Disregarded sick leave

Disregarded sick leave is when time off for sickness or injury isn’t deducted from a teacher’s or principal’s sick leave balance. Only teachers and principals qualify for disregarded sick leave.

The school board cannot approve disregarded sick leave. You must apply to the Ministry of Education on behalf of the teacher or principal.

Disregarded sick leave can be granted if one of the following circumstances applies to the teacher or principal.

  • Their sickness is directly caused by their working conditions or circumstances.
  • They were injured while carrying out their duties, the injury was not their fault, and they have not received any ACC payments for the injury.
  • The sick leave was due to a war injury or war service.
  • They caught an epidemic disease or had to be in isolation because of having contact with someone with a particular disease (as required by Ministry of Health regulations). In the case of hepatitis, the period of disregarded sick leave will be decided by their doctor.
  • They have tuberculosis.

The maximum amount of disregarded sick leave (total of all periods) is 2 years. If the teacher or principal has tuberculosis and needs to be treated in a specialised health facility, they may be allowed another 6 months of disregarded sick leave.

To apply for disregarded sick leave

Before applying, please read the full text on disregarded sick leave in the relevant collective agreement:

  • Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement, clause 4.3
  • Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement, clause 6.2.7 
  • Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement, clause 5.1.6
  • Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement, clause 7.5 
  • Secondary Principals’ Collective Agreement, clause 5.2.6 
  • Area School Principals’ Collective Agreement, clause 5.2.7 (which allows principals the same provisions as in the teachers’ collective agreement).

In the application for disregarded sick leave, please include:

  • the reason for the request (from the list of circumstances)
  • medical documents to support the request
  • the period of leave
  • a statement that the board supports the request for disregarded sick leave.

Send the application and supporting documents to:

Senior Manager Employment Relations
Education Workforce
Early Learning and Student Achievement
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666
Wellington 6001

If you need more information or have any questions, please email Employment.Relations@education.govt.nz.

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