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Study/examination leave

What study leave is

Study leave is additional leave granted to staff members who are undertaking further education and development. There are two types of Study Leave: paid and unpaid – please ensure that you are applying for the correct option.

To submit an application, you can log into HR self-service. To attach supporting documents, to view progress on an existing case, or to submit a manual application form, you can log into the case management system. Please note: only officers without HR self-service access may submit manual forms.

Paid study leave


Officers who qualify for a refund/advance of fees, as set out in circular 23/2007:- Post Entry Education – Refund of Fees, Study Leave and Examination Leave may be allowed Paid Study Leave.


Granting of paid or unpaid study and exam leave is at the discretion of your department or office’s HR unit.

You are entitled to:

  • Three days for each year of a second-level course, subject to a maximum of ten days overall.
  • Ten days in respect of the final year only of a third level primary or Masters’ degree.
  • Five days for preceding years of a third level course.
  • You may be granted an extra two days in each year of the course, to help you meet compulsory attendance at residential schools if you need to do so as part of attaining a degree by distance learning.
  • You may be allowed carry forward up to five days paid study leave from the second last year to the last year of a course.
  • If you are not taking the whole course in a given year, your study leave will be reduced on a pro-rata basis.
  • If you are on a worksharing arrangement, your study leave will apply on a pro-rata basis.

Unpaid study leave

Eligibility and Entitlements

If you qualify for a refund or advance of fees, you may be granted unpaid study leave.

You can take leave for up to three months, for study or other purposes directly relevant to the course you are taking. The head of department or office will make the decision to grant this type of leave.

If you want to pursue courses that will involve regular or continuous absence from official duties, you may take them under the career break or worksharing schemes, subject to the terms prevailing at the time.

If you are eligible, you may be granted up to one academic year to enable you to pursue a postgraduate course or specialised study course, provided the head of your department or office is satisfied that it will directly benefit you in your official work, and provided you have already given a reasonable period of service in your current grade.

Unpaid study leave can also be granted as individual days for those who have not been approved for a refund or advance of fees, subject to the approval of the Local HR Department. Unpaid study leave for individual days may also be granted, with Local HR approval, to those who have exhausted their paid study leave entitlement.

Examination leave

Applying for examination leave

You must submit applications six weeks before the start date of the leave.

Officers who qualify for a refund/advance of fees may be allowed paid examination leave to sit the exams.

Note: you need to apply separately for paid study and exam leave and unpaid study and exam leave as they are different leave types.

You should make a single application for days of the same leave type, paid or unpaid. For example: if you are requesting one day Unpaid Exam leave and one day Paid Exam leave, you need to make two separate applications.

Please submit a copy of the exam timetable for all applications for paid or unpaid exam leave.

Eligibility for examination leave

The decision to grant examination leave rests with the Head of Department/Office. Worksharers will be granted examination leave depending on whether or not they were scheduled to work for the period in question.

If you are undertaking a course which does not qualify for a refund or advance of fees, the Head of the Department or Office may allow some paid leave for exam purposes at their discretion.

Entitlement of examination leave

The period of paid absence should be limited in each case to the day(s)/half-day(s) which are actually and necessarily spent at the examinations.

You will not be granted paid examination leave for repeating an examination.

Please note: time off to cover PAS exams as part of the interview process are covered under Interview Leave and are not processed as Exam Leave.

How to apply for examination leave

NOTE: Before applying online for study or examination Leave, please click on this eForm Job Aid which shows you how to fill out eForm correctly.

  • Apply online using HR self-service
  • Enter your self-service user ID and password
  • Select ‘Non-Annual Leave’ and then select the type of leave you want from the drop-down menu (e.g. shorter working year, study leave, etc)
  • Fill out the online form and submit it to your manager for approval

If the head of the division approves the application, your manager will submit it to the NSSO. You will then receive a confirmation email confirming your case number.