Leave Management - (includes parental leave)

Approval Date
27 August 2023
Approved By
Executive Director
Next Review
30 August 2024
People, Culture and Safety

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga staff members and Leaders as to the management of all forms of leave.


This policy applies to all staff except casual staff where only sick leave applies.


Employment Relations Act 2000 and all subsequent amendments

Holidays Act 2003 and all subsequent amendments

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 and all subsequent amendments Paid Parental Leave Amendment Act 2004 and all subsequent amendments.

Domestic Violence - Victim Protection Act 2018 and all subsequent amendments



1. General Principles

 All staff members must be afforded the opportunity to take sufficient breaks from work, to rest and recover from illness, and to carry out whānau (family) or other cultural responsibilities in the event of illness or bereavement within their whānau (family).

 Staff members and their Leaders must ensure that requirements relating to leave, as outlined in this policy, are actively managed so that, alongside the above principles, leave is managed in a fiscally sustainable and responsible manner.


 2. Entitlements to Leave

All leave entitlements are set out in the staff member's employment agreement (either individual employment agreement or collective employment agreement).


3. Annual and Discretionary Leave

 The leave year is 1 January XX to 31 December XX. Annual and Discretionary Leave accrued during that time must be used by the 31 January the following year.

  •  ME@OP will be used to determine the leave entitlements as of 31 January each year. The planned leave for the year must be entered into ME@OP before 1 March each year. Changes and updates to leave applications can be made at any time throughout the year ideally before October as long as the leave is still used within the leave year. Retrospective changes where staff members had leave booked in but did not take it will only be approved by the Formal Leader in exceptional
  • Discretionary Leave must be used within the year it is accumulated and cannot be carried over. If Discretionary Leave is not used within the year it is accumulated, it will be forfeited.

4. Deduction of Leave

  •  Leave will be deducted from the staff member's leave balance in accordance with the days entered into and approved in ME@OP. A confirmation email will be sent to the staff member.
  • A staff member must not substitute other approved days outside the system as ME@OP is an official record under the Holidays Act 2003.


5. Standard Close-down Period for All Staff

All staff members shall include in their leave plans the days that arise from the closure of Otago Polytechnic Limited over the Christmas and New Year period, unless they are required to be on duty. Please note professional/general staff will be gifted Otago Polytechnic leave days over this period, whereas academic staff will need to book annual and/or discretionary leave to cover the period.


6. Annual Leave Carried Forward

  •  Any Annual Leave carried forward must be applied for at the same time as planned leave by 1 March each year.
  • In exceptional circumstances, a staff member may carry forward up to ten (10) working days of unused Annual Leave. The maximum of ten (10) working days must be approved by the staff member's Leader and may carry conditions.
  • Annual Leave may only be carried forward when it has been entered into ME@OP by the staff member and approved by their Leader.


 7. Long Service Leave

  •  Long Service Leave is for professional/general staff only, and if applicable, will be shown on the staff member's leave balance within ME@OP at the date the entitlement becomes
  • It must be used within five (5) years of receiving the entitlement or it will be forfeited.


8. Time in Lieu

  •  The accrual of Time in Lieu is not standard practice at Otago Polytechnic |Te Pūkenga but may occur from time to time in extenuating Time in Lieu must be approved, in writing, by the Leader.
  • If a staff member considers their workload to be unmanageable, and unable to be completed within their normal working hours, they should raise their concerns with their Time in lieu does not apply to this circumstance.

The following principles must be adhered to before entering into Time in Lieu:

  • The work is unforeseen, significant, unplanned, and not standard and the timeframe for completion is non-negotiable.
  •  Prior approval from the Formal Leader must be obtained.
  • Time in Lieu must be taken within 1-2 months of it being accumulated, at a mutually agreed time or it will be forfeited (it cannot be carried over). This must be taken at a time when appropriate cover is available.
  • Recording and management of Time in Lieu is the responsibility of the College or Service Area and is not recorded in ME@OP.


9. Unplanned Leave - Sick, Domestic and Bereavement/Tangihanga Leave

  • The following actions are required to ensure the work area is informed and the requirements of the Holiday's Act 2003 are met with regard to the recording of leave:
  • Staff members will be responsible for ensuring unplanned absences such as sick leave, bereavement leave; and domestic leave, are notified to their Leader as early as possible.
  • Staff should indicate to their Leader when they anticipate being able to return to work - especially in the case of bereavement/tangihanga leave. 
  • The staff member must enter the appropriate leave application in ME@OP as soon as possible when they return to work to ensure the correct recording of leave taken.


10. Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

  •  All paid leave (Annual, Discretionary, Long Service) must be used before an extended period of unpaid leave commences, and any annual leave accrued during the period of absence is to be used prior to the staff member's return to work.
  • Any period of unpaid leave requires a written application to the staff member's Leader.  The application will be accepted or declined depending on the circumstances of the application.
  • An unpaid leave application of five (5) or less working days can be requested through Payroll, following approval from the Formal Leader, who will enter the leave into the system.
  • An approved application for a period of unpaid leave exceeding five (5) working days must be forwarded by the Formal Leader with a recommendation to the Senior Leader who will consult with the People, Culture and Wellbeing Director. If approved a formal letter will be written by People and Culture. This must occur at least one (1) week prior to the start date of the leave without pay to avoid overpayment. If the request is not provided on time any overpayment will be recovered from the staff member in the next available pay.
  • Periods of unpaid leave will not accrue Discretionary Leave.


11.  Jury Service Leave

  •  If a staff member is summoned for Jury Service, they must provide a copy of the summons to their Leader.
  • Otago Polytechnic |Te Pūkenga will facilitate the staff member's attendance at Jury Service.
  • A staff member shall return to work as soon as possible if not selected for Jury All Jury Service must be recorded through ME@OP.
  • If a staff member is required to attend a Court on Jury Service, and on the production of a statement from the Registrar of the Court, they will be paid their normal salary for the days involved in Jury Service. The staff member will reimburse to Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga all payments received from the Court excluding any reimbursement for travel, accommodation, or meals.


12. Parental Leave

  • Staff are eligible for Parental Leave under the conditions of the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 and Paid Parental Leave Amendment Act 2004. Information can be found on the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment website.
  • Parental Leave will not apply to casual staff, or staff on a fixed-term contract of less than six (6) months.
  • If a staff member is contemplating applying for Parental Leave they are advised to talk with People and Culture or their Union representative to determine their entitlements and seek more detailed advice relevant to their employment All enquiries will be treated with confidence.
  • Employment agreements for replacement staff members will include information regarding the notice period given if the staff member advises they are returning to work early.
    • Return from Parental Leave

 At the end of the parental leave the expectation would be for the staff member to return to their contracted hours they were working prior to the commencement of Parental Leave, unless the staff member wishes to vary the number of hours that they work under the Flexible Working policy.

 A permanent reduction/variation to their substantive contract will need a formal application in writing to be discussed with their Formal Leader and must be approved by People, Culture and Wellbeing Director. Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga is not required to alter the hours of work.

  •  The staff member is required to give a minimum of twenty-one (21) days notice in writing of their intention to return to work or not as per the original return to A graduated return to work will be supported and will need to be discussed with their Formal Leader.


13. Parental Leave Grant

  • Entitlements for the Parental Leave Grant may differ according to the staff member's employment. Staff members covered by a collective agreement will receive the parental leave payment as detailed in the relevant collective agreement. For staff covered by individual employment agreements, the following shall apply.
  • The amount of the Grant is the equivalent of six (6) weeks' ordinary pay at the rate of pay and hours of work at the time of the birth of their child/ren and will be paid on application.
  • If both the staff member and the staff member's partner are employed at Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga and are eligible for the payment, then they are entitled to only one (1) payment and must choose who will receive it. Only one (1) Parental Leave Grant will be paid during any twelve (12) month period.
  • In order to claim the Grant, the staff member must produce satisfactory evidence of the birth status of the child, adoption under the relevant statutes, or whāngai. A formal application (available on Tūhuno) needs to be submitted to People and Culture after the birth of the child/children. If the staff member is entitled to the Parental Leave Grant and resigns from their substantive position, or reduces their substantive position, at their request within six (6) calendar months of returning from parental/maternity leave, they will be required to refund the payment on a pro-rata basis, based upon one (1) week (five (5) working days) forfeiture for each month or portion thereof not worked.

14. Donating Sick Leave

 14.1    All sick leave donations must be approved by the People and Culture Director (Region 4).

 Sick leave can be donated to another permanent staff member or a staff member on a fixed-term agreement, where the donee of the sick leave, or their dependent has a confirmed diagnosis of a long-term, severe or potentially terminal illness and has or is nearing exhaustion of their own sick leave A maximum of six (6) weeks. sick leave can be received by the donee per annum.

14.1.1. Up to ten (10) days can be donated per donor, per year, but the donor must have a balance of at least twenty (20) days left available for them to take or be taken within six (6) months of their next allocation. Additional days can be donated in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Regional People and Culture Director.

14.1.2 Sick leave donations permanently reduce the donor's accrued balance or entitlement for that year, whichever is applicable.

14.1.3. Staff leaving Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga (e.g., have resigned or have indicated their intention to leave the Polytechnic) are not able to donate sick leave.

14.1.4. Unused Sick Leave will not be returned to the donor but will remain with the donee of the sick leave.


Flexible Working Policy

Domestic Violence Policy


Individual Employment Agreements

TEU Collective Agreement

TIASA Collective Agreement

NZEI Te Riu Roa (Early Childhood Collective)