Emergencies are occasional, sudden and require immediate attention. While it may not be possible for staff to determine arrangements for emergency leave with their department head/supervisor at the time of the emergency, staff must inform their department at the time of their absence from work and communicate with their department head/supervisor during their period of absence.

The department head/supervisor, in discussion with the staff member, will determine the duration, arrangements and compensation of the emergency leave. Although these details should be settled before the time off work begins, circumstances may necessitate delaying the discussion until the staff member returns.

The time off work to attend to an emergency may be with pay if the work absence is of short duration. Normally, paid emergency-leave days per person should amount to no more than a total of three days in any one year*. Notwithstanding, a department head/supervisor may choose to exceed this three-day guideline.

If the time away from work due to the emergency is extensive, the department head/supervisor and staff member will consider the use of vacation, unpaid leave or the continuation of up to full pay where job duties can be fulfilled through evening and week-end work. In these cases, the department head/supervisor or staff member may consult the appropriate Staff Relations Coordinator.

In situations where there has been repeated use of emergency leave, the department head/supervisor or staff member should seek guidance from the appropriate Staff Relations Coordinator.

The following example is provided to illustrate the administration of an emergency leave:

A staff member is required to be absent from work due to the unexpected sickness/injury of a child, spouse or parent. The staff member makes the necessary arrangements to deal with the unexpected event and returns to work as soon as possible. The department head/supervisor and staff member discuss the amount of paid emergency leave and, where necessary, the use of vacation, unpaid leave or the continuation of work through a flexible working agreement.

The following situations, provided for illustrative purposes only, are examples of when the use of emergency leave may be appropriate :

  • a child's problem at school
  • a fire, flood or other home emergency
  • a family member's sudden illness or accident

* As a result of Bill 47, the Employment Standards Act of Ontario has been amended. Emergency leave has changed and is now broken down into three separate leaves that total eight unpaid days per year for all employees.

  1. Sick Leave - three days
  2. Family Responsibility Leave - three days
  3. Bereavement Leave - two days

Developed by the Staff Relations Committee
Originally issued by the Vice-President, Academic & Provost on December 15, 2000
Approved by the VPAP on August 25, 2003 
Revised January 1, 2019 (Bill 47 amendment)