Purchased leave and deferred salary scheme procedure

Version number 2.0 | Version effective 12 January 2021
Purchased leave and deferred salary scheme procedure




This procedure sets out the department’s process for managing application for:

  • purchased leave for non-teaching employees
  • the deferred salary scheme for permanent teaching staff.


The purchased leave scheme for non-teaching employees and deferred salary scheme for permanent teachers are types of special leave without pay. Employees deduct a portion of their net salary over a period of time and then receive those deductions in salary-like increments over the period of unpaid leave.

The purchased leave scheme enables eligible non-teaching employees to take up to six weeks unpaid leave during a 12 month period.  This leave is in addition to their usual paid leave entitlements.

The deferred salary scheme is available to permanent teachers and it enables them to take extended special leave without pay (sabbatical leave) for a 12 month period.  The scheme takes place over a five year period.  Teachers have a portion of their salary set aside (Draft layout‘deferred monies’) for the first four years, and then receive that money back in salary-like increments during the unpaid fifth (sabbatical) year. 

This procedure applies to all permanent employees of the Department of Education (the department). Purchased leave also applies to temporary employees where their temporary contract covers the 12 months of the purchased leave agreement. The procedure does not apply to casual employees.



  • consider whether purchased leave or the deferred salary scheme would meet their individual needs and circumstances
  • employees should seek financial advice from their superannuation fund, the Australian Tax Office, and/or a qualified financial advisor prior to entering into these arrangements.  Consider any impacts that accessing purchased leave or the deferred salary scheme may have on their work unit
  • retain copies of all approved application forms and other forms related to purchased leave or the deferred salary scheme for their records
  • ensure that requests to access approved purchased leave agreement are submitted at least four weeks in advance and requests to access approved leave under the deferred salary scheme are submitted at least two terms in advance to allow sufficient time to allow for processing and approval, and for work unit planning. 

Managers, principals and supervisors

  • facilitate open and honest communications with the employee regarding the approval status and possible justification for any refusal of the request, or amendment which may be made to the application
  • complete all forms as required by the employee to progress their application
  • ensure appropriate staffing arrangements are put into place during the time that the employee will be on purchased leave or on the sabbatical year of the deferred salary scheme. Relieving arrangements for school based employees should be according to Replacement of school-based absences procedure
  • maintain appropriate records
  • provide equal access to training and development opportunities for employees participating in a purchased leave agreement as non-participating employees.

Delegated officer

  • approve applications for both purchased leave and deferred salary schemes.


1. Pre-application

The employee must ensure they understand the financial implications of undertaking a purchased leave agreement or participating in the deferred salary scheme, particularly in relation to superannuation, taxation and WorkCover, by:

  • reading and understanding information provided by the department related to purchased leave or the deferred salary scheme
  • seeking independent financial advice (if they choose to do so).

2. Application

Employee and manager, principal or supervisor discuss the purchased leave option or deferred salary scheme together with consideration given to the operational requirements of the team or work unit.  After discussions, the employee:

  • for purchased leave – completes the Purchased leave application form and submits it to their manager, principal or supervisor for approval.  This form includes the proposed dates that the employee intends to take the purchased leave.

    Purchased leave applications can only be made in November and May for commencement in January and July (respectively). Consideration may be given by managers, principals or supervisors for applications to commence purchased leave arrangements outside application periods in exceptional individual circumstances.

    A new application must be made for each 12 month period.
  • for deferred salary – completes the Deferred salary scheme application form and submits it to their principal for endorsement.

3. Approval

The manager, principal or supervisor:

  • considers all applications for either scheme and taking into account operational requirements and the reasons for the request, decides whether or not to recommend that the application be approved
  • seeks any additional information from the employee as required to assist with the decision
  • notifies the employee of their decision within 21 days of the application for either scheme. 

For deferred salary, the principal forwards the endorsed application form to their regional office for approval. In the instance of a principal application for deferred salary, the completed application is sent to regional office for endorsement and then to the Regional Director for approval.

4. Processing

Purchased leave

Employee to forward the approved application form to Payroll Services (Business Solutions - 

Business Solutions will provide a quote showing the fortnightly deductions required for the period of leave requested.

On receipt of the quote the employee may:

  • accept the quote and continue the process below; or
  • withdraw their application by notifying their manager, principal or supervisor.

If the quote is accepted, the employee is to complete a Purchased leave agreement and submit it to their manager, principal or supervisor for approval and completion.

Business Solutions creates a Purchased leave agreement based on the template. The employee and delegated officer signs the agreement.

The manager, principal or supervisor forwards the completed and signed Purchased leave agreement to Payroll Services (Business Solutions - for processing.

A copy of the agreement must be retained on the employee’s personnel file and supervisor’s staff file for future reference.

Deferred salary scheme

Regional office will forward the approved application form to Payroll services (Business Solutions - for processing.

5. Applying for leave

An employee’s ability to access purchased leave, or a teacher’s ability to access the deferred salary scheme is subject to operational requirements and convenience, and the agreement of the relevant manager, principal or supervisor.

Applying for purchased leave

  • Purchased leave periods are applied for using the dates provided on the purchased leave agreement (these can be altered through negotiation between the employee and the manager, principal or supervisor)
  • Purchased leave should be applied for providing at least four weeks’ notice
  • Purchased leave must be taken in full week blocks, irrespective of part time roster
  • Purchased leave can only be taken within the 12 month period during which deductions are being made. 

    If there is any purchased leave left over at the end of the 12 months, the employee should advise their manager, principal or supervisor. Unused purchased leave cannot be carried over into the following 12 month period.  Any unused purchased leave deductions will be paid out at the end of the 12 month period.

Applying for leave – deferred salary scheme

The employee must notify their manager, principal or supervisor at least two school terms in advance of their intention to take sabbatical leave.

6. Amending, postponing or withdrawing from the agreement

An employee should notify their manager, principal or supervisor immediately should any circumstances arise to warrant the reviewing of the current agreement, or of any unused purchased leave as the cessation of the agreement.

To amend, postpone or withdraw from either scheme an employee must complete and submit an updated application form to their manager, principal or supervisor.

Purchased leave

The purchased leave agreement may be extended by a period of unpaid leave up to three months. If the period of unpaid leave exceeds three months, the purchased leave agreement will be finalised and reconciliation will be undertaken.

In exceptional circumstances such as a promotion, transfer to another work area or a significant change in personal circumstances, an employee may apply for approval to withdraw or make variation to the terms of a purchased leave agreement.

Deferred salary

If a teacher is participating in the deferred salary scheme and leaves their employment during the first four years of the scheme, the amount of salary which they have put aside (deferred monies) will be paid out to them at the end of their employment.

A teacher may postpone their involvement in the scheme by completing a new application form.

Employees who transfer between agencies during the period that deductions are being made from their salary do not have an automatic right to have the arrangement for either scheme transferred.  The employee needs to re-negotiate the arrangement with their new agency.  Otherwise the accrued payments will be paid to them at the end of their engagement with the agency.




Deferred monies

Percentage of employee’s fortnightly salary retained by the department over four years and paid during the sabbatical year as part of the deferred salary scheme.



Other resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

1.0 Purchased leave and deferred salary scheme

Review date

12 January 2024
Attribution CC BY

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