Compassionate Leave Policy

Policy number: CS-1307-2013
Policy title: Compassionate Leave Policy
Policy owner: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective date: July 24, 2013

On this page:

  1. Purpose
  2. Application and Scope
  3. Definitions
  4. Principles
  5. Accountability and Compliance
  6. Rules
  7. Policy Revision Date
  8. Specific Links


1. Purpose

The purpose of the Compassionate Leave policy is to provide guidelines regarding what may constitute a Compassionate Leave and outline responsibilities associated with any requests for such a leave.

2. Application and Scope

The Compassionate Leave of Absence policy applies to all full time and part time employees of Mohawk College.

3. Definitions

  • “Compassionate Leave of Absence” Short term, pre-approved absence from the College with or without pay, for reasons that are deemed to be compassionate, normally due to important, unusual or emergency circumstances.

  • “Important, Unusual or Emergency circumstances” Significant and unforeseen situations requiring an employee’s immediate action. An example of this would be a sudden critical illness or medical emergency involving a family member; or time to arrange care for an elderly family member. Child care issues would not constitute “emergency circumstances” under this policy.

  • “Compassionate Care Benefits (Employment Insurance)” Compassionate care benefits are Employment Insurance (EI) benefits paid to people who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill and who has a significant risk of death within 26 weeks (six months). A maximum of six weeks of compassionate care benefits may be paid to eligible people. More information about EI benefits.

4. Principles

Mohawk College recognizes its responsibility to create and maintain a supportive environment that enables employees to achieve work-life balance by providing access to a leave of absence for compassionate reasons.

Once an employee has reviewed other options for time off, they may submit a request for a Compassionate Leave to their Manager. Short term leaves (1 – 2 weeks’ duration) will be reviewed by their Manager. Longer term leave requests will be forwarded to the appropriate Vice President for review and approval.

5. Accountability and Compliance

5.1 Accountability Framework

This policy was approved by the Mohawk College Senior Management Team.

5.2 Compliance

The Chief Human Resources Officer is authorized to ensure that the information within this policy is applied and that all actions comply with the Collective Agreements as well as any other applicable legislation.

6. Rules 

6.1 Employee responsibility

Any full time or part time employee requesting a Compassionate Leave of Absence shall submit the request in writing as outlined in the attached procedure. The written request shall include details regarding the duration of the leave requested and whether the leave requested would be paid or unpaid.

Upon approval of the leave, employees will maintain contact with their Manager in order to ensure any changes or updates to the status of the Compassionate Leave of Absence are addressed and communicated.

6.2 Manager responsibility

It is expected that everyone with managerial responsibilities will:

  • Review any applicable documentation and/or details provided by staff related to requests for a Compassionate Leave of Absence.
  • Forward long term leave requests to the Vice President.
  • Duly consider all aspects of the request in a fair, objective manner. 
  • Work in conjunction with Human Resources to respond to requests of this nature in a timely manner.
  • Provide respectful, empathetic support to the affected employee. Ensure the employee is aware of EAP Assistance availability.
  • Request additional documentation (i.e. Medical verification when a circumstance involves a critical illness or injury) where there are questions regarding the validity of the request.
  • Ensure all documentation and/or disclosed information is treated as confidential.
  • Upon approval of the request advise the department Timekeeper of any necessary adjustments, complete Staffing Action Form.

7. Policy Revision Date

Next review July 2015.

8. Specific Links

Academic Collective Agreement
Support Staff Collective Agreement
Administrative Staff Terms and Conditions
Compassionate Leave Information brochure (MoCoMotion)
Employment Insurance Compassionate Care brochure (Service Canada)
Compassionate Leave Procedure document
Staffing Action Form Process Document