Primary Principals' Collective Agreement

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Part 7: Leave

Primary Principals' Collective Agreement
Effective: 26 August 2019 to 25 August 2022

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  • 7.1 Annual Leave
    • 7.1.1 An employer may, during any period when the school is officially closed for instruction, require a principal to:

        1. undertake duties or responsibilities required during that period for the proper management of the school; or
        2. attend at the school or elsewhere for other purposes connected to that principal's employment.

      The employer will however, endeavour to arrange matters at the school in such a way that any requirement that the principal undertake duties or attend at the school when the school is officially closed for instruction is not unreasonable.

      7.1.2 Principals will take their annual leave outside of the gazetted term dates, when the school is closed for instruction. Such leave shall be taken in the year in which it falls due, except where the Board and the principal agree, in writing, that the unused entitlement may be carried over to the following year.

  • 7.2 Statutory Holidays
    • 7.2.1 In accordance with the Holidays Act 2003(external link), a principal required by their employer to work on a Public Holiday shall be entitled to be paid time and a half for the day and to receive an alternative holiday (if the day would otherwise be a working day for the principal).

  • 7.3 Sick Leave
    • 7.3.1 The employer shall grant sick leave on full pay as set out below. The following sick leave allocation applies to all principals. A principal who was employed by an employer immediately prior to 1 July 1992 shall have their transitional sick leave entitlement calculated on the basis set out in clause 7.3.4.

      7.3.2 Minimum Entitlement

      A principal who works for the employer for a period of more than six months, or who has service recognised for the purposes of sick leave (as defined in clause 7.4) which exceeds 6 months, shall be entitled to 5 days sick leave on pay on account of sickness or injury, in each ensuing period of 12 months. Unused sick leave under this provision may be accumulated and used at a later date but the next year's entitlement cannot be anticipated.

      7.3.3 Additional Entitlement

      In addition to the entitlement in 7.3.2, the following sick leave shall be granted:

      Table A

      Period of serviceAdditional days for each period of service
      Up to 3 months 7 days
      Over 3 months and up to 6 months 7 days
      Over 6 months and up to 9 months 7 days
      Over 9 months and up to 5 years 5 days
      Over 5 years and up to 10 years 19 days
      Over 10 years and up to 20 years 14 days
      Over 20 years and up to 30 years 25 days
      Over 30 years 22 days
        1. Unused sick leave granted under Table A can be accumulated and used at a later date.
        2. In exceptional circumstances the employer may grant sick leave with pay in anticipation of future entitlements under Table A, provided that no extension may be granted beyond 106 days. Before approving any such extension the employer shall ensure that any extension complies with any funding arrangements applying to the school.

      7.3.4 Transitional Sick Leave

      A principal who was employed by an employer immediately prior to 1 July 1992 shall have their sick leave calculated on the following basis:

      Table B

      Length of ServiceAggregated Period for Which Sick Leave on
      Pay may be Granted during Service
      Up to 3 months 7 days
      Over 3 months and up to 6 months 14 days
      Over 6 months and up to 9 months 31 days
      Over 9 months and up to 5 years 46 days
      Over 5 years and up to 10 years 92 days
      Over 10 years and up to 20 years 154 days
      Over 20 years and up to 30 years 229 days
      Over 30 years 306 days
        1. A principal shall be entitled to the balance of the sick leave on pay that that principal was entitled to as at 30 June 1992 as determined from Table B above.
        2. If the balance of sick leave under this clause works out at less than 5 days per year then the principal shall be entitled to up to 5 days sick leave on pay per year.
        3. Once the principal has completed a single period of service in table B (e.g., over 5 years and up to 10 years) the sick leave on pay provisions in clause 7.3.2 and clause 7.3.3 shall apply. The principal's entry point on Table A shall be worked out according to the principal’s years of service (service for this purpose is defined in clause 7.4).
        4. Any sick leave entitlement under Table B remaining after the completion of the relevant period of service and any other sick leave entitlements under this agreement shall be accumulated.
        5. In exceptional circumstances the employer may grant sick leave with pay in anticipation of future entitlements under Table B, provided that no extension may be granted beyond 306 days. Before approving any such extension the employer shall ensure that any extension complies with any funding arrangements applying to the school.

      7.3.5 The provisions of this clause regulate the application of paid sick leave under clauses 7.3.2, 7.3.3 and 7.3.4.

        1. sick leave is to be debited on the basis of days of absence where absence does not exceed five consecutive working days; or
        2. on the basis of continuous days, including intervening weekends, where the absence exceeds five consecutive working days;
        3. public holidays and school vacations that fall during a period of paid sick leave do not count as leave.
        4. no deduction will be made for absences of less than two hours.

      7.3.6 The provisions of this clause regulate the application of paid sick leave under clause 7.3.2, 7.3.3 or 7.3.4 to care for a member of the principal's household.

        1. The employer shall grant up to 20 days per annum sick leave with pay, as a charge against the principal's sick leave when the principal is absent from work to attend a member of her or his household who, through illness, is dependent upon the principal. The employer may grant additional paid leave as a charge against the principal's sick leave in accordance with this clause.

      Note: A member of the principal's household includes the principal's spouse or partner, children, grandchildren, parents or any relative or person who is demonstrated to have a dependency n the principal.

        1. When in excess of five days sick leave is taken by the principal, for reasons of their own sickness or injury or to care for a member of the principal's household as provided for in 7.3.5(d), a current medical certificate from a registered medical or dental practitioner must be produced if the employer so requires.
  • 7.4 Sick Leave Service
        1. The total period of the service which determines the sick leave entitlement outlined in 7.3.2, 7.3.3 or 7.3.4 shall be the aggregate of employment as a teacher or principal in:
            1. a New Zealand state or state integrated school;
            2. a New Zealand free kindergarten association, university, or polytechnic;
            3. Fiji, Cook lslands, Tonga, Western Samoa or Niue
        2. The following service as a teacher or principal is counted as full-time:
            1. fulltime service;
            2. permanent part-time service;
            3. non-permanent part-time service that consists of employment for 20 hours or more per week.
        3. Non-permanent part-time teaching service of less than 20 hours per week is assessed on the basis that 80 hours equals one month’s service or 1000 hours equals one year’s service.
        4. Service in the New Zealand Public Service and/or Armed Forces may be converted to teaching sick leave entitlement on such terms as the Secretary for Education may agree. Deductions for sick leave taken from transferred New Zealand Public Service and/or Armed Forces service shall be converted to deductions from the principal’s sick leave entitlement using the formula T/P*S=E where: Mul>
          • T = Principal’s sick leave entitlement on years of service;
          • P = Public Servants’ sick leave entitlement on years of service;
          • S = Sick Leave taken as a Public Servant;
          • E = Equivalent number of days of sick leave as if taken as a teacher.

      Note 1: For the calculation of the sick leave entitlement, the total period of service will continue to include employment as a teacher or principal by a former education board, a secondary school board, a private school which has become integrated, a community college, a technical institute, a teacher’s college, the former Department of Education or an agricultural college.

      Note 2: Service for sick leave purposes does not include:

        • study time while a teacher or principal is not employed in the education service, or when on leave without pay of more than 90 calendar days,
        • teaching in private schools (except for teachers or principals in private schools which become integrated,
        • teaching overseas except in the Pacific countries listed in clause 7.4(a)iii above,
        • trade service, or
          service as a member of the armed forces of another country.
  • 7.5 Disregarded Sick Leave
    • 7.5.1 Disregarded sick leave not exceeding an overall aggregate of two years shall be granted by the Secretary for Education, where in the opinion of the Secretary one of the following circumstances has been met:

        1. The sickness can be traced directly to the conditions or circumstances under which the principal is working; or
        2. The injury was suffered by the principal in the discharge of duties through no fault of the principal; and in circumstances where payment has not been made by the Accident Compensation Corporation; or
        3. The absence was due to war injury or to war service; or
        4. The principal has contracted a notifiable disease which requires the principal to be excluded from school for a period prescribed under Schedule 2 of the Health (Infectious and Notifiable Diseases) Regulations 1966 or for a period determined by a Medical Health Officer; or
        5. The principal has contracted hepatitis or tuberculosis, where the period of disregarded sick leave is the time that the principal’s treating registered medical practitioner decides is necessary for the principal to remain away from school.

      7.5.2 Where sick leave has been deducted for any period granted as disregarded sick leave under clause 7.5.1 above, the sick leave will be reinstated.

      7.5.3 Disregarded sick leave is additional to any period of absence on account of sickness or injury to which the principal is entitled with full salary in accordance with the scale set out in clauses 7.3.2, 7.3.3 or 7.3.4 above.

      7.5.4 Fixed term or relieving principals shall only be granted disregarded sick leave, as provided for in clause 7.5.1 above, where they have been in continuous employment before the date of application.

  • 7.6 Holiday Pay Deductions
    • 7.6.1 Holiday pay is not reduced for periods of sick leave with pay.

      7.6.2 When principals have used their current sick leave entitlement holiday pay may be reduced for periods of sick leave without pay on the following conditions:

        1. No deduction is to be made from the holiday pay of principals for periods of sick leave without pay for periods not exceeding 90 calendar days in any one school year.
        2. Where the total amount of sick/accident leave without pay is in excess of 90 calendar days the deduction is based on the period subsequent to the initial 90 calendar days. The initial 90 calendar days are unaffected.

      7.6.3 Principals with a current sick leave entitlement who apply to receive sick leave without pay will have holiday pay reduced in proportion to the unpaid leave taken and should be advised of this when notified of the approval of sick leave without pay.

      7.6.4 Clause 7.6.2 above will apply to all fixed term or relieving teachers who have completed at least 90 calendar days continuous service.

  • 7.7 Bereavement / Tangihanga Leave
    • 7.7.1 An employer shall approve special bereavement/tangihanga leave on pay for a principal to discharge any obligation and/or to pay respects to a deceased person with whom the principal has had a close association. Such obligations may exist because of blood or family ties or because of particular cultural requirements such as attendance at all or part of a tangihanga or its equivalent.

      7.7.2 In granting leave the following must be taken into account:

        1. The closeness of association between the principal and the deceased. (Note: This association need not be a blood relationship);
        2. Whether the principal has to take significant responsibility for any or all of the arrangements to do with the ceremonies resulting from death;
        3. The amount of time needed to discharge properly any responsibilities or obligations;
        4. Reasonable travelling time should be allowed, but for cases involving overseas travel that may not be the full period of travel;
        5. When an unveiling ceremony occurs on a school working day, leave on pay shall be granted.
  • 7.8 Discretionary Leave
    • 7.8.1 The employer may, where there are special circumstances, grant discretionary leave with or without pay to any principal during periods when the school is officially open for instruction, provided that such leave does not unreasonably impinge upon the operational requirements of the school. Before approving any discretionary leave, the employer shall ensure that the granting of such leave complies with any funding arrangements applying to the school in respect of such leave.

      (Note: Where leave is granted for family reasons, family shall include: partner, child, sister, brother, parent, grandparent, grandchild, kaumatua, mokopuna, tamaiti whāngai, matua whāngai, near relative, near relative-in-law, a member of the household or a person dependent on the principal.)

      7.8.2 The employer shall give favourable consideration to granting discretionary leave to a principal who is absent from work to attend to a dependent of the principal.

  • 7.9 Parental Leave
    • Note: Principals are encouraged to contact the Employment Relations Service on 0800 20 90 20 for more information on parental leave.

      7.9.1 The provisions of the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 shall apply, except in the case of superior provisions listed below.

      7.9.2 The Act provides entitlements to prospective parents, including those adopting a child under six years of age, who meet specific criteria, as set out in the Act. Those entitlements are:

      1. Special leave (pregnancy–related) of up to 10 days;
      2. Primary carer leave of up to 22 weeks;
      3. Extended leave of up to 52 weeks;
      4. Up to 22 weeks of parental leave payments;
      5. Partner’s leave of up to two weeks;

      7.9.3 In addition to a principal’s rights under this Act, the following shall apply:

      1. Principals intending to resign because of pregnancy or the birth of a child must be advised of their right to take parental leave;
      2. Primary carer leave may commence at any time during the pregnancy, subject to the principal giving the employer one month’s notice in writing supported by a medical certificate. A shorter period of notice will be accepted on the recommendation of a medical practitioner;
      3. Any primary carer leave taken will not count against the extended leave entitlement;
      4. A principal with less than 52 weeks’ service shall be entitled to 26 weeks leave from the date of birth and may be granted up to 26 weeks additional leave at the discretion of the employer.

      7.9.4 Parental Grant

      1. The parental grant is payable to a principal on production of a birth certificate or evidence of an approved adoption placement. This entitlement is payable if the principal qualifies for primary carer leave (refer the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987) or resigns because of pregnancy or adoption, except as follows: the parental grant is not payable where a principal has not produced a medical certificate confirming pregnancy, or confirmation from the relevant government department of suitability as an adoptive parent, before commencing leave or resigning. No provision is made for payment of a parental grant in the case of a miscarriage.
      2. The amount of the grant is calculated on the basis of six weeks full salary at the rate applicable, at the date of birth (or placement in the case of adoption), to the position from which the principal was granted leave of absence or resigned as the case may be. However, a principal who works less than full normal hours for a short period only, prior to taking primary carer leave, may have their case for full payment considered by the employer. When a principal is absent on primary carer leave for less than six weeks (30 working days), the full grant equivalent to six weeks salary is still payable. The parental grant is not reduced because salary is being received.

      Note: Principals on parental leave have access to the surplus staffing/school closure provisions of this Agreement.

  • 7.10 Study Leave
    • 7.10.1 A principal who applies for and is awarded one of the 75 full time equivalent study awards, available nationally each year to all primary teachers and principals, shall be granted leave on pay for the period of the study. The priorities for the awarding of the study awards shall be as determined by the Ministry after consultation with NZEI Te Riu Roa.

      7.10.2 In allocating study awards the good employer requirements of section 77A of the State Sector Act 1988(external link) shall be considered.

      7.10.3 Up to five of the 75 awards may be available to teachers or principals who intend to undertake an agreed project of research in education.

  • 7.11 Refreshment Leave
    • 7.11.1 Principals attested as meeting the principals' professional standards in this Agreement shall be entitled (subject to clause 7.11.2) to take unpaid refreshment leave of one school term after three years in the school or up to one school year after five years in the school. When a period of refreshment leave has been taken, a further period of qualifying service in the school, from the date of return from leave, is required before the principal may be considered for further refreshment leave.

      7.11.2 Entitlement to refreshment leave in clause 7.11.1 is subject to:

        1. The employer’s ability to find a suitable reliever to fill the vacancy created by the principal taking the leave, including any consequential vacancy arising as a result of an existing employee acting in the principal’s position. A suitable reliever is a person who will be able, to the satisfaction of the employer, to relieve in the school during the period of the principal’s leave. The employer shall use reasonable endeavours to find a suitable reliever. Reasonable endeavours in this context means accessing suitable relievers from current staff, e.g., DP or AP and/or advertising locally if necessary; and does not mean advertising regionally or nationally except as required in this Agreement to fill a vacancy of one year's duration. It does not require the employer to place more than one advertisement; and
        2. the principal not being subject to current competency or disciplinary processes.

      7.11.3 Time off on refreshment leave will count as service for the purposes of long service and severance calculations. It will not count for the purposes of sick leave or holiday pay calculations or for entitlement to public holidays.

      7.11.4 A principal taking refreshment leave shall not accept employment as a teacher or principal in another state or state-integrated NZ school. However, a principal may agree to undertake occasional day relief work.

  • 7.12 Paid Sabbatical Leave
    • 7.12.1 Paid sabbatical leave positions, each of one term, based on ten weeks per annum, will be available to primary principals in accordance with the provisions of this clause. From the start of the 2017 school year the number of positions available annually shall increase from 100 to 105 paid sabbatical leave positions.

      7.12.2 A principal must have completed a minimum of five years' service as a principal in state and state-integrated schools to qualify for paid sabbatical leave.

      7.12.3 In applying for paid sabbatical leave, a principal will develop a proposal for sabbatical leave in consultation with their board, identifying the purposes for which they would use the sabbatical and the likely benefits to the school or the sector more widely. Sabbatical leave could be used for a wide range of purposes such as research, study, reflection and school visits.

      7.12.4 The scheme will be transparent and use criteria developed by the Ministry, NZEI Te Riu Roa and NZSTA for the selection of recipients. It will operate according to a process similar to that for study leave in clause 7.10 with representation from NZEI Te Riu Roa principals, NZSTA and the Ministry on the selection panel.

      7.12.5 Principals will share their experiences and what they have learnt through sabbatical leave with other principals and Boards through Education Leaders or other fora, thus maximising the benefit to other principals and schools; promoting collaboration and sharing of innovation and effective practice, and creating a body of research and information available to all principals.

      7.12.6 Guidelines (including closing dates) and application forms are available on

  • 7.13 Professional Development Release Time for First Time Principals
    • 7.13.1 First time principals employed in a U1 to U2 grade primary school shall receive 10 days' development release time over an 18 month period to be used for professional learning opportunities designed to improve their management and professional learning leadership capability.