Policy Statement

A voluntary leave of absence program is available to employees as a part of the city’s ongoing efforts to control costs. An unpaid leave of absence with benefits coverage may be approved for up to twenty days per year, if the leave results in savings. All leaves granted under this program must be initiated by employees and are taken on a voluntary basis.


All employees listed below are eligible for Voluntary Leave

  • Non-union permanent full-time and permanent part-time employees who have completed their probationary period
  • CUPE local 416 employees


Voluntary leave of absence

An authorized unpaid leave of absence of up to 20 days that results in cost savings.


Employees may apply for up to 20 days of voluntary leave per calendar year. The leave must be taken during the calendar year in which it is approved. The leave can be taken as full or half-days.

Voluntary leaves can only be approved if they result in cost savings and are operationally feasible.

The executive director/general manager/division head or designate must send written approval, deferral or denial of the request to the applicant.


Applications for Voluntary Leave of Absence

An employee must submit a Voluntary Leave of Absence application at least six weeks before the proposed start of the leave. A manager must respond to requests within 10 working days of receiving an application.

When a request is denied, the voluntary leave of absence application must be returned to the employee. A manager must indicate why the request has been denied on the relevant section of the form.


Arrangements for taking leaves are made between divisions and employees.

Payment Options

An employee may choose one of the following payment options when taking a voluntary leave:

  • receive no pay during the leave
  • pro-rate payments over a number of pay periods within the calendar year.

The minimum deduction is one half-day per pay period when an employee chooses to pro-rate payments. Any outstanding balance is adjusted on the final pay of the calendar year.

Withdrawal from the Program

An employee receives a refund for any payroll deductions made to date, if he/she withdraws from the program.

Termination of Employment

If an employee leaves the city, before paying for a voluntary leave that has been taken, deductions are made to the employee’s final pay for any outstanding balance. If a leave has not been taken, any monies deducted are reimbursed on termination.

Salary & Benefits


Benefits coverage continues for the duration of the leave, for those employees who are entitled to benefits.


If an employee is enrolled in a pension plan and wishes to contribute to the plan during the leave, the employer matches the pension contributions and the employee receives pension credit for the duration of the leave.


An employee’s annual vacation entitlement is not affected by voluntary leave of absence.

Sick Pay

Employees who accumulate sick leave credits, as part of a sick pay plan, continue to earn sick credits during the period of leave.

Employees accumulate full service during the leave.

Employees are paid for all statutory holidays that fall during a voluntary leave.

Approved by

Workforce Strategy Team for the Executive Management Team

Date Approved

April 12, 2001


March 27, 2007

Related information

Leave without Pay
Earned Deferred Leave