The concept of forced or mandatory leave in the Philippine civil service began in 1986 when then President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Executive Order No. 1077 revising the computation of creditable vacation and sick leaves of government officers and employees. It is called forced because Section 2 of the EO requires all government officials and employees to go on a 5-day vacation leave annually, whether they like to or not. The section reads:
Section 2. All officials and employees shall be required to go on vacation leave for a minimum of five (5) working days annually. The head of office shall adopt a staggered scheduling of vacation leaves of officials and employees in his office: Provided, that he may, as the exigency of the service requires, cancel any previously scheduled leave.
Subsequently, CSC Memorandum Circular No. 4, s. 1986 was issued setting forth the guidelines on its implementation. According to the circular –
xxx3. A staggered schedule of vacation leave of officials and employees for a minimum of five (5) working days annually shall be prepared. Those with accumulated vacation leave of less than ten (10) days shall have the option to go on scheduled vacation leave or not…
In 1987, the CSC issued Memorandum Circular No. 22 (Annual Five-Day Vacation Leave Under EO No. 1077) clarifying that the 5-day mandatory leave is already complied with if the employee goes on an approved vacation leave for at least five days within the same calendar year. To be precise, I quote:
The annual 5-day vacation leave required under Executive Order No. 1077 is considered complied with when an officer or employee goes on approved vacation leave within a calendar year for a period aggregating not less than five (5) days which need not be successive…
At present, the rule on forced/mandatory leave is reflected in Rule XVI of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of EO 292 (Administrative Code of 1987), as amended by CSC Memorandum Circular No. 41, s. 1998, viz –
Sec. 25. Five days forced/mandatory leave – All officials and employees with 10 days or more vacation leave credits shall be required to go on vacation leave whether continuous or intermittent for a minimum of five (5) working days annually under the following conditions:
*The head of agency shall, upon prior consultation with the employees, prepare a staggered schedule of the mandatory five-day vacation leave of officials and employees, provided that he may, in the exigency of the service, cancel any previously scheduled leave;
*The mandatory annual five-day vacation leave shall be forfeited if not taken during the year. However, in cases where the scheduled leave has been cancelled in the exigency of the service by the head of agency, the schedule leave shall no longer be deducted from the total accumulated vacation leave;
*Retirement and resignation from the service in a particular year without completing the calendar year do not warrant forfeiture of the corresponding leave credits if concerned employees opted not to avail of the required five-day mandatory vacation leave;
*Those with accumulated vacation leave of less than ten (10) days shall have the option to go on forced leave or not. However, officials and employees with accumulated vacation leave of 15 days who availed of monetization for 10 days, under Section 22 hereof, shall still be required to go on forced leave.
If you notice, the new rules do not include any provision to the effect that the 5-day mandatory leave is already complied with if the employee goes on an approved vacation leave for at least five days within the same calendar year, as in CSC Memorandum Circular No. 22, s. 1987. Does that mean it no longer applies? If it no longer applies, then should employees file for 5 days forced leave on top of the 5 days vacation leave they’ve already had in a year?
It does not appear so. CSC Memorandum Circular No. 41, s. 1998 contained a general repealing provision which states that all prior Civil Service rules and regulations inconsistent with it are repealed. Such kind of repeal falls under the category of an implied repeal by irreconcilable inconsistency. It means that the old rule will be repealed only if it is clearly inconsistent and incompatible with the new rule covering the same subject matter and they cannot be reconciled or harmonized. As held by the Supreme Court in the case of Mecano vs. Commission on Audit (G.R. No. 103982, December 11, 1992), the fact that a later rule may relate to the same subject matter as an earlier rule is not of itself sufficient to cause an implied repeal of the prior rule, since the new rule may merely be cumulative or a continuation of the old one.
As there appears no irreconcilable conflict between the rules in so far as forced or mandatory leave is concerned, an employee or officer who goes on approved vacation leave for at least five days within the same calendar year must be deemed to have complied with the mandatory leave. In such case, there is no need to deduct or forfeit 5 days in the employee’s leave credits at the end of the year although his/her approved leave was not denominated as forced or mandatory.
To read more about the importance of harmonizing administrative rules and laws, click here.