Research and Study Leave Policy


All members of academic staff having the status of senior tutor, lecturer or above who do not have this policy included as a schedule to their employment agreement.


To provide clarity around applying for and granting research and study leave


1.    Research and study leave is a form of service to the University, and as such is granted for purposes which are consistent with the University's own obligation to further "the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination and maintenance thereof by teaching and research" University of Auckland Act 1961, s.3(1).

Note - For this reason particular attention is paid to the academic merit of research and other project(s) intended by any applicant for leave

2.     In specific circumstances, continuing compulsory professional education may be approved in lieu of research and study leave

3.    While it is understood that the University will do its best to maintain the scheme of research and study leave, it is discretionary and must depend on the funds available, and staff requirements of the departments concerned

4.    No member of staff  is entitled to research and study leave, the granting of which is always discretionary

5.    Other than in exceptional circumstances it is not the practice to supply temporary replacements for staff proceeding on leave

6.    Academic heads/directors of schools will be required to confirm that satisfactory arrangements can be made to ensure that the work of the department/school can continue satisfactorily in the absence of a particular staff member during their proposed leave periods

7.    Where such confirmation cannot be given it will be necessary to defer a grant of leave; but it is not envisaged that temporary staffing difficulties should provide continuing occasions for denial of leave to particular staff members in a way which disadvantages them relative to other staff members

8.    In considering an application for research and study leave (long, short, condensed) the employer will take into account:

  • the applicant's eligibility for research and study leave in the terms set out above
  • the effect the intended leave will have on the teaching and supervision of students in the department
  • the detailed statement by the departmental head on the application
  • and that the intended leave project(s) are sound, well-documented and will enhance the applicant's research and teaching ability in the particular subject

Leave types

Leave type



Long Leave

2 semesters  (consecutive)

12 semesters continuous service

Short Leave

1 semester

6 semesters continuous service

9.    Any condensed leave will be deducted from the leave entitlement within the current period of service

10.    Any balance of leave and grant-in-aid not taken may be applied for within the current period of service

11.    An academic head may permit a member of staff to proceed on leave immediately after the completion of all examination duties in the semester prior to the leave and remain on leave until the enrolment period for the semester following the leave

12.    Staff members may apply to spend all or part of their research and study leave in New Zealand

13.    Leave within New Zealand will only be granted when the programme of research and writing will occupy the whole of the New Zealand component of the leave, and when it is clear that the programme can best be undertaken in New Zealand


14.    Eligibility is calculated from the date of appointment or the end of the period of service in which previous leave was taken

15.    Where leave is taken by a member of staff later than when eligible, eligibility is normally calculated from the date of return from leave

16.    In the event that condensed leave only is taken within a period of service, eligibility for future leave and grant-in-aid will normally be calculated from the end of that period of service

17.    In assessing eligibility for research and study leave, the employer will consider the staff member's whole service record within the New Zealand university system

18.    If the criteria for research and study leave are met, a period of leave may be granted

19.     If leave is taken before continuation of the appointment, that action will be considered in the normal way on the staff member's return from leave

20.     If the staff member does not take up a continued appointment and serve in that position for at least two years after return from leave, any grant-in-aid will be refundable in terms of this policy

21.     If they meet the other criteria for research and study leave, members of staff who have a fixed term appointment may be granted short or condensed leave provided that they return from leave and serve in their position for at least two years before the term of their appointment ends

22.     If, at the time of the application for leave, the remainder of their term is not long enough to allow for that to happen, the leave will be subject to the term being renewed before the leave is taken

23.     Members of staff with temporary full time service at the grade of lecturer or above at the University, or with permanent full time service at another New Zealand university, may, at the discretion of the employer, be permitted to count that service for leave purposes

24.     Periods of special leave are to be excluded from periods of service but shall will not be taken as interrupting the continuity of service

25.     Other than in exceptional circumstances, research and study leave will not normally be granted to a member of staff where any part of that leave would fall within the last two years of service


26.    Research and study leave will not normally be granted to a member of staff appointed to a tenurable position until the initial term of appointment has been continued

27.    Newly appointed staff may apply for short leave prior to continuation of appointment and, provided all other criteria for research and study leave are met, the employer may grant a period of leave conditional on the appointment being continued before the leave is taken

28.    A newly appointed staff member whose continuation of appointment is conditional on:

  • Completion of a research degree
  • Acceptance for publication of research
  • Or a significantly improved research record

        and whose application for research and study leave has been endorsed by both the academic head/director of school and meets the criteria for research and study leave, may be granted leave for the purposes of that research

29.    A member of staff who has been appointed with previous service counted towards leave entitlement may apply for short or condensed leave before his/her appointment has been continued

30.    On return from leave the staff member will be considered for continuance of appointment in the normal manner

31.    If the staff member does not take up a continued appointment and serve in that position for at least two years after return from leave, any grant-in-aid will be refundable

32.    On occasions, research and study leave may be approved prior to continuation being considered

33.    The granting or declining of any research and study leave does not affect nor indicate the likelihood of any particular decision in relation to continuation

Note - These approval processes are completely separate

34.    As in the case of staff members who are eligible for research and study leave, it is recommended that the decision on any application of leave be one of:

  • Approve leave (with or without conditions)
  • Decline leave
  • Decline leave but allow the application to be reconsidered after the staff member has been considered for continuation

Financial assistance

35.    In all cases the University attempts to help staff members on approved research and study leave by providing grants in aid to the maximum extent that is reasonable in the circumstances

36.    Members of staff on leave may not accept a financial grant or salaried post whether at a university or elsewhere, or engage in private consulting for fees, during the period of their leave without prior permission

37.    Financial assistance from outside sources must be stated specifically in leave applications

38.    If the extent of such assistance is not known at the time the application is made, the details must be submitted to the Dean as soon as they are known

39.    The University is well aware of the financial difficulties encountered by members of staff on overseas leave, and the acceptance of outside financial assistance within reasonable limits will normally be approved

40.    Such assistance will however not be approved if its acceptance entails either obligations out of keeping with the applicant's leave project(s), as approved, or full time work in the service of a body other than the University

41.    Formal teaching commitments must not exceed 60 hours in a year

Grant in aid

42.    Grant-in-aid is made available having regard to the circumstances of each case and to the funds available

43.    The grant-in-aid is reviewed each year by the employer

44.    The percentage of the grant allocated for leave may take into account the amount of time spent overseas, and in all cases must not exceed the reimbursable actual and reasonable costs incurred

45.    The grant-in-aid will not be provided until the final itinerary or programme for research and study leave has been approved by the employer

46.    Any member of staff who receives any grant in respect of research and study leave, in addition to payment of salary, is required to refund a proportion of such the grant as determined, if they do not return to their appointment at the University, and then remain in the service of the University for a period of two years

47.    Where a member of staff resigns while on research and study leave, the University, in at its reasonable discretion, may require the staff member to work the full period of their notice of termination of employment, or to pay to the University an amount up to the equivalent of the salary due for the notice period

48.    Staff granted leave within New Zealand are not eligible for a grant-in-aid except where approval is given for part of the leave to be spent overseas

Leave reports

49.    Within three months of returning from research and study leave staff members are required to submit to the employer, through their academic head and, where applicable, dean a brief but reasonably detailed report of their leave

50.    This should be in standard format and should

  • Relate to the progress of the research and study programme proposed when the applications was made
  • State the universities and other institutions visited and the period of the visits, and
  • Where appropriate, incorporate helpful suggestions arising from information obtained from universities

51.    Staff members should note that leave reports are submitted to Senate and Council, and are public documents, being considered in open Council. Reports should not be of a technical nature but provide an explanation of the nature and significance of the work undertaken

52.    One copy of the report is to be forwarded to the Director of Human Resources, through the academic head, and dean where applicable before reference to Senate and Council

53.    Senate having received leave reports will refer them to appropriate faculties for information

54.    The report will be taken into account when the next application for leave is made

55.    If a staff member fails to submit a report within three months of the conclusion of leave, a reminder notice will be sent calling for the report within one month

56.    If at the end of that time the report is still outstanding then, unless approval has been given for later submission, the member of staff's date of service to count for next leave will be delayed by the time elapsing between four months after the conclusion of leave and the receipt of a satisfactory report

57.    Staff wishing to report on matters which they prefer to be treated as confidential are to submit a supplementary report marked "not for publication"

Leave for senior tutors

58.    Senior tutors may be granted leave on salary for up to one semester for approved programmes with such other financial assistance as may be recommended by the academic head and approved by the dean 

Special leave

59.    Members of staff not fulfilling the requirements for research and study leave, but desiring to do research work or obtain a further academic qualification or for other approved purposes, may be granted special leave upon such conditions as may be determined

60.    Members of staff who in respect of special leave, receive financial assistance by way of salary or otherwise are required to refund the amount of such financial assistance if they do not return to their appointment at the University and remain in the service of the University for a period of two years thereafter


Include the following:

Condensed leave is a short period taken for a special purpose such as attendance at an overseas conference  

Grant-in-aid is a payment made to a staff member who has been approved research and study leave in order to assist with covering actual incurred costs during the period of leave

Long leave is two consecutive semesters of research and study leave

Research and study leave is relief from teaching and administrative duties for which may be granted to members of academic staff of lecturer or above, so that they can pursue University approved research and study programmes

Short leave is one semester of research and study leave

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

Document management and control

Content manager: Associate Director, HR Advisory

Owner: Director, Human Resources 

Approved by: Vice-Chancellor

Date approved:  01 August 2015                    

Review date:  01 August 2018