The labour law concept of leave, specifically paid leave or, in some countries' long-form, a leave of absence, is an authorised prolonged absence from work, for any reason authorised by the workplace. When people "take leave" in this way, they are usually taking days off from their work that have been pre-approved by their employer in their contracts of employment. Labour laws normally mandate that these paid-leave days be compensated at either 100% of normal pay, or at a very high percentage of normal days' pay, such as 75% or 80%. A furlough is a type of leave.
There are many subcategories of paid leave, usually dependent on the reasons why the leave is being taken. Sick leave is normally compensated at 100% of pay, while other types of leave are often more restrictive, such as only compensating a certain percentage of normal pay, or as regards paid holidays, which in some countries are granted automatically by national governments, such as in most European Union countries, and in others, such as the United States, are a matter of the individual worker accumulating holiday entitlements over a period of time in the workplace and then using them once a sufficient number of such days have been accumulated.
The internationally-acknowledged definition of paid leave, in international labour law as observed by the International Labour Organisation and others, is one that restricts itself only to pre-approved labour agreements in the workplace. Unpaid leave is leave that is granted exceptionally by the workplace and that is given permission to occur by the workplace, but is not compensated.
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