Types of leaves

There are different types of leaves that you may be eligible for during your employment. Please review the Leave section in the applicable collective agreement or employee handbook from the Employment Agreements site.

Benefits on paid leave

For a paid leave of absence, all benefits and pension you are currently eligible for will continue. This includes extended health care, dental, flexible spending accounts, basic life insurance, optional life insurance, optional accidental death and dismemberment, disability insurance and the pension plan.

Benefits on unpaid leave

For an unpaid leave of absence, you may maintain the benefits and pension you are currently eligible for if you pay both the employer and employee costs. Should you choose to waive your benefits and not pay to maintain them, no expenses incurred will be reimbursed and some coverage may be terminated, with a requirement for you to reapply upon return to work (ie. optional life insurance).

  • Academic Money Purchase Pension plan members and Research Pension Plan members can maintain their pension contributions so long as they pay both the employer and employee portions.
  • CAAT DBplus Pension Plan members have the opportunity to purchase all or a portion of an unpaid leave of absence once you return to work. For information about this process, please contact CAAT at 1-866-350-2228 or member@caatpension.ca.

Waiving Benefits

Before you go on your leave of absence, you are required to apply for a leave. On this form, you select which benefits you wish to maintain (costs will be calculated for you based on the dates of your leave).

You may change your benefit selection at any point in time prior to your leave. Once your unpaid leave begins, the decision you make is final and cannot change, including if you extend your leave or take a subsequent leave without returning to work first. You are required to pay for all benefits you opt to maintain for the entirety of your leave.

Any benefits you do not wish to maintain will be waived the day your unpaid leave begins. If payments are not received for the benefits you select to maintain, these benefits will also be waived.

If you maintain the health coverage during your leave, your flexible spending program will continue, but you will not receive any new allocations until you return to work.

Returning to work

You will not have to re-serve any waiting periods previously served in full.

All benefits will be reinstated the day you return to work, with the exception of optional life insurance and optional accidental death and dismemberment. This coverage will be terminated if not maintained while on an unpaid leave. If you would like to resume this coverage, you will be required to re-apply and may need to provide medical evidence of insurability to Sun Life.

Implications of waiving benefits

Before applying for a leave it is important you learn the implications of waiving benefits and other details about benefits while on a leave.

Health Plan and Flexibile Spending Program No expenses incurred will be reimbursed. No expenses incurred during the waived period will be paid by the health spending, personal spending or tuition accounts, regardless if there is a fund balance.
Dental Plan No expenses incurred will be reimbursed.
Pension No contributions are made to your pension plan.
Basic Life Insurance No insurance claim will be paid in the event of your death.**
Disability No disability payment will be made during your leave or if you are unable to return to work.
Optional Life Insurance (spousal optional life) Coverage is terminated and no insurance claim will be paid in the event of your death.** This benefit will not be reinstated automatically and you will be required to provide medical evidence of insurability to Sun Life and be approved before you become eligible for coverage again.
Optional Accidental Death
& Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance
Coverage is terminated and no insurance claim will be paid in the event of your death or dismemberment.**

** In the event of death within 31 days of commencing an unpaid leave, members with basic life and optional life insurance will be covered by the plan.

During an unpaid leave of absence, benefit coverage may only be maintained for three consecutive years upon which it will be terminated until you return to work. You will not be required to re-serve any waiting periods previously served in full.

Please note that if you do not maintain benefits during your leave, and you terminate your employment during or at the end of your leave (before returning to work first), benefit conversion options will not available for any benefit not maintained.

Sabbatical leave

If you are a Faculty member in-scope of USFA and have been approved for a sabbatical leave all benefits you are enrolled in continue for the duration of your leave. 

Traveling outside of Canada on sabbatical

If you are traveling outside of the country, there are some additional steps to take before you leave and important information to know regarding travel benefits, health care, and reimbursements. For detailed information.

Maternity, adoption and parental leave

Information for applying for employment insurance and supplemental benefits while on maternity/parental/adoption leave is available.

Medical leave and disability benefits

Learn more about leaves available if you are sick or injured.

Deferred Salary Leave

The Deferred Salary Leave Plan (DSLP) provides employees with an opportunity to self-finance a Leave of Absence by authorizing the employer to set aside, over a limited period, a portion of the employees’ salary prior to the leave of absence. The salary held by the employer is not subject to income tax until it is paid to the employee during the Leave of Absence.

The DSLP is voluntary and subject to University approval and the conditions set forth in the Deferred Salary Leave Plan.

An employee may enroll in the plan for an educational program, travel or other personal endeavors.

Members of the following groups are eligible:

Partial Leave

A partial leave voluntarily reduce the full time equivalent (FTE) of an employee (typically from 1.0 to less than 1.0) through a reduction in working hours in the course of a given period. Partial leaves are granted for a variety of reasons including:

  • education
  • family needs
  • retirement transition
  • personal need
  • personal preference

There are many ways that partial leaves can be structured, including:

  • shortened work weeks (taking Fridays or Mondays off)
  • working fewer hours daily (for example, arriving to work after dropping children off at school, or leaving early to pick them up)
  • reducing time during an operationally slow period (for example, taking Fridays off during the summer)

Other Considerations

  • Employees do not receive any additional time off ‘in lieu’ if their leave falls on a statutory holiday or other University closure.
  • Partial leaves are reviewed after a 12 month assessment period. After this time, both employees and people leaders can review the arrangement and decide if a permanent reduction in FTE is a good fit for both parties.

Impact to benefits if FTE remains at or above 0.5
If you remain at or above a 0.5 FTE, the university will continue to pay the entire premium  for your extended health care and dental plans. You will remain responsible for the cost of any optional life benefits you may have. The premiums for your basic life insurance, disability and pension are calculated using your salary at your reduced FTE and the employer will continue to pay this premium. You are able to “top-up” your benefits by paying for the premium difference calculated between your reduced salary and your salary at a full FTE.

For example, Sarah’s full time (1.0FTE) salary is $50,000 and she decides to take a partial leave of absence to reduce to a 0.75 FTE. Her new salary will be $37,500 until she returns to a full FTE. The university will pay the normal benefit costs based on her salary of $37,500. She can pay the benefit premium for the difference in salary ($12,500).

Sarah’s Basic Life Insurance coverage at a full FTE is $100,000 (2x annual salary). If she did not top-up the benefit, the life insurance coverage is reduced to $75,000 (2 x new annual salary) until she returns to her full FTE. By paying the monthly top-up amount, Sarah retains the life insurance coverage amount of $100,000 for the duration of her partial leave.

Impact to benefits if FTE falls below 0.5
If your FTE drops below a 0.5FTE, you will be responsible for all benefit costs for the duration of your leave as you no longer meet the eligibility requirements for benefits for that position.

Paying for your top-up

  • Benefit premiums to top-up benefits on a partial leave will come off your paycheque.
  • Once your partial leave begins, the decision you make is final and cannot change, including if you extend your leave.
  • You are required to pay for all benefits you opt to top-up for the entirety of your leave.
  • All benefits will be reinstated based on your full FTE when the partial leave ends.
  • Benefit coverage may only be topped-up for three consecutive years upon which it will be terminated until you return to work. You will not have to re-serve any waiting periods previously served in full.

Permanently reducing your FTE
If you reduce your FTE permanently rather than taking a partial leave, there is no option to top-up your benefits.

Applying for a leave

Before applying for a leave it is important you learn the implications of waiving benefits and other details about benefits while on a leave. See above information.

An application for a leave of absence must be approved by your supervisor or department head. Some leaves will be granted automatically as per the university’s policies and provincial employment standards, and others may be granted if the request is reasonable, the leave is not unduly disruptive to the operations of the unit and it is possible to fill your responsibilities on a temporary basis.

Refer to the Saskatchewan Employment Act for additional unpaid leaves of absence provided for under the provincial employment standards. Leaves are not normally granted for you to pursue alternate employment, although special circumstances may receive consideration.

How to apply

  1. Complete the Leave of Absence Application form available in PAWS.
  2. If you are applying for an unpaid leave you will need to indicate which benefits you would like to maintain and pay for once your unpaid leave begins. 
  3. You will need to select your Leave Type:
    1. Education – Paid or unpaid
    2. Maternity/Adoption/Parental
    3. Other – Includes leaves to hold political office, bereavement and compassionate care leave, or taking another position on campus, etc.
    4. Personal – Unpaid personal leave of absence or partial leave
  4. Select the first day you will be off pay and the last day you will be off pay. The length of your leave cannot be longer than one year. Leaves over a year must be re-applied for each year. If you are in a term position, your last day off salary cannot be after the last day of your term.  In the case of maternity/adoption/parental leaves, enter the first day of your leave regardless if it is paid or unpaid.
  5. Partial Leave – Only complete this field if you are taking a partial leave of absence to reduce your FTE. Enter your new FTE in the space provided. For example, if you are going from a 1.0 FTE to a 0.8 FTE, you would enter 0.8 FTE. To calculate your FTE divide the number of hours that you work per week by the total full-time hours per week. Enter a number between 0 and 1. 
  6. Comments - DO NOT included detailed personal information regarding your leave in the comments. Examples of items to include:
    1. If you are planning to take vacation as part of your leave or as an extension of your leave.
    2. If you are the primary caregiver during your maternity/parental leave.
    3. If you work a shift that does not follow the typical Monday to Friday work week. 
  7. Select which benefits you would like maintain while on your leave by using the drop down menus next to each benefit (only the benefits you are eligible for will automatically appear). Selecting “Yes” will show you the estimated cost to maintain each benefit per pay period(half of the monthly cost). Selecting “No” will zero out the cost.
  8. Once you have made your benefit decisions, your estimated cost will be available. This will show the estimated benefit cost per pay period as well as the estimated total benefit cost for the duration of your leave. Note: Benefit premiums  may change before your leave begins.
  9. Once the form has been completed, click the Download Form button. This will open up a PDF version of the form for you to print and sign as well as the Pre-Authorized Debit form for benefits payments.  
  10. Provide the Leave of Absence form to your manager or supervisor. If they approve your application, they will sign the form and submit it to ConnectionPoint for processing. 
  11. When your leave is processed by ConnectionPoint, you will receive a communication confirming the details of your leave. NOTE: You will continue to have access to your usask.ca email account during your leave.  Important information will continue to be emailed to this account.

If you have questions regarding eligibility for leave of absence, contact your human resources strategic business advisor (SBA),

Getting help


Types of questions ConnectionPoint can assist with:

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(306) 966-2000
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