I’m writing about rehabilitation leave today because I remember one of my former students who went looking for me at my former office. At that time, I thought it was just another of those wanting to take a special exam or seek reconsideration of grades but I was surprised to see the student looking a bit distraught so I asked him what he was there for. He told me that his mom, who was then battling with cancer, had used up all her leave credits and they were wondering if rehabilitation leave could be availed of. As he went on to explain his mother’s situation, I felt bad for him because I had to let him know that her mom did not qualify for rehabilitation leave. To everyone else wondering if they could avail of this type of leave, read on.
What is rehabilitation leave?
Rehabilitation leave is a leave privilege granted to allow qualified government officials and employees to recuperate from wounds or injuries sustained while in the performance of duties.
What is meant by “performance of duty”?
Performance of duty means situations where the employee is already at work. It may also cover situations where the employee or official meets an accident while engaged in activities inherent to his/her work including being on official travel, official business outside work station, authorized overtime, detail or special assignment. Injuries from accidents that occurred while going to work and going home from work may be considered sustained while in the performance of official duties.
Who may avail of this leave?
All government personnel with permanent, temporary, casual, or contractual appointments, including those with fixed terms of office may avail of this leave. Consultants and those hired under contract of service or job order cannot avail because they are not considered government employees.
What is the duration of this type of leave?
Rehabilitation leave is for a maximum of six months. the duration, frequency and terms of availing this type of leave will be based on the recommendation of a medical authority. Therefore, it can be for less than six months, or may be on half-time basis, or intermittent schedule for as long as the total period will not exceed six months.
Will my accumulated leave credits be deducted while I’m on rehabilitation leave?
No. Absences from work during the period of rehabilitation will not be deducted from the accumulated sick or vacation leave credits of the employee/officer.
Will I be earning leave credits while on rehabilitation leave?
No. While on rehabilitation leave, the employee or officer will not earn/accumulate vacation and sick leave credits.
Will I receive my salaries and benefits while on rehabilitation leave?
Yes. Those who avail of this privilege will receive their salaries and regular benefits such as Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA), Additional Compensation (AdCom), year-end bonus, and cash gifts mandated by law. However, benefits which are enjoyed based on actual performance of duties such as representation and transportation allowances (RATA) will not be received.
I was given first-aid at the time I was injured on work and I incurred out-of-pocket expenses for it. Will I be reimbursed?
Claimants of this privilege are entitled to reimbursement by their agency for first-aid expenses, preferably in government facilities. Reimbursement, however, is subject to the availability of funds and must not exceed P5,000.00 unless expenditures beyond that amount are necessary as certified by medical authorities and approved by the agency head. To be clear, firs-aid refers to the basic medical treatment given immediately to the hurt/injured person.
How do I apply for Rehabilitation Leave?
Within 1 week from the accident or injury, a letter-application for rehabilitation leave must be filed with the agency head, unless a longer period is warranted. The letter must be accompanied with relevant supporting documents such as police report (if any) and medical certificate indicating the nature of injuries, course of treatment involved and need to undergo rest/recuperation/rehabilitation. If the attending physician is a private practitioner, concurrence from a government physician must be obtained particularly on the need and period of rehabilitation needed.
Is the approval by the agency head discretionary?
Yes. The agency head will have to determine whether the injuries were really incurred while in the performance of duties. If not, the application will be disapproved because he/she will be held responsible and personally liable for false or fraudulent claims and irregular availing of the privilege.
I developed my osteoarthritis due to the nature of my work and now my doctor says I need 1 month to rest, will I be eligible for Rehabilitation leave?
Unfortunately not. Illness or sickness resulting from or aggravated by working conditions or the work environment cannot be a basis for availing of the privilege even if it is compensable under the law and regulations of the Employees Compensation Commission. (CSC Decision No. 140542, Alfredo R. Rodolfo, July 17, 2014)