India Leave Laws

Do you run a business in India, or employ workers in India? If so, read on to learn more about how India leave policies work, and what you’re required to offer Indian employees in terms of paid time off, public holidays, sick leave and more.

This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.

India Public Holidays

There are three national holidays in India, which are provided as a paid day off for all workers. These are:

January 26Republic Day
August 15National Day
October 2Gandhi Jayanti (Gandhi’s Birthday)

In addition, there are many festivals and religious holidays observed throughout the country, some only in specific regions or for specific faiths. Indian companies may or may not choose to provide paid time off for some of these holidays.

The labor laws in some regions of India state that employees are entitled to the three national days as paid holidays, in addition to several (usually around 4-5) other holidays of their choosing.

See more of this year’s Indian holiday dates here.

Annual Leave in India

Paid time off and annual leave laws in India vary based on region and industry. Some roles have laws governing the amount of leave an employee must be entitled to, while others don’t.

Paid time off or annual leave is generally referred to under one of two categories in India – Earned Leave and Casual Leave.

Earned Leave

Earned leave is, in essence, paid time off or annual leave. It’s accrued based on the employee having worked a minimum amount of time with the company. Earned leave may also be referred to as privilege leave.

The conditions for receiving earned leave, and the amount of leave each employee is entitled to, depends on the region and the industry.

For example, for factory workers, once an employee provides more than 240 days of service to their employee over a calendar year, they are entitled to earned leave/privilege leave. Each adult worker receives 1 day of earned leave for every 20 days they have worked.

Mine workers receive 1 day of paid leave for each 15 days of work done below ground, or 1 day for every 20 days of work done above ground.

Be sure to check with whichever region/industry that applies to you, or your staff, to get the exact figure for your own situation.

Earned Leave Rollover

Generally, any unused earned leave at the end of the year will carry over to the next year. Most commonly, this is capped at 30 days that can roll over to the next year – but certain employees, governed by the Shops and Establishment Act, can roll over 45 to 60 days (depending on the region).

If outstanding earned leaves go over this limit, they will automatically get cashed out. The exact way this works will depend on the company’s leave policy.

Again, these rules depend on the region and industry.

Casual Leave

In addition to earned leave, there is casual leave in India. Casual leave is a paid day off, meant for situations where an employee cannot work due to unforeseen circumstances. It is, in essence, personal time off – not annual leave or vacation.

The Shops and Establishment Act allows employees six days of casual leave per year. This does not roll over at the end of the year, and cannot be cashed out, like earned leave.

In other industries, sales and newspaper employees (including journalists) can take up to 15 days of casual leave per year. While apprentices are entitled to 12 days’ casual leave.

Other industries may have their own rules in regards to casual leave.

Companies will generally rule that a maximum three days of casual leave can be taken in any given month. Employees must request and be given permission by their company to take casual leave.

Medical Leave/Sick Leave in India

Most employees in India are entitled to sick leave, in addition to earned/privilege leave and casual leave.

It again depends on the specific laws governing the specific region and industry. In certain cases, sick leave and casual leave may be included together.

Maternity Leave Laws in India

Under the Maternity Benefits Act, 2017, mothers are allowed 26 weeks of maternity leave, for their first and second children.

Any additional children (e.g. the woman’s third child), she will be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave (6 weeks pre, 6 weeks post-delivery).

Women are also allowed 12 weeks’ of adoption leave when adopting a child.

To be eligible for maternity leave, the mother must work in an establishment of 10 or more employees, and must have been working there for at least 80 days in the last 12 months.

Paternity Leave in India

There is no legal requirement for companies to provide paid paternity leave in India. There is, however, a rising number of companies embracing paternity leave in India – central government employees can take 15 days of paid paternity leave, while some high-profile private companies offer much more.

Additional Leave Types for Indian Employees

Bereavement Leave in India

There is no legal requirement to offer bereavement leave in India. It is common, however, for employees to be allowed anywhere from 2-20 days of paid bereavement leave or compassionate leave in the case of the death of a close family member.

Marriage Leave

Though not a legal requirement, some companies in India also offer marriage leave – between 1 to 15 days (most commonly three days) of paid leave for an employee’s first legal marriage.

Relevant Legislation for Reference

Shops and Establishment Act

Maternity Benefits Act, 2017

This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.

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