Vacation Leave Benefit Regulation Lies with the EmployerAtty Elvin
Vacation leave is a specie of the service incentive leave (SIL) in a sense that the employer still pays the employee although he is absent on a particular day. It is not found in the Labor Code unlike the SIL which is specifically stated in Article 95 of the Labor Code.
The purpose of a vacation leave is to afford a laborer a chance to get a much-needed rest to replenish his worn-out energy and acquire a new vitality to enable him to efficiently perform his duties, and not merely to give him additional salary and bounty. (PNCC Skyway Traffic Management and Security Division Workers Organization (PSTMSDWO) vs. PNCC Skyway Corporation, G.R. No. 171231, February 17, 2010, citing Cuajo vs. Chua Lo Tan, No. L-16298, September 29, 1962, 6 SCRA 136, 138.)
Accordingly, the vacation leave privilege was not intended to serve as additional salary, but as a non-monetary benefit. (Ibid.)
In the grant of vacation leave privileges to an employee, the employer is given the leeway to impose conditions on the entitlement to and commutation of the same, as the grant of vacation leave is not a standard of law, but a prerogative of management. (Sobrepeña, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, 345 Phil. 714, 728 (1997).)
It is a mere concession or act of grace of the employer and not a matter of right on the part of the employee. (Sugue and the Heirs of Renato S. Valderrama vs. Triumph International (Phils.), Inc., G.R. No. 164804, January 30, 2009; Triumph International (Phils.), Inc., vs. Virginia A. Sugue and the Heirs of Renato S. Valderrama, G.R. No. 164784, January 30, 2009, 577 SCRA 339.)
Thus, it is well within the power and authority of an employer to impose certain conditions, as it deems fit, on the grant of vacation leaves, such as having the option to schedule the same. (Ibid.)
In the case, of the company, although the preferred vacation leave schedule of the employees should be given priority, they cannot demand, as a matter of right, that their request be automatically granted by the company.
As held by the Supreme Court, it must be noted the grant to management of the right to schedule vacation leaves is not without good reason. Indeed, if the employees were given the unilateral discretion to schedule their vacation leaves, the same may result in significantly crippling the number of key employees of the company manning its operations on busy occasions such as the holidays and other peak seasons, where employees may wittingly or unwittingly choose to have a vacation.
Put another way, the grant to management of the right to schedule vacation leaves ensures that there would always be enough people manning and servicing the operations, which in turn assures enough
personnel to attend to the concerns of the company’s clients.
Indeed, the multitude or scarcity of personnel manning the company’s operations may not rest upon the option of the employees.