The Purpose of Study Leave is to maintain a vital and educated ministry to resource the mission of the church. Study Leave can achieve this by:
• Enabling ministers to gain time and distance from their routines for refreshment and reflection.
• Encouraging ministers to strengthen and enrich their ministry through focused study
• Enabling ministers to undertake study or research that can be made available for the benefit of the wider church.
What is Study Leave?
• Study Leave is Presbytery approved leave for a planned program of learning with clear, specific goals and usually an integrative theme.
• Study Leave can include major overseas training programs or shorter study programs, courses and retreats available within New Zealand.
• Study Leave entitlement is accumulated at the rate of one day for each month of consecutive service to a maximum of 12 weeks (84 days), but may be used for shorter periods of time, normally not less than two consecutive weeks. Each week of study leave is seen to include seven days: six days of work (or five days and two evenings) and one rest day (two if taking a five day work week), as in a minister’s working week. The number of days applied for should include the rest day(s).
• Accumulated Study Leave is transferable from one parish or appointment to another. Normally Study Leave will be taken in context away from the applicant’s everyday ministry environment. Short courses of two -five days should normally be incorporated into a Continuing Ministry Formation Plan, rather than study leave, unless geographical factors apply.
What Study Leave is not:
• Gardening Leave –when a Minister is tired and feels like a rest.
• Stress Leave –when a Minister is facing burnout.
• Family Leave –when someone needs to help with a baby or toddler
• Able to be exchanged for a monetary payment
• A charge on the Parish other than the normal stipend and allowances (a voluntary contribution to course fees or travel may be paid directly but any other gift attracts Fringe Benefit Tax).
Talk to Session about dates well in advance, choose one or two Elders with whom to share your thoughts and dreams and to test out your plan, take the proposal to Session for approval before applying to Presbytery, your Parish Clerk must sign the application. (In the normal course of events, non-transferable air tickets should not be booked until the leave has been approved!)
At the conclusion of your Study Leave, a report must be provided. This will be made available to all Presbytery members. You will also be expected to give a verbal report to the Presbytery.
For detailed regulations see “Conditions of Service Manual” at www.presbyterian.org.nz/for-ministers