Guidelines on Research and Study Leaves

Table of Contents

  1. Memorandum of Agreement
  2. Requests for Research and Study Leaves
  3. Review and Approval of Research and Study Leave Requests
    1. Arts and Science, Scarborough, Erindale, SGS, Engineering and Medicine
    2. Other Faculties and Schools
    3. Audit Department
  4. Eligibility of, Duration of and Payment During Research and Study Leaves
    1. 12 month leave at 82.5% salary after 6 years of service
    2. 6 month leave at 100% salary after 6 years of service
    3. 6 month leave at 82.5% salary after 3 years of service
    4. Splitting of 12 Month Research leaves into two 6 month parts not taken consecutively
    5. Spreading Base Salary Over 24 Months
    6. Calculation of Eligibility for Faculty and Librarians on Partial Service
      1. Release from 100% of Normal Teaching Duties
      2. Partial Release
  5. Prestigious Fellowships
  6. The Research Leave Clock, Staggering of Leaves, Deferral of Leaves and Banking of Leaves
    1. Timing of a first leave
    2. Setting The Research Leave Clock
    3. Staggering of Leaves
    4. Elective Deferral of Leaves
    5. Banking of Leaves
    6. Early Consideration of Leaves
  7. Report on the Leave
  8. Request For Leave Form


1. Memorandum of Agreement

Article 4 of the Memorandum of Agreement with UTFA sets out the terms under which research and study leaves are considered. The complete Memorandum of Agreement can be found here.

2. Requests for Research and Study Leaves

Faculty members wishing to apply for research and study leaves must submit their request in writing to their chair, dean or principal by October 31 of the preceding academic year. Your recommendation to approve the request should be given by December 31. Final confirmation from this office will be given prior to March 31.

Each request to you for leave must be accompanied by a statement of the research and scholarship the faculty member proposes to undertake. This statement should be in sufficient detail to allow you to assess the feasibility of the project. While it is important to respect the academic freedom of the faculty member in the selection of the topic and the approach taken to the research, your review should evaluate the project and offer suggestions where necessary for improvement. The Memorandum states that leaves shall not unreasonably be denied; thus it is expected that the majority of requests will receive your recommendation for approval. Nonetheless, in circumstances where a research proposal is not well formulated, or where the research record of the individual is such that you believe that the project will not be carried out, or not produce a scholarly result, you should consider denying the request. In such cases, a reason for the denial should be given to the faculty member as well as being communicated for information to this office.

3. Review and Approval of Research and Study Leave Requests

3(a). Arts and Science, Scarborough, Erindale, SGS, Engineering and Medicine

The Memorandum of Agreement with the University of Toronto Faculty Association states that "Every request for research leave requires the approval of the Vice-President and Provost of the University." In the case of the divisions listed above, we believe that there is little value added by conducting a detailed provostial review of the recommendation made by the Dean, which is in turn based on a recommendation of a department Chair. Therefore, while we expect these divisions to report for approval a list of all faculty members recommended for leave, we will look for additional documentation only in cases where the Dean recommends for approval a leave that does not conform to policy.

A list of those recommended for leave should be sent by the division head for approval to the Vice-Provost, Faculty, Vivek Goel (via the appropriate Assistant Vice-Provost) no later than December 31. The approval will be given without further provostial review except for those leaves that do not conform to policy. The latter cases should be clearly identified and a detailed explanation of the reason for the recommendation must be provided.

3(b). Other Faculties and Schools

We will continue the existing practice of receiving full documentation and reviewing all leave recommendations prior to granting the approval of the leave. I will be continuing to ask you to complete the attached form in making your requests. A brief statement of the leave proposal should also accompany the recommendation. Recommendations for approval of leave requests should be sent by the division head to the Vice-Provost, Faculty, Vivek Goel (via the appropriate Assistant Vice-Provost) no later than December 31.

3(c). Audit Department

Leaves will be audited by the Audit Department both in continuous audits and in detailed department audits. The Audit Department will require the following:

  1. compliance with the Research and Study Leave Guidelines and the Memorandum of Understanding;
  2. an accurate record of the faculty member's leave history;
  3. a copy of the faculty member's request for leave, including the statement of research and scholarship to be undertaken during the leave; and
  4. the faculty member's report to the division head at the conclusion of the leave.

4. Eligibility of, Duration of and Payment During Research and Study Leaves

Research and study leaves are defined as being either six-months or twelve-months in duration. Eligibility for research and study leaves is defined as resulting from an appropriate number of years of "continuous service" at the University. Time spent on leave is not counted when calculating service time.

The following regulations for determining eligibility, duration and payment during research and study leaves are found in Article 4 of the Memorandum of Agreement and in previous memoranda issued by this office regarding Guidelines for Research and Study Leaves.

4(a). 12 month leave at 82.5% salary after 6 years of service

A faculty member on 50 percent or greater appointment shall be entitled to apply for research leave of 12 months at 82.5% salary after every six years of service at the University of Toronto. Research leave will normally commence on July 1.

4(b). 6 month leave at 100% salary after 6 years of service

As an alternative, each faculty member on 50% or greater appointment shall be entitled to apply for research leave of 6 months at full salary after every six years of service at the University of Toronto. Such leave may commence either July or January 1, subject to the approval of his or her chair, dean or principal.

4(c). 6 month leave at 82.5% salary after 3 years of service

As an alternative and subsequent to the leave in (a) or (b) above (e.g. a first leave, earned after six years of service), and where the academic unit's teaching program permits, each faculty member on 50% or greater appointment shall be entitled to apply for a research or study leave for a 6 month period (from July 1 to December 31 or January 1 to June 30); after every 3 years of service at 82.5% salary provided the requested leave does not fall within seven years of the normal age of retirement.

4(d). Splitting of 12 Month Research leaves into two 6 month parts not taken consecutively

Occasionally the Provost's office receives requests to split research leave into two 6 month parts (at 82.5% of salary), not taken consecutively. The normal way such requests are treated is that the individual's research leave clock does not start to calculate service time toward a next leave until both halves of the current research leave have been completed.

4(e). Spreading Base Salary Over 24 Months

Faculty members or librarians, who elect to take a twelve-month research leave, may request that their leave salary and their "regular" salary to be earned in the next academic year be spread evenly over twenty-four months. That is, they will receive 91.25% of their full salary during the twelve months they are on leave and 91.25% of their full salary during the twelve months immediately following their return from leave. Base salary adjustments and benefits will be calculated on regular salary. All such requests must be in writing and approved by the appropriate chair, dean or principal. Following approval, Action Forms reflecting a leave at the appropriate part salary should be submitted in the same fashion as the normal one-year leave, with an appropriate Action Form submitted for any subsequent changes within the two year period, e.g. July 1st salary increases, research , research leave grant, return from leave etc.

4(f). Calculation of Eligibility for Faculty and Librarians on Partial Service

Changes to FTE status of faculty and librarians may arise from requests to take unpaid leave for personal reasons or to take up release-time arrangements such as research fellowships offered by the SSHRC.

4(f)(i). Release from 100% of Normal Teaching Duties

If an award or other circumstance results in a faculty member being released from all normal teaching duties during an academic year, that year will not be counted as a service year but as a leave of absence year. In other words, the research leave "clock" will be stopped for an academic year when 100% release time from teaching is granted with the exception of those holding prestigious fellowships (see no. 5 below).

4(f)(ii). Partial Release

Time spent on partial service is considered when calculating time spent in continuous service to the University; however, salary while on research leave should be prorated to reflect the facts of partial employment during eligible service years. For example, a faculty member holding a 40% fellowship for three years of a six-year period of service would receive a leave-salary base calculated as follows:

3 years @ 60% (the reciprocal of the 40% release time award) + 3 years @ 100% = 480% ¸ 6 years = 80% of relevant salary base. he result would be that a normal six-month leave salary of 100% would be discounted to 80% or a normal twelve-month leave salary of 82.5% would be discounted to 66%.

Alternately, an individual has the option of making up time on partial salary (or other equivalent) release by serving an additional amount of time before applying for leave. The formula set out above applies in this instance only, but in no case can salary while on research leave exceed normal stipulated rates e.g. 82.5% of base salary (or 91.25% of base salary spread over 24 months) for a twelve-month research leave.

5. Prestigious Fellowships

Holders of prestigious fellowships are allowed up to two years credit towards the time required to be eligible for a research or study leave. I suggest you discuss with individuals who are applying for prestigious fellowships the appropriate timing of their application and their research and study leave, in order to avoid prolonged absences from the University.

There are two criteria used by this office in the definition of a prestigious fellowship as it pertains to counting towards service for leave entitlement: the first is that it is highly competitive and recognized as such; the second is that its monetary value approximates to the salary of the faculty member, or at least the equivalent cost of a full-time replacement.

6. The Research Leave Clock, Staggering of Leaves, Deferral of Leaves and Banking of Leaves

6(a). Timing of a first leave

The timing of the first leave should be agreed at time of hiring.

6(b). Setting The Research Leave Clock

The Research Leave clock is reset at zero once a research leave has been taken except in the cases cited in items c) and d) below. In the case of a split leave, the individual's research leave clock does not start to calculate service time toward a next leave until both halves of the current research leave have been completed.

6(c). Staggering of Leaves

In the past, some units have faced difficulties in meeting the demands of their teaching programs when an abnormally large number of requests fall into one year. This may occur, for example, where faculty members in unusual numbers elect the option to apply after three years of service. If the number of leaves impair your ability to deliver programs effectively at the undergraduate or graduate level, you may stagger the leaves. Individuals who delay their leaves at your request should receive credit for the year of service and should then be allowed to apply a year earlier for their subsequent leave. A formal request to defer leave, whether at the request of the academic unit or faculty member, should be made during the application cycle for regularly scheduled leaves to allow for planning in the departments. A formal application for the actual leave will then be made by the faculty member during the next year's leave cycle to receive departmental, decanal, and provostial approvals.

6(d). Elective Deferral of Leaves

Research leaves taken after six years of service may now be deferred for up to one year at the request of the faculty member, with credit for the time deferred applied when calculating eligibility for subsequent research leave. [Please note that this elective deferral provision does not cover six-month leaves taken after three years of service.]

6(e). Banking of Leaves

Except in the case of items cited in c) and d) above, research leave entitlement should not normally be saved up or banked toward future leaves. Chairs, deans and principals should take particular care in planning divisional leaves to ensure that individuals' leaves are deferred for no more than two years, including the provision for the elective deferral of leaves. Permission to defer leave for a third consecutive year will be approved by this office only in unusual circumstances.

6(f). Early Consideration of Leaves

From time to time this office receives requests for leave earlier than the cycle of six years. We are prepared to entertain such requests that are based on the academic opportunities involved. Time to the next leave will be adjusted accordingly.

7. Report on the Leave

At the conclusion of the leave, a report on the research and scholarship undertaken is required. This is an important part of the policy and it is your responsibility to ensure that such reports are filed.

8. Request For Leave Form

The Request For Leave form is available in two formats: Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF.