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Unpaid extended leave of absence

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 18th, 2021 5:54 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 26, 2014
37 posts
3 upvotes
Toronto, Ontario

Unpaid extended leave of absence

I am currently on extended mat leave (18 months) which is ending in November 2021.
I would like to take unpaid time off from work (ideally for a year) to spend more time with my kids.
I have explored my employers' leave policies and generally they are: medical leave (if I am not feeling well), compassionate leave (if I have to take care of a family member) or a general leave for up to an year, which typically requires senior management approval for longer duration and is at the discretion of management's approval.
I am wondering if folks can share their experiences on getting unpaid extended leave of absence from their employers?
Any other ideas?
Thanks in advance!
11 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
35253 posts
21231 upvotes
Center of Universe
Depends on your role and responsibilities?
Can the workplace function without you for another year?
Does your work need to be redistributed amongst your colleagues?
Did your employer hire a temp to fill in for you previously?
Member
Jun 18, 2020
313 posts
258 upvotes
If unpaid personal leave (I'd guess they'd classify it that), it could be treated differently than things like sick leave.

If union, there can be various seniority ramifications. If in pension, you'd possibly lose the yr of service unless you buy it back.
Deal Addict
Oct 24, 2010
1358 posts
1138 upvotes
Ottawa
One thing is for sure. Your job won't be protected. They can terminate you at any time with no notice or justification, unless you manage to secure something in writing, for example with respect to to the general leave you mentioned.

It's legally no different than you quitting.
Last edited by Dynatos on Feb 16th, 2021 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 26, 2014
37 posts
3 upvotes
Toronto, Ontario
I work as a non-union policy advisor so I would say that yes, work can continue without me.
I hadn't thought of the pension service years, so thank you for pointing that out.
I am more interested in knowing what to say to the employer to improve my chance. Because the way the current policy reads, it is really upto management's discretion to approve these requests.
Member
Jun 18, 2020
313 posts
258 upvotes
Knowing you're non union, that's probably risky. As the other poster noted, could be little job protection. Even if they protect you, when you go back there could be resentment from collegues and management. Esp if they're in the offce and you avoided dealing with covid.

You also might not have health benefit coverage, unless you pay out of pocket like the pension.

If I assume the finances and job security are not a concern, and you just want them to give it to you, I'd stress your son/daughter isn't ready for daycare, especially in the current environment thus you need to care for them. And if you're wiling to do unpaid, I'd stress that.

For any people browsing the topic with similar concerns, just FYI... in a union environment a collective agreement might address this and then you'd possibly have full job protection. As well, since it's unpaid, sometimes unions have the staff who'd willingly step in almost seamlessly at a lower pay grade...it could save money. Obviously each collective agreement is different, so check the details. But sometimes these are easier to get in union environment.
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 26, 2014
37 posts
3 upvotes
Toronto, Ontario
The sense that I am getting is that if I was granted the leave, it will be at an expense of pension, seniority and potentially resentment from colleagues.
I am wondering though what I need to say to ask for the leave. Is it as simple as asking your manager for a year off and hope for the approval from senior management or is there a more tactful way of going about it?
Newbie
User avatar
Aug 27, 2020
22 posts
9 upvotes
Greater Toronto Area
You never know unless you ask. I think the other aspect to mention is benefits. Are you currently paying for them or is your employer. From an outsiders perspective being away from the workforce for two and half years is a long time but not unheard of. As long as you are prepared for them to say no, I don't see the issue. Good luck and I would be truthful in your reasons for wanting it.
Sr. Member
Apr 30, 2013
720 posts
394 upvotes
King City
blacklivesmatter wrote: You never know unless you ask. I think the other aspect to mention is benefits. Are you currently paying for them or is your employer. From an outsiders perspective being away from the workforce for two and half years is a long time but not unheard of. As long as you are prepared for them to say no, I don't see the issue. Good luck and I would be truthful in your reasons for wanting it.
...
Sr. Member
Jan 1, 2015
663 posts
557 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Marketcap wrote: The sense that I am getting is that if I was granted the leave, it will be at an expense of pension, seniority and potentially resentment from colleagues.
I am wondering though what I need to say to ask for the leave. Is it as simple as asking your manager for a year off and hope for the approval from senior management or is there a more tactful way of going about it?
Not sure why people are saying you're going to be resented by your colleagues.

I personally don't care and neither has anyone else that I worked with cared about people taking extended leave, especially if you are doing it to take care of your kids. It would be another story if you took leave, came back and then bragged about how you went on vacation to so many beautiful countries.

But yes, job security, pension loss, and loss of seniority will be the deciding factor.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 31, 2008
11638 posts
2142 upvotes
Toronto
FrugalConsumer wrote: Not sure why people are saying you're going to be resented by your colleagues.

I personally don't care and neither has anyone else that I worked with cared about people taking extended leave, especially if you are doing it to take care of your kids. It would be another story if you took leave, came back and then bragged about how you went on vacation to so many beautiful countries.

But yes, job security, pension loss, and loss of seniority will be the deciding factor.
As long as that position is covered, I don't see an issue.

As for me, my only other immediate co-worker was on mat leave. If she took 18 months off, + another year of leave and continued with no replacement, sure I'd have some resentment somewhere, but more so for management for not hiring someone else.

But it will depend on culture, how comfortable manager is, including yes, their manager.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 27, 2009
7180 posts
4362 upvotes
Victoria, BC
If your workplace would be okay without you for 2.5 years, what do they need you for? The 18 months they are forced to keep a position open for you (doesn't have to necessarily be your old position), but after that, what is their incentive to keep you on an extended unpaid leave? I would also say, you are still 9 months away from your return to work time. You could feel differently by then. I would not bring this up with your employer just yet if I were you.

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