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Category Human Resources
Type Policy
Approved by Original approval unknown
Date Policy Took Effect 1 March 2010
Last approved revision 1 March 2010
Sponsor Director of Human Resources
Responsible officer HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration


The purposes of this Policy are –

  • To ensure the reporting and accurate recording of absenteeism due to illness of, or injury to employees or when the employee is unable to attend work when required due to the ill health of a person dependent on them; examples include a child, partner or family member.
  • To ensure that such absenteeism is in accordance with the appropriate Employment Agreement and the Holidays Act 2003.
  • To ensure that the University of Otago meets its obligations as a good employer.

Organisational scope

This policy applies to all staff, both Academic and General, of the University of Otago.


1. Sick leave provisions

  1. All employees, whether academic or general, are entitled to sick leave, the precise amount varying according to the individual employee's employment contract and the date on which they commenced employment with the University. Part-time employees working less than full-time or less than five days per week or less than 52 weeks per year receive a pro-rated entitlement. Sick leave is computed against working days only (i.e. weekends and public holidays are not included).
  2. A medical certificate is required when absences exceed five consecutive working days, and for absences of shorter periods if required by the University in individual cases.
  3. Where employees require leave to care for a person dependent on them, examples include a sick child, partner or family member, the employees concerned may have such absence counted against their own sick leave entitlement, if available, up to the limit provided for in their employment contract.

2. Actions and responsibilities

  1. Heads of Departments
    1. Each Head of Department must ensure that all employees submit their sick leave requests via the employee kiosk leave approval system (where access to the web kiosk is available).
    2. Cases of extended sick leave must be communicated to Payroll Services so that salary overpayments do not occur in cases where the employee has already used up the full entitlement. Extended absences of more than three weeks duration must be also notified in writing to the Director, Human Resources Division, through the respective Divisional Office.
  2. Staff members
    1. Employees are required to notify absences due to illness or injury to their Head of Department through their immediate supervisor, whenever possible, within 30 minutes of normal starting time. Immediately on their return to work employees must submit their sick leave requests via the employee kiosk leave approval system (where access to the web kiosk is available). When applicable, a medical certificate must be supplied to the Head of Department.
  3. Human Resources
    1. The Human Resources Division is responsible for negotiating appropriate sick leave provisions into employment contracts and for providing advice on the interpretation of employment condition provisions and provisions of the Holidays Act 2003 if or when these arise.

3. Accident reporting and rehabilitation policy

  1. All injuries, both of a work and a non-work nature, must be reported in accordance with the Incident Reporting Policy. Please refer to this policy for full procedures.
  2. Absenteeism as a consequence of a work accident/injury is not charged against sick leave but is a full charge against the Departmental budget where not recovered from the University's insurer.
  3. The first week of a non-work accident/injury is recorded against the employee's sick leave entitlement. After this, only 20 per cent or 1 day per week is recorded against sick leave entitlements, BUT 80 per cent of each week's salary is recoverable from ACC , and this is credited back to the employee's cost centre. All non-work accidents/injuries must therefore be reported to allow recovery from ACC .

4. Download sick/injury/domestic/bereavement leave record form

  1. Form required if access to the Web Kiosk is not available.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

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

HR Manager – Promotions and Remuneration
Tel +64 3 479 8092

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