from sexual harassment at the work place

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that his/her employees, especially female employees, are protected while at work. All incidents of sexual harassment – regardless of how big or small they are or who is involved – require employers or managers to respond quickly and appropriately. Just because someone does not object to inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, it does not mean that they are consenting to the behaviour.

The employees are provided with the right to go on a strike without giving a notice, however if the said employee is a public utility employee, then he would be bound by the prohibitions laid down in the Industrial Disputes Act 1947, Section 22(1) lays down certain conditions on Strikes by public utility employees, the conditions includes giving out prior notice to the employer six weeks before going on such strike.
Equal pay for Equal work is a constitutional right and any employer is liable to pay equally to any men, women or temporary staff performing same tasks and undertaking same responsibilities. There can be no discrimination while paying any basis to employees.

Understanding your rights as an employee is the first step.

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