20 weeks long service leave every five years!

The Herald reports:

Long-service leave for District Court judges has increased from 65 days every five years to 100 days, the Herald can reveal.

The entitlement took effect in September and was negotiated in 2008 – but has only just come to light.

That’s an outrageously generous provision, on three fronts.

  1. Long service leave tends to be every ten (or longer) years, not every five years
  2. Typically the period of long service leave might be two to four weeks – not 20 weeks.
  3. Long service leave is normally to encourage reward people for staying on with the same employer. Judges are appointed for life, so the rationale for it seems lacking

It means a judge can take five consecutive months’ leave every five years, in addition to seven weeks of annual leave.

Effectively it means their annual leave provision is 11 weeks a year.

In general, District Court judges with more than five years’ service are available to sit for only 158 days of the year after deductions are made for weekends, statutory holidays, annual and long-service leave, days for writing judgments, and non-sitting activities such as attending conferences.

Days for writing judgments and training such as conferences are in a different category to leave where you are not working at all.

Sir Michael Cullen said he had little recollection of approving the long-service upgrade. But he said it would have taken account of increased stress of the job and it allowed judges to catch up on what was going on in the legal world, in the same way as academics took sabbatical leave.

I don’t think even academics get five months sabbatical every five years. Also I think they are meant to do some research activities during their sabbatical.

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