Rescinded [2009-04-01] - Leave With Pay Policy

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Policy objective

To provide for certain authorized paid absences.

Policy statement

To allow for paid absences from work where such absences are occasioned by legal or societal obligations, or are deemed by the employer to be situations where the employee should not suffer a loss of income.


This policy applies to all departments and other portions of the Public Service listed in Part I of Schedule I of the Public Service Staff Relations Act.

Policy requirements

Leave with pay must be authorized in accordance with the relevant authority, that is, the collective agreement or the appropriate terms and conditions of employment.

For the following leave situations:

  • time for voting;
  • time for recreational, personal and other special reasons;
  • medical and dental appointments;
  • adverse climatic or environmental conditions;
  • international sporting events;
  • Reserve Forces training;

departments are to adhere to the standards and procedures set in Appendix A of this policy.

An employee on leave of absence can only be replaced on an indeterminate basis if the period of leave or consecutive periods of the same type of leave exceed one year. Periods of different types of leave cannot be combined for the calculation of the one year period.


Departmental inputs to the Leave Reporting System (LRS) will be monitored by Treasury Board Secretariat.


Relevant collective agreements

TBS Policy on Terms and conditions of employment


Enquiries about this policy should be referred to the responsible officers in departmental headquarters who, in turn, may direct questions regarding policy interpretation to the following:

Labour Relations and Human Resources Management
Human Resources Branch
Treasury Board Secretariat

Appendix A - Procedures

Time for voting

All employees, including employees in casual status, must be given leave with pay to vote (including proxy voting) in federal, provincial and municipal elections, and referenda or plebiscites. The standards are as follows.

Federal elections, referenda or plebiscites

Three consecutive hours during the period the polls are open.

Provincial elections, referenda or plebiscites

The number of consecutive hours specified in the legislation of the province or territory in which the employee resides.

Municipal elections, referenda or plebiscites

The number of consecutive hours specified in the statutes governing municipal elections, referenda or plebiscites of the province or territory in which the municipality is located; where there is no such provision, the time as established for elections in the province or territory in which the employee resides.

Time for recreational, personal and other special reasons

It is common practice in the Public Service to grant leave, for example, to participate in departmental social activities. Leave may be granted for these and similar purposes, but is to be charged against an employee's vacation leave credits; in the event of relatively brief leave periods, such as extended lunch hours, hours of work may be scheduled to maintain normal overall weekly hours.

Medical and dental appointments

It is the practice of the employer to grant leave for up to half a day for medical and dental appointments without charge to the employee's leave credits. This, however, applies only in the case of routine, periodic check-ups or an appointment related to a particular complaint.

Where a series of continuing appointments are necessary for treatment of a particular condition, absences are to be charged to sick leave.

Adverse climatic or environmental conditions

Paid leave granted on a discretionary basis usually covers those situations that could affect an employee's capability to remain on or report for duty.

Adverse environmental conditions at the work place, such as a lack of heat, and emergency conditions affecting the community, such as a serious flood or snowstorm, are situations that may occur which could require management to exercise discretion with respect to granting leave with pay. In such cases, the deputy head or delegated management authority must be satisfied that paid leave is warranted.

International sporting events

An employee may be granted leave with pay for the purpose of training for or participating in international sporting events in an amount not exceeding three calendar months per year if the leave is taken in one period, or 66 working days per year if the leave is taken in broken periods; such leave (which includes any unused vacation leave to which the employee is entitled) is to be granted only to an employee on whose behalf a national sport-governing body has made a recommendation for participation in the event. The recommendation must be validated by the appropriate governmental sport organization, i.e. Sport Canada. The employee's unused vacation leave is to be liquidated before any additional leave is granted.

Training and/or participation by an employee includes involvement as an athlete, an official referee, a judge, a coach or other official.

Leave with Pay for Religious observance

In response to requests for time off to meet religious obligations, management should examine each case on an individual basis and make every effort to allow an employee to be absent from work without suffering loss of income within the appropriate confines of the collective agreement. Such efforts would include the use of annual or compensatory leave, shift exchanges in the case of shift workers, variable hours of work (compressed work week) or individual arrangements for make-up time, if operationally feasible.

Reserve Forces training

Departments are encouraged to grant reservists the necessary time for Reserve Forces activities. Such leave should conform to the provisions of the Reserve Forces Training Leave Regulations made pursuant to the National Defence Act.