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Unpaid leave of absence - How does it work?

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  • Jun 3rd, 2012 4:07 pm
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Nov 23, 2010
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Toronto

Unpaid leave of absence - How does it work?

I was speaking to a friend of mine that recently got hired into a unionized environment. He had mentioned that there is a "leave of absence" without pay, which i assumed was for emergencies such as if an individual needed to take some time off to care for a parent, or child etc.

He was saying that it would be possible for him to take a leave of absence, but then go find another job which i dont see how

Has anyone else taken a leave of absence to pursue another opportunity? Either internal, or external of their company?

I dont see how my manager would allow me to, for example if i was working at a bank, to suddenly ask for a leave of absence so i can go to work as a mechanic, then to come back to my original position.
7 replies
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Apr 16, 2006
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chillychin wrote:
Mar 26th, 2012 1:50 am
I was speaking to a friend of mine that recently got hired into a unionized environment. He had mentioned that there is a "leave of absence" without pay, which i assumed was for emergencies such as if an individual needed to take some time off to care for a parent, or child etc.

He was saying that it would be possible for him to take a leave of absence, but then go find another job which i dont see how

Has anyone else taken a leave of absence to pursue another opportunity? Either internal, or external of their company?

I dont see how my manager would allow me to, for example if i was working at a bank, to suddenly ask for a leave of absence so i can go to work as a mechanic, then to come back to my original position.

I took an unpaid leave of absence to go back to school. Rather than quitting, I figured it would make more sense to go on leave and have my job waiting for me when I got back in case things at school didn't work out. If things at school did work out, I could still go back to my old job for the summer, earn my full time pay for 4 months, and then formally quit at the end of the summer. That year was also eligible for pensionable buy back service in my case.

Depending on the employer, I'm fairly certain you can do whatever it is you want with your unpaid leave of absence. While I used it as a safety net, I know of one person who used it to go teach English overseas for a year, whereas another went to go live in Scotland for a year with some distant relatives and travel all over Europe.
Deal Addict
Mar 27, 2011
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chillychin wrote:
Mar 26th, 2012 1:50 am
I was speaking to a friend of mine that recently got hired into a unionized environment. He had mentioned that there is a "leave of absence" without pay, which i assumed was for emergencies such as if an individual needed to take some time off to care for a parent, or child etc.

He was saying that it would be possible for him to take a leave of absence, but then go find another job which i dont see how

Has anyone else taken a leave of absence to pursue another opportunity? Either internal, or external of their company?

I dont see how my manager would allow me to, for example if i was working at a bank, to suddenly ask for a leave of absence so i can go to work as a mechanic, then to come back to my original position.

Been several people at my work (City of Ottawa) who have done this. One is currently testing out another job with the provincial government and is on an unpaid leave of absence. Others have taking temporary positions up north or abroad for life experience and taken unpaid absence.

All the types of absences and leaves are outlined in our collective agreement.
Deal Addict
Aug 31, 2010
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chillychin wrote:
Mar 26th, 2012 1:50 am
I was speaking to a friend of mine that recently got hired into a unionized environment. He had mentioned that there is a "leave of absence" without pay, which i assumed was for emergencies such as if an individual needed to take some time off to care for a parent, or child etc.

He was saying that it would be possible for him to take a leave of absence, but then go find another job which i dont see how

Has anyone else taken a leave of absence to pursue another opportunity? Either internal, or external of their company?

I dont see how my manager would allow me to, for example if i was working at a bank, to suddenly ask for a leave of absence so i can go to work as a mechanic, then to come back to my original position.

Depending on the company, sometimes they do not allow you to earn money while you're on your leave of absence. Whether they can actually find out I'm not sure, but some companies would flat out reject you if you stated "Hey, want a leave of absence for paid work somewhere else." Unless it's an internship or you're going back to school and need to work part-time to support your education. I also believe that, other than the required reasons by Ontario (maternity, reservist, etc.), your company does not have to offer unpaid absences.

If your work has an HR department or an intranet - start there.
Jr. Member
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Aug 24, 2011
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LAVAL
chillychin wrote:
Mar 26th, 2012 1:50 am
I was speaking to a friend of mine that recently got hired into a unionized environment. Has anyone else taken a leave of absence to pursue another opportunity? Either internal, or external of their company?
dibksbgon wrote:
Mar 26th, 2012 7:44 am
All the types of absences and leaves are outlined in our collective agreement.
hvc wrote:
Mar 26th, 2012 8:59 am
Depending on the company, your company does not have to offer unpaid absences.
Just for clarification: Its my understanding, at least for Quebec, that leave of absence is for unionized work place and even that you have to check with the collective agreement on what and what not is allowed. Leave of absences is definitely not a given benefit.

Regards
Deal Addict
Mar 27, 2011
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Yeppers. They are commonplace in unionized environments. I am guessing OP is not unionized but either way he needs to just check with his employer to get the answer. As you mention they are not a right, they are benefit of certain work environments.
Deal Addict
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Aug 23, 2008
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Toronto
Bumping to ask a question:



I recently asked for a leave of absence (unpaid) from my job for a year to go travelling. I read up on the HR policies of the company I work for and found out that "regular" employees are qualified to take up to 12 months personal leave. However, my manager was under the impression that I might be classified as a "temporary" employee and thus only eligible for the usual personal medical/family emergency/parental/reservist leave (I'm not a unionized employee).

However, after my manager consulted with the HR department, they determined that I was indeed eligible for a general leave of absence. However, it was up to the manager to approve it or not based on the following criteria:


The Company may authorize an employee to take a General Leave of Absence for an employee for personal reasons, wherein the following factors would be considered:
- The reason for the Leave of Absence,
- The duration of the requested Leave,
- The impact of the absence on the Company's operation,
- The length of employee's service (must exceed one year), and
- The employee's performance level.

According to my manager, she was advised the following:

“You will have to terminate his employment, and once he returns he is more than welcome to apply again if he is interested”.

Thank you. This is standard procedure."



My manager did not provide any further reasoning as to why my request was denied. I have worked at this company for three and a half years, so I fulfilled the length of service requirement. Since all the other factors were not explained to me and seem somewhat arbitrary, do I have any recourse in this matter?
Deal Guru
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Oct 14, 2003
13360 posts
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You should speak to somebody in HR. Not all company policies are going to be the same. For example I'm currently on a LOA for illness so I can collect EI, once I'm being paid EI and can provide proof to work they will top up the rest. This is not a union environment. They do the same for maternity and I think possible if you need to care for somebody.

Edit: Didn't know thread was bumped for a 2nd question.
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