Attendance, Absences & Vacations

Learn about flexible work arrangements.


How to manage and track your attendance record. 

To reach goals, everyone on the team must be working together, and contributing to the team’s success.

You, as an employee, should be aware of your responsibility regarding attendance and absenteeism. An employee’s responsibilities include calling your supervisor to report absences, attending to personal business outside of business hours, and scheduling medical and dental appointments outside of work hours, whenever possible. click here for UBC HR attendance management information. 

Your manager or department administrator is responsible for keeping attendance records. 

Hours of Work

Learn about work hours, flexible work schedules, lunch & breaks, and overtime.

Typical Hours of Work by Employee Group

Due to the wide diversity of work at UBC, no single schedule will fit everyone. Here is an overview of typical hours of work for our major employee groups. However, this list doesn’t cover all possibilities, so please consult the relevant collective agreement or handbook for the precise language for your employment group.

Flexible Schedule

A flexible schedule may be available depending on your position, employment group, and operational needs of your Department/Unit. Managers are not required to grant flexible schedule to employees. If you are on a flexible schedule, the sick leave and vacation deduction is based on your regular work day. A “regular work day” means the regularly scheduled work day and/or work hours. For example, if you have a 7.75 hrs work day while on the flexible schedule, one day of sick leave will be deducted as 7.75 hrs per day.

If operational requirements change such that the approved work week has a detrimental impact on the Department/unit, your work week may change depending on the needs of the Department.  Contact your department administrator or supervisor if you have any specific questions.


Health, wellness and safety are important in the workplace. This includes taking scheduled breaks and lunch.

  • You are entitled to no less than 30 minutes and no more than 1 hour for a meal period, approximately in the middle of your work day.
  • You are also entitled to a 15 minute break mid-morning and another 15 minute break mid-afternoon.
  • You should confirm your scheduled breaks with your supervisor , depending on operational requirements.
  • Your breaks may be combined by mutual agreement with your manager. However, the combined break cannot be used to shorten your regular work day.

For specific information on lunch/breaks for different employment groups, please consult the relevant collective agreement or handbook for the precise language.


CUPE 2950 and Non-Union Technicians

All work exceeding the normal work day or work week is considered overtime for employees in the CUPE 2950 and Non-Union Technician employment groups. All overtime work performed by the employee must be approved by the supervisor or department head in advance of the overtime work. With mutual agreement between the employee and supervisor, time off (equivalent to the number of hours for which the employee would have been paid) may be taken in lieu of overtime pay. Individual departments may have their own forms and approval process so please consult with your department administrator or HR Manager  for specifics.

Management and Professional

Employees in the Management and Professional (M&P) employment group do not receive overtime pay for extra hours worked. If an M&P employee is required to work significant additional hours of work due to operational requirements, the options include (but not limited to):

  • Time off with pay;
  • Three (3) days’ leave of absence with pay to be taken between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day;
  • Honoraria;
  • Additional professional development opportunities; or
  • Providing financial assistance with memberships in professional organizations where such memberships are an asset but not required to perform the position.

For specific information on overtime arrangements for different employment groups, please consult the relevant collective agreement or handbook for the precise language.

Leave of Absence

From time to time, circumstances may arise that will require you to take a leave of absence. During your temporary leave, your UBC benefits may be affected.

Your UBC employee group determines the following:

  • The type of leave for which you are eligible,
  • How long a leave you can take,
  • What supplemental benefits you may qualify for, and
  • Whether you are entitled to a paid or unpaid leave.

Types of Leaves

Please visit the UBC HR website for an overview of the types of leaves such as maternity leave, sick leave, etc. Each type of leave will indicate eligibility by employee group.

For information on benefits coverage while on a leave, please visit this page.

Sick Leaves and Unpaid Medical Leaves

All employees have sick leave benefits; however, the amount of paid sick leave and the accrual process is different based on the employment group. For specific information on sick leave benefits for different employment groups, please consult the relevant collective agreement or handbook.

Short-Term Sick Leave

From time to time, you may have an illness or injury that prevents you from performing your job. You may use your sick leave benefits to cover such absences with medical documentation, particularly if the leave is lasting for more than five days. For specific information on how your sick leave reserve is calculated, visit the Paid sick leave page.

Long-Term Sick Leave

If you are off for a longer period of time and your sick leave has been exhausted, below are steps to take to transition from paid sick leave to unpaid leave:

  • You may choose to use your vacation first before going on unpaid leave
  • Once the vacation is exhausted, you will go on unpaid leave
  • For unpaid medical leave, apply to the supervisor/department administrator in writing, including a doctor’s certification of the illness and a prognosis of your expected return date.
  • Apply for Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada as soon you receive the Record of Employment (ROE) from Financial Services. (Ensure that Financial Services has your current home address since they will mail the ROE after your last paycheque has been generated.)
  • You may request a copy by filling out the Request for Information form and follow the instructions for picking up your ROE in person, either by making an appointment with your Financial Services Representative, or by proxy if they have a signed letter authorizing them to do so or mailing to your home address.

For information on the employee’s benefits while on unpaid leave, visit the UBC HR website.

Income Replacement Plan / Disability Benefit Plan

UBC employees have access to long-term disability plans. The Income Replacement Plan (IRP) / Disability Benefit Plan (DBP) are available to all employee groups. The plans are employee-funded plans that provide you with a monthly income if you are unable to work for an extended period of time due to illness or injury.

  • CUPE 2950 employees can apply for IRP after 4 months on sick leave.
  • Non-Union Technicians can apply for IRP after 6 months on sick leave.
  • AAPS employees (who have passed probation) have 6 months sick leave per illness, which bridges them to IRP.

Income Replacement Plan and Disability Benefit Plan Information by UBC Employee Group

You can learn more about your long-term disability plan by employee group here.

Returning to Work after a Medical Leave

When you are ready to return back to work from a medical leave, provide a doctor’s note to confirm that you are fit to return to work, specifying a return date and if any accommodations are needed.

Maternity, Parental, and Adoption Leave

Maternity/Parental leave is a total of up to 61 weeks: 17 weeks maternity leave and 44 weeks parental leave. Maternity leave, by legislation, can only be taken by the natural mother. Parental leave can be taken by the father or mother. Adoption leave (up to 62 weeks) is also available.

Questions that employees often ask:

  • How do I apply for unpaid leave and EI benefits? 
  • What happens to my benefits?
  • Am I eligible for Supplemental Employment Benefits (SEB)?
  • How do I apply for SEB?

You can find answers to these questions here.

Applying for Maternity Leave

Apply for a leave of absence from your department in writing, notifying them of the dates you expect to leave and return to work. Your department will then notify Financial Services that you are going on leave.

  • You are entitled to up to 17 weeks of maternity leave and up to 61 weeks of parental leave.
  • If you are also taking parental leave after your maternity leave, you should apply for this leave at the same time.
  • Maternity and parental leave is unpaid.

To coincide with EI weeks and avoid any possible loss of EI benefits:

  • Staff: you should begin either type of leave on a Monday and end it on a Friday (return from the leave on a Monday).

Accumulated vacation days can be used in conjunction with your maternity leave, but not during the period when you are receiving Employment Insurance benefits. That is, you can take accumulated vacation either before or after your leave period.

Employment Insurance (EI)

Apply for Employment Insurance (EI) Maternity/Parental Benefits from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada as soon as you receive your Record of Employment (ROE) from Financial Services. (Ensure that Financial Services has your current home address since they will mail the ROE after your last paycheque has been generated.)

  • Your ROE will be electronically transferred to Service Canada
  • If you want a copy, please fill out the Request for Information form and follow the instructions for picking up your ROE in person, either by making an appointment with your Financial Services Representative, or by proxy if they have a signed letter authorizing them to do so or mailing to your home address.
  • Details on applying for Employment Insurance Maternity/Parental Benefits can be found at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

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Information on taking a maternity, parental or adoptive leave at UBC is available from the UBC Human Resources Benefits website. The information provided will guide you through the following processes:

  • Notifying your department administrator or supervisor of your leave
  • Requesting a Record of Employment
  • Applying for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits available from Service Canada
  • Applying for UBC Supplemental Employment Benefit (SEB) top-up
  • Maintaining your benefits while on leave
  • Enrolling your newborn or adopted child on the UBC benefits plans.

Supplementary Employment Benefits (top-up)

For eligibility and for specific steps to take in regards to your benefits and pension while on Maternity, Parental and Adoptive Leave, please click on the appropriate employment group:

If you are eligible, The Supplemental Employment Benefits (SEB) Program pays the difference between the Employment Insurance (EI) maternity benefit and 95% of your salary for a specified period of time.

Service Canada will calculate your EI maternity/parental benefit based on your average weekly earnings over the 12 month period from the start date of your leave.  UBC will calculate your SEB top-up based on your current salary at the time of your leave.

If you do not return to work after your leave for at least six months, you will be required to reimburse UBC the total value of the SEB payments you received while on leave.

After six months of return to work, you will receive the additional 5% of salary for the specified length of time top-up is payable, with the exception of CUPE 2950 who will receive the additional 5% once they return to work.

How do I apply for Supplemental Employment Benefits?

Contact your Staff Payroll Representative in Financial Operations – Payroll to arrange a time to sign a Letter of Agreement for the SEB Program. If you are in a union, a union shop steward must sign the letter as a witness. If you are non-union, a Financial Services Payroll Manager must sign the letter as a witness.

The Letter of Agreement states that you agree:

  • To have the 95% salary differential paid to you during the leave of absence,
  • To have the additional 5% salary differential paid to you upon your return to work, rather than completing the 6 months of service following the leave,
  • To return to work and remain at work for a minimum of 6 months following the leave, and
  • To repay the University the 95% salary differential if you:
    • don’t return to work,
    • don’t complete the 6-month requirement, or
    • resign or are dismissed with just cause within 6 months of your return to work. (If you return to a part-time position after your maternity leave, you may also forfeit some or all of your supplemental benefits.)

After signing the Letter of Agreement, submit copies of your EI application and first EI stubs to Financial Services. SEB will pay you 95% of your salary for the first two weeks of your maternity leave (the waiting period during which EI does not pay), and will top up your EI payments to 95% of your salary for the remaining 15 weeks (EI + UBC payments = 95%).

Budget alert: Because of the time HRSDC takes in processing your claim, and you have to wait for your first EI stubs, there will be a delay in Financial Services issuing you payments – be sure you budget for this gap period. HRSDC normally takes about 4 to 6 weeks to process an EI claim.

Term employees: If you are a term employee, and your appointment won’t allow you to fulfill your six-month obligation, you cannot sign up for this plan unless your appointment is extended. If you are not sure whether you will be extended, you can sign up for the supplemental plan at any future date or you can choose a lump sum payment after returning to work for six months.

5% top-up: Once you are back at work, you are eligible to have the additional 5% of your salary paid to you. Apply for this benefit in writing to Financial Services and include all copies of your EI cheque stubs (the EI cheque stubs are reviewed for any variances in EI payments). The 5% top-up is then calculated and added to your next available paycheque.

Benefits and Pensions while on Maternity, Parental and Adoptive Leave

You will have to decide if you are going to maintain optional benefits such as extended health, pension, etc. If you maintain your premium contributions for your benefits, the University will also maintain its contributions.


Vacation benefits are offered as part of UBC’s overall commitment to help staff and faculty achieve work-life balance. Depending on your UBC employee group, you are entitled to take vacation time and have your vacation pay calculated based on your length of employment.  

How to Submit a Vacation Request

Generally, vacation requests are arranged between you and your supervisor. Contact your Department Administrator or HR Advisor at the Faculty for details about your vacation benefits, and how you can submit a request for time off.

How Vacation Pay is Calculated

Vacation benefits are determined by employee group and length of service at UBC. Each employee group outlines the vacation accrual amounts and increases for completion of years of service. For more information about vacation benefits by employee group, please visit the UBC Human Resources website.

Vacation pay is calculated in weeks and/or days over a standard calendar year: January 1 to December 31. Regardless of when you commence employment within the calendar year, it is considered your first vacation year. For example, if you started with UBC on either May 19th, 2012 or December 30th, 2012 you would move to 2nd year entitlements on January 1st, 2013.  

Partial years (year of hire or resignation) are pro-rated depending on the number of days/months worked.

Please note that there is a maximum amount of hours you are allowed to carry over to the following year.

During the course of your career at UBC, you may change employee groups but the years of service will accumulate altogether. For example, if you worked in a CUPE 2950 position for 5 years and then moved to an M&P position, your vacation benefit would change according to the agreements, but your 5 years of service would apply to the M&P benefit.

Work Arrangements

Learn about flexible work arrangements.

Hybrid work arrangements

The hybrid work program is available for staff. Staff and leaders need to understand the program objectives and principles. Mental health support and learning resources are also available. All staff who participate in the program need to have a hybrid work agreement in place in Workday.   Learn more.