Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon
Category Human Resources
Type Guideline
Approved byVice-Chancellor,  21 July 2022
Date Guideline Took Effect 1 August 2022
Last approved revision 
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible officer HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration

Please note that compliance with University Guidelines is expected in normal circumstances, and any deviation from Guidelines – which should only be in exceptional circumstances – needs to be justifiable.


The University recognises that the Head position is a vital role with significant responsibility and strategic importance if the University is to continue to flourish in its three major dimensions of teaching, research, and community service.

This document establishes the guidelines for the financial package to support Heads, as recognition for the responsibilities and importance of the Head position and the increased personal demands placed on those who take up the position.  It acknowledges the importance of Heads continuing to be research active as a key element of their role and as critical to their ongoing academic career.

Organisational scope

These Guidelines apply to Heads but exclude the leaders of the following academic units: Humanities Programmes; Health Sciences Divisional Office; University of Otago Medical School; School of Biomedical Sciences; Dunedin School of Medicine; University of Otago, Christchurch; University of Otago, Wellington; Dean's Office in the School of Business; Executive Programmes; Sir John Walsh Research Institute; Oral Diagnostic & Surgical Sciences; Oral Rehabilitation; Oral Sciences; and research centres.


Heads of Department, Heads of Schools or Deans in standalone departments, schools or faculties. Does not include heads of academic units excluded in the organisational scope.
The combination of Allowance and Support Fund allocated to Heads.
The salary allowance paid to Heads as part of their income.
Support Fund
A fund provisionally available to Heads for use to support their research.
Fulltime Equivalent.


1. Overview

  1. These Guidelines outline the criteria and amount of the Allowance and Support Fund to be applied across all Divisions.
  2. Each Head will be allocated a specific package based on the number of FTE staff employed in a calendar year who directly or indirectly report to that Head.
  3. The allocation is based on the principle that leading a larger department places greater demand on the Head's time.

2. Allocation Structure

  1. There are four levels of FTE ranges (Bands). Each has a different package as outlined in the table below.
  2. Band Level FTE rangeAllowance Support Fund Total Package
    1 0 to 9 $10,000 $15,000 $25,000
    2 10 to 24 $10,000 $20,000 $30,000
    3 25 to 49 $15,000 $25,000 $40,000
    4 50 plus $15,000 $35,000 $50,000
  3. Decisions on which band level a Head is placed in will be based on the FTE figure relevant to that Head for the previous calendar year.
  4. After each calendar year the FTE will be re-calculated, the package reviewed and altered where appropriate.
  5. Where a Head is responsible for two or more departments, the FTE of those departments will be totalled up and Allowance and Support Fund will be allocated accordingly. The Head will not normally receive a separate package for each department.
  6. The Allowance and Support Fund will be allocated as a proportion of the Head's total FTE.
  7. The University may from time to time review the FTE ranges for each band.
  8. Heads who were appointed prior to the implementation date of these guidelines will either retain their current package or receive an increase if the Allowance and/or Support Fund rates are higher in the Band relevant for their department.
  9. If there is a significant organisational change to a department during a year, the FTE and Allowance and Support Fund will be re-assessed. Where there is a current Head then the principles in (g) above will apply.

3. Allowance

The Allowance is taxable income paid directly to the Head. It is excluded from superannuation.

4. Support Fund

  1. A Support Fund is provided to support the Head's research.  The Head may use this Support Fund within the criteria outlined below.
  2. Heads must submit a Support Fund budget plan to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or Dean in Health Sciences) annually, for approval of how the Support Fund is to be used.
  3. The Head will make a case to demonstrate that the use of the Support Fund will be of benefit to their research programme. Examples of how the Support Fund may be used include:
    1. Provision of research assistance or teaching relief, such as short-term employment of a research assistant or teaching fellow for high workload periods or specific one-off tasks/projects.
    2. Purchase or rental of equipment that would not normally be available to the Head that would provide time release.
    3. Attendance at conferences and courses both within New Zealand and internationally.
    4. Visits to overseas universities and institutions to keep up to date with trends in the academic area.
  4. It is acknowledged that use of the Support Fund will vary across Departments and Divisions depending on circumstances and requirements of each individual Head.
  5. The Support Fund cannot be used to supplement existing Departmental budgets for general purposes or as a source of discretionary funds.
  6. Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Deans in Health Sciences will be required to ensure equity and consistency in the ways in which Support Funds are managed.
  7. Once the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or Dean in Health Sciences) has approved how the Support Fund will be used, the Head may use the Support Fund within that agreed plan.
  8. The plan and expenditure can be altered at any time during the year following agreement between the Head and the relevant Pro-Vice-Chancellor or Dean in Health Sciences.
  9. Unspent Support Funds do not carry forward into the next calendar year, i.e., they will not accrue from year to year.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of these Guidelines or need further clarification, contact:

HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration

Back to top