Special Leave without Pay

Applications for periods of special leave without pay should always be accompanied by a statement outlining the reason for the request for leave. The application must be supported by the manager.

When considering applications for special leave without pay, managers should assess the reasons associated with the request as well the overall effect on the staff member's work area. Managers who require assistance with applications for special leave without pay should contact their local People, Talent and Culture (PTC) Partnerships team.

University of South Australia industrial instruments govern the conditions for periods of approved leave without pay. Leave without pay in excess of 22 days in total in a financial year will affect service and other leave entitlements.

Please note that an industrial instrument agreement is the applicable Enterprise Agreement, Award, Australian Workplace Agreement, contract of employment or legislation.


Staff members are expected, where possible, to give the University reasonable notice of their request to take leave without pay, to enable proper consideration of their application.

Requests for periods of special leave without pay of up to one year are approved by the relevant Executive Dean or Manager. If the proposed request for leave is greater than one year, final approval for the leave should be sought from relevant Executive Dean or Executive Director. (Please refer to the Vice Chancellor's Authorisations).

To understand the impact of a prolonged period of special leave without pay on superannuation, staff members should also consult with their superannuation fund administrator prior to applying for the leave.

Other contributions/deductions made by the staff member through payroll may also be affected. The staff member should contact their payroll officer directly to initiate alternative arrangements if required.

Procedural overview

Staff Member
  • Considers and recommends on application
  • Forwards form to Authorising Officer as per the Vice Chancellor's Delegation of Authority document 
Authorising Officer
  • Considers the application and signs form to approve
  • If not approved, they advise the staff member of the reasons
  • Note: If the application is for leave without pay in excess of two years, the authorising officer seeks approval from the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture
  • Forwards form to personnel officer
People, Talent and Culture Officer
  • Forwards leave form to payroll for entry into EmpowerHR
  • Adjusts increment dates and leave entitlements if appropriate
  • Instigates any necessary payroll adjustments