Sabbatical Leave & Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions or concerns about planning for your Sabbatical Leave, please contact UWOFA’s Member Services Officer at email@example.com.
The following information is in summary form only. Reference should be made to the Sabbatical Leave article in the Faculty Collective Agreement.
Q1: What is a sabbatical?
A sabbatical is an employer-approved paid leave from teaching and service activities. In addition to scholarly activities the workload of an academic staff member includes service to the academic and broader community. Periodic sabbatical leaves are an opportunity for faculty to pursue research, scholarly activities and other professional projects.
Sabbatical leave applications must be received in the Office of the Dean no later than the second Monday in September of the year preceding the Academic Year during which the Sabbatical Leave is to commence.
Q2: What are the terms of eligibility?
Probationary and tenured
- Probationary members being considered for tenure can apply for a sabbatical, but will only receive it if they are granted tenure.
- Tenured faculty or a Member holding a Continuing Appointment on the Teaching Scholar track are eligible to apply for:
- A six-month sabbatical to begin after three years from the date of first full-time appointment at the rank of assistant professor or above, or after three years of continuous service since their previous sabbatical leave;
- A 12-month sabbatical to begin after six years from the date of first full-time appointment at the rank of assistant professor or above, or after six years of continuous service since their previous sabbatical leave.
- Faculty with a limited-term contract that includes research responsibilities equivalent to at least 40% of their workload can apply for:
- A six-month sabbatical to begin after three years of continuous full-time service;
- A 12-month sabbatical to begin after six years of continuous full-time service.
- Only those years in which the member’s research responsibilities were equivalent to at least 40% of their workload shall be counted toward accrual of sabbatical eligibility.
Permanent limited term
- A member who holds a limited-term appointment created under clause 1.1 of the article Transition Provisions of the 1998-2002 Collective Agreement, and who has academic responsibilities in the area of research can apply for:
- A six-month sabbatical to begin after six years of continuous full-time service if the member has research responsibilities equivalent to 20% of their workload;
- A 12-month sabbatical to begin after six years of continuous full-time service if the member has research responsibilities equivalent to 40% of their workload
Q3: Do other leaves affect sabbatical eligibility?
Yes, some do. Education leave, elected to public office leave, exchange leave, and leave of absence interrupt the period of service accumulating towards eligibility to apply for a sabbatical leave if the total period of leave exceeds three months in any one calendar year.
Compassionate leave, court leave, pregnancy leave, parental/adoption leave and sick leave do not affect sabbatical eligibility.
Does my time at another university count towards eligibility to apply for a sabbatical leave?
Yes, you can get a maximum of three years’ credit towards sabbatical leave, usually counted at the rate of one year eligibility for every two years of service. This must be agreed upon and included in your letter of appointment.
Q4: Will I get the sabbatical?
Generally, yes, if you have a satisfactory research record and meet the terms of eligibility. In the event that your dean believes you have not met the criteria and invites you to meet with them, you may be accompanied by a UWOFA representative. You are encouraged to contact UWOFA’s Grievance Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or UWOFA’s Member Services Officer, at email@example.com if this occurs.
Q5: What is the rate of pay while on sabbatical?
If this is your first sabbatical upon receiving tenure at Western, you will receive 90% of your salary; otherwise it’s 85%.
Q6: What is the application process?
Faculty members applying for a sabbatical leave shall provide the following to the dean of their faculty:
- A current curriculum vitae;
- Your plan for the leave and any invitations you have for locations away from Western;
- If applicable, a copy of the report you submitted after your last sabbatical;
- The requested start and end date;
- A description of all leaves taken in the previous seven years, including the dates of departure and return;
- A copy of your letter of appointment
Should you forget something or not provide enough material, the dean is obliged to ask you for what is missing.
Q7: Can I be asked to postpone my sabbatical?
Yes. Your dean may ask that you postpone your sabbatical leave for up to one year to ensure effective functioning of the faculty. If the sabbatical is deferred and taken at a later date, you will also be eligible to apply for your next sabbatical to begin up to one year earlier than usual.
Q8: When does the sabbatical start?
A 12-month sabbatical normally begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following year. With the approval of the dean, a sabbatical leave may begin January 1 and end on December 31 of the same year.
A six-month sabbatical begins either on July 1 or January 1.
Q9: Can I work elsewhere while on sabbatical?
Yes, as long as it does not conflict with your full-time commitment to research. For example, some faculty members teach a course at another university while on sabbatical leave. Keep in mind total employment income cannot exceed 125% of your normal salary without prior approval of the provost.
Q10: What if I get sick or injured while on sabbatical leave?
You can elect to go on sick leave if you cannot complete the sabbatical leave, and if the remaining part of the sabbatical is three months or more you can defer the remainder of the sabbatical to be taken after your return to work at a time you and your dean agree upon.
Q11: Do I have to submit an annual report while on sabbatical leave?
You are not required to submit an annual report during your sabbatical if you have approval from your dean to receive the same assessment as in the year before your sabbatical began.
Q12: What is my workload balance during my sabbatical?
The deemed workload during sabbatical leave is 90% research and 10% teaching responsibilities.
Q13: Can my workload be different from 90% and 10% teaching?
Yes. If you supervise graduate students or are a chief advisor you may request an alternative workload with a higher teaching component relative to research. This request must be made when you apply for the sabbatical.
Q14: What are my responsibilities to my graduate students and/or my active laboratory while on sabbatical?
If you are going to be off campus for the majority of your sabbatical leave, arrangements should be made for the supervision of your graduate students and for compliance with safety regulations of the laboratory.
Q15: Can I apply for promotion while on sabbatical leave?
Yes. Faculty members may be considered for promotion while on sabbatical if they are available to participate in the process.
Q16: What happens if I leave Ontario during my sabbatical?
If you plan to leave the province of Ontario for more than six months, the university will arrange workplace safety coverage (WSIB) on your behalf. The sabbatical application form will prompt you to fill out the required information.
Q17: Can I request a moving expense reimbursement and/or a research grant while on sabbatical leave?
Yes, you may request a moving expense reimbursement and/or a research grant in lieu of a portion of your salary. For more details see clauses 52 to 52.4 in the Compensation and Benefits article of the Faculty Collective Agreement.
Q18: What are my responsibilities when I return from sabbatical leave?
You have two obligations upon your return from sabbatical: to submit a report to the dean of your faculty within three months describing the activities undertaken during the sabbatical leave and the actual and anticipated outcomes, and to remain at Western for a period equal to the length of the sabbatical.
Updated by UWOFA: August 2023