STCA 2015 Part Six: Leave

6.2 Sick Leave

Link to PPTA webpage Sick leave: PPTA guide to the STCA and ASTCA provisions

Link to external website Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Sick leave advice

6.2.1 Eligibility

     Except where otherwise specifically stated the following conditions apply to all teachers.
6.2.2    Entitlement   

(a)    A teacher who is granted leave due to sickness or injury not arising out of or in the course of the teacher’s employment shall be entitled to sick leave on pay for a period or periods not exceeding the amounts set out in the table below.


Length of Service Aggregate period for which sick leave on payment be granted during service
Up to 3 months 7 days
Over 3 months and up to 6 months 14 days
Over 6 months and up to 9 months 31 days
Over 9 months and up to 5 years 46 days
Over 5 years and up to 10 years 92 days
Over 10 years and up to 20 years 154 days
Over 20 years and up to 30 years 229 days
Over 30 years 306 days


(b)    The amount of sick leave available shall be the teacher’s aggregated sick leave entitlement set out in the table above, less the total amount of sick leave with pay the teacher has taken during their teaching service to date.

(c)    Notwithstanding clause 6.2.2(a) above, a short-term relieving teacher has a sick leave entitlement based on the aggregate of the service completed since their last date of permanent employment, where every 190 days or 950 hours of short-term relief service equals one year of sick leave service.

(d)    Where a teacher has exhausted their current entitlement set out in the table in clause 6.2.2(a):

(i)    in each subsequent year the employer will allow the teacher to anticipate up to five days’ paid sick leave.
(ii)    in exceptional circumstances the employer may grant further anticipated sick leave with pay in excess of the entitlement set out in clause 6.2.2(a), provided that no extension is granted beyond the 306 days.  
(iii)    any anticipated sick leave taken under (i) or (ii) above will be deducted from the teacher’s next entitlement under 6.2.2(a) when that entitlement becomes due.

(e)    Where a teacher has exhausted their entitlement set out in the table in clause 6.2.2(a) and has no future entitlement under 6.2.2(a), the teacher shall be granted sick leave in accordance with the Holidays Act 2003.

6.2.3    Service for sick leave purposes

(a)    The total period of the “length of service” which determines the teacher’s sick leave entitlement outlined in 6.2.2(a) shall be the aggregate of employment as a teacher in:

(i)    New Zealand state or state integrated school;
(ii)    New Zealand free kindergarten association, university, or polytechnic;
(iii)    Fiji, Cook lslands, Tonga, Western Samoa or Niue

(b)    The following teaching service is counted as full-time:

(i)    fulltime service;
(ii)    permanent part-time service;
(iii)    non permanent part-time service that consists of employment for 20 hours or more per week.

(c)    Non-permanent part-time teaching service of less than 20 hours per week is assessed on the basis that 80 hours equals one month’s service or 1000 hours equals one year’s service.

(d)    Service in the New Zealand Public Service and/or Armed Forces may be converted to teaching sick leave entitlement on such terms as the Secretary for Education may agree. Deductions for sick leave taken from transferred New Zealand Public Service and/or Armed Forces service shall be converted to deductions from the teaching sick leave entitlement using the formula T/P*S=E where:

•    T = Teachers’ sick leave entitlement on years of service;
•    P = Public Servants’ sick leave entitlement on years of service;
•    S = Sick Leave taken as a Public Servant;
•    E = Equivalent number of days of sick leave as if taken as a teacher.  

Note 1: For the calculation of a teacher’s sick leave entitlement, the total period of a teacher’s “length of service” will continue to include employment as a teacher by a former education board, a secondary school board, a private school which has become integrated, a community college, a technical institute, a teacher’s college, the former Department of Education or an agricultural college.

Note 2: Service for sick leave purposes does not include:

•    study time while a teacher is not employed in the education service, or when on leave without pay of more than 90 calendar days,
•    teaching in private schools (except for teachers in private schools which become integrated,
•    teaching overseas except in the Pacific countries listed in subclause 6.2.3(a)iii above,
•    trade service, or
•    service as a member of the armed forces of another country.

6.2.4    Granting sick leave

(a)    The employer shall grant sick leave on pay with the following conditions:

(i)    While a medical certificate will not normally be required for leave of up to five days, where it is considered warranted, an employer may require a teacher to produce a medical certificate or other evidence satisfactory to the employer.  

(ii)    For sick leave within three consecutive calendar days (whether or not the days would otherwise be working days for the teacher) the employer may inform the teacher that proof of sickness or injury is required and, if so, the employer will agree to meet the employee’s reasonable expenses in obtaining the proof.

(iii)    When a period of sick leave exceeds five school days a medical certificate from a registered medical or dental practitioner must be provided to the employer. If the teacher cannot obtain a medical or dental certificate other evidence satisfactory to the employer may be provided.

(iv)    When a period of sick leave exceeds 14 days an employer may require the teacher to provide a medical certificate from a registered medical or dental practitioner stating the expected date the teacher will be able to return to work. The employer may require the teacher to provide further medical certificates should the sick leave continue beyond the expected date of return stated in this or subsequent medical certificates.

(v)    When a period of sick leave exceeds 14 days the employer may require the teacher to obtain a second medical opinion from an independent registered medical or dental practitioner nominated by the employer and agreed to by the teacher provided that such agreement shall not be unreasonably withheld. The cost of a second medical opinion will be met by the employer.

6.2.5    Deduction from sick leave entitlement

(a)    Full-time teachers will have sick leave deducted from the entitlement set out in clause 6.2.2(a) above as follows:

(i)    where the period of absence does not exceed five consecutive school days the days of absence are deducted i.e. intervening Saturday or Sunday do not count as leave.

(ii)    where the period of absence exceeds five consecutive school days the continuous days are deducted i.e. all intervening weekends count as leave.

(iii)    public holidays and school vacations that fall during a period of paid sick leave do not count as leave.

(b)    Part-time teachers shall have each day of absence deducted as a full day from the entitlement in clause 6.2.2(a) above. The days to be deducted shall be only those days which would normally have been worked and shall not include any intervening free days except where the part-time teacher works on five days of the week when, as with full-time teachers, the intervening weekend days will be counted as sick leave.

6.2.6    Teachers temporarily working reduced hours on account of sickness

(a)    The employer may allow at its discretion a teacher who has been on sick leave to return to duty on a reduced hours basis if the teacher’s doctor so recommends and provides a medical clearance, and there would be no staffing or timetabling problems for the school. This arrangement should not, however, normally be allowed to continue for more than six weeks. The provisions (b) to (e) below will apply.

(b)    The daily hours not worked are to be aggregated and debited against sick leave on the basis of a five-hour day. For example, where a full time teacher is present for:

(i)    20 timetabled hours in one week = 5 hours absent = 1 day sick leave debited

(ii)    17.5 timetabled hours in one week = 7.5 hours absent = 1.5 days sick leave debited

(c)    Whole days or half-days of absence are to be debited as whole or half-days.

(d)    When the absence is on account of injury by accident and earnings related compensation is payable to the teacher, normal pay is to continue and the Secretary for Education is to obtain reimbursement of earnings related compensation from the Accident Compensation Corporation in accordance with the usual procedures.

(e)    If the accident was work related there is no debit against sick leave entitlement. However, if the accident was non-work related, the sick leave entitlement is debited to the extent to which the salary payable for time actually worked plus the earnings related compensation is made up to give normal full salary (provided the teacher has a sick leave entitlement available).

6.2.7    Disregarded sick leave

(a)    Disregarded sick leave not exceeding an overall aggregate of two years shall be granted by the Secretary for Education where in the opinion of the Secretary one of the following conditions has been met:

(i)    The sickness can be traced directly to the conditions or circumstances under which the teacher is working; or

(ii)    The injury occurred in the discharge of the teacher’s duties through no fault of the teacher and where no payment has been made by the Accident Compensation Corporation; or

(iii)    The teacher has contracted a notifiable disease which requires the teacher to be excluded from school for a period prescribed under Schedule 2 of the Health (Infectious and Notifiable Diseases) Regulations 1966 or for a period determined by a Medical Health Officer; or

(iv)    The teacher has contracted  hepatitis or tuberculosis, where the period of disregarded sick leave is the time that the teacher’s treating registered medical practitioner decides is necessary for the teacher to remain away from school; or

(v)    The absence was due to war injury or service.

(b)    Where sick leave has been deducted for any period granted as disregarded sick leave under 6.2.7(a)(i) to 6.2.7(a)(v) above, the sick leave will be reinstated.

(c)    Disregarded sick leave is additional to any period of absence on account of sickness or injury to which the teacher is entitled with full salary in accordance with the scale set out in clause 6.2.2 above.

(d)    Fixed term or relieving teachers shall only be granted disregarded sick leave, as provided for in 6.2.7(a) above, where they have been in continuous employment before the date of application.

6.2.8    Holiday pay deductions

(a)    Holiday pay is not reduced for periods of sick leave with pay

(b)    When teachers have used their current sick leave entitlement holiday pay may be reduced for periods of sick leave without pay on the following conditions:

(i)    No deduction is to be made from the holiday pay of teachers for periods of sick leave without pay for periods not exceeding 90 calendar days in any one school year.
(ii)    Where the total amount of sick/accident leave without pay is in excess of 90 calendar days the deduction is based on the period subsequent to the initial 90 calendar days. The initial 90 calendar days are unaffected.

(c)    Teachers with a current sick leave entitlement who apply to receive sick leave without pay will have holiday pay reduced in proportion to the unpaid leave taken (as per clause 4.8.3) and should be advised of this when notified of the approval of sick leave without pay.

(d)    Clause 6.2.8b above will apply to all fixed term or relieving teachers who have completed at least 90 calendar days continuous service.