What happens if I have used up all my sick leave?
Providing that you exhausted all your current entitlement in the previous calendar year, you can claim an entitlement of five days per year under the provisions of the Holidays Act 2003. This will be deducted from your next sick leave entitlement.
If you have no future sick leave entitilement, i.e you have used all 306 days, you may still claim up to five days sick leave per year under the Holidays Act 2003.
In exceptional circumstances you may apply through the school to the Ministry of Education to anticipate more than five days sick leave from your next sick leave entitlement.
Where are my sick leave records kept and how are they recorded?
The records are held by your school’s payroll agency. Prior to 2002 they were recorded on cards. In 2002 they were transferred to an electronic format. Your record of sick leave service to date is transferred to electronic pay advice notices. Your actual balance of sick leave available is shown on your payslip. This information is also communicated to schools in the Staffing Usage and Expenditure (SUE) report and can be accessed from your school.
If you think your sick leave balance is incorrect you should discuss this with one of your school payroll “authorised users” in the first instance.
What happens to my sick leave if I take a break from teaching?
It remains frozen awaiting your return.
What happens if I never return to teaching?
It’s still there frozen in case you ever do.
Can I cash in my sick leave?
No — in most cases. Your sick leave disappears if you take a payout option under surplus staffing. If you medically retire with the concurrence of the Ministry of Education you may choose to cash up your remaining sick leave.
Can I transfer my sick leave to and from overseas?
Can I transfer my sick leave within New Zealand?
You don’t need to as it follows you as part of your state teaching entitlement. However, it does not transfer to and from private schools. Nor does it transfer to other private employers. However, there is a provision for the transfer of sick leave from the public service into teaching. If you are considering this you should consult your PPTA field officer.
What happens if I am stressed at work?
You should see your doctor who may put you on sick leave. There is no separate category in the STCA or ASTCA called stress leave.
What about medical certificates?
You would not normally need a medical certificate for an absence of up to five days. Beyond five days you must produce a medical certificate, but if there are good reasons why you cannot get a medical certificate for sick leave for a period of between six and 14 days, you may be able to satisfy your employer with other evidence. An employer could request a medical certificate or other satisfactory evidence for a period shorter than five days where they consider it warranted.
If your employer requests a second medical opinion, or requires a medical certificate for an absence of less than five days, it should be at their expense.
How does an accident at work affect my sick leave?
It doesn’t as workplace accidents are fully covered by ACC.
And what about if the accident is not at work?
This does affect sick leave. The first seven days are a charge against sick leave and after that one day in five is a charge against sick leave.
What happens if I am sick around Easter and Easter is during a term?
The Thursday before Easter is sick leave. Good Friday is a statutory holiday and not a charge against sick leave. The Saturday and Sunday are sick leave if the absence continues longer than five working days. Monday and Tuesday of Easter are not a charge against sick leave as the Monday is a statutory holiday and the Tuesday is a holiday under Part VII of the Education Act 1989.
If I have been sick and want to return gradually to teaching and my doctor recommends this, can I do so?
You can return on reduced hours but you need the agreement of your employer as there may be staffing and/or timetabling difficulties. This would not normally be for a period of more than six weeks.
If I am on maternity leave, can I use my sick leave?
No. You can use sick leave while you are pregnant and working, but once you have taken maternity leave you can’t use sick leave because you are on leave withot pay. The same applies in all other leave without pay situations.
Can I use sick leave if my child is sick and needs to be cared for?
Yes. You can use sick leave to care for a person in your care.
Can I use sick leave if my partner is dying and I am stressed by the situation?
Special leave with pay for a close relative’s serious illness or accident is available under STCA 6.5.2 [ASTCA 5.5.2]. You can also use your own sick leave to care for a dependent who is unwell. This is provided for under STCA 6.5.3 [ASTCA 5.5.3].
Can I donate some of my sick leave to a colleague who has exhausted their sick leave?
No. It is your sick leave and it can’t be transferred to anyone else.
I have contracted influenza and I am sure I got this from school as there has been a lot around and many students have been absent. Can I apply for this not to be deducted from my sick leave?
You could but it is unlikely to be granted. It could be granted if this had been classified as an epidemic by the Ministry of Health. There are some circumstances where sick leave can be disregarded, tuberculosis and hepatitis being examples but you would need to discuss your situation with your PPTA field officer.
I am really unwell and have little prospect of returning to teaching. What should I do?
Use your sick leave. Even when it is exhausted you can still be paid for a holiday if you have not had more than 90 days sick leave without pay in that school year. You can also consider medical retirement. Sick leave has a considerable value and can enhance things such as the GSF superannuation.
Do not resign in a hurry. Talk to your PPTA field officer.