Sick Leave

Sick Leave

The University provides up to six months of paid leave if you are unable to work due to physical or mental illness or disability. After six months, you may become eligible for Long-Term Disability (LTD). Our Membership Services Office can assist you in working with Human Resources and the insurer. To prevent gaps in coverage, the insurer recommends submitting an application for LTD three months before your sick leave expires, regardless of whether you expect to need LTD.

For more information on sick leave, please contact our Membership Services Office.


  1. Who is eligible for sick leave?

Faculty Members holding Regular Academic Appointments and Librarians holding Regular Librarian Appointments are eligible for Sick Leave. Effective July 1, 2020, Faculty Members with Limited Term appointments of at least one year in duration and 0.8 FTE or greater and Librarians with Limited-Term appointments of at least one year in duration and 0.8 FTE or greater are eligible for sick leave.

  1. When can I take Sick Leave?

You can take Sick Leave if you have an illness, disability, or injury that medical documentation describes as preventing you from performing some or any of your Academic or Professional responsibilities, even with an accommodation. This includes accidents or surgeries – you do not have to be “sick” to be on Sick Leave.

  1. What does Sick Leave provide?

When you are on Sick Leave, you continue with your full salary, benefits, and pension contributions. Time on Sick Leave counts towards your Study Leave eligibility.

  1. How long can I be on Sick Leave?

Sick Leave can last a maximum of six months, with medical documentation. If you are not able to return to work within six months, you may be eligible for Long-term Disability.

Members on Sick Leave longer than three months are expected to apply for Long-term Disability if it appears they may not recover by the end of the six-month sick leave, to allow time for the LTD provider to process the application without any gaps in the receipt of benefits. If you may not recover by the end of your sick leave, you should apply for LTD after three months to avoid a potential gap in benefits.

  1. Is there a limit to how often I can take Sick Leave?

The Collective Agreement does not include restrictions on how often you can take Sick Leave if you have not reached normal retirement age, defined in the Collective Agreement as the June 30th following your 65th birthday. However, any consecutive Sick Leave for the same medical condition can only last six months. It is expected that if you are not able to return to work in a sustainable way after a six-month Sick Leave for the same condition, you will apply for Long-term Disability. After you have reached your normal retirement age, sick leave for any reason is limited to a total of six months during any two consecutive academic years.

  1. Can I take Sick Leave in the middle of a teaching term?

Yes. You should go on sick leave as soon documented medical circumstances require it. Pushing yourself beyond what your medical team advises can further compromise your health and lead to a longer recovery.

Your supervisor is responsible for finding a replacement and/or redistributing your responsibilities. They may consult with you if your health permits, but this should not become onerous.

You are not required to do extra work before or after your Sick Leave. If you have questions about requirements when going on sick leave, or have requests made of you, we recommend consulting a Membership Services Advisor.

  1. Can I do any work while I am on Sick Leave?

You should not do any paid employment while you are on Sick Leave unless you are on a graduated return to work approved by your Dean.

It is advisable to avoid any work activities, even work without pay, while you are on Sick Leave except with the written approval of your Dean. Working without such approval could affect your eligibility for sick leave or LTD. Even minor activities such as writing letters of recommendation for students without the Dean’s permission may negatively impact your eligibility for LTD. If you have any questions about activities during sick leave, contact a Membership Services Advisor.

  1. I do not have a regular medical practitioner. Can a practitioner who does not know me well provide the necessary documentation for a Sick Leave?


  1. I am on a wait list for surgery. I have been offered a surgery date during a teaching term. Can I accept this date?

Yes. If surgery is needed you can accept a surgery date during a teaching term. Once you accept the date, you should notify your supervisor.

  1. Can I return to work from Sick Leave during a teaching term?

Yes. A return to work may take place in any term and at any point in a term. You should return from Sick Leave when, and only when, your medical documentation authorizes it. You should not return at the start of a teaching term if you are not medically prepared to do so.

If you return to work during a teaching term when you normally would teach, you may be asked to take over a course or to substitute other teaching-related duties, or you may be expected to do more research and/or service in place of teaching.

We recommend contacting the Membership Services Office to help you with these negotiations.

  1. When I return to work, am I expected to make up work (teaching and service) that I missed when I was sick?

No. If you teach, you do not owe courses that you missed. If you are a Librarian, you do not owe work that you missed. In either case, if you are expected to continue with a project you were working on before you were on Sick Leave, it should be included as a part of your normal workload.

  1. Can I have an accommodation when I start back to work after Sick Leave?

Yes. Your medical practitioner can authorize you to start work again with an appropriate accommodation.  You do not need to be able to work without an accommodation to start back to work from Sick Leave.

  1. Can I have a graduated return to work from Sick Leave?

Yes. If your Dean approves, you can return to work at a reduced FTE status for up to 90 days without affecting the six month eligibility period for Long-Term Disability if the return proves unsuccessful. The insurer may take into account your level of activity when deciding on an LTD claim. During the graduated return to work from Sick Leave, you shall receive Sick Leave pay to bring your salary to the equivalent of your regular salary.  Members on sick leave who may need LTD are expected to apply for LTD three months before their sick leave ends, so as to avoid a gap in benefits. Even if you plan a return to work from sick leave, you should still apply for LTD at the recommended time if there is a chance you may not be able to work at the end of your sick leave.

A Faculty Association Membership Services Advisor can assist in reviewing your options.

  1. What happens if I fully return to work after six months on sick leave, but need sick leave again fairly soon for the same condition?

This depends on a variety of factors. Contact the Membership Services Office to discuss your circumstances. If there is any likelihood that a return to work will be unsuccessful after the end of six months of sick leave, you should apply for LTD at the recommended time while still on sick leave.

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