Professional development leave instruction

Instruction statement

The purpose of this instruction is to describe the different leave types available for professional development activities. This instruction does not include Research Leave. Please see the Research leave instruction for information on Research Leave.

This instruction applies to fixed term and continuing staff members


Casual staff members

Instruction steps and actions

The staff member and manager negotiate appropriate time release to undertake the professional development activity in line with the work unit’s goals and needs. Managers need to take the criteria for approving professional development and the requirements of the role and work area into consideration when deciding to provide professional development leave. Applications for professional development leave shall not be unreasonably refused.

RMIT provides staff with the following professional development leave types:

Vocational Education staff

  • Study leave
  • Sabbatical leave
  • Health and safety representative training leave

Academic staff

  • Assessment leave
  • PhD completion leave
  • Research leave
  • Study leave
  • Health and safety representative training leave

Professional staff

  • Assessment leave
  • Study leave
  • Health and safety representative training leave


1. Study leave

Eligibility: fixed term and continuing Vocational Education, academic and professional staff.

A staff member may be granted study leave to obtain formal qualifications and/or skills. There is no fixed amount of study leave available. The manager considers two main criteria when deciding to approve study leave for a staff member:

  • whether the study is relevant to the staff member's current or future role at RMIT and would therefore benefit the organisation as well as the individual; and
  • whether this is a suitable form of investment in staff development considering the funds available, the needs of other staff in the group, and other available forms of training and education

Study leave can be paid or unpaid (where a staff member wishes to undertake a work related development which RMIT is not prepared or able to support as a staff development activity).

2. Assessment leave

Eligibility: fixed term and continuing academic and professional staff.

Staff can apply for up to two days leave per year to undertake formal assessment tasks on the condition that the course is relevant to their work and agreed in their workplan.

3. Sabbatical leave

Eligibility: continuing Vocational Education staff.

Vocational Education staff may apply for sabbatical leave of one year every five years on 80% salary, subject to the staff member agreeing to have their annual salary reduced by 20% for the relevant work period preceding the leave and the staff member entering an agreement with the manager and Human Resources covering the term and conditions of the sabbatical leave.

Unless otherwise agreed the leave shall be taken immediately following the completion of the relevant work period during which the salary was reduced.

4. Research leave

Please refer to the Research leave instruction for further information on Research Leave and to access the Research leave application form (DOC 132KB, 5p).

5. PhD Completion Leave

Eligibility: continuing academic staff.

Academic staff are eligible to apply for support for PhD completion subject to all of the following:

  • 3 years employment at RMIT
  • A PhD topic which is relevant to the University’s and school’s strategic goals, their Teaching and Learning and/or Research and Innovation goals, and the individual’s chosen area of specialisation in teaching and research
  • A statement of support from the staff member’s PhD supervisor confirming that the leave will enable the staff member to write up their thesis for submission
  • Satisfactory performance reviews
  • A semester’s notice is provided to the Head of School
  • Each academic staff member may only receive leave for PhD completion once
  • The application can be supported within the operational requirements of the School
  • The staff member is not in receipt of any other support or assistance for PhD completion.

Support for completion of the PhD will be provided in the form of a period of paid leave, and/or time release amounting to no more than 3 months (60 working days) in total. The allocated 14 weeks allowed for scholarship and research should be included in this PhD completion leave period.

The arrangements need to be agreed and incorporated in the individual’s work plan. No application will be unreasonably refused if the application can be supported within the operational requirements of the School.

6. Health and safety representative training leave

Eligibility: all staff who are RMIT health and safety representatives.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 specifies that an employer will permit health and safety representatives to take such time off work with pay, as is necessary or prescribed, for the purpose of performing their functions or duties, or taking part in any course of training relating to occupational health and safety which is approved or conducted by the Victoria WorkCover Authority.

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