Windhoek — The annual vacation leave is now compulsory for all government employees, following approval on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
It has been noted that government employees do not take annual vacation leave as required and are thus accruing vacation leave days uncontrolled, Tuyakula Haipinge, the deputy permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister said.
"This is contrary to the letter and spirit of the legislative provisions in the Labour Act," Haipinge said.
On recommendation of the Public Service Commission, approval was granted in terms of Section 5 (3), read in conjunction with Section 5 (2) (i) of the Public Service Act, 1995 for amendments to the Public Service Staff Rules with effect from 1 April this year.
"The emphasis is on the compulsory nature of vacation leave during a leave cycle," said Haipinge.
The measures are focused on ensuring that each staff member takes the leave days that they are entitled to in terms of the vacation leave provisions during the assigned leave cycle.
"If for whatever reason the staff member has not done so, specific provision is made for such leave to be taken within the next six months after the end date of the leave cycle. The conditions attached to such extension must be noted and followed strictly. Any leave not taken thereafter will lapse," added Haipinge.
In addition, Haipinge said the uncontrolled accumulation of leave is the result of a lack of proper management of vacation leave. That means that all vacation leave accrued to a staff member up to 31 March 2018 must be paid out at their discharge.
"It is therefore imperative that vacation leave is managed strictly with effect from 1 April 2018 with the aim to ensure that staff members utilise their leave allocation within their leave cycle fully," emphasised Haipinge.