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What is a Sandwich Leave Policy? | Understanding Meaning, Origin & Leave Types

Life at Work
Published on: Jun 10, 2024

Sandwich leaves are one of the most confusing leave types to comprehend, due to which most of the time employees are bewildered and often inquire from HRs about it.

There are several types of leave provided to the employees within an organization to sustain their needs and one of the types of leave is sandwich leave policy. Many organizations have sandwich leave policies; while the sandwich leave policy is more common in some Asian countries, it is not exclusive to that region. Some companies worldwide, particularly in developing economies, might utilize this policy to manage staffing levels during holidays or peak business periods.  

Sandwich leaves are one of the most confusing leave types to comprehend, due to which most of the time employees are bewildered and often inquire from HRs about it. 

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Understanding The Ins and Outs of Sandwich Policy

In simple terms, a sandwich means two slices of bread and something in between them; a sandwich leave is somewhat like that. It refers to clubbing your week off with an extra day of leave, after or before your week off, which will be considered sandwich leave. The sandwich leave policy is also known as clubbing leave. 

Let us take few examples:

  1. Let us assume that you have a week off on Saturday and Sunday, and you decided to take one extra day of leave and apply for leave on Friday to get a three-day week off (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). This will result in a three-day leave deduction from your yearly leave entitlement, so instead of a one-day deduction, you will face a three-day deduction. 
  2. Suppose Saturday & Sunday are your weekends and you have a public holiday on Monday, so you decide to take a leave on Friday to get 4 days' vacation, but this one-day extra leave will affect your entire day off and is considered sandwich leave, therefore affecting your annual leave quota by deducting 4 days. 

Note: The terms and conditions of the sandwich leave policy vary from organization to organization. 

Origin of Sandwich leave policy 

The exact origin of the sandwich leave policy is lost to time, but its roots lie in the factory era of the 18th and 19th centuries. Back then, the factories used to rely heavily on manual labor and long working hours. The more hours people worked; the more products were produced. This writes down that their focus on maximizing output became a driving force behind workplace policies to reduce short breaks and absenteeism among the workers because, at that time, productivity of labor was a crucial factor for the factories, consequently diminishing their absence by implementing sandwich leave. 

In the modern day, some organizations have adopted or already have been practicing this policy to avoid the absenteeism of employees during weekend or festive holidays, so that their productivity will not get compromised due to excessive holidays.  

Purpose of implementing sandwich leave policy in an organization  

There can be many reasons for putting this leave policy among the other leave policies, but some of the major reasons are as follows: 

  1. Curbing Absenteeism: It has been noticed by organizations that employees tend to take long breaks after or before the weekend for their relaxation or vacation, which potentially affects productivity and disrupts overall workflow. To redress this situation, organizations implement sandwich leave to avoid the chances of high absenteeism. 
  2. Standardization and Fairness: In an organization with a large workforce, a sandwich leave policy can create a standardized system for leave requests. This ensures everyone plays by the same rules and avoids potential favoritism in approving leave around holidays. 
  3. Control Costs: Paid time off (PTO) is a company expense. By limiting the effectiveness of short leave requests, the organization can potentially reduce the total amount of PTO employees use by implementing this policy. This could be a factor in companies with tight budgets. 
  4. Maintain Staffing Levels: This is the historical reason. In industries with high workloads or production quotas, short breaks around weekends or holidays can create staffing gaps. The sandwich leave policy discourages employees from taking these short breaks, ensuring a more consistent workforce during peak periods. 

Understanding the Prevalence of Sandwich Leave Policies

Ever wonder how common the sandwich leave policy is in different organizations or not? Let us discuss it in detail. Not all organizations have a sandwich leave policy, but it is most common for companies with demanding schedules or peak seasons to use sandwich leave to discourage short breaks around non-working days. This could be seen in manufacturing, finance, or retail, where consistent staffing is crucial. 

Some government agencies or public institutions might have sandwich leave policies due to established regulations or standardized leave structures. 

Industries Less Likely to Have Sandwich Leave: Some startups, tech companies, or creative agencies that offer flexible work schedules to their employees might not find a need for a strict sandwich leave policy. They might focus on results over specific working hours and provide their employees with an ample amount of paid leave annually. This promotes healthy work-life balance and trust between an organization and its employees, that is why many newly forming organizations might not have this leave policy. 

Legality of sandwich leave policy in India

In India organizations can implement sandwich leave policy in their leave management documents internally but there are no specific laws or regulations in Indian labor laws that directly address the concept of sandwich leave. This means companies can implement this policy if it abides by other relevant labor laws. 

To know more about sandwich leave policy of your company, whether it has one or not, a discussion with your HR will resolve your queries and put an end to your confusion. 

There are several types of leaves in an organization  

Apart from sandwich leave, organizations have many types of leaves to cater to the different situational needs of their employees that can provide flexibility of getting a holiday, vacation, or attending an emergency. The list of these types of leaves varies from company to company and its policies. Some broadly common types of leaves are as follows: 

  1. Causal leave: It is the most common type of leave that can be used for emergencies, short breaks, rest, or family events. Employees are entitled to have casual leave to support and prioritize their lives apart from work. 

  2. Paid leave/earned leave: A type of leave that is earned by the employee for working throughout the year, companies provide a set number of days that employees can take leave annually without deducting their salary for taking leave. It can be used by employees for long vacations and so on. In some companies, if annual paid leave is not used by the employee, it can be encashed at the end of the fiscal year. 

  3. Sick leave or medical leave: This leave is used by employees to take time off from their ongoing illness/injury. Most of the companies offer their employees sick leave, which can vary depending on the severity of illness/injury/ health condition and company provisions. A few companies also required medical evidence to show severity of the condition and if the sick leave policy is not being violated in any way. 

  4. Maternity leave: This leave type is made for working women to ensure expecting mothers time off work before and after childbirth to recover physically and bond with their newborns. Women can take maternity leave in cases of abortion and miscarriage as well. The specific duration and benefits vary by country and workplace. Some policies offer paid leave, while others are unpaid. Ideally, maternity leave allows women to focus on their health and well-being during this critical period without undue financial strain. In India, mothers get 6 months of paid leave for their first two children, and 3 months for subsequent births. This policy ensures financial security during a crucial time for mothers and their families. Employers are legally obligated to pay the full salary during this leave period, according to The Maternity Benefit Act of 1961

  5. Parental leave: Paternity leave provides fathers with time off work to support their partners after childbirth and bond with their new babies. Like maternity leave, the duration and benefits vary depending on location and employer. In India, the Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 1972, grant 15 days (about 2 weeks) of paternity leave to government employees with less than two children. However, for private companies in India, there's currently no national law mandating paternity leave. Despite this, many private companies do offer paternity leave as part of their employee benefits package.

  6. Compensatory off: These leaves are provided to employees when they work on festive occasions or non-working days, and in exchange for those non-working days, the employee gets compensated by getting leave on any day they want or getting those extra day work encash. Watch this video to learn more about comp-off leave.

  7. Unpaid leave: It is also known as loss of pay leave. When an employee decides to take leave after exhausting their paid leave, companies deduct their salary for the number of days they have taken leave.  Manually applying for leaves can be tedious task for employees, To make it easier, get Runtime HRMS Software: Through Runtime Workman app, employees can easily request for leave and HR managers can easily manage employees leave requests, type of leave requirements, and approval or rejection of them. Applying for leave just got easier!  
    To know more about: Leave requests

FeatureNormal LeaveSandwich Leave
Weekend/HolidaysNot deductedCounted as leave
Leave BalanceMore efficientUses more days
Company PolicyUniversalVaries by company
Employee Perception Considered fairLess ideal for short breaks
Discourages short breaksNoMay discourage
LegalMight be influenced by regional labor lawsSandwich leave is not mandated by law

Shift in work: hybrid and remote work  

Companies can have rigid leave policies that might not align with employee's well-being and their life commitments, that can get affected, for such instances, employees can apply for hybrid/remote job roles that can give them the flexibility to work at their own pace conveniently. Many companies now-a-days offer employees hybrid/remote job roles to support a good work-life balance. 

  • Remote Work: Performing your job duties entirely outside of a traditional office setting. This typically involves working from home, but could also be from a coffee shop, co-working space, or anywhere. 

  • Hybrid Work: It is a flexible work arrangement that combines working in the office with remote work.  

According to Accenture, a focus on onsite work environments does not align with employees' preferences; their 2021 research showed that 83% of global employees like a hybrid model for their work as their ideal preference.  

Post-pandemic, people started to realize how important work-life balance is, for them and their families, which made them lean towards a healthier way of working while keeping up happiness along with it. The spread of hybrid and remote cultures can be seen globally ever since the pandemic occurred, and more and more companies are offering remote and hybrid setting jobs while keeping employee wellness in mind. 

According to the Times Magazine article, Allstate employs approximately 57,000 people, with 85% of them working remotely. They gave their employees the choice of working in-office or remotely, and 95% of employees wanted to work remotely.  Thomas J. Wilson, CEO of Allstate, believes that “treat employees as customers, treat them with respect, and then they’ll come with you.”


It is important to understand both aspects of the sandwich leave policy. While it can help organizations in maintaining and scheduling staff, it can also affect employees who prefer taking shorter breaks, and to them, it will show a lack of trust in their employment. Understanding these considerations can help companies implement fair leave practices that balance business needs with employee well-being.  

Why not automate leave applications, approvals, and rejections? Runtime HRMS aids your organization with not just leave applications, but it also provides a solution for complete workforce management. Schedule a free demo today!

About the Author
Prerna Rajput

Prerna Rajput

Prerna is a business student, is passionate about marketing. Her insatiable curiosity drives her to constantly learn and explore new things. With a penchant for writing captivating content, she adds vibrancy and depth in her work.