MECA FAQs – Annual Leave

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Clause 20.0 (pages 30 to 31 of your MECA).

You are entitled to 30 days of annual leave per annum. You must apply for leave in writing (note: it is important to keep a record of your request form and evidence if possible of the date the form was submitted). The DHB must respond to your application within 14 days in writing either approving or declining your request.

As a general rule if leave is approved it cannot then be revoked regardless of whether you change runs or departments. Leave cannot be approved with conditions e.g. leave approved subject to you remaining in the run you have been allocated or if you pick up duties in the near future (duties that you were not originally allocated).

If the request is declined they must state the reasons why the leave is unable to be taken at the time so requested. Under the MECA the DHB must take all reasonable steps to ensure sufficient cover is available to permit leave to be taken. Obviously there are times during the year when it may not be possible for everyone to get the leave they have requested (the holiday period, examination time etc.) but for the rest of the year if the DHB has adequate numbers of relievers or is prepared to use locums etc. declining leave due to lack of cover would not seem reasonable. If you have been told ‘lack of cover’ is the reason your request has been declined ask:

  • What steps have the DHB taken to source cover?
  • How many relievers are there on the run?
  • How many others are taking leave at this time?
  • Has the DHB approached locums/SMOs etc.?
  • Has the DHB made efforts to rearrange workload?

If you still have not had your leave approved, then contact your local RDA delegate.

Some DHBs have been known to try the “you have to accrue your leave before you can take it” approach. Thanks to the MECA however this is not true for you (it is for other employees!). MECA provides for 6 weeks in the first year – so you can take leave from day one. If you leave DHB employment before the end of the year and have taken all your leave entitlement, you will have to pay the balance back.

When you move from one DHB to another your annual leave balance can move with you or if you prefer you can get your annual leave paid out. BUT remember as tempting as the money may be you have an obligation to ensure that you are sufficiently rested!!

If you are on annual leave and a public holiday falls during the leave the public holiday does not get deducted from your annual leave entitlement. If a public holiday falls on a rostered day off (not a Saturday or Sunday) then you are entitled to an additional day’s leave at a later date. If you are taking leave on the days immediately before or after a weekend then you cannot be required to work the weekend and the Saturday and Sunday cannot be deducted from your leave entitlement. Leave abutting weekends applies to all leave (note: except TOIL).

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