General leave

You may wish to take a general leave without pay.

You must apply to your supervisor or department head for a general leave. The length of time you are allowed to take off from work depends on your employee group.

If you wish to take additional maternity, parental, adoption or compassionate care leave beyond what is stipulated under the BC Employment Standards Act, you must request this in writing from your supervisor and any approved additional leave will be considered a general unpaid leave.

If you are applying for Employment Insurance (EI) family caregiving benefits for adults or children through Service Canada, you will need to apply for a general leave.

If your leave is approved, you can choose whether you want to maintain your current UBC benefits or cancel your UBC benefits. If you want to maintain your UBC benefits, you are responsible for paying both the employee and employer portion of the cost.

How do I apply for general leave?

You must apply for a general leave of absence from your department head or manager. Let them know:

  • the reasons for your leave,
  • when you would like to start your leave, and
  • when you intend to return to work.

If you are applying for general leave to care for a family member, you will also need to include a copy of the medical certificate from a doctor or medical practitioner stating that your family member is critically ill or injured and requires the care or support of one or more family members. Save the original for your EI caregiver benefits application. The personal information provided in the medical certificate is collected under section 26(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, RSBC 1996, c. 165 and will be used for the purposes of leave administration.

For Staff appointments, if your request is approved, your department head or manager will update your employment status through Workday.  For Faculty appointments, all leave requests will be routed to Faculty Relations.

What happens to my benefits when I’m on a general leave?

When you are on leave, you can choose to keep your benefits or cancel your benefits. See Benefits Coverage while on a Leave for more information.

How long am I allowed to be on a general leave?

The length of time you are allowed to take depends on your employee group. The table below shows the time you are allowed to be on leave without pay or benefits.

UBC Employee Group Allowed Length of General Leave
Academic Executive 2 years
Administrative Executive 1 year
BCGEU Vancouver (Child Care) 6 months
BCGEU Okanagan 6 months with a possible extension to a maximum of 1 year
CUPE 116 6 months
CUPE 2278 2 years
CUPE 2950 6 months
Executive Administrative 6 months
Faculty 2 years
Farm Workers 6 months
IUOE 115 6 months
Management & Professional 1 year
Non-Union Technicians and Research Assistants 6 months
Postdoctoral Fellows (Award Recipients) At discretion of supervisor
Postdoctoral Fellows (Employees) At discretion of supervisor

Questions about your benefits while on leave?


The benefits information on this website is provided as a descriptive summary only. While the University has endeavored to accurately reflect its benefit programs, policies and plans, the information on this website does not create any contractual or other rights between the University and its faculty and staff members. To the extent that there are any conflicts or discrepancies between the benefits information on this website and the benefit plan documents (including group insurance contracts and benefit booklets) or any applicable collective agreement, employment agreement, or UBC policy, the benefit plan documents and collective agreement, employment agreement, or UBC policy will govern in all cases.

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