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Sandwich Leave Policy: Meaning, Examples and Rules – CloveHRMS

A sandwich leave is a concept that tells us about a practice of gaining consecutive days off from work by using two paid leaves. As you must know, for every 20 days of work, an employee earns 1.5 days of paid leave. So, it roughly makes a total of two leaves per month. Now, if an employee uses these two leaves on Friday and the following Monday, the Saturday and Sunday will be sandwiched. Hence, it will become a total of four days off from work. Similarly, if an employee uses two or more leaves to sandwich other festive holidays, it will be a sandwich leave practice. 

Now, a sandwich policy leave refers to a leave policy used by companies to prevent this practice in their organization. It allows for the calculation of an employee’s leave days if he/she purposely creates a sandwich leave. In this policy, if an employee takes leave on days surrounding a weekend or a public holiday, the intervening weekend or holiday is also counted as a leave day. For example, if an employee takes leave on Friday and the following Monday, the weekend will also be counted as a leave day. It will result in a total of four leave days, as Saturday and Sunday will also be counted as leaves.

This policy aims to prevent employees from extending their holidays by strategically placing leave days before and after weekends or public holidays. It ensures that leave is used judiciously and helps maintain productivity and attendance in the workplace.

What is the Sandwich Leave Policy in India?

Let’s now have a look at the sandwich leave policy in India. If you think that the Sandwich leave policy is bound by Indian laws, especially the labor laws then, you may not be right. There is no such law that specifies the legal existence of a sandwich Leave Policy. However, there are laws that directly talk about the total number of consecutive leaves an employee can take which you can find in the Factories Act, 1948. 

According to this law, companies have to follow a minimum number for multiple types of leaves, such as sick leaves, casual leaves, earned leaves, etc. But how does this law relate to the sandwich Leave? It basically never specified what day would be the work off, including holidays and weekends. So, it is up to the company to specify a day as either a paid holiday or a paid work day. An example of this can be the ordnance factories of India, where if the employees are given a festive holiday like Diwali, they must come to work the following Sunday. Hence, the company has the power to turn Sunday into a paid work day. 

Hence, even when there’s no law that exists for the sandwich leave policy, an organization can still enforce it by making its own rules. Let’s understand it with a simple example. Let’s say an employee sandwiched the weekdays with his/her two paid leaves; then, the company can turn Saturday and Sunday into paid working days and deduct the employee’s two leaves from his/her leave balance. 

While not all companies implement this policy in their culture, those who want to include it must create clear guidelines for it. Otherwise, the employee can legally challenge the organization if they deduct the employee’s leave for sandwiching the public holidays. 

So, if you want to implement this policy in your organization, you must include it in the employee handbook or in the HR policy. It will make sure that the employees are totally aware of the policy and know the consequences of sandwiching. As an employee, you should first know if there’s a sandwich Leave Policy mentioned or not in the organization’s employee handbook or HR policies. If there’s a mention of it, then you should not do it. However, if there’s an emergency and you need to create a sandwich leave, then it is better to communicate it to the manager or HR. 

What are the Benefits of the Sandwich Leave Policy?

Let’s now dive deep to find the benefits of the sandwich leave policy. It is an effective policy for many reasons, so let’s go through each one by one. 

1) Improved Attendance

The purpose of using sandwich leave is to intentionally create multiple days off from work. So, the policy helps to control this intentional absence of employees by penalizing the employees by deducting their leaves from their leave balance. It leads to a more consistent workflow and eliminates unwanted delays in the delivery of the employee’s work and overall projects of the organization.

2) Enhances Productivity

Extended leaves can negatively impact the productivity of the employees. When an employee continuously remains in the working cycle, it leads to consistent work and productivity. But, an extended leave can break this flow and productivity can be compromised. 

3) Encourages Leave Planning Among Employees

A practice like Sandwich leave can sometimes backfire on the employees as well. It happens when the employees take work off from work without a legitimate reason. But, when they really need a leave, they end up getting unpaid leave. That’s why leave planning is important which you can encourage among your employees by adding a sandwich Leave policy to your organization’s leave policies. 

4) Promotes Cost Savings

Having a sandwich Leave policy also helps organizations to eliminate the costs that come due to absenteeism. Practices like absenteeism can easily be employed by using sandwich leaves. For example, if an employee decides to use absenteeism to find a new job and avoid going to his office for a long period of time, it will force the organization to hire temporary staff or outsource the work. This is because the organization will have to wait before the absenteeism gets confirmed. Since a sandwich helps to facilitate absenteeism, having a sandwich Leave policy helps to eliminate it and save additional costs. 

How to Add Sandwich Leave Policy to Your Organization?

Adding a sandwich leave policy to your organization can help manage employee absences more effectively. Here’s how you can do it:

1) Create the Policy

Clearly outline how the sandwich leave policy will work. Specify that if an employee takes leave before and after a weekend or public holiday, the intervening days will also be counted as leave. Moreover, decide which types of leave (e.g., annual leave, casual leave) the policy will apply to. Also, make sure the policy is fair and aligns with your company’s overall leave strategy.

2) Communicate the Policy to Employees

Send out an email or a memo to all employees explaining the new sandwich leave policy. Use simple language and clear examples to illustrate how the policy works. For both new and old employees, include the policy in the employee handbook. It will ensure that all new hires receive a copy during their onboarding process.

3) Maintain the Documentation

Keep accurate records of all employee leave. Use HR software to track leave days, ensuring that the sandwich leave policy is applied correctly. Document the policy details and any changes made over time. It includes keeping copies of all communications sent to employees regarding the policy. Periodically review the documentation to ensure it remains accurate and up-to-date. Make adjustments as necessary and communicate any changes to employees promptly.

4) Check the Authenticity of Leave Policy

Even when you add this policy to your organization, keep space for exceptions. Sometimes, an employee may genuinely need the leave and have to utilize the weekends or other public holidays. So, you must check if the leave application is authentic and if there are no lies. If you find the application legit, then allow the employee to leave. 

By following these steps, you can successfully implement a sandwich leave policy in your organization. Clear communication, thorough documentation, and regular reviews will ensure the policy is understood and followed by all employees.

Final Words

In conclusion, a sandwich leave is a practice that can be used against the company. So, having a sandwich leave policy can undoubtedly help you to get rid of any such problem. However, you should make sure that when you include this policy in your leave policies, you inform all the employees about it and comply with labor laws. Otherwise, it can backfire and pull you into legal trouble. Also, keep the space for exceptions, as mentioned above, to make it a fair policy.

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