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Understanding Study Leave

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A couple of weeks ago, I joined my husband in their consular mission in Istanbul. It was an eye-opening experience, not only to the successes and struggles of Filipino migrant workers but also to the dedication of our foreign service team here in Turkey. Seeing them of service to Filipinos here made me miss my work back home even more. Anyway, on our way back to Ankara, one of my husband’s colleagues mentioned something about study leave which caught my attention. I realized that despite the popularity of this type of leave, there are still many misconceptions about it. Hence, this blog. Read on for more information about study leave in the Philippine civil service.

What is study leave?

Study leave is a time-off from work with pay for qualified officials and employees (except teachers who are covered by different rules). It is intended to help them prepare for their bar or board examinations or to complete their master’s degree.

What are the requirements before one can avail of study leave?

The beneficiary of a study leave must meet the following requirements:

a) He/she must have a bachelor’s degree that requires the passing of a bar/board licensure examination for the practice of profession;

b) The profession or field of study to be pursued must be relevant to the agency’s mandate, or to his/her duties and responsibilities;

c) He/she must have rendered at least two (2) years of service with at least very satisfactory performance for the last two rating periods immediately preceding the application;

d) He/she must have no pending administrative case and/or criminal charges;

e) He/she must not have any current foreign or local scholarship grant;

f) He/she must have fulfilled the service obligation of any previous training/scholarship/study leave grant; and

g) He/she must have a permanent appointment.

What is the duration of a study leave?

A study leave can be taken for a maximum of six (6) months, except when it is for the completion of a master’s degree where the leave can only be for a maximum of four (4) months.

Can I extend my study leave?

If the maximum of six/four months has been availed, no extension can be granted. If you need more time to complete your studies, you need to file a leave of absence which will be charged against your available vacation leave credits.

I am a coterminous appointee, can I also avail of this leave?

As a rule, only permanent employees can avail of study leave. However, the CSC recognized that the purpose of granting a study leave is to develop competent and efficient employees who will eventually help improve the delivery of public services. For that reason, employees with coterminous appointments are allowed to avail of the leave for as long as – 1) All other requirements, except the permanent appointment, is met; 2) You would be able to fulfill the required service obligation; and 3) You are not related to the head of agency (or to any member of a collegial board/body, in case of constitutional offices/similar agencies) within the 4th degree of affinity or consanguinity.

If I avail of study leave, how long will my service obligation be?

Your service obligation will depend on the period granted as study leave:

Period of GrantService Obligation
One monthSix months
Two-three monthsOne year
More than three months to six monthsTwo years

What are the consequences if I don’t fulfill my service obligation?

If you fail to render in full the service obligation required because of voluntary resignation, optional retirement, expiration of term for coterminous employees, or other modes of separation from the service through own fault/control, you will be required to refund to your agency the gross amount of salary, allowances, and benefits received while on study leave, in proportion to the balance of the required service obligation. The formula used is:

 pinoycivilservant

I was granted study leave to review for the bar examination but I did not take the exam. Will I be required to refund the salaries, benefits, and allowances I received while on study leave?

Yes. The study leave is covered by a contract between the agency and the employee-beneficiary. The contract is premised on your taking the bar exams, which is the main consideration in approving the study leave.  The failure to take the bar exams for reasons within your control is is a breach of the contract and thus, you must refund. (CSC Resolution No. 040074, Joel T. Allian, January 27, 2004)

I am pregnant and will be giving birth while my study leave is in effect. Can I still avail of maternity leave benefits?

No. Unlike those in the teaching profession, employees who are on study leave earn leave credits. To allow an employee who is on study leave with pay to claim the maternity leave benefits would amount to double compensation which is not allowed under the 1987 Constitution and the Administrative Code of 1987. (CSC Resolution No. 020576, Ginalyn Sacmar-Badiola, April 18, 2002)

Can study leave be granted to an employee who will take a licensure examination for a profession which is not related to the position which he/she holds?

Generally, the rules require that the profession must be relevant to the duties or functions of the employee. However, there are instances when an equitable construction of the rules may be adopted in order to accomplish a greater purpose. These are instances when the interest of justice calls for a liberal interpretation of a given law or rule. Equally important is the personal and professional growth of an employee in having another opportunity to pursue further his/her dreams, without having to worry about her/his means of livelihood for the period that he/she will not be reporting for work. Ultimately, the study leave grant’s proximate objective is the professionalization of the bureaucracy, which beneficial effects shall redound to the best interest of both parties, i.e. the agency-grantor as well as the employee-grantee concerned. BUT, the grant of study leave is subject to the discretion of the agency head based on the exigencies of the service. (CSC Resolution No. 020711, Lynn Leparto-Yangzon, May 16, 2002)

I availed of study leave without pay for the bar exams because I did not know that it should be with pay. I subsequently  appealed to my agency head so that my previous leave be with pay. My appeal was approved. Can I still be paid my salaries and benefits for the duration of my study leave?

Yes. For as long as you meet all the requirements for study leave and your agency approved your application, the payment of salaries and benefits during the period of study leave is inevitable. It is immaterial whether the application for study leave was approved after the leave was consummated. As long as the application was approved by the agency head, the approval can be applied retroactively since it is beneficial to both the agency and the employee. (CSC Resolution No. 1500400, Nathaniel Jan G. Celiz, March 25, 2015)

Can an employee who is to complete a Doctoral Degree avail of Study Leave Benefits?

Yes. The rule, in its strict sense, allows only study leave for the completion of Masteral and not Doctoral degree. However, a liberal construction can be made to enable employees to pursue their dreams for personal and professional growth, which will eventually benefit the agency-grantor. (CSC Resolution No. 1100830, Jose Manuel M. Curio, June 21, 2011)

Source: CSC Memorandum Circular No. 21, s. 2004. You may download the file here.

56 thoughts on “Understanding Study Leave

  1. I’m already 2 years and 1 month in services (10 months as Job order and 15 months as permanent) can I still avail the study leave?

    1. I’m afraid you are not qualified to avail yet David. Working in the government as a job order is not considered as government service in the technical sense. So you still lack several more months to qualify.

      1. Good Day JL: I already availed my 6month study leave with pay last year and as of this writing I’m still waiting for the result of last year examination. Im planning to avail another 6month leave without pay this year just in case the result is not favorable to me. My concern is i haven’t found any jurisprudence to back-up my leave application, can you please help me on that part, i really needed it especially the scheduled result is so near. Please Please help. Thank in advance.

  2. Hello Maam gudam my wife is a permanent guidance counselor of a high school since 2008, can she avail a study just to complete her masteral degree as guidance counselor? Thank you maam

  3. my fiend is working in a rural health unit working as rural health physician. He specialized in ENT. He is planning to undergo a review for his oral and written exam to become a diplomate in his field. Can he avail of the study leave considering the fact that a field of specialization is not a requirement in his work being a rural health physician?

    1. Yes he can. There were already cases decided by the CSC similar to his concern. In fact in one case (stated in this post), the employee was allowed to avail of study leave to take an exam for a profession that was not even related to her work. CSC said that a liberal interpretation of the rules can be made since its for the employee’s personal and professional growth, which in the end will also benefit the agency he/she is working for. More so in your friend’s case. But, take note that the approval is still with the agency head who will take into consideration the exigency of the service. 🙂

  4. Hello, I have already availed for study leave for bar examination however, i failed to pass during that time. my question is can i still be granted a study leave with pay for the second time?

    1. Yes, after you’re done with your service requirement and it depends always on your head of agency, taking into consideration the exigencies of the service.

  5. MY FRIEND WANTS TO AVAIL A MATERNITY LEAVE DUE TO MISCARRIAGE BUT SHE IS ON A STUDY LEAVE. DOES SHE QUALIFIES IN AVAILING MATERNITY LEAVE FROM (APRIL TO MAY) AND WHAT PROVISION DOES IT STATES… SHE IS A TEACHER. THANK YOU

    1. Service obligation is the duration of work that you have to fulfill in the government agency wherein you were employed during the time you availed of your study leave. It is with pay, it simply means that you have this obligation to serve that agency for the duration corresponding the number of months of study leave you availed. However, if you will not finish your service obligation and wish to retire or resign, you shall pay the amount (salary paid and school fees if the agency paid for it) at a pro-rated basis in relation to the remaining service obligation that you won’t be able to fulfill.

  6. Hi po. How many times can a government employee avail of the study leave? In my case, I availed of the study leave for my CPA review. I have already finished serving the service obligation. Can I avail of another study leave? this time to prepare for the Bar examinations. Per our HR head, I was told that the study leave may only be availed of once in a lifetime…is this true?

    1. Yes, you can avail again of another study leave. However, the Omnibus Rules on Leave provides the following:
      V. The agency shall formulate its own internal rules of procedure for an equitable and rational availment of the study leave for its own officials and employees, subject to the general guidelines stated herein.
      This provides that government agencies may have its own internal rules pertaining to the availment of study leave in accordance to the provisions of the Omnibus Rules on Leave. In this regard, you may ask the HRMO of your agency to provide you a copy of your agency’s internal policy (if any) on study leave for your reference.
      Relatively, please be reminded that the approval of such rests upon the head of the office.

  7. I have availed of a five-month study leave with pay from my current employer, a government-owned and -controlled corporation, last year (2015) to review for the Bar. In exchange for the study leave, I was required to render a two-year service obligation. After passing the 2015 Bar, I was offered a Chief-of-Staff position in Congress, which has a salary grade higher than my current position. I’m inclined to accept the offer.

    Can I serve the remaining term of my service obligation in another branch of government, i.e., Congress? My current office has no existing policy on the matter.

    I will appreciate your guidance/advice regarding my concern. Thank you.

      1. Hi Jason and Cha, usually agencies do not allow that because the service obligation is ‘personal’ to the agency since they were the ones who paid for your salaries and benefits at the time you were on study leave.

        1. According to the provision:
          “If you fail to render in full the service obligation required because of voluntary resignation, optional retirement, expiration of term for coterminous employees, or other modes of separation from the service through own fault/control, you will be required to refund to your agency the gross amount of salary, allowances, and benefits received while on study leave, in proportion to the balance of the required service obligation.”

          I think this does not cover “transfer to another government agency of the same branch” since the employee will not be separated from the service but will only transfer to another government agency. Also, the source of the salaries and benefits will still be the government. In effect, as long as you are serving the government, you are serving your obligation service for your study leave.

          1. I don’t think I can agree with you Cha. But you can always argue your point to the agency who approved your study leave.

          2. Hello, Cha and Gelene. Just an update. My former employer approved my request to tranfer to Congress and serve the remaining term of my service obligation in the legislative branch. I was granted approval only after a contentious exchange with our senior management, which initially required me to refund the pecuniary equivalent of my unserved service obligation. I anchored my position on the same provision Cha cited, arguing that it contemplates a separation from the service and not a transfer. I argued, among others, that I need not refund the money spent for my leave because, by rendering the service obligation in another branch, it’s like transferring the same money from one pocket to another (government to government or G2G). It helped that our legal department concurred with and strongly backed my proposition. But I understand there is yet no definitive government guidelines on transfer. I know of a couple of agencies that denied applications to render the service obligation in another branch or agency of government. Apparently, it depends on the agency. I was just fortunate, I guess. I hope it works out positively for you, too, Cha. All the best.

          3. Good for you Jason. 🙂 I think that happened before in our agency that’s why they now place a provision in study leave contracts that it must be served in the agency. Goodluck and have fun in your new office. 🙂

  8. can you also cite legal bases and other pertinent regulations governing the grant of PERMIT TO STUDY for government employees, that is, those who will be taking masteral courses/ units for the first time.

    1. Section 68 of the Omnibus Rules on Leave, as amended by CSC Resolution No. 041016 (CSC MC No. 21, s. 2004) provides for the conditions for government employees applying for study leave.

  9. Good day po. how does the mechanism work for a non-teaching personnel of DepEd e.g. nurses, if he wanted to pursue his doctoral degree which has a period of 2 years for the completion of the said degree?

    1. You may want to refer your concern to the BHROD of DepEd as agencies may have its own internal rules pertaining to the availment of study leave for Doctorate degree in accordance to the provisions of the Omnibus Rules on Leave, as the existing rules on study leave only provides for the completion of master’s degree and preparation for bar/board examinations.

    1. I hope the admin of this page answers this query of yours. I’ll be waiting for it. having same query also. Admin, please cite the concrete legal basis for this query. Thanks

  10. Can a government employee avail a study leave for only 3 days in a week and the other 2 days will report to work?

  11. Hi mam i am a government employee , a MEDICAL OFFICER , in our province. I’ve been working for the district hospital for 12 years now. I’m planning to take my diplomate exam
    is the the study leave applicable to my case

  12. Hi. Can I avail a study leave WITHOUT pay? I’m just want to finish my last semester in law school. The work in the office is so demanding.

    Thanks

    1. Hi, i presently work in Cebu Province and availed my 6month study leave last year and i think i earned my VL and SL. Hope this will help.

  13. Hi! I have availed a study leave and I was required a service obligation of 2 years. The thing is, my current office no longer satisfy my need for growth and development and I’m planning to transfer to another government agency. I haven’t finished my service obligation by the way, and I was wondering if there is a way I could transfer to another govt agency without paying for the rest of the service obligation (Like if I can continue such service obligation in another agency… or something like that)

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Hana, you can check out the comments of other readers who had the same predicament as yours and what they did. Basically you have to check your study leave contract/agreement.

  14. I am a co-terminous employee and I am admitted to take up Masters with 5pm weekday classes . However, I am required to render 8 hours of work from 8am to 5pm but I would like to know if I can request for flexible time from our HR so that I can still render 8 hours of work from 07am to 04pm? If so, what could be my reference for the request? Is there a particular policy with regard to this?

    Looking forward to your response. Thank you

  15. Can a public school teacher of 7 years in service avail study leave with pay pursuing a doctoral degree with an existing scholarship program? the provision is being stated on R.A.4670 Art. V, Sec.24

  16. Hi! I would just like to ask what is the reckoning point of the fulfillment of the service obligation to avail of the study leave again. If the person availed of the study leave filed and applied for study leave in April 2015 and availed the same from June to November 2015. However, the person did not pass the examination and wants to avail of the study leave again. When can he avail of the same? Is he qualified to avail of the 6 month study leave in 2017 already (i.e. June to November 2017 or he has to render obligation from the time he availed of the study leave in June 2015 to June 2017 or November 2015 to November 2017 or should it be 2018?

  17. Hi Ma’am Gelene,

    I would like to ask about the two (2) years experienced requirement in MC 21 s 2004. I was a teacher for 5 years before being reassigned to a non-teaching position in the Division Office for almost two (2) years now, without break of service.

    Am I qualified to avail the study leave with pay for bar review? Thank you.

  18. Hi- I was appoint since 28-02-2008 as a solder in police Department Now I appoint a Teacher since from 02-12-2015 As PTI In Education throw properchannel from previous Department no break in my service .
    Can I avail for 10 months study leave for higher qualification

  19. Hi, I have a temporary appointment and I have planning to take the board exam this year which is related to the current designation I have. Can I avail this study leave?

  20. I work as faculty of a state college and i want to avail of this leave to take the bar exams. I undestand the provision that teaching personnel are covered by a different law. However, state colleges and univeristies faculty are not defined as teachers under RA 4670 which only covers basic wducation teachers and not terriary education faculty. Furthermore i think there is another csc guideline that says professors and instructors are technical positions. Please enlighten me on this and state whether tertiary education faculty may avail of this leave..

  21. Hello.I am working at a government hospital as a Pharmacist and I am a permanent employee for 1 year and 3 months. I am planning to study next year. If I resign will I still be hired again? Or should I apply for a study leave? It will take 1 to 3 years for me to study Clinical Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy. Thanks.

  22. Hi.I’m an employee in private institution. Last year(2016)I was granted by my employer of six(6) months leave with full salary and benefits. Unfortunately, I did not pass the bar exam. I’m planning again to apply for another six months leave this year or next in preparation for the bar. Can I compel my employing institution to grant my request? What will be my legal basis? I’ll be waiting for your response. Thank you so much.

  23. Hi! I hope yo could help me in this predicament.

    I applied last year in a public senior high school. I would like to finish may master’s degree this year. However, as i have read, I must render two years with at least a VS rating. Are there any ways or provisions that i could cite so i could avail the leave even if I have just finished one whole year? I am a regular/permannet teacher. I also missed the CHED call for the K to 12 scholarship in this transition period.

    I guess a month would already be enough since i just have to finalize my thesis and defend it.

    Thanks

  24. hi! i
    am a faculty on study leave with pay. Is there any law/rule/policy prohibiting faculty from travelling abroad while on study leave?

  25. hi po… i am currently working on my dissertation paper to complete my doctoral degree and applying for study leave.. i cannot search the csc resolution no. 1100830, Jose manuel M. Curio, June 21, 2011 which you have mentioned in one of your answers. can i request for a copy to support my application for leave.. thank you very much..

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