A government employee who is called as a witness for the prosecution in an administrative or criminal case may avail of the automatic leave of absence.
In Resolution No. 2000897, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) defines automatic leave of absence as a leave that government workers may avail of should they qualify as a government employee-witness. This may be availed by a government employee-witness regardless of his or her status and length of service.
The resolution was published on 10 December 2021, and took effect fifteen (15) days thereafter.
Qualifications and requirements
To qualify to avail said leave, the government employee must be identified and called as a witness for the prosecution in a pending administrative or criminal case, and the government employee as an identified witness is at the risk of being harassed and/or his/her life or limb may be put in danger.
The government employee should also notify the head of his or her agency of his or her intent to avail of the automatic leave of absence, and execute an affidavit of his or her testimony relevant to the pending case. The notice should bear the recommendation of either the prosecution or the hearing officer of the pending administrative case, and either the prosecution or the handling judge in the pending criminal case. Proof that the government employee has been identified as a witness should also be attached to the notice.
When the conditions above are met, the automatic leave of absence will be deemed automatically approved by the head of agency.
The period for the automatic leave will commence from the time the government employee qualified as a witness and submitted his or her notice. This will be terminated once he or she has completed his or her duty as a witness, or at any time before the completion of his or her witness duty when the danger on his or her life and limb has already ceased to exist, as determined by the prosecution, hearing officer, or the judge.
The automatic leave of absence may also be terminated at any time upon the request of the government employee-witness.
The automatic leave of absence will be forfeited when the government employee-witness recants the statements contained in his or her affidavit, or when he or she fails to testify in the pending administrative or criminal for reasons not beyond his or her control.
The government employee will also be considered on absence without official leave (AWOL) should it later be found that he or she has failed to comply with the prescribed qualifications and requirements to avail of said leave.
The government employee whose automatic leave of absence has been forfeited may file an appeal before the CSC Regional Office with jurisdiction over his or her agency.
The CSC continues to craft HR policies that take care of the welfare of government employees in different situations, especially when there is threat to life and safety. Providing a way for government employees to serve as witnesses without incurring unnecessary absences may also further aid the judicial process.