Can a company deduct one’s salary for Saturday and Sunday based on a sandwich rule as per the labour laws in India?

Employees in India are entitled to get a certain number of leaves every year besides national holidays and festivals as per distinct labour laws and legislation.

Labour laws in India specify the rights, duties, and responsibilities of both employers and employees to be fulfilled if working under an establishment or industry. Employers have to take care of health, social benefits, and the work environment provided to employees while employees have to minimize production defaults and should not make unjust demands from their employers.

As stated earlier, employees do get certain rights under different labour laws, they also receive benefits under different state and central legislation to claim leaves from their employers. Leave structure for employees is generally determined as per the policy of the establishment and in consonance with legislation like Factories Act, State Shops & Establishment Act, and so on. Without any loss of pay to the employee, the labour laws in India grants the following leaves:

  • Casual leave: Leaves are entitled to employees by the company as paid leaves.
  • Sick leave: Depending on the leave policy of the company, every employee or worker is entitled to certain sick/medical leaves.
  • Earned / Privileged or En-cashed leave: Leave earned by the employee in the year which can be availed in the subsequent year. The leaves can either be encashed or transferred to the subsequent year.
  • Compensatory leave: Leaves availed by the employee or granted by the employer for working on additional days or crucial days or on days of leaves for the company.

The Sandwich Rule

The Sandwich policy is a general practice followed by companies and organizations where a usual week off gets clubbed with the paid leave applied by the employee just near the week off and is treated as a leave day.

For instance: If leave is applied by an employee for Friday and subsequent Monday, the company shall count both Saturday and Sunday also as leave

The concept of the sandwich rule came up from the leave structure of factory workers, where productivity was hugely dependent on man working hours.

While the policy holds no legal restrictions and provisions, it can be followed by any company/employer as per terms discussed with the employee.

An employer can deduct leave taken by an employee for Saturdays (being a working day ) and Sundays and :

  • In case the applicability of the Sandwich Rule was previously stated in the employment contract, the employee has no other option but to accept the leave deduction.
  • In case not previously stated to the employee, it is advisable to negotiate with the HR department or the employing company for the same. If no common solution comes, then the employee can sue his employer after seeking the advice of a legal consultant.

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