Additional relief teacher funding

The Ministry manages a central funding pool to provide additional relief teacher funding in certain situations.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Administrators


This guidance informs schools of additional relief teacher funding, the eligibility criteria for the funding and how to apply.

When we provide funding

We provide this funding when eligibility conditions are met and if:

  • a teacher was absent on paid sick leave due to their own illness for more than eight consecutive days in one school year, or was absent due to a recurring illness for more than eight days in the same school year (your board must fund the relief cost of the first eight days of absence in each case, each school year. Note that for a Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) or an attached teacher who’s not included in the relief teacher calculation of operational funding, we provide funding from the first day of absence, if the absence is for more than a week and a suitably qualified relief teacher is hired for the whole period of absence)
  • a teacher was accessing up to 10 days’ family violence leave in one school year.  The eight-day rule does not apply.
  • a teacher is granted leave to participate in an international sports or cultural event. Visit our Sports and cultural leave webpage for eligibility conditions.

Additional relief teacher funding for sports and cultural leave

In cases of financial hardship due to the long-term illness of your principal, more additional relief teacher funding might be available. Refer to the Evidence to provide for additional relief teacher funding section below for more details.

What additional relief teacher funding doesn’t cover

Additional relief teacher funding is provided to help boards pay relief expenses. It’s not a full reimbursement of any board’s particular relief related expenses or salary expenditure, which may include the payment of higher duties or acting up allowances. Your board is responsible for managing relief teacher finances and any surpluses or deficits from under- or over-spending on the employment of relief teachers from year to year.

Operational funding components – budgeting for relief teacher expenses

Additional relief teacher funding isn't available for job interviews. If the teacher is subject to the redeployment and surplus staffing provisions of the collective agreement, then the employing board is responsible for the actual and reasonable interview expenses.

Additional relief teacher funding is not available for:

  • leave without pay
  • professional development
  • bereavement leave
  • board-approved discretionary leave, including leave granted to teachers to attend to dependent members of their family
  • ACC claims (refer to employees on ACC)
  • a board that has received some other form of resourcing to cover the absence of a teacher, for example special reasons staffing.

Accident Compensation Corporation claims

What evidence to provide for additional relief teacher funding

For an absence due to illness, you need to provide:

  • all relevant medical documents and current medical certificates covering the period of absence
  • a copy of the board’s notification to Novopay advising of the teacher’s absence and the deduction of sick leave.

For cases of hardship due to the long-term illness of your principal, contact us to discuss your situation.

Local Ministry offices

More additional relief teacher funding is only granted in exceptional circumstances and involves one of our financial advisors assessing your school’s financial position.

Medical certificate and documentation requirements

For absence due to illness, we need evidence that:

  • the teacher consulted with a New Zealand-registered medical practitioner who is currently practising in New Zealand
  • the teacher was absent due to their own illness
  • the original medical consultation took place on or near the beginning of the teacher’s first day of absence or at least within the first 8 days of absence
  • the teacher re-consulted with a medical practitioner at the end of the period specified by the medical practitioner if the absence continued beyond the specified period
  • the period of absence specified by the medical practitioner matches the period of absence specified in the leave booking report
  • teachers accessing family violence leave are not required to provide medical certificates.

Types of medical documentation we accept

Medical documentation can include:

  • medical certificates
  • hospital admission and discharge forms
  • surgical or specialist reports
  • doctors’ letters or referrals.

Who we accept medical certificates from

Medical certificates must be issued by a New Zealand-registered medical or dental practitioner currently practising in New Zealand, or a lead maternity carer (as defined by the Ministry of Health).

We don’t accept certificates from registered psychologists and other professionals unless they’re accompanied by a valid medical certificate.

What medical certificates must include

Medical certificates must state the expected number of days the teacher will be absent, or an expected date that the teacher will return to work. If this information is not stated, we apply an expiry date of one calendar month after the date of issue or the consultation.

Medical certificates must show the date of consultation and/or the date they were signed or issued. Medical certificates that don’t show these dates are not accepted.

Funding is only considered from the date of issue or consultation on each medical certificate provided.

Note: Medical certificates that show a date of issue or consultation within the first eight days that the board is required to fund (weekends included) won’t affect the additional relief teacher funding to be paid.

Medical certificates that show a date of issue or consultation after the eighth day of absence (weekends included) will only generate additional relief teacher funding from and including the date of issue or consultation on the medical certificate.

When to renew a medical certificate

If an absence goes beyond the dates covered in the original medical certificate or subsequent certificates, your board must request a renewal of the medical certificate.

When to request a second medical certificate

If you have reasonable doubt about the validity of the issuer or the genuineness of the illness, you have the right to ask a teacher for a second medical certificate.

The second certificate replaces the first medical certificate and should be from an alternative medical provider that your board nominates. This provider should, wherever practical, be a specialist in the illness or condition that is preventing the teacher returning to normal duties.

The first certificate applies up until the date when the second certificate is issued. If a second certificate is not supplied, the first certificate expires on the date the second certificate was requested.

When we might request a second medical certificate

We also have the right to request a second medical certificate and to nominate the provider if we need reassurance that an extended absence is genuine.

Your board must meet the cost of the medical examination for a second certificate. However, we will reimburse the cost if you provide a receipt for payment.

When to claim for additional relief teacher funding

The final date for processing claims for each school term is the end of the following term.

For example, if a teacher’s absence is during Term 2, your claim must be made by the end of Term 3. Claims for Term 4 must be submitted by the end of Term 1 of the following year.

Late claims won’t be accepted.

Additional Relief Teacher Funding – COVID-19

Schools can claim for Additional Relief Teacher Funding if relief cover is required for a teacher who is in isolation for a specified period for reasons related to Covid-19.

Apply for additional relief funding for COVID-19 related absences during Term 1 2022(external link)

Supporting staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19

To help schools support their teachers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, schools can claim a reimbursement if they are required to backfill a teacher who requires time off to deal with a side effect of the vaccine (recorded as an adverse effect following immunisation, or AEFI). Where the criteria are met, reimbursement will be available from day one of the period of absence; the 8 day rule will not apply.

Read the full criteria for claiming(external link)

Additional Relief Teacher Funding – Jury Service

From 23 July 2018, you no longer need to apply for funding for Additional Relief Teacher funding for Jury Service. The funding will be delivered automatically based on any jury service recorded in the payroll system for the teacher.  The funding system looks back three months for any jury leave to calculate funding. This is to allow schools time to ensure the correct leave is booked in Novopay’s payroll system so that the funding can be delivered correctly.

Further information about the changes to Additional Relief Teacher funding can be found in the following Ministry Bulletin.

Ministry Bulletin, Issue Number 92, June 2018

How additional relief teacher funding is paid

Additional relief teacher funding is paid on a seven-day basis and includes payment of weekends when a teacher is on sick leave before and after the weekend.

The funding isn't available during school or public holidays, or teacher-only days as relief teachers aren't required.

Payment of additional relief teacher funding is made directly to your bank account.

How we calculate additional relief teacher funding

We use the following formula to calculate the amount of funding for each approved day of additional relief teacher funding.

(Relevant collective agreement annual maximum relieving teacher rate/190) x the no. of approved funded days) + ACC rate + GST. (Normal rounding to two decimal places applies.)

For part-time teachers, funding is calculated in proportion to the teacher’s part-time employed hours and paid in equivalent full-time hours.

Apply for additional relief teacher funding

Note: In some circumstances, the provisions for medical retirement may apply. Refer to the relevant collective employment agreement for more information.

How to apply

Additional Relief Teacher Funding applications are processed through the Education Resourcing System (ERS).

Education Resourcing System (ERS)(external link)

If you do not have access to ERS, follow these links for more information:

What evidence to provide for additional relief teacher funding

Contact us

Resourcing contact centre

Phone: +64 4 463 8383


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