Annual Leave

The purpose of annual leave is to provide people with a reasonable period of rest and recreation, and a break from the workplace each year.

Massey, as a good employer, views the taking of annual leave as essential to the welfare of our people, and, as an organisation, we encourage people to take annual leave on a regular basis to assist work-life balance.

Taking annual leave on a regular basis also ensures significant leave balances do not develop, which can quickly add up to a significant financial liability for Massey.

To balance the needs of people to take regular breaks, and Massey’s need to manage the financial liability associated with annual leave, people are asked to plan to take annual leave in such a way that at 31 December of each year their annual leave balance sits at no more than half a years’ entitlement. For full time people entitled to four weeks annual leave per year, this would equate to a maximum annual leave balance at year-end of 10 days (or 75 hours).  Ideally, a lower balance of 8 days (or equivalent for part time staff) is preferable to promote rest and recreation and to support the University’s objective to live within its means.

To achieve this, the following approach will be taken:

Between December and the end of March each year, managers will engage in discussions with staff to agree the actual days that leave will be taken, having regard to work commitments and personal plans.

The discussions regarding when annual leave is to be taken may be undertaken in the context of the annual Performance Development and Planning (PDP) process, or separate to that process. Workloads should also be considered when determining the days on which leave will be booked. 

These dates are then to be booked in MyHR by the end of March (either by the staff member or manager), on the explicit understanding that –

i. these dates can be moved during the year (by cancelling and rebooking through the same process as above)
ii. should you have a high annual leave balance, you will not be expected to take any more than 40 days' annual leave in the calendar year


Self -service leave booking system

Planning your leave

To assist staff and managers when planning the regular taking of annual leave, and achieving the goal of year-end annual leave balances of no more than 8-10 days (for full time staff on 4 weeks' leave allocation), a leave calendar is provided which identifies key dates such as public and University holidays, school holidays and semester start and end dates. It is likely in addition to this information, that each work area will have additional key dates/events which will affect when leave is able to be taken.

Predicting future dated or year end balances

MyHR has functionality to enable staff and managers to accurately project their leave balance for a future date, or until the end of the year. Staff access the leave projection functionality from the Leave Balance/History screen in the My Job section of MyHR. Managers can project future dated balances by selecting the staff member's name from the staff absences screen.

University-wide compulsory leave days

Massey’s preference is that there be no wholesale University-wide compulsory days on which leave is to be taken. This will however be reviewed by the Senior Leadership Team throughout the year based on the predicted year-end balance. 

Frequently asked questions

The HRHelpdesk referred to in the FAQ’s below can be contacted by email at, or by phone on extension 85299. 

How much leave am I entitled to?

Employee leave entitlements are contained in the applicable employment agreement. Casual employees are paid holiday pay (equivalent to 8% of gross earnings) in addition to their hourly wages, and employees in salaried positions (either fixed-term or ongoing) are entitled to annual holidays. All salaried staff will have an entitlement to at least four weeks' annual leave in each year. Four weeks' annual leave for full time employees will be 20 days, or 150 hours per year. 

Annual leave is provided to staff on a fortnightly basis (each pay period), and is presented as hours, as well as indicative full time days. The leave balance which appears in MyHR shows an accurate annual leave balance as at the most recent pay period.  

How much leave are part-time staff entitled to?

To ensure leave is provided to staff correctly, each employee has a “working day pattern” which records the days per week and hours per day they work in an ordinary week. The HR system (through which employees are paid and leave is allocated) therefore will “know” what days each employee works and how many hours per day each employee works.

When logged into the MyHR, you can check this information by clicking on the leave calendar - the days you work will be highlighted, and by selecting a day, you will see the hours it is considered you work on that particular day by looking at the “duration” field. Alternatively, you can contact the HR Helpdesk. 

To change the working day pattern, the manager will need to inform the HR Services Team through the HR Helpdesk of the correct information including the hours per day and days per week to be worked. These hours must add up to the contracted hours of work (or FTE). 

When should annual leave be taken and how much can I take at any one point in time?

Annual leave should be taken in each calendar year, and no more than 8-10 days of annual leave should be carried forward to the next calendar/financial year. 
The employee’s wishes as to the timing of annual leave should be accommodated wherever possible, but a request for leave may be declined if it would create unreasonable operational difficulties for the work unit.
In the interests of health and wellbeing it is recommended that employees plan to take at least two weeks of their four week entitlement as a ‘block’ of leave to ensure they have a reasonable break away from work. In accordance with the Holidays Act, if an employee elects to do so, the employer must allow an employee to take two weeks of their annual leave entitlement in a continuous period, subject to fitting with operational requirements. 

Can I be required to take annual leave?

Yes, subject to a number of conditions being met, a manager is able to require a person to take annual leave on specified dates. This should only be considered as a last resort and only in the event the following have occurred:

  • Agreement as to when leave is to be taken has been genuinely sought (through meetings and/or other discussions); and
  • There has been a failure to reach agreement; and
  • The person has sufficient annual leave at the time the leave is to be taken; and
  • Not less than 14 days' notice of the requirement to take leave on specified dates has been provided to the person.

Both the Holidays Act, and the main Massey Employment Agreements provide for this right. In the event that a manager is seeking to require leave to be taken on particular dates, this should first be discussed with the relevant HR Advisor.

Can I take annual leave in advance?

In some cases, people may wish to take leave before they have accumulated a sufficient entitlement. This can be used for example to take a longer summer break, or a special extended break at another time of year. In these circumstances applications for annual leave in advance can be made and should be processed through MyHR. As a guide, managers are able to approve annual leave in advance of up to a total of 10 days. This would mean that within 6 months of the person returning to work they would build their leave balance back up to zero. Managers should discuss application for leave in advance in excess of 10 days with their HR Advisor.

Should an employee have annual leave in advance approved, and leave the University before building their leave balance back up to zero, in certain circumstances the University may seek to recover the value of the leave taken in advance.  The University will consider such instances on a case by case basis and in discussion with the employee.

This is not to discourage staff from applying for leave and occasionally going into a negative leave balance. This may be necessary to manage overall leave balances within the calendar year (as is the University's practice), and is a risk the University carries to enable it to be fiscally responsible.  However, this must be balanced against the debt that can be incurred where staff take advantage of the University's practice in this regard and then leave their employment with a negative leave balance.

How is my annual leave paid?

Approved annual leave is paid to an employee in their regular fortnightly pay as they take their annual leave. It is therefore not paid in advance of a holiday.

Can I change/reschedule leave?

Yes. The employee will need to cancel the leave request booked through MyHR and submit a subsequent leave request for the amended dates. If the first date of leave has already passed an employee will not have access to cancel the leave, and instead they should advise their manager, who will need to inform the HR Helpdesk in order for that leave to be removed from the system. 

When an employee cancels leave, an email is automatically generated to the manager advising them of the leave cancellation. Leave which has been cancelled is not deducted from an employee’s leave balance. 

Can I cash up my annual leave?

No. The Holidays Act 2003 provides for employees to request a cashing-up of a maximum of one week of annual holidays. However, the Act also allows an employer to establish a policy that places the emphasis on employees having the full opportunities for rest and recreation provided by the Act and that employees may not cash up annual holidays. The University considers it important for staff to receive four weeks leave in each year for the purpose of rest and recreation, and therefore has a policy that the University not cash up annual holidays.  

Can I carry forward more than 8-10 days' annual leave from one year to the next?

As noted above, people are asked to plan to take annual leave in such a way that at 31 December of each year their annual leave balance sits at no more than 8-10 days (for full time staff on 4 weeks' leave allocation).

How does annual leave relate to other types of leave?

If sickness occurs during annual leave, Massey will permit the period of sickness to be recorded as sick leave provided a medical certificate is produced. The equivalent period will be credited back to your annual leave entitlement.

If bereavement occurs while you are on annual leave, the leave may be interrupted and bereavement leave granted.

If a public or University holiday falls within a period of annual leave and that is a day you would have otherwise worked, you are entitled to that holiday and your annual leave entitlement will not be affected.

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