13.1. LEAVES OF ABSENCE
| Revisions approved Section 13.1
by CGPS Council March 23, 2023
May 1, 2023
Leaves of absence are available to graduate students under the following categories: Personal or health; maternity/parental; professional; and leave to pursue an additional program of study. The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree, and tuition is not assessed during the leave. Typically, nominal student fees are assessed during the leave period. While a student is on leave, all advisory and supervisory processes and progress on academic and research work are paused.
While on leave, students are registered into a ‘maintenance of status’ placeholder which allows them to retain registered student status.
Students pursuing a leave should be aware of the financial and university facility access and resource implications of a leave of absence, such as:
Financial - Unless otherwise permitted by the source of funding, the financial support offered to a full-time, fully qualified student is paused and therefore not available to a student during the time they are on leave.
There may be sources of funding that continue or become available to students on leave (e.g., maternity, parental, personal, or health) from some academic colleges/units or granting agencies. Students are advised to discuss this with their academic unit when applying for a leave. Students are further advised to refer to the terms of their particular funding agreement(s). Students who have been awarded Tri-Agency scholarships (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR) or any other award, fellowship, or grant should familiarize themselves with the granting agency’s terms regulating the continuation and/or pause of their awards relating to a leave of absence.
Students on a leave of absence are not eligible to work as teaching or research assistants during their leave.
Students holding government loans, or loans from other student loan providers, are advised to familiarize themselves with the terms and implications for going on a leave of absence.
Access to university resources/facilities - Students on a leave of absence maintain access to student support services such as Student Wellness, and to some facilities such as the library.
Return from leave - Upon completion of the leave of absence, students must register for classes by the registration deadline of the term of their intended return. If the expected return date falls partway through a term, the student must contact the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS) and inform them of their return. The CGPS will then make arrangements to have the student back-registered into classes and will contact the Registrar’s Office to have tuition and student fees assessment adjusted accordingly.
International students - may wish to contact the International Student and Study Abroad Centre if they have questions about whether taking a leave of absence will have an impact on their immigration status.
Right to appeal - The Dean of the CGPS, or designate, will consider appeals from students whose request for leave or extension of leave has been initially denied by the academic unit. If the denial of a leave request is upheld by the Dean, the student may formally appeal under the policy and procedures for appeals of standing in the program on limited grounds as outlined in Part V.B.1 of the Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters.
Short-term absence - A short-term absence consists of a brief period of absence lasting less than an academic term. Typically, the length is between two and six weeks.
The CGPS acknowledges that students may need to be absent from their program for a short period(s) of time due to circumstances not described in the leaves policy, or that do not warrant a formal application for a leave of absence. In such cases, students are encouraged to speak with the Graduate Chair, Head, or Dean/Executive Director (non-departmentalized colleges/schools) or contact CGPS to discuss the most appropriate short-term accommodation option.
13.1.1. PERSONAL OR HEALTH LEAVES
13.1.2. MATERNITY/ADOPTION AND PARENTAL LEAVES
Maternity/Adoption leave - A graduate student who is bearing a child is eligible for a maternity leave. A graduate student who is the primary caregiver of an adopted child is eligible for an adoption leave. Maternity/adoption leaves may be granted for up to four consecutive months and begin at any time between four months prior to the expected birth/adoption date and the actual date of the child’s birth/adoption. Maternity/adoption leaves must be requested before the leave is taken. Only one parent is eligible for maternity/adoption leave for each new child(ren).
Parental leave - A graduate student with primary responsibilities for the care of a child immediately following a birth or adoption is eligible for a parental leave. Parental leave is applicable for both parents and in cases where both parents are graduate students, they will be eligible to take parental leave together concurrently, or one after the other consecutively.
Parental leaves may be granted for up to 16 consecutive months. Parental leaves must be requested within one year of the date of birth or adoption.
Combined maternity/adoption and parental leave - In cases where a graduate student is eligible for both a maternity/adoption leave and a parental leave, the leaves can be applied for together and taken consecutively. Combined maternity/adoption and parental leave can be taken for a maximum of 20 months ending not later than 20 months after the combined period of birth or adoption, and care of a newborn or adopted child(ren).
General - Students deciding not to take the maximum uninterrupted duration available for a maternity/adoption leave, a parental leave, or a combined maternity/adoption and parental leave will not be able to use any unused portion at a later date.
Requests for a maternity/adoption leave, a parental leave, or a combined maternity/adoption and parental leave must be submitted by the graduate student for review and approval by their academic unit. The Graduate Chair, Head, or Dean/Executive Director (non-departmentalized colleges/schools) has the authority to approve maternity/adoption leaves, parental leaves, and combined maternity/adoption and parental leaves.
Maternity/adoption, parental, or combined maternity/adoption and parental leaves may be requested with each new child(ren) born or adopted while the student is pursuing their graduate program.
The following table indicates leave and time eligibility under three scenarios:
Leave time eligibility
1. Parent bearing a child applies for a leave
Up to 4 months
Up to 20 months
2. Parent who is primary caregiver of adopted child applies for a leave (only one parent is eligible to be designated primary caregiver for the purposes of adoption leave policy)
Up to 4 months
Up to 20 months
3. Parent not bearing child or not designated as the one primary caregiver for adopted child applies for a leave
Up to 16 months
13.1.3. PROFESSIONAL LEAVES
A professional leave supports graduate students who engage in relevant work or professional development opportunities. A professional leave can be approved by the student’s academic unit for up to a maximum of 12 months taken consecutively or in non-consecutive terms.
Where additional time is required, requests must be submitted to the CGPS for review and approval. Requests for additional time beyond the 12 months must include a rationale and any relevant supporting documents and must be supported by the supervisor and Graduate Chair, Head, or Dean/Executive Director (non-departmentalized colleges/schools).
13.1.4. LEAVES TO PURSUE AN ADDITIONAL PROGRAM OF STUDY
With support from their academic unit, a graduate student that has been offered admission to pursue an additional program of study at the University of Saskatchewan or other post-secondary institution (nationally or abroad), and who would like to pause their graduate program, may apply for a leave of absence.
Requests for leave to pursue an additional program of study must be submitted by the graduate student, with the support of the academic unit, to the CGPS for review and approval. A plan and timeline to completion for the student’s graduate program that has been approved by the student’s supervisor and the Graduate Chair, Head, or Dean/Executive Director (non-departmentalized colleges/schools) must be included with the leave request. Support of the leave request from the academic unit will not guarantee CGPS approval of the leave to pursue an additional program of study.
Leaves to pursue an additional program of study will not typically exceed two consecutive academic terms per academic year.
13.2. ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
‘Disability’ applies as defined in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, meaning:
1. any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes:
- any degree of paralysis;
- lack of physical co-ordination;
- blindness or visual impediment;
- deafness or hearing impediment;
- muteness or speech impediment; or
- physical reliance on a service animal, wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device; or
2. any of:
- an intellectual disability or impairment;
- a learning disability or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in the comprehension or use of symbols or spoken language; or
- a mental disorder: a disorder of thought, perception, feelings or behaviour that impairs a person’s:
- capacity to recognize reality
- ability to associate with others
- ability to meet the ordinary demands of life
- drug and alcohol dependencies.
A student with a disability or disabilities is the person most capable of determining whether future success in the graduate program of study will be assisted by registering with Access and Equity Services (AES) and self-disclosing accommodation requirements as soon as possible. Students are responsible for organizing their own assessment of disability and accommodation requirements in consultation with AES. Files for the purposes of registering with AES are kept at the AES office. Once a graduate student has made the decision to register with AES, and the confidential registration process is complete, the student may choose to initiate the following procedures to determine and implement appropriate accommodations:
1. AES contacts the Graduate Chair in the student’s disciplinary academic unit to determine whether standard AES accommodation methods (e.g., for course work) will work for the student at that time. If they will, then AES undertakes its standard process for accommodations.
2. Where AES staff and the Graduate Chair in the academic unit determine that the student’s stage of program requires an individualized accommodation plan (e.g., to support preparation of research proposal; qualifying or comprehensive exams; thesis research, writing, defence), the Graduate Chair schedules an Accommodation Planning Committee (APC) meeting, normally including, at the minimum, the following people as members:
- Student seeking accommodation
- Supervisor (or Graduate Chair if a Supervisor has not been assigned)
- Manager of AES (or designate)
- Associate Dean of CGPS (or designate)
Note: The APC may include additional members, at the determination of the academic unit in consultation with the student, such as the Graduate Chair, members of the student’s Advisory Committee, or an advocate selected by the student. While the student and AES members of the APC will know the precise nature of the student’s disability, this information will be divulged to other members of the APC only with consent of the student.
3. The APC will determine an appropriate accommodation plan, a copy of which will be kept on file by the academic unit separate from the student’s regular academic file, by the student, and by AES. The APC will communicate as a group as needed to monitor or adjust accommodations. Any member of the APC may request an in-person meeting of the full committee as needed.
It is the student’s responsibility to be proactive in registering as early as possible with AES. Given that the registration process with AES and the work of a subsequent APC will take time, students are responsible for meeting all deadlines related to disability accommodation and required to participate actively in the accommodation planning in order to receive appropriate and timely accommodation. An accommodation plan aims to assist the student to meet program requirements. It does not, however, guarantee or imply successful completion of the program or that other CGPS policies and procedures will be supplanted (e.g., extension to time in program, leaves of absence). A student may waive an accommodation at his or her discretion, though in so doing will be expected to meet the performance standard set without accommodation. An accommodation plan will not be applied retroactively to have previous academic decisions reconsidered.
The Academic Accommodation Policy and Procedures for Students with Disabilities will be reviewed by the CGPS Graduate Academic Affairs Committee, in consultation with AES, annually for the first three years, and biannually thereafter, and modified as needed.
This policy and procedures is adapted from College of Pharmacy and Nutrition and School of Rehabilitation Science, and with assistance from the Manager of AES.