Policy Statement

This policy allows employees to take an extended period of unpaid leave from the City for personal reasons.


All employees listed below are eligible for Leave without pay.

  • Non-union permanent employees who have completed their probationary period
  • CUPE local 79 employees
  • CUPE local 416 employees


Leave without Pay

An authorized leave from the City for up to a year without pay or benefits.


Employees may apply for a leave period of up to one year.

An employee must give notice of leave to his/her executive director/division head to give the division time to plan for the employee’s extended absence. The minimum advance notice should be one month.

Employees who are on an approved leave of absence without pay are not able to work or volunteer in any Division in a paid or unpaid position including unpaid academic placements during their leave period.

Employees may apply for a leave without pay at any time of the year.

The leave of absence must be approved by an employee’s executive director/general manager/division head or designate. When he/she receives a request, he/she may:

  • approve the request
  • approve the request but defer the leave
  • deny the request

The executive director/general manager/division head or designate must send written approval, deferral or denial of the request to the applicant. If the request is deferred or denied he/she must explain the reasons to the employee and indicate whether the employee’s request can be granted at some future date.

The executive director/general manager/division head or designate should evaluate applications on the basis of consistent criteria to ensure employees are treated in a fair and equitable manner. In a situation where a number of employees within the same division or section apply for leave at the same time the executive director/general manager/division head or designate may need more information to prioritize requests. Guidelines for Assessing Competing Requests are included in this policy under the Implementation section.

The terms of the plan leave are documented and agreed to by both parties, when a leave is approved. This can be changed only by mutual consent.

Return from leave

An employee returning from leave without pay will return to his/her former position or a suitable alternate position if available.
While an employee is on leave a position may be filled with acting or temporary staff, or left vacant.


Guidelines for Assessing Competing Requests for Leaves

On some occasions, two or more employees may request leaves at the same time. If it is not possible to accommodate all applicants, an attempt should be made to negotiate some satisfactory alternative schedule with the parties involved. If no satisfactory resolution can be obtained, the following criteria may be taken into account when making the decision.

Priority should be given to employees requesting a leave under the following circumstances:

  • an employee plans to use the leave as a means of easing the transition to full retirement
  • a leave is being requested on “compassionate” grounds, for example to provide care to an ill family member
  • an employee has been appointed to a leadership position with a professional or volunteer organization, and requires a leave in order to take the position
  • a leave has been requested for a specific time-dated activity that cannot easily be postponed (e.g. attendance at a course of studies).

The executive director/general manager/division head or designate may also wish to take the following factors into account when determining priority among competing requests:

  • a leave date has been requested to co-ordinate with that of other family members
  • a leave date has been requested to provide for a specifically seasonal activity.

If it is not possible to resolve the situation given these factors, it is recommended that an objective criterion such as date of application be used to determine priority.

Salary & Benefits


This is a leave without pay and at no cost to the city. An employee has the option of discontinuing benefits or maintaining all benefits coverage at his/her own expense. An election form must be completed prior to the commencement of the leave and the employee must pay the benefit premiums before the leave begins.

OMERS Pension

A leave without pay is a break in service. If an employee wants to maintain pension service credits he/she must pay both the employee’s and city’s pension contributions for the duration of the leave. An election form will be forwarded to the employee following the completion of the leave.


Vacation is reduced for the period of the leave taken, on a pro-rated basis. For example, if an employee is on leave for six months he/she does not earn any vacation during the period on leave but earns vacation for the balance of that year. The period of leave is not counted towards service requirements for calculating increases in vacation entitlements.

Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance

On a leave without pay an employee does not contribute to the Canada Pension Plan or employment insurance and the leave period is not counted as insurable employment. If this is of concern to an employee he/she should check the implications of his/her particular situation by contacting his/her local Employment Insurance Commission office.

Sick pay

No sick pay is accrued during the leave.

Employees covered by the L416 Collective Agreement see clause 27.13 (ii).

Approved by

Workforce Strategy Team for the Executive Management Team.

Date Approved

April 12, 2001


January 23, 2020

Related Information

Employees can apply for an unpaid leave of absence with benefits coverage, for up to 20 days per year, under the Voluntary Leave of Absence policy.