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Special Leave Without Pay Policy

Policy Statement

Employees may be provided with special leave without pay, without resigning their positions, for up to 12 months to pursue community, family, educational or other commitments.


This policy applies to all employees of Government departments.

Bargaining unit employees should also consult their respective collective agreements and the provisions of the collective agreement shall prevail.


Special Leave Without Pay: Leave approved by the Deputy Minister for which employees do not receive any pay.



It is the responsibility of departments to manage leave such that it does not unduly interfere with business operations.


It is the responsibility of employees to request special leave without pay, sufficiently in advance, so that appropriate arrangements can be made.


Employees must apply, in writing, to their Deputy Minister for periods of special leave without pay.

Deputy Ministers may approve special leave without pay where they are satisfied that:

  • the purpose of the leave request does not create a conflict of interest for the employee;
  • there will be no unreasonable difficulty in filling the position on a temporary basis;
  • where the position is left vacant, there is no hardship to the department.

Benefits and Entitlements

Employees may take 20 days special leave without pay in any fiscal year and maintain their full entitlement of annual leave, sick leave or paid leave credits.

Employees who use 21 or more days of special leave without pay in any fiscal year will have their annual leave, sick leave and/or paid leave entitlements reduced proportional to the total number of special leave without pay days taken in excess of 20 days.

Employees cannot accrue or use sick leave, annual or paid leave during the periods of special leave without pay.

Upon return to work, employees may have the leave period credited for pension purposes. Employees who elect in writing, within 90 days, may purchase the period of leave by paying contributions that would have been paid had the employee not gone on leave. The employer will match this amount. Employees who elect to purchase pension credits after 90 days will be required to pay the full actuarial cost of the service.

Upon return from leave, employees will not lose any benefits accrued at the commencement of the period of special leave without pay.

Employees on special leave without pay for periods of five days or less, will receive payment for any holiday that occurs during that special leave without pay.


Last Policy Update: July 25, 2014

Last Updated:
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