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Article 23 : sick leave


Total disability: An employee is considered to be totally disabled when he suffers from a total and uninterrupted disability attributable to an injury, sickness, complication resulting from pregnancy or mental condition. He is unable to perform the duties of his usual position for the duration of the maximum number of days of sick leave. Subsequently the conditions established by the insurance provider in the article on extended long-term disability apply.

Partial disability: An employee is considered to be totally disabled when he suffers from a total and uninterrupted disability attributable to an injury, sickness, complication resulting from pregnancy or mental condition. He is unable to perform the duties of his usual position for the duration of the maximum number of days of sick leave. However, with the University's approval, he may perform a portion of the usual duties of his position or another position with similar duties, and the salary received for the duties performed shall be 30 per cent less than his regular salary, at a minimum. An employee cannot be deemed partially disabled before having met the definition of total disability.

Sick leave benefits

23.1 A regular employee who has not completed his probationary period accumulates a half-day (0.5) of sick leave per month, which can be used during his probationary period.

23.2 A regular employee who has completed his probationary period can receive the following sick leave benefits if he meets the definition of disability:

  • One hundred per cent of the base salary for a maximum of one hundred and nineteen (119) calendar days from the first day of the total disability due to an accident or illness, and for each disability owing to a separate cause, including complications resulting from a pregnancy. A gradual return to work or a return to work part time/part-time job shall be included in the calculation of the one hundred and nineteen (119) calendar days of sick leave granted to the employee.
  • Sick leave benefits is payable for a maximum period of one hundred and nineteen (119) calendar days or for a period ending on the employment termination date, whichever period is shorter.
  • Benefits are reduced i) by the amount of compensation paid by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) if they are received, with the understanding that normally the University pays the sick leave pay, or ii) by the amount of similar benefits for which the employee is eligible by reason of sickness or accident from a governmental or private insurance plan, except Employment Insurance.


23.3 Eligible employees who become totally disabled may collect benefits on the following conditions:

  • At the beginning of the disability period, the employee informs the Supervisor of the anticipated length of absence. Should the employee be working shifts, the Supervisor shall be advised of the absence at least two hours before the start of the employee's regular shift. If the leave exceeds the period, the employee or his agent shall notify the Health and Wellness Sector, of any change to the expected return date as soon as it becomes known.
  • A medical note is required in the following cases:
    • when sick leave exceeds three (3) consecutive calendar days;
    • when the employee's sick leave record casts serious doubt on the validity of the declaration, even when the sick leave is less than three (3) consecutive working days; in this case, the functional limitations are requested.
    • This medical note shall contain, at a minimum, the following information: consultation date, absent dates, doctor's name, College of Family Physicians registration number and doctor's signature. The Health and Wellness Sector, must receive the note within three (3) days after the return to work.
  • A University medical certificate must be filled out by the attending physician when the disability exceeds ten (10) workdays, within a maximum of twenty (20) calendar days after the first day of absence; otherwise, the sick leave is without pay and the service will stop the salary on that date and the days off work used up to that date will be treated as annual leave. If the employee's annual leave has been exhausted, the absent days will be treated as leave without pay and a record of employment will be issued for potential benefits from the federal Employment Insurance program.
  • Medical certificates have to be renewed on a monthly basis.

  • At any time during the sick leave, the University may require the employee to undergo a medical examination by a university-appointed doctor to determine if the employee is eligible for sick leave benefits. The University will pay for the examination. The University can verify the reason for the absence and determine the nature and length of the absence.
  • In the case where an employee has done or produced a false statement or if the reason of the absence is other than sickness, the University may take appropriate disciplinary measures.
  • When the medical certificate or examination(s) do not confirm a sick leave due to disability but the attending physician maintains that the employee cannot return to work, the employee is on leave without pay. A medical certificate is required every month to maintain the unpaid-leave status for a maximum of one hundred and nineteen (119) days, then every six (6) months thereafter. The conditions set out in the article on seniority apply to the accumulation and retention of seniority during this period. The employment is terminated two (2) years after the start of the absence.
  • In normal work-related circumstances, the University's sick leave plan is not intended to allow an employee to benefit from a period of therapeutic rest for reasons of anxiety, fatigue, stress or for other similar reasons resulting from personality conflicts with his supervisor, legitimate disciplinary measures or any other similar reason as determined by the Health and Wellness Sector.


23.4 Wherever possible and reasonable, the University accommodates employees with functional limitations to facilitate their return to work after an accident or illness. If possible, and depending on the accommodations to be made, the Parties can also decide to place an employee in a vacant position with other responsibilities that are in keeping with the functional limitations.

23.5 When an employee who has not been given sick leave benefits requires reasonable accommodation according to his attending physician, the University can obtain an assessment from a specialist to determine the functional limitations and the accommodations required. The University will pay the cost of such examinations.

23.6 The employee shall notify the Health and Wellness Sector, of the health condition, disability or impairment preventing him from meeting the job requirements. If a meeting is required, the employee will be notified of his rights of a Union representative to be present at that meeting and during all this process.

23.7 The employee provides the Health and Wellness Sector, in strict confidentiality, the information and documents from health professionals to explain the nature and extent of the accommodation requested.

23.8 The employee and the Bargaining Unit support and collaborate with the University in its efforts to identify and provide the necessary accommodations, in particular by helping identify solutions that the University can consider to meet the employee's needs.

Return to Work after Sick Leave

23.9 When a sick leave exceeds more than twenty (20) working days, the employee must provide a document attesting that he is fit to work from his attending physician before being able to return to work. This document can be the medical certificate filled out at the beginning of the sick leave, provided that the return-to-work date has not changed. The certificate can be used to verify whether the employee is fit to return to work and to identify any accommodation or restriction measures to be followed during the work reintegration period.

Return to Work after a Workplace Accident

23.10 An employee returning from sick leave as a result of a workplace accident can return to the position that he held before the workplace accident, with or without reasonable accommodation, if he returns within the period of one hundred and nineteen (119) days of sick leave. If the absence is longer, the University will adhere to the following conditions (the shortest term apply):

  • up to one (1) year after the employee was declared fit to resume the core duties of his position in connection with a return to the employee's position;
  • two (2) years after the injury or sickness;
  • the date on which the employee reaches 65 years of age.


23.11 In order to protect confidentiality, medical notes and certificates must be forwarded directly by the employee to the Health and Wellness Sector.

23.12 An employee is not required to disclose either the nature of the illness or the name of the attending physician to his Supervisor.

23.13 The Health and Wellness Sector, will not disclose information contained in medical records or medical information without the employee's written consent. In accordance with article 23.7, this does not include information on the accommodations required for a return to work.

Renewal of Sick Leave Benefit Period

23.14 To have the maximum one hundred and nineteen (119) day sick leave period renewed, the University may require a certificate of good health, which is to be granted by the attending physician. An employee who has received sick leave benefits must:

  • return to work for one (1) full working day in the case of a completely unrelated and different disability cause, the accident or sickness having occurred after the day of return to work. This cannot be a day of annual leave and the employee must be present at work;
  • return to work for thirty (30) consecutive calendar days if the disability results from the same cause. During this period of thirty (30) consecutive days, the employee cannot take annual leave.


23.15 An employee who misses work after receiving a notice of termination of employment is not eligible for sick leave benefits unless he provides a certificate of disability issued by a doctor and accepted by the Health, Wellness and Leave Sector.

23.16 Sick leave benefits cannot be accumulated and are never reimbursable.

23.17 When an employee is injured or sick during a leave without pay:

  • The employee is eligible for a 119 days sick leave period, only if he has registered as per Article 19.4.
  • The Employee shall notify the Health and Wellness Sector as soon as the sick leave period starts.
  • Then, at the end of the leave without pay period, the Employee will be eligible to receive paid sick leaves for the rest of the 119 days period, already in progress.

23.18 Employees who are not accepted by the Long-Term Disability Insurance Plan shall not receive sick leave benefits. If the attending physician maintains that the employee cannot return to work, the employee shall be on unpaid leave. A medical certificate shall be required every six (6) months. The terms as provided for in the article on seniority shall apply to the accumulation and maintenance of seniority during this period.

23.19 Sick leave benefits (119 days) are not granted under the following circumstances:

  • Injury or sickness voluntarily self-inflicted with the sole purpose of benefiting from the provisions of this article;
  • Riots, wars or willful participation in disorderly conduct;
  • Diseases or injuries sustained while committing an act recognized as a criminal offence by a duly constituted court or while serving a prison sentence;
  • Pregnancy (however, complications arising from the pregnancy are covered by this article upon presentation of a medical certificate from the University of Ottawa);
  • While vacation pay is also being received;
  • A strike, except if the valid disability started before the beginning of the strike and a medical certificate was provided prior to the strike;
  • All beauty treatments or cosmetic procedures other than for health reasons;
  • When the employee reports sick for work and on the same day attends a course or another job;
  • The employee is under suspension and the suspension was not overturned through the grievance process.

Drug Addiction, Alcoholism and Other Recognized Addictions

23.20 When disability stems from drug addiction, alcoholism or any other addiction recognized as a disability, benefits are to be granted only during the leave required for the treatment of these conditions by a physician or another specialist identified by the University. Treatment for such a disability, such as a treatment program or a recovery plan, must be approved by the Health and Wellness Sector.

Leave for Medical Appointments and Treatments

23.21 Employees shall endeavor at all times to schedule their medical appointments outside of work hours or at the beginning or end of the work day to minimize the impact of their absence on their work sector.

23.22 Reasonable notice must be given to the Supervisor when a medical appointment or treatment has been scheduled.

23.23 A maximum period of two (2) hours is granted for preventive or diagnostic appointments with a doctor, dentist or optometrist. If an absence of more than two (2) hours is required, this period will be accounted for and treated as sick leave unless the time is made up for in hours of work.

23.24 All appointments for medical treatment purposes are accounted for and treated as sick leave and validated by the Health, Wellness and Leave Sector. Employees accumulate hours approved for appointments and enters them into the University's electronic leave management system as half-days or full days of sick leave.

Long Term Disability Program

23.25 Only regular employees who have completed their probation period participate in a long term disability program for which the University pays 100 per cent of the monthly premiums based on two thirds (2/3)* of the Bargaining Unit employees' regular base salary. *(See Group Insurance, article 31.11)

23.26 When an employee is on sick leave for a sufficient length of time to foresee that he may need to avail himself of long term disability insurance, the Human Resources Service will take the necessary steps to notify the employee of the actions that he will need to take to apply for benefits from the insurance provider.

23.27 The Parties acknowledge that when an insurance provider determines an employee's eligibility for long term disability benefits, this decision cannot be subject to a grievance under the Agreement.

23.28 An employee is considered to be disabled when he is eligible for long term disability benefits. The period of the employee's disability is considered to be continuous, notwithstanding the return to his full-time duties, provided that his return to work does not exceed one hundred and eighty (180) consecutive calendar days.

23.29 An employee on disability does not accumulate annual leave. Any period during which an employee is on disability will be considered, for pension plan purposes, to be a period of full-time employment at the University.

23.30 An employee shall have no work load obligations while he is on total disability and shall not receive work-related compensation. Access to benefits included in the group insurance plan in which the employee was participating will be maintained as if he was not on disability, but the employee does not make any contributions.

23.31 When the employee's total disability ends and he resumes all or a portion of his work load, the remuneration granted by the University will be based on the base salary.

23.32 Subject to the approval of the Director of Physical Ressources Service, an employee can undertake a portion of his work load as per his doctor's opinion, giving due regard to the employee's medical condition. Such approval shall not be refused without valid reason. Disability benefits and pay shall be determined on the basis of the disability and the amount of time worked. Benefits granted to the employee shall be maintained as if the employee was not on disability. Contributions shall be determined on the basis of the usual formula and rate (Employee and Employer contributions), but according to the work pay. An employee is entitled to sick leave pursuant to the provisions of the Agreement, provided that the condition requiring sick leave is different from the condition that caused the long-term disability. When an employee is on sick leave, disability benefits and pay shall be determined according to a formula established by the Parties from time to time.