Regular faculty are entitled to a number of leaves—and you really can take them!
What you need to know
Your benefits continue during your leave.
You get an extension on your tenure clock for one year with parental leaves (just request this from your dean). Extensions are also possible for other leaves.
FAUW can help you navigate any kind of leave from the start (or decide if a leave is right for you); don't wait until you run into problems.
This is a quick overview. Get more detail at the links provided here and in the "where to find information" section.
Sick leave: 180 calendar days. Periods longer than 5 days may require supporting medical documentation. We recommend working with an Occupational Health Nurse on your documentation.
Long-term disability: Up to 2 years. To be eligible, you must be unable to perform your job and "totally disabled" as per an objective medial opinion.
Pregnancy and parental leaves (including adoption)
Waterloo supplements Employment Insurance for eligible pregnancy and parental leaves. The following information applies to employees who began one of these leaves before April 6. If your leave began after April 6, please see our new page on pregnancy and parental leaves.
Pregnancy/parental leave for birth parents
UW provides 6 weeks of birth leave at 100% salary plus 17 weeks at 95% of your salary (a mix of pregnancy/parental covered by Employment Insurance plus UW top-up).
You can take up to 78 weeks of job-protected leave.
10 days of paid leave OR 17 weeks of parental leave at 95% of your salary (EI + UW top-up)
Parental leave and EI can continue after your top-up runs out, up to 69 weeks shared between parents (35 weeks of EI).
Employment Insurance for parental leaves
EI is split between parents.
- These limits include the time in your top-up period.
- You can take a combined total of 40 weeks of EI @ 55% of your salary (max. 35 weeks per person).
- Or up to 69 weeks @ 33% of your salary (max. 61 weeks per person).
During a parental leave
- You still accrue sabbatical credit (i.e., it doesn't delay your sabbatical).
- Your pension contributions continue during the UW top-up period. You can opt out after that period, but think carefully about that, as as that will reduce your pension accrual.
- Your graduate students must be assigned an interim supervisor because you are not obligated to fulfill any supervision duties. However, no one can stop you from meeting with your grad students if you choose to do so.
Returning to work
- You may be able to arrange a temporary reduced workload after your leave.
- Your annual teaching load is "reduced in proportion to the length of each leave” (see section 3 of Policy 14). We suggest rounding up to a whole number. For example: A 23-week leave = reduction of 23/52 = 44% of your annual teaching load
- For an annual load of 5 courses, the reduction is 2.21 courses (round up to 3)
- For an annual load of 3 courses, the reduction is 1.33 courses (round up to 2)
- Policy 14 also says you shouldn't be required to teach in more than two of three terms following a parental leave, though an employment contract that explicitly states that you teach in all three terms takes precedent over the policy. The actual sequence of teaching terms following your leave is worked out with your chair and/or dean.
For more information, see Policy 14 – Pregnancy and Parental Leaves (including adoption), and the Return to Work, the Canadian government's page on Employment Insurance maternity and parental benefits, and Ontario's guide to the Employment Standards Act.
Unpaid leave and self-funded leave
Compassionate care leaves
UW has no compassionate care leaves. These are unpaid, job-protected leaves under the Employment Standards Act.
Family caregiver leave: 8 weeks per calendar year per specified family member.
Family medical leave: 28 weeks unpaid; employment insurance (EI) covers up to 26 weeks.
Critical illness leave: 37 weeks in relation to a critically ill minor child, or 17 weeks in relation to a critically ill adult.
These maximums are per 52-week period. You might be eligible for employment insurance for family medical and critical illness leaves. There are also organ donor, child death, and domestic violence leaves available under the Employment Standards Act.
It's not quite a leave, but Policy 59 allows employees to reduce their workload as low as 50% of full-time, with salary adjusted proportionately. Depending on your circumstances, this might be a better option for you than a leave.
Temporary reduced workload
- Up to 2 years, extended to a maximum of 4 years
- After that: fractional-load appointment
- Up to 17 years, or to your 71st birthday
- You need to be at least 45 years old with 10 years of uninterrupted regular full-time service.
- You have to set your retirement date when this starts, but you can always retire earlier than that date.
While your workload is reduced, your sabbatical credit accrues proportionately. Your pension and pension contributions remain based on your full-time salary.
For more information, see Policy 59 – Reduced Workload to Retirement.
- 1 month for the first ten years
- 1 month + 1 week as of your 11th year at UW (or age 55)
Carrying vacation time forward
- If you teach every term, you can can carry forward two weeks, for one year or, for lecturers, until you have a non-teaching term
- All faculty can carry forward some vacation time in "exceptional circumstances"
For more information, see the Memorandum of Agreement, Section 11.2.
Policy 59 – Reduced Workload to Retirement (includes temporary reduced workload)
Human Resources, for official documentation, forms, and checklists: Faculty leaves, Types of absences and leaves (includes some leaves not listed on the Faculty leaves page, for which faculty are nonetheless eligible)
The Employee Benefits Program booklet, particularly for sick leave and long-term disability information (download from the HR Benefits page)
Your guide to the Employment Standards Act, particularly for details on compassionate care leaves and pregnancy/parental leaves
The Canadian government's page on Employment Insurance maternity and parental benefits
The Sabbatical Application or Request for Leave of Absence form (DOC) on the Provost's website
Who to talk to
- Human Resources, for questions about what you’re entitled to and impacts on your pension and benefits.
Your chair or director, for discussions about scheduling.
- FAUW, if you have concerns or want to discuss the impacts of a leave on your academic life.
Take your leaves when you need them, and don’t worry about how they affect your department or the University. The financial impact of your leaves is covered by the central administration (e.g. your department still receives your full salary while you're on parental leave), and changes to teaching or service commitments are your chair's responsibility. It's not your job to replace yourself.
Make sure that you check in with your chair or departmental administrator about how to handle:
Extending research grants
Accommodations in your performance review (note that, depending on the type of leave and how long it is, you might not need to fill your performance review form out at all).
Delegating signing authority to a colleague on campus
You can have a temporarily reduced workload immediately following a parental leave.
Offered a new position somewhere else? Take an unpaid leave rather than resigning right away while you test it out.