Leave management

Whakahaere whakamatuatanga

Leave management is how boards (and their delegate/s) monitor and manage employee leave so that the operational needs of the school are balanced with the individual needs of the employee, financial risk is minimised and legal requirements are met.


Why do boards have to do this?

  • The health and well-being of employees are promoted through both the regular use of annual holidays and the access to their sick leave entitlement when required.
  • Legal and sector obligations must be met, allowing employees to use their legal entitlements according to the Holidays Act 2003 and their Employment Agreement.
  • If a board fails to manage leave, a leave liability could occur where weeks or years of leave accumulate. If an employee resigns with a large leave balance, the school could take a financial hit, leaving students disadvantaged.


What does our board have to do?

  • State its expectations for management of employee leave. This policy statement can be included in the board’s personnel policy in the Policy Framework. 
  • Ensure the principal has implemented good procedures and records for managing leave.
  • Include leave liabilities in the board’s annual report.
  • Check that appropriate delegations have been made regarding leave. The principal should be delegated the authority to manage employees’ leave, but the board may retain approval in certain circumstances. (E.g. The board will retain approval over employee discretionary leave). These delegations and exceptions should be included in the board’s personnel policy.
  • Monitor the staff leave balances through the principal’s reports to the board, the School Usage and Expenditure (SUE), banking staffing and leave management reports.
  • Manage and monitor the principal’s leave according to policy and procedures.

Please note:

  • Principals’ sick leave can be recorded in Novopay Online.
  • Principals’ annual leave cannot currently be recorded in Novopay.
  • Secondary principals’ annual leave entitlement of 25 days should be recorded at the school level.
  • Conversations between the board and the principal about planning when and how annual leave is taken should occur at the start of the year.


 What do principals have to do?

  • Ensures effective leave management procedures are implemented, communicated and monitored which include:
    • how and when employees make requests
    • who has authority to approve requests
    • the process for preventing or managing huge leave accumulations for 52-week non-teaching staff.
  • Ensure that accurate leave records are being kept which comply with the requirements of the Holidays Act 2003. These can be included in the employment detail summary and should be updated annually and kept in the employee’s personnel file. The Novopay leave report contains much of this information.
  • Ensure they and/or their Novopay authorised users are submitting leave information, forms and bookings promptly to Novopay to ensure accurate payment calculations.
  • Report on leave matters to the board, in accordance with policy. This may include discretionary leave, long-term sick leave and significant leave liabilities.


How can we reduce a huge accumulation of leave?

  1. Make a plan with the employee/s and reach agreement about how to reduce the leave. This could include taking long periods off of work or reducing the days worked per week.
  2. Cash up to one week of annual leave per year, at the employee’s request.
  3. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the employee about how to use their leave, you can direct the employee to take annual leave with at least 14 days’ notice of the requirement to take some or all of their accrued leave. See the Holidays Act 2003 Section 19 to ensure you follow the law when requiring employees to take leave.

Note: If you have employees not paid through Novopay online, the same requirements as above apply to your school payroll systems.

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