Sick leave for teachers and principals

All employees are entitled to a minimum of five days sick leave in each twelve-month period under the Holidays Act 2003. The sick leave entitlement for teachers and principals is accumulated based on service in a State or State-integrated school.

ACC leave is handled differently. For details, see Accidents and ACC leave.

Important: 

Ensure you read the employee's employment agreement carefully for full details of their leave provisions.
See Employment agreements (EDUCATION.govt.nz website).
Contact NZ School Trustees Association if you need help to interpret employment agreement details.


Accumulation of entitlements

Employees accumulate sick leave entitlements as specified in their employment agreement. For teachers and principals, this differs for the primary and area/secondary sectors.
See Leave entitlements for details.

The sick leave entitlement is carried over when they transfer between State or State-integrated schools (unless they have received a severance or long service payment under surplus staffing provisions).

Anticipated sick leave

If an area/secondary teacher or principal (or primary teacher who accrues sick leave as specified in Table B) has used up their sick leave, they may, if agreed to by their employer, anticipate up to five days in any following twelve-month period under the Holidays Act 2003.

In addition, boards may apply to the Ministry of Education on behalf of the employee to anticipate further sick leave over and above the five days they have already anticipated in a twelve-month period.

Novopay will deduct anticipated sick leave taken from the next entitlement when it falls due.

Sick leave for short-term relievers

If a short-term reliever has signed on to relieve at your school on a specific day, and they then take sick leave on that day, they are entitled to paid sick leave if they have entitlements accrued. In this case, submit a time sheet to cover the day, then complete a NOVO12 form for the leave booking.

Disregarded sick leave

Teachers and principals can apply for disregarded sick leave in certain specific circumstances.
See Disregarded sick leave (EDUCATION.govt.nz website) for details.

Book sick leave

To book sick leave for teachers and principals, use the correct leave type code, as described in the following table. 

See Book leave for instructions.

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Sick leave codes

Paid sick leave codes

Code Description When to use
SL

Sick Leave

This code requires a leave reason code. 

See Leave codes and reasons.

Use when the employee has a positive sick leave balance.


This code can also be used for leave for family reasons, if this is a provision of the employment agreement. In this case, use Reason code DOMDE.

SANTS Anticipated Sick Leave - Statutory

Use only for a teacher or principal if they have used all of their sick leave entitlement and have not received any entitlement in the current year.


If a teacher or principal has received an entitlement in the current year, anticipated sick leave must be approved by the Ministry, in which case use the SANTC code.

SANTC Anticipated Sick Leave of future entitlement - MOE

Use for Ministry-approved anticipated sick leave in addition to five days in an entitlement year. This only applies to teachers and principals.

Attach the Ministry approval with the NOVO12 form.

DISSK Disregarded Sick Leave Secretary for Education approved

Use when time off for sickness or injury is not to be deducted from a teacher's or principal's sick leave balance.
See Disregarded sick leave (EDUCATION.govt.nz website).

Attach the Ministry approval with the NOVO12 form.

Unpaid sick leave codes

Code Description When To Use
SLWOP

Sick Leave Without Pay

This code requires a leave reason code. 

See Leave codes and reasons.

Use when the employee's sick leave balance is zero or negative, and they have not requested anticipated sick leave, or they have exhausted their anticipated sick leave entitlement.


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