Annual Leave

Public Service


Full-time employees are entitled to 152 hours annual leave per annum.  Annual leave entitlements  for part-time employees apply on a pro rata basis according to the time fraction worked.  Employees accrue annual leave for each hour of service on a daily basis and may only access the annual leave accruals to which they are entitled.

Shift workers whose rostered duty includes a minimum of 10 Sundays within a calendar year, are entitled to an additional 38 hours annual leave. Where the shift worker's rostered duty involves less than 10 Sundays in a calendar year, the entitlement to additional annual leave is equal to one-tenth of a full-time working week (38 hours) for each Sunday worked.  Shift work is when an employee is required to perform rostered ordinary hours of work averaging 76 hours per fortnight, and whose ordinary hours of work include, as part of a regular pattern or regular roster cycle, a Saturday, Sunday, Public Holiday or afternoon/night shift. 

The additional annual leave for shift work may be converted to salary at the election of the employee. The additional annual leave entitlement is pro-rata for part-time employees.

The approval of annual leave will take into account the personal needs of the employee and the operational requirements of the work unit. An application for annual leave at half pay will generally not be approved where an employee has an excessive annual leave balance (40 days or more).

Annual leave on half pay may be approved on the request of an employee.

In exceptional circumstances, an employee may at the time of applying for annual leave, request to receive payment in advance including any applicable annual leave loading allowance.

Service for annual leave accrual purposes includes all periods of:

  • duty
  • paid leave
  • leave without pay not exceeding 30 days in any calendar year.

Annual leave and other forms of leave

Where an entitlement to Personal/Carers, Compassionate, Cultural and Ceremonial, Family Violence, Jury Service or Emergency Services leave arises during a period of annual leave, an employee may be eligible to have their annual leave re-credited. For further information, see the relevant leave topic on HRWeb.

Public holidays that fall during a period of annual leave are not regarded as part of that leave.

An employee who is absent from work and in receipt of workers compensation payments is entitled to take and accrue annual leave, personal leave and long service leave during the first 52 weeks. After 52 weeks they are entitled to accrue and take annual leave and personal leave.

Excess annual leave

Employees are expected to take annual leave by the end of the year following the year in which it was accrued. A full-time employee is considered to have excess annual leave if they have more than 304 hours (40 days) annual leave at any point in time (380 hours or for a shift worker who is entitled to an additional weeks' annual leave).

Where an employee has excess annual leave, it is expected the manager and employee would work together to agree on a plan to reduce the excess annual leave. The plan should include agreed dates and times the leave will be taken. The plan may form part of the Performance and Development Plan (PDP) process. An employee may make application to cash out a period of their annual leave, for further information see Cashing out annual leave below.

Where the manager and employee are unable to reach agreement on an excess annual leave plan, the manager should seek further advice from the Policy and Employee Relations Branch. Where an employee is directed to take a period of excess annual leave, the direction must not:

  • result in the employee's remaining accrued entitlement to paid annual leave being less than six weeks (taking into account all paid annual leave that has been agreed, that the employee has been directed to take and/or that the employee has made application for at a future date);
  • require the employee to take any period of leave of less than one week;
  • require the employee to take any period of leave commencing less than eight weeks after the day the direction is given;
  • require the employee to take any period of leave commencing more than 12 months after the day the direction is given; or
  • be inconsistent with any existing leave arrangement agreed between the employee and the manager.

An employee can only be directed to take a maximum of four weeks' leave in any 12-month period (five weeks' leave for a Shift Worker).

Cashing out annual leave 

An employee may make application to cash out a portion of their annual leave, provided the employee's remaining annual leave balance will be not less than four weeks. Cashing out arrangements must be agreed between the employee and the manager.  An employee cannot be directed or required to apply to cash out annual leave, even in circumstances where an employee has excessive annual leave accruals.

Before making a request to cash out a portion of their annual leave, an employee should consider seeking their own financial advice on the taxation implications of such a request.

In such circumstances, an employee will be paid at least the full amount that would have been payable had the employee taken the leave at the time that it is cashed out. This includes any higher duties allowance the employee is in receipt of at the date of approval of the cashing out and annual leave loading allowance or any shift penalties that would have applied had the annual leave been taken (whichever is the higher).

Purchased leave (self funded)

With the agreement of his or her manager, an employee may receive additional paid leave in return for a pro-rata reduction in salary as set out below:

​Proportion of Salary

​Additional Paid Leave


​38 hours 


​76 hours 


​114 Hours 


​152 hours 


​190 hours 


​228 hours 


​266 hours 


​304 hours 

The above does not preclude an additional (self-funded) leave arrangement beyond 44/52 being agreed between an employee and his or her manager.  Advice should be sought from Corporate People Services prior to approving such an arrangement.

Purchased leave arrangements may be entered into for a 52-week period and do not roll over from year to year. Purchased leave arrangements must be agreed and approved every 12 months. Unless otherwise agreed, all purchased leave must be taken in the purchasing year in which it was accrued. Any unused purchased leave will be paid out at the end of the purchasing year in which it was accrued, unless otherwise agreed.

Purchased leave should be taken at a suitable time having regard to the operational requirements of the work unit and the personal needs of the employee. 

Where an employee with excessive annual leave makes an application for purchased leave, a manager will consider the following prior to the approval of the purchased leave application:

  1. the amount of the annual leave accrued; and
  2. any plans the employee has to take some or all of their annual leave

The salary applicable under an additional (self-funded) leave arrangement becomes the normal salary for all paid leave categories and salary purposes.

Purchased leave reduces an employee's ordinary salary for the duration of the purchased leave arrangement and will therefore impact on all salary-based entitlements, including:

  • fortnightly salary:
  • higher duties allowance;
  • salary paid during all periods of paid leave;
  • Employer superannuation guarantee contributions to accumulation superannuation schemes;
  • annual leave loading;
  • all shift allowances and overtime payments; and

any other salary-based entitlement.

The accrual of annual leave, personal leave and long service leave entitlements are not affected by an additional (self-funded) leave arrangement. Purchased leave does not attract annual leave allowance and cannot be taken at half pay.

Employees should seek independent financial advice on the financial implications of entering into a purchased leave arrangement, including on their superannuation and taxation arrangements.

Employees may wish to consider other options prior to entering into a purchased leave arrangement, such as applying for annual leave at half pay, leave without pay or flexible working arrangements to avoid the impact of purchased leave on their salary and other entitlements.

Teaching Service | Public Service

Other Resources


Applications for leave should be submitted through Employee Self Service (ESS) on eduPay.  Select the following link for more information ESS eduPay

An application will need to be made in writing where an employee is unable to access or use ESS or wishes to amend/delete leave submitted through ESS and approved on eduPay.

An application to cash out annual leave, for payment in advance of annual leave or to enter into a purchased leave arrangement should be submitted using the relevant form, review the Forms page on HRWeb.

Other Information


Related Topics


Contact Information

Policy and Employee Relations Branch