Sick Leave, Income Replacement Coverage and Return To Work

The following information is provided to help clarify the steps and processes involved when a faculty member goes on sick leave, Income Replacement (IRP) leave or enters into a Return to Work (RTW) arrangement.

1. Sick Leave Process

Faculty members are eligible for up to 6 months paid sick leave.  If a faculty member goes on sick leave that will be longer than a week they should provide notification to their Department Head in writing, including a doctor’s certification of the illness, the start date of the leave, a prognosis of the expected return date and any accommodation that may be required if requesting a partial medical leave. The Department Head of the faculty member may seek assistance from the Return to Work/Remain at Work Program, UBC Vancouver.

On the Okanagan campus, if a faculty member is off work greater than 5 days or has an upcoming medical leave, the Department Head will contact the Work Reintegration & Accommodation Program (WRAP). All medical information and case management will be led by WRAP and they will provide the Department Head with updates regarding need for accommodation, return to work planning, IRP etc.

At both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan it is the responsibility of the Department to prepare the necessary leave of absence form and forward to Faculty Relations (UBC Vancouver) or Human Resources (UBC Okanagan), along with the relevant documentation so that HRMS can be updated accordingly.

If a faculty member is unable to return to work they must keep the Department updated.  At UBC Okanagan the faculty member must remain in regular contact with WRAP.  If it is anticipated that coverage under the Sunlife Income Replacement Plan (IRP) will be required, the member should apply at the end of the 3rd month of sick leave.  Members should contact the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate at 604-822-8696 or email disabilityclaims.info@ubc.ca to learn how to apply for benefits and to obtain the application forms.  A delay in applying may result in the member being without pay for a period of time.

If member runs out of paid sick leave and Sunlife has not yet approved IRP or has denied the IRP application, the faculty member will be placed on an unpaid sick leave.  It is the responsibility of the Department to create the necessary leave form and forward to Faculty Relations/Human Resources along with the relevant supporting documents.

Departments need to monitor the leave and keep Faculty Relations/Human Resources apprised of any changes.

2. Income Replacement Plan (IRP) Benefit Process – full coverage by Sunlife

Upon approval of an IRP claim, Sunlife informs the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate IRP Claims Clerk in Human Resources, who then informs the Department and instructs them to produce a Leave of Absence form which they forward to Faculty Relations/Human Resources along with supporting documents.  FR/HR will arrange for HRMS to be updated.

For a tenure-track or term appointee on IRP, the Department needs to track the appointment and ensure that a reappointment, as necessary is processed on HRMS.  For example, if a tenure track faculty member is approved for IRP after completing the first 3 years of their appointment and does not return to work by the end of the 4th year, then the department needs to create a Faculty Appointment form to process a one-year extension. They will need to do this annually until either the individual returns to work or we receive medical information that there is no likelihood that the individual will ever return to work.

It is important to track the appointment and ensure it continues to appear on HRMS with a leave status. The key reason for this is that medical, extended and dental benefits continue based on the leave appointment.  If the appointment ends then health benefit coverage ends. If we are informed with medical evidence that there is no likelihood that the individual will ever return to work, UBC will provide the individual with a limited period of benefits continuance so that they can make alternate arrangements for alternate health benefits coverage.  Faculty Relations/Human Resources will work with units in such situations.

3. Income Replacement Plan (IRP) Benefit Process – partial coverage by Sunlife

As with the full IRP leave the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate IRP Claims Clerk in Human Resources will inform the Department and instruct them to produce a Leave of Absence form which is forwarded to Faculty Relations/Human Resources who will arrange for HRMS to be updated.  If the individual is transitioning from Full to Partial IRP the department will need to complete a Faculty Appointment Form so that a secondary Employment Record can be created on HRMS. The percentage of leave and work should be clearly outlined on the appointment form and accompanying documentation.

HRMS will be updated to reflect the partial leave and partial work situation and the individual will continue to receive partial pay from UBC.

Any changes in percentage will be communicated by the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate IRP Claims Clerk to the Department, who will create the necessary appointment form to process the change.

4. Return to Work Process

Once a member on IRP has been deemed medically fit to return to work Sunlife will contact the Return to Work (RTW) Advisor who will coordinate with the faculty member, Department, Faculty Relations/HR as well as the member’s doctor or healthcare providers to set up a Return to Work schedule.  If Departments are aware of a possible return to work in advance of Sunlife’s confirmation they should contact the RTW Advisor to discuss. Once a RTW schedule has been confirmed it is the Department’s responsibility to produce the necessary appointment form and forward to Faculty Relations/HR with supporting documentation. If there are any changes in work level these will be communicated to the Department who will complete further paperwork for Faculty Relations/HR.

On the Okanagan campus, WRAP will continue case management leading up to and during a faculty members IRP leave. Return to work will be coordinated by WRAP with the involvement of the Head and in some cases Human Resources. Once a RTW schedule has been confirmed it is the Department’s responsibility to produce the necessary appointment form and forward to Human Resources.

5. Accommodation

If an accommodation for an active faculty member is required the Department should contact the appropriate Senior Manager and/or RTW Advisor (UBC Vancouver) or WRAP (UBC Okanagan)..

For more detailed information refer to the Human Resources website as follows: