Annual leave is meant for planned breaks and vacations. Personal leave caters to unexpected situations or emergencies. Annual leave tends to have longer durations compared to personal leave.

TL;DR Annual leave Vs. Personal leave

Annual leave and personal leave are types of time off granted to employees, but they differ in purpose and usage. Annual leave is planned time off for vacations or holidays, typically accrued over time and pre-scheduled in advance. It is available to all employees after a certain period of employment and may or may not allow unused days to carry over. On the other hand, personal leave is for unplanned situations or emergencies and is often provided as a fixed number of days per year. It can be taken on short notice for immediate personal needs and may have specific eligibility criteria or limitations. Personal leave usually does not allow carry-over of unused days.

Annual Leave

picture of a person on vacation after getting annual leave

Annual leave, also known as vacation leave or paid time off (PTO), refers to a specific amount of time that employees are entitled to take off from work each year. It is a benefit provided by employers as part of their employee compensation package, allowing individuals to recharge and rejuvenate.

One key aspect of annual leave is that it accrues over time based on an employee’s length of service with the company. This means that the longer you work for an organization, the more annual leave days you will accumulate.

The duration of annual leave can vary depending on company policies and local labor laws. Typically, employees are granted anywhere from 10 to 25 days per year, although this can be higher in some organizations or countries.

During annual leave, employees are still entitled to receive their regular salary and other employment benefits unless otherwise specified in their employment contract. This ensures that they can enjoy their time off without any financial concerns.

Personal Leave

picture of an employee going home after applying for personal leave

Personal leave is a type of time off that employees can take for personal reasons, outside of their regular annual leave entitlement. It provides flexibility for individuals to attend to personal matters or deal with unexpected situations that may arise.

Personal leave is typically not planned in advance. Personal leave often arises spontaneously due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family emergencies, or other urgent matters. Personal leave tends to be shorter in duration and may only be taken for a few hours or days at a time.

Annual leave Vs. Personal leave – Key differences

Annual Leave

  • Purpose: Planned time off for vacations or holidays.
  • Accrual: Generally accrued over time or provided annually.
  • Usage: Typically pre-scheduled and approved in advance.
  • Eligibility: Usually available to all employees after a certain period of employment.
  • Carry-over: May or may not allow unused days to carry over to the next year.

Personal Leave

  • Purpose: Unplanned time off for personal reasons.
  • Accrual: Often provided as a fixed number of days per year.
  • Usage: Taken on short notice for immediate personal needs.
  • Eligibility: May have specific eligibility criteria or limitations.
  • Carry-over: Often does not allow carry-over of unused days.

How to apply for annual leave?

Applying for annual leave is a straightforward process that varies depending on the company’s policies and procedures. To ensure a smooth application, follow these steps:

  1. Check your entitlement: First and foremost, review your employment contract or company handbook to understand your annual leave entitlement. This will determine how many days you can take off each year.
  2. Plan ahead: Once you know how much annual leave you have available, plan when you would like to take time off. Consider any specific dates or events you want to attend, such as vacations or family gatherings.
  3. Submit a request: Reach out to your supervisor or HR department with an official request for annual leave. Make sure to include the dates you wish to be absent from work and provide any necessary details about the reason for your absence.
  4. Follow the protocol: Familiarize yourself with your company’s protocol for submitting leave requests. Some organizations may require filling out specific forms online, while others may prefer email communication.
  5. Await approval: After submitting your request, patiently wait for confirmation from management or HR regarding the approval of your annual leave application.

It is essential to adhere to company policies and communicate effectively with supervisors throughout this process!

How to apply for personal leave?

  1. Check your company’s policies: Review your organization’s employee handbook or policies to understand the process and requirements for taking personal leave. Be aware of any notice period or documentation needed.
  2. Inform your supervisor/manager: Notify your immediate supervisor or manager as soon as possible about your need for personal leave. Communication is essential to ensure they are aware of your absence and can plan accordingly.
  3. Provide a reason: While you don’t necessarily have to disclose personal details, it’s usually helpful to explain the reason for your leave to give your employer some context.
  4. Follow the application procedure: If your company has a specific process for applying for leave, make sure to follow it. This may involve filling out a leave request form or submitting a written/email request.
  5. Submit any required documentation: If your employer requires supporting documentation, such as a doctor’s note (for medical reasons) or proof of an emergency situation, be sure to provide it promptly.
  6. Plan for coverage: If your absence will affect your work responsibilities, make arrangements for someone to cover your duties during your leave.
  7. Respect the notice period: If there’s a notice period specified in your company’s policies, try to provide the required notice before your intended leave date.

Remember that the process for applying for personal leave can vary between companies, so it’s essential to check your organization’s specific guidelines and discuss any concerns or questions with your HR department or supervisor.


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