Illness and injury

If you are ill or injured, your first priority is getting better. UBC has many benefits in place to offer peace of mind and to give you access to time off work, health care and other support as you return to work.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • You are eligible for paid short-term sick leave to recover from an illness or injury. Your employee group determine the number of days off you are allowed each year for sick leave.
  • You may qualify for long-term disability leave if you are on a short-term sick leave or medical leave for an extended period of time (of around six months for most employee groups). This will provide you with a monthly income based on a percentage of your salary.
  • UBC’s Return to Work program offers support to help you make a successful transition back to work after a medical leave.
  • You can still access your regular UBC benefits while you are on short-term or long-term leave.
  • Counselling and support are always available through our Employee and Family Assistance Program.

Paid sick leave

If you are sick, contact your supervisor right away to let them know that you can’t come into work that day. The employee group you belong to determines the number of sick days you can take each year, and whether you can take days off to look after ill family members or attend doctor’s appointments.

Unpaid sick leave

If you use up all of your paid sick leave days and are still unable to return to work, you should apply for an unpaid sick (medical) leave.

Long-term disability

If you are on short-term sick leave or medical leave and unable to work for six months or more due to illness or injury, you may qualify for long-term disability. This will provide you with a monthly income based on a percentage of your regular salary. (Some employee groups have different waiting periods than six months before they qualify for long-term disability; for example, the waiting period for faculty is 26 weeks and the waiting period for CUPE 2950 is four months).

If you are in the third month of your absence (second month for CUPE 2950) from work due to illness or injury and it does not seem that you will be able to make a full return to work, you should apply for long-term disability. Call the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate at 604-822-8696 or email to learn how to apply for benefits and to obtain the application forms you’ll need.

Return to work programs

After a disabling accident or illness, many people return to work gradually. The Return to Work Program (Vancouver campus) or the Work Reintegration and Accommodation Program (WRAP) (Okanagan campus) can help to coordinate your return.

While you are gradually increasing your work activity, and being paid for the time you work, your long-term disability benefit payment will be replaced with a rehabilitative subsidy. Your net income will increase as the amount you work also increases. The combination of your rehabilitative subsidy plus your net salary will not be greater than your pre-disability net earnings when your total or partial disability began.

Benefit coverage while on sick leave or long-term disability leave

You are still covered under your UBC Benefits Plan while you are on a paid short-term sick leave. If you are on a long-term disability leave, UBC will pay both the employer and employee portions of any premiums for any benefits you were enrolled in as of your date of disability (excluding staff pension).

Staff Pension Plan while on Long-Term Disability Leave

If you are receiving DBP benefit payments, you will no longer accrue pensionable service unless you contribute both the employer and employee portion to the Staff Pension Plan. Since this may or may not be to your advantage, contact the UBC Staff Pension Office to discuss your options. However, if you were approved for DBP benefits before July 1, 2009, you will continue to accrue pensionable service without being required to contribute to the Staff Pension Plan.

Faculty Pension Plan while on Long-Term Disability Leave

While you are receiving IRP benefit payments, the Income Replacement Plan will continue to make monthly contributions to your Faculty Pension Plan equal to 15% of your gross pre-disability monthly earnings. You are unable to make additional contributions.

If you are on unpaid medical leave, you are required to pay the full cost of benefit premiums and contributions if you wish to continue your benefits coverage.

Access to EFAP and counselling

You may want to seek emotional support to help you deal with your illness or injury. You can speak with a counsellor and receive support through the Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EFAP). UBC’s EFAP provider, TELUS Health, offers confidential and voluntary counselling support that is available in-person and by phone, web or mobile app. In addition to counselling, TELUS Health offers WorkLife Services that can assist you in areas of family, financial and legal support.


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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