An appointment with the Sick Leave Bank

NZPA | Sat September 1st, 2018

The Sick Leave Bank was set up in 1981 to provide additional paid sick leave to constabulary members of Police who find themselves with insufficient sick leave to cover extended absences due to ill health.

Sick leave bank teddyIt is funded by a periodic drawdown of personal leave from eligible employees, creating a “bank” of sick leave.

Eligible members apply to the Sick Leave Bank (SLB) through their human resources office and applications are sent to the SLB committee, which meets monthly, for consideration.

The committee members are: Police manager: wellness and safety (the chairperson); Police manager: employment relations; a constabulary employee (inspector or above, nominated by Police and agreed to by the Police Association); Police Welfare Fund representative (representing the Police Association); and a Police Managers Guild representative.

Factors considered before leave is granted are:

• The seriousness of the illness or injury. Generally, more serious illnesses and injuries will warrant greater access to leave.

• The pattern and/or frequency of sick leave previously taken by the employee.

• The likelihood that the employee will return to full health and active duty. A good likelihood generally indicates greater support from the SLB.

• The length of time required for rehabilitation.

• The number of applications made to the SLB by the employee.

• The number of days allocated and unallocated to the employee from previous applications to the SLB. A maximum of 65 days will be granted for each application.

• The employee’s contribution of personal leave in lieu of sick leave.

• Personal leave holdings.

• Employment relations issues.

• Any other arrangements that may be available for the provision of care when the application is for care of a member of the household.

When considering how much SLB leave to allocate, the committee looks at how much leave (annual and otherwise) a member has. When a significant amount of SLB leave is requested, the committee expects applicants to also contribute some of their own leave to cover the period. However, the committee does not want members to end up with no remaining leave, so it always ensures that there is sufficient leave left for rest and recreation.

Police and the association also expect staff making applications to contribute some of their existing leave because the SLB is made up of annual leave donated by every constabulary member.

Staff seeking extended sick leave are expected to have engaged with Police welfare and rehab officers and, if applicable, to include details of a return-to-work plan.

The outcomes decided by the committee can range from approving the full application, approving a partial application or declining the application. The decisions can be reviewed if requested by the applicant.

When the SLB is getting low on leave, there is a drawdown, notified in advance, from the leave allocations of eligible members.

More information can be found in the Sick Leave Bank Policy.

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