Difference Between Annual Leave and Personal Leave (With Table)

Employees may ask for leave for various reasons. They may wanna go on a vacation or just stay at home to take a break and relax. Sickness and injury may play a role in taking leave as well. Employers have classified leaves into two categories, which are Annual Leave and Personal Leave. 

Annual Leave vs Personal Leave

The main difference between annual leave and personal leave is that annual leaves are granted to employees when they need to go on a holiday or need a break, just to take some time off. On the other hand personal leaves are granted for personal reasons like sickness or injury or sickness and injury in the family.

Employees can use their annual leaves without much restriction and questioning. However, a lot of companies have strict policies about granting leave. There is a specified amount of paid annual leave given to an employee per year to utilise. The employees have to inform their employers before taking the annual leave.    

An employee can take a personal leave for a lot of reasons. This personal reason may include sickness or injury in the family or the employee, other family issues or unavoidable circumstances. Personal leave may not be completely paid since it depends on the reason given to avail such personal leave. 

Comparison Table Between Annual Leave and Personal Leave

Parameters of Comparison

Annual Leave

Personal Leave


Annual leave is used by employees if they want to go on a holiday or take a break from working. 

Personal leave is used by an employee in the case of any personal emergency such as sickness, injury or a family emergency.


Annual leaves are generally paid if you are within the limit of the annual leaves granted to you. They may be unpaid if you have taken more than the mandated amount of leaves. 

Personal leaves may or may not be paid depending on a lot of factors. It completely depends on the policies formulated by the employer and also the reason behind taking the leave. 

Number of Days

There is a fixed amount of leaves granted for annual leave. If an employee takes more than the permitted amount of leaves, then it will be unpaid leave.

There is no fixed amount of personal leave granted to an employee since these leaves are granted in unforeseen circumstances.  

Employer Policy

Employer policy is generally consistent for annual leaves wherein they provide a mandated amount of leaves per year.

Each company may have different policies about personal leave. Some may provide paid leave and some may not provide paid leave


Approval for annual leave is a simple process and can be granted just by notifying the employer in advance.

Approval for a paid personal leave will depend primarily on the reason for the leave and proof submitted with it. 

What is Annual Leave?

Annual Leave is an off time given to the employee that is paid. An employee can use annual leaves as per his wish. There are a specific number of days handed by the employer to the employee for these leaves depending on the company policy. One can simply avail of annual leave by giving an advanced notice highlighting the intention to go on a break.

The employer can then approve or deny the annual leave depending on the availability of other staff and other factors. Most of the countries have made it compulsory by law to allow a minimum amount of days to a paid annual leave.  For instance, China has made it compulsory to give at least five days worth of paid annual leaves to the employees. India has made it compulsory for employers to grant at least one day of leave per every twenty days worked to the employees.

The United States has no law regarding paid annual leave. In most of the European Union countries, annual leave comes under the ambit of labour laws. A lot of labour rights activists and unions are protesting to make at least 20 days of paid annual leave compulsory for the employees.  


What is Personal Leave?

Personal leave, also known as sick leave, can be availed by employees in the case of a personal emergency involving health issues, family issues or any other unforeseen circumstances without losing pay. This particular leave is different from the annual leaves since there aren’t specific days allocated to personal leave.

An employee can avail of personal leave to deal with matters that are personal or even take a day off to help his mental health. The policies of sick leave are different for companies. Some companies offer paid sick leave even if a family member is sick. Personal leaves are generally granted when an employee has to visit a doctor for an appointment. There have been ongoing talks to include a menstrual leave under the ambit of a paid personal leave.

Employers generally have the right to ask the employees to furnish evidence if they wish to avail themselves of a paid personal leave. The employees can provide a doctor’s certificate to prove that either they or a close family member was sick. A lot of research has pointed towards the fact that personal leave is better for the overall welfare of the employees since they tend to visit the doctor more often if they are provided with the option of a paid personal leave.

Main Differences Between Annual Leave and Personal Leave

  1. Annual leaves are used by employees to go on a vacation or simply take a break, whereas personal leaves are used in times of sickness or injury. 
  2. Annual leaves are granted in a specific number to the employees however, there is no specific number of days allocated to personal leave. 
  3. Annual leaves can be availed by notifying the employer on the other hand a paid personal leave is approved by the employer after looking at the reason and the proof furnished alongside it. 
  4. Annual leaves are paid leaves and personal leaves may or may not be paid depending on the company policies. 
  5. Annual leaves are approved consistently, whereas paid personal leaves may not be approved since they are mostly taken due to unforeseen circumstances.


Annual leaves and personal leaves are generally taken to ensure that the mental health of an employee remains stable. The major distinction between annual and personal leave is that of purpose.

Annual leaves are made available to take a break from work and go on a vacation or simply relax at home. Personal leaves are granted in case of unforeseen circumstances such as sickness, injury or any family crisis.


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022185613491680
  2. https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article-abstract/52/8/485/1404513