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Category Human Resources
Type Policy
Approved by Director Human Resources, 8 February 2006
Date Policy Took Effect 8 February 2006
Last approved revision
Sponsor Director of Human Resources
Responsible officer HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration


This policy provides a framework for taking and managing annual leave.

Whilst it is acknowledged that the nature of academic work does not lend itself easily to specifying and recording annual leave, the University has obligations under legislation to ensure that leave is taken and recorded. This policy is in no way intended to stifle academic endeavour or provide unnecessary boundaries; rather the primary goals of this policy are to:

  • encourage all staff to maintain a positive work and life balance by taking their full annual leave entitlement in the year it falls due.
  • ensure compliance with the Holidays Act 2003 and the University's employment agreements.
  • guide the accurate recording of annual leave.
  • minimise the carrying forward of annual leave and the negative affect this has on the University's financial performance.
  • assist the University to meet its obligations as a good employer.

Organisational scope

All staff employed by the University of Otago, excluding casual and student employees.


1. Responsibilities

Individuals are responsible for ensuring they take all their annual leave and that leave is recorded using the correct procedure on the Staff Web Kiosk.

Heads of Department / Managers are responsible for ensuring that staff in their area have sufficient opportunity to take all their annual leave. It is acknowledged that our relationships with other agencies, such as the DHBs, may complicate our ability to do this.

Note: There are a small number of special cases where the use of the Staff Web Kiosk is not applicable; these will be known to the areas involved and alternative recording systems are to be used.

2. Annual Leave Definitions

Annual leave entitlements are outlined in each staff member's employment agreement.

Annual leave accrues during the course of the year and becomes an entitlement on 1 December each year, for use during the following 12 months.

  • Annual leave accruing throughout the year is called "accrued leave".
  • When the accrued annual leave is allocated on 1 December it becomes the "leave entitlement" to be used within the following 12 months.
  • Any previous leave entitlement not used by 30 November is "carry forward leave" e.g. any portion of the leave entitlement allocated on 1 December 2004 that has not been taken by 1 December 2005 (excluding the new entitlement allocated 1 December 2005 ).
Note: The term "leave accrual" used by Financial Services refers to the balance of accrued leave, leave entitlement and carry forward, at a point in time.

3. Managing Leave

Heads of Department or Managers should monitor staff member's leave balances and the amount of leave taken and should ensure that all staff are provided with an opportunity to take their full annual leave entitlement for the year.

Staff should have the opportunity to have at least one continuous two week break each leave year.

Where a staff member has a carry forward balance greater than 10 days then the person will take annual leave from the first normal working day following 1 January in the following year for a period sufficient to reduce the carry forward balance to 10 days, unless the Divisional Head or Dean (where applicable) expressly agrees otherwise in writing (this approval must be copied to Payroll Services).

For staff with clinical responsibilities the leave will be taken at the first available opportunity following the New Year, taking into account any rostered clinical duties.

If agreement is not able to be reached regarding the taking of annual leave, Divisional Heads or Deans (where applicable) may require staff to take annual leave. In this case as much notice as possible should be given to the staff member and not less than four weeks. The Divisional Head / Dean should write to the staff member, outlining the dates that the leave is to be taken. A copy should be sent to Payroll Services who will then book the leave into the Staff Web Kiosk.

4. Taking Annual Leave

Provided there is sufficient leave available, annual leave requests will be granted whenever possible, taking into account the needs of the Department.

  • Where it is necessary, budget holders should make appropriate provision in their staffing budget to provide coverage for employees taking annual leave throughout the year.

Staff are able to anticipate annual leave ie take accrued leave before it becomes an entitlement. This is subject to their Head of Department's approval.

  • If a person resigns and has a negative annual leave balance, it is expected that the balance owing will be deducted from the final pay.

Where an employee or a person dependent on them becomes sick, or bereavement occurs when an employee is on annual leave or long service leave, then the employer will permit the period of sickness to be debited against their sick leave entitlement, provided a medical certificate is produced for the sick leave. This is in accordance with the University's employment agreements.

  • Annual leave recommences once the sick person is well again or the bereavement leave period is over, provided it was within the timeframes for which annual leave was originally sought. The leave records must therefore be updated to reflect the change in leave taken. This will require the employee completing the Leave Reversal Request on the HR website.

5. Close Down

Where a close down period is observed between Christmas and New Year, or during some other time during the year, it is expected that staff take annual leave at that time.

Staff who do not have enough accrued leave at the time of the close down period will either use their annual leave entitlement in advance or, if they wish, leave without pay will be granted.

In exceptional cases, where it is essential, a Head of Department may need staff to work during the close down. It is expected that the Head of Department will seek volunteers prior to requiring any individual to work.

  • Heads of Department should seek the approval of the Division Head or Dean (if applicable) prior to requiring staff to work during a close down.
  • Payroll Services must be advised when any staff member works during a close-down period.

In relation to staff with clinical duties with a District Health Board, the close down period does not apply. In this circumstance, people are not expected to be on annual leave from the University and will be paid in the usual way. Payroll services should be advised who is working.

6. Annual Leave Recording and Approval

All requests for annual leave will be entered into the Staff Web Kiosk system by the person who intends taking the leave.

  • Filling in the Staff Web Kiosk should take place after a discussion has been held with colleagues and the Head of Department or Manager and, if applicable, any other relevant agencies with whom the individual works, such as a District Health Board.

Leave requests are to be entered into the Staff Web Kiosk prior to leave being taken.

Leave requests must be considered by the person with the delegated authority to approve the leave.

  • The administrative process of approving leave within the Staff Web Kiosk may be delegated to another staff member (for example, a department administrator). In this case the person with delegated authority to approve leave must still consider the request and there must be an auditable record of the decision (ie approved or declined) held within the Department.

Leave requests booked in the Staff Web Kiosk will escalate if not attended to within 96 hours of submitting.

If a staff member goes on leave without entering the leave in the Staff Web Kiosk the Head of Department may direct Payroll Services to record the leave.

Where a staff member is taking annual leave from 1 January, in accordance with the carry forward provisions, this leave record will be entered automatically by Payroll Services, where the individual staff member has not already done so.

If a leave approver is away, temporary delegation of leave approval within the Staff Web Kiosk can be made by contacting the HR Technical Team.

Where booked leave is not taken or where circumstances change, annual leave bookings can be changed by downloading and completing the Leave Reversal Request on the HR website.

7. Delegations of Authority

Delegations of authority for all types of leave can be found in the Leave Delegated Authorities Policy.

8. Advice and Support

For advice and support regarding this policy please contact your Division's designated Human Resources Manager.

Contact for further information

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

HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration
Tel +64 3 479 8092

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