Workers are entitled to numerous kinds of leaves. Such leaves encompass annual leave, maternity leave, exam leave, work injury leave, sick leave, military leave, parental leave, and adoptive leave to mention a few (Al-Jenaibi 238-268). There are as well instances where an employee may need leave or a period off work to attend to some tasks, for instance, family crisis or study leave. In line with the UAE labor law, the different kinds of leaves that workers are entitled to include annual leave, sick leave, Hajj leave, maternity leave, emergency leave, and official holidays. In the US, the types of employee leave legal rights encompass sick leave, military leave, annual leave, emergency leave, leave for disaster relief, time off with compensation, share leave, and leave of absence without pay for Family and Medical Care. For some instances, the employees may be entitled to payment when on leave while in other cases they are not.
As stated under UAE Labor Law, annual leave is a fundamental right for each worker (Ibrahim and Al Marri 157-172). Workers employed under the permanent basis in the United Arab Emirates qualify for holidays and leaves in line with the nation’s laws, which extensively comprise recreation leave, annual leave, maternity leave (for women), and sick leave to mention a few. Every company within the United Arab Emirates is required to comply with the set official leaves. In cases where workers are required to work on such days, overtime has to be paid to them. Different articles in the United Arabs Emirates Labor Law state and discuss the provisions of the leaves. According to Article (75) of the UAE labor law, all workers have the right to annual leave following the completion of service every year. Nonetheless, Article (76) gives the employers the authority to choose the date for the start of a worker’s annual leave and, if need be, they may choose to split the leave into two bits apart from instances of juveniles whose vacation might not be divided. In some cases, the employees may be allowed to choose the date of the commencement of annual leave or divide it into two.
The average yearly working time is considerably shorter in UAE and most advanced economies across the globe when compared to the one in the US (Parakandi and Behery 1370-1379). One significant explanation behind the difference is that employees in the US have a low likelihood of obtaining payable annual leave or public holidays. Moreover, the employees in the United States who obtain payable leave get less compensation when judged against their counterparts in the UAE and other advanced countries. The US is the only highly developed country across the globe that does not assure its employees paid leave. The difference between paid leave in the US and other developed nations is huge if one encompasses lawfully authorized paid public holidays since the United States does not provide any but the majority of the advanced economies offer between five and thirteen paid holidays each year.
In the US, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers a maximum of twelve weeks of unpaid, job-guarded leave to workers for particular family and healthiness reasons (Shepherd-Banigan and Bell 286-295). To qualify for family and medical leave, a worker has to have worked for not less than one year. Family and medical leave is offered in such instances as caring for a child after birth, taking care of a severely ill spouse, child, or parent, or for a serious medical condition that renders the worker incapable of working effectively. In exceptional cases, family and medical leave encompasses offering a maximum of 26 weeks to care for an injured soldier. Furthermore, in the absence of minimum standards, paid leaves and public holidays that workers in the United States obtain are issued unevenly. Consistent with survey figures from the United States Department of Labor, lowly paid employees have a lesser possibility of getting a paid leave when compared to their highly paid counterparts. Workers in the US may at times receive time off with compensation due to concerns such as compliance with a subpoena, attendance to conferences, training, or any other program meant to boost performance, death of a close relative, and organ donation.
Effect of Leave
Leaves create a positive work environment that is free from restraints thus boosting motivation, productivity, and work-life balance amid the workers. Though leaves do not necessarily provide work-life balance, they allow the workers enough time to seek and promote a balanced life. Employers should dedicate to offering leaves whenever necessary as the positive environment created attracts and retains a healthy labor force, which has a high probability of performing excellently and completing the assigned tasks in time. Where leaves are either not offered or hardly provided, there is the generation of a negative work environment that hinders work-life balance and acts as a major stressor for the employees. In this regard, it is beneficial for employers to allow employees to have time off for such things as taking care of a sick child. Some companies choose to offer child care close to or within the organization. Such companies may even subsidize the care since it plays a key role in decreasing the absenteeism of the employees (Shepherd-Banigan and Bell 286-295). Denying employees some vital leaves may make them view the work environment as an off-putting one thus loose morale, work because they are compelled to, and ultimately realize poor results.
In view of the present economic backdrop, it is vital for organizations to have a motivated and productive workforce. In a positive work environment, the workers become loyal and committed to the organization, which boosts profitability. On the contrary, when individuals feel demoralized or underrated, the organization suffers. Moreover, studies affirm that motivated employees have a low level of absenteeism, perform excellently, and are more supportive of transformations and ready to make things work. Employees in a positive work environment are as well contented and develop a feeling of achievement in their tasks (Shepherd-Banigan and Bell 286-295). They also treasure themselves and their work, which gives them satisfaction, a feeling that their occupation is important and consequential. Such sentiments lessen the chances of stress, a major hindrance to productivity.
In some instances, failure to offer leaves is seen to increase the rate of absenteeism in employees due to such things as faked sicknesses attributable to reduced work morale (Mas-Machuca, Berbegal-Mirabent, and Alegre 586-602). In this case, absenteeism signifies premeditated, unjustifiable, or habitual absence from the workplace. Absenteeism has been found to cost the United States companies huge amounts of money annually in terms of lost productivity, earnings, and poor services. Additionally, the workers who report to work get overloaded with extra tasks and accountabilities as they are required to stand in for the absent workers, which results in sentiments of dissatisfaction and loss of motivation. Even though occasional absence from work is inevitable as employees may fall sick, injured, require taking care of others, or be obliged to address personal issues in the course of business hours, it is routine absence that is greatly taxing to employers. Habitual absenteeism may have tremendous negative influences on the coworkers thus enormously affecting the overall performance of the organization. Since habitual absenteeism has a detrimental monetary effect on an organization’s bottom line, it is valuable for the majority of companies to execute policies to offer leaves suitably to employees and equitably examine, decrease, and tackle absenteeism.
If the employees are denied some rightful leaves or the management of an organization creates a negative work environment, the resultant excessive absenteeism may lead to crucial impacts on an organization’s finances, motivation, and other aspects. Habitual absenteeism is a particularly intricate issue for an organization to address since it affects the motivation of other employees not engaging in it and there could be either legitimate or dishonest explanations for excessive absence. Moreover, it could be difficult for organizations to monitor adequately, manage, lessen absenteeism (Shepherd-Banigan and Bell 286-295).
Except when the organization demands a written note from the physician for verification, for instance, it may be impossible to establish whether a worker was truly sick or inexcusably being absent from work (Mas-Machuca, Berbegal-Mirabent, and Alegre 586-592). On the same note, it is vital for organizations to take into consideration the added outlays linked to an ailing worker who may end up spreading the infection to other employees in the department. One approach for dealing with the problem of habitual absenteeism is for organizations to shift toward a compulsory paid sick leave strategy where the workers obtain a given number of days off work in a year that they can use in case they fall ill. Offering paid sick leave will be economically beneficial as it will result in the prevention of communicable illnesses at the place of work, eliminate excessive absenteeism in the long-term, and make the sick workers get well quickly.
In an absenteeism case involving Num obo Solo versus Uranium Ore Africa Limited, an employee was requested to work in the course of leave where he later got paid for just a single day despite working for four days. The worker responded angrily for denial of his overtime, which led to his dismissal (Hill 143-173). The applicant (employee) challenged the firing action and the substantive justice of the sacking. The initial witness on the respondent’s side, the company’s supervisor, affirmed that the applicant had been offered a five days’ leave but was asked to work for two days of the leave. The witness declared that the applicant had worked in line with the submitted record. The second witness as well asserted that the applicant was supposed to have been on a three days’ leave and said that when he asked of the whereabouts of the applicant, that is the time he became aware that he had reported to work for four days although had been compensated for just one day.
The initial witness said that the mistakes of the applicant were because of failure to report to work without permission. Moreover, he added that the applicant had been issued with a warning for his habitual absenteeism (Hill 172-173). After thorough grilling, the witness stated that the applicant had not been declared a renegade since he had reported to work after four days. The applicant affirmed that he was supplied with the warning following involvement in a car accident. He as well declared that he decided to take the five days’ leave after letting the supervisor know that he had not been compensated some overtime. The applicant further asserted that his residential address was well known by the company’s management although no one was sent in an effort of finding out about his condition during his absence. He alleged that when he reported to work, there was an impromptu meeting prior to his dismissal. After being questioned, the applicant affirmed that he had informed the shift supervisor that he cannot work without payment since he had been paid for a single day instead of four.
The commissioner noted that the applicant had failed to report to work without consent. The two witnesses on the respondent’s side affirmed that the applicant had failed to report to work for four consecutive days devoid of seeking permission or applying for leave as necessitated by the respondent. The commissioner as well took into consideration the argument by the applicant that he had informed the supervisor of his grievances when he got paid for a single day’s work irrespective of having worked for four days. It was as well considered that the applicant had argued that firing was a cruel undertaking. The commissioner asserted that the punishment given has to equal the offense committed (Hill 169-171). Furthermore, it was established that via the Code of Good Practice, the Labor Relations Agency, calls for fair disciplinary measures. Through choosing to fire the applicant, the respondent had taken an overly punitive and insensitive action. It was concluded that the applicant had acted in anger since he had not been paid for overtime in full. In this regard, the mistake committed by the applicant ought to have been penalized while taking into consideration his complaints. Therefore, it was affirmed that the dismissal of the applicant was ruthless under such conditions. On this note, the respondent was required to reinstate the applicant under the initial stipulations and conditions of service.
Problems Faced by Human Resource Management
The major problem that the human resource management faces when the issues of employees’ leaves are not suitably addressed is absenteeism due to reduced motivation (Mas-Machuca, Berbegal-Mirabent, and Alegre 586-602). Habitual absenteeism results in other challenges that the human resource management has to address. These include salaries being paid to absent workers, payment of overtime to other members of staff, decreased productivity, and safety concerns. Habitual absenteeism is mainly found to result in reduced productivity in terms of such things as replacement employees who are not conversant with the assigned tasks, less fruitful co-workers who have been demoralized by the requirement to stand in for absent employees, and supervisors using most of their time in trying to handle the issues of workers’ absence (for instance, in regulating workflow or seeking replacements).
Indirect outlays emanating from reduced productivity appear to be more intricate for the human resource management to compute because of the subjective nature entailed in the evaluation of workers’ productivity. Nonetheless, reduced productivity may be expensive and ought to be considered while designing and financing for the absence of workers. Unexpected and habitual absence has a higher possibility of resulting in perceived decline in productivity when judged against the planned leaves or permitted absence. Employees who are required to stand in for their colleagues that develop habitual absenteeism ultimately begin to resent the excessive failure of other workers to report to work (Mas-Machuca, Berbegal-Mirabent, and Alegre 586-602). With time, such aggravations could lead to open difference involving workers. The apprehension generated by the imminent affray or following past rows could lead to a negative work environment, sluggish developments, and increased turnover rate. Situations where workers are tolerated regardless of recording an exceeding rate of absenteeism and are not in any way penalized by the human resource management may negatively influence the performance of other employees. Such workers are affected by the compromise that the human resource management reaches in a bid to retain exceedingly absent employees while others develop a feeling that they can as well abuse the system. These actions form a cycle that mainly leads to poor productivity, diminished motivation of the workers, and increased rate of turnover.
Despite the impact of such things as habitual absenteeism emanating from poor handling of leaves, all is not lost. One way of rising above such challenges is acceptance of flaws and offering leaves to employees when necessary as countless justifiable explanations could call for employees’ failure to report to work at times (Mas-Machuca, Berbegal-Mirabent, and Alegre 586-602). Even though poor handling of the concerns of leaves is not the only causal factor of habitual absenteeism, there are numerous measures to embark on in an attempt of lessening the negative effects. Excellent human resource management approaches start with the identification of the challenges and the development of effective policies for appropriately managing habitual absenteeism when it occurs. This could be done through the following approaches.
- Offering leave to employees when necessary: Organizations should give and possibly pay employees while on the leaves necessitated by the labor laws such as maternity leave and sick leave. Moreover, under some circumstances, employees should be given unpaid time off work to address their personal issues (Mas-Machuca, Berbegal-Mirabent, and Alegre 586-602). This not only enhances work-life balance but also increases motivation, which leads to decreased absenteeism and turnover.
- Executing, communicating, and enforcing an absence strategy: An absence policy becomes practical when communicated to the workers. Such a policy requires being examined and imposed constantly and reasonably in an organization. It is evident that the performance and attendance of the employees in an organization are positively influenced when an absence policy is reasonably implemented.
- Offering incentives: Organizations should employ reward schemes that not only take into consideration the performance of employees but also the rate of absenteeism. Such schemes will play a key role in increasing productivity and reducing absenteeism.
Workers are entitled to several types of leaves that include annual leave, maternity leave, exam leave, military leave, parental leave, work injury leave, sick leave, and adoptive leave to mention a few. Apart from official leaves, there are instances where a member of staff may need time off work to focus on some personal tasks. Depending on the circumstances at hand, workers may either be entitled to payment while on leave or not. To decrease the negative impacts created by the poor issuance of leaves, organizations should offer and probably pay employees while on the leaves authorized by the labor laws such as maternity leave and sick leave. This does not just boost work-life balance but also improves motivation, which results in lessened absenteeism and turnover.
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Hill, Heather. “Paid sick leave and job stability.” Work and Occupations 40.2 (2013): 143-173.
Ibrahim, Mohamed, and Afaf Al Marri. “Role of gender and organizational support in work-family conflict for accountants in UAE.” International Journal of Commerce and Management 25.2 (2015): 157-172.
Mas-Machuca, Marta, Jasmina Berbegal-Mirabent, and Ines Alegre. “Work-life balance and its relationship with organizational pride and job satisfaction.” Journal of Managerial Psychology 31.2 (2016): 586-602.
Parakandi, Mohammed, and Mohamed Behery. “Sustainable human resources: Examining the status of organizational work–life balance practices in the United Arab Emirates.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 5.5 (2016): 1370-1379.
Shepherd-Banigan, Megan, and Janice Bell. “Paid leave benefits among a national sample of working mothers with infants in the United States.” Maternal and Child Health Journal 18.1 (2014): 286-295.