What is a casual leave? Its meaning, duration, and rules

Article3 mins read166 views | Posted on June 18, 2024 | By Sureka

The labour laws in India mandate that employees are entitled to certain types of leave in a year. One such leave is casual leave, a paid time-off that employees can take for personal or unforeseen circumstances.

Understanding the casual leave rules and crafting a suitable leave policy helps you in creating a supportive work environment for your employees.


Casual leave meaning

Casual leave is a type of leave offered to employees to help them handle unexpected events. Typically, casual leave is taken for brief periods ranging from half a day to two days.

They are approved on short notice, giving employees the flexibility to handle personal issues.

Casual leave reasons

Employees avail casual leave for various reasons, such as: Personal emergencies, like a family member's illness, or urgent household issues, like fixing electricity problems, or for simply running errands.

Casual leave rules

All companies registered under the Shops and Establishments Act must provide 12 days of casual leave annually. However, the specific rules to avail them can vary across organizations.

Is casual leave paid?

Yes, casual leave is paid. As per the labour laws, employees are entitled to receive their full salary for the days they take casual leave.

How many casual leave can be availed in a year?

Typically, companies provide 12 to 14 days of casual leave per year, depending on the industry standards and the employees' role in the company. Employers must clearly communicate the exact number of casual leave days available to employees on their job offer letter or at the beginning of the year.

How many casual leave can be taken at a time?

The duration of casual leave may vary, ranging from a few hours to a couple of days. While there is no strict rule, most companies allow a maximum of 2-3 consecutive days of casual leave. This limitation ensures that the leave is used for its intended purpose—short-term, unexpected needs—without affecting the business operations.

casual leave

Casual leave policy

Developing a clear and comprehensive casual leave policy is crucial for ensuring smooth operations. Here's what to include in your policy.

  • Eligibility: Specify who is eligible for casual leave. For example, mention whether employees on probation or those serving their notice period are eligible for casual leave.
  • Approval process: Detail how employees should apply for casual leave, who approves these leave, and the timeframe for approval.
  • Carry forward and encashment rules: Mention whether unused casual leave can be carried forward to the next year or encashed. Most companies in India elapse unused casual leave and do not consider them for leave encashment.

    Difference between casual leave and earned leave

    Casual leave and earned leave are both mandatory leave offered to employees in India, however their purpose, duration, and usage rules vary.

     Casual leaveEarned leave
    PurposeFor short-term and unexpected events.For planned vacations or long-term needs.
    Number of days per year12 to 14 days12 to 20 days
    DurationUsually limited to up to two days at a time.Can be taken for longer periods.
    Unused leaveElapsed at the end of the calendar year.Can be carried forward to the next year or encashed at the end of the year, depending on the company policy.
    AccrualDoes not accumulate over the years.Accrues based on the number of days worked.

    Frequently asked questions

    1. What is a casual leave?

    Casual leave or unplanned leave is a paid leave offered to employees for short-term and urgent reasons, such as personal errands, medical appointments, or family emergencies.

    2. What happens if an employee runs out of casual leave?

    If an employee exhausts their casual leave balance, they may need to use their earned leave or take LOP leave, subject to the employer's approval.

    3. Can casual leave be carried forward to the next year?

    Generally, casual leave cannot be carried forward to the next year. It must be used within the year it is granted.

    4. Can casual leave be denied?

    Yes, casual leave can be denied if it does not comply with the company policy or if the timing impacts business operations. It is up to the employer's discretion to approve or deny an employee's leave request.

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