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UNDERSTANDING STUDY LEAVE

Leave & Other Benefits


- November 9, 2015

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 husbands 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 masters 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 bachelors 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 agencys
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 masters 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 Grant Service Obligation

One month Six months


Period of Grant Service Obligation

Two-three months One year

More than three months to six months Two years


WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IF I DONT 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:

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 grants 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.