What would be the maximum number of leaves which may be accumulated by a worker in a factory? This remains a conundrum for employers and employees alike. Provision of annual leave with wages or earned leave by workers of a factory are regulated by the Factories Act, 1948. The Act provides that every worker who has worked for 240 days or more in a factory in a particular calendar year, shall be allowed annual leave with wages, during the subsequent calendar year, at the rate of 1 day for every 20 days of work performed by an adult in the preceding calendar year and 1 day for every 15 days of work performed by a child in the preceding calendar year.
The Act makes no mention with regard to the maximum number of earned leave, which may be accumulated by a worker. The Act, however, provides a threshold limit on the number of accumulated earned leaves, which can be carried forward to next calendar year.
If a worker does not avail the whole of the earned leave allowed to him in a particular calendar year, the balance of leave not taken by him will stand accumulated to his credit at the end of the year. Though there is no limit to such accumulation, the maximum number of days of such accumulated leave, which is permissible to be carried forward to the succeeding year is 30 days, in case of an adult and 40 days, in case of a child. Any un-availed leave, in excess of the carry forward limits lapse at the end of the year.
Interestingly, in case a worker has applied for this leave but has not been granted, the leave refused is permissible to be carried forward to the subsequent year, without any limit.