Accumulated leave is compulsory – Former TUC Executive
A former executive of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has rejected claims leave days expire once they are not claimed.
Former Head of Legal and Administration at the TUC, Paapa Kwasi Danquah, said that an employee is expected to take accumulated leave that has not been taken for a previous year.
Discussions on leave have become topical after President Akufo-Addo directed Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo to take a break after it emerged that he had taken only nine days as leave since his appointment in 2016.
Mr Domelevo, however, announced that he was taking his 2020 annual leave, but not an accumulated leave from previous years.
According to him, a person who does not take his leave for a particular year forfeits it.
His decision was backed by Labour expert, Austin Gamey, who stated that the leave for an employee is forfeited if he/she does observe the leave in a particular year.
Responding to the development, Mr Danquah indicated in a statement that he disagreed with Mr Gamey.
He observed that leave or holidays with pay is generally a health and safety issue – it is also a productivity issue – and therefore an important employment relation and workplace matter.
He cited Article 24 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of Ghana together with section 20, 25, 26 and 31 of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651).
These matters are also provided for under relevant Articles in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as the Holidays with Pay and Working Time jurisprudence of the International Labour Organization (ILO), he said.
“The other strong takeaway from reading these laws is that leave is a right. Workers are entitled to it. Therefore, the government is under a legal duty to protect and ensure the fulfillment of this right and employers are obliged under law to put in place policies and procedures for workers to enjoy their leave entitlements,” he noted.
To buttress his point, he said in other countries the government will ensure that labour inspectors enforce this right.
He observed that in the situation where a worker “has accumulated leave and is still in employment, the worker would be entitled to her or his accumulated leave.”
Furthermore, he was of the view that “where the worker is at the end of her or his employment, the accumulated leave would be converted into cash as compensation or damages for denial of the worker’s leave entitlement.”
In a normal country, the employer will be sanctioned with a monetary penalty for the breach, which will go to resource labour administration services in the country, the lawyer argued.