Modified sabbatical processes to address the impact of COVID-19

17 April 2020

The University and the AASUA have worked together to develop these modified processes to address the impact of COVID-19 events on current and July 1, 2020 sabbatical leaves. Every effort has been made to establish a straightforward approach that is fair to the Academic Staff member and allows for ease of administration for Faculties. 

In our efforts to facilitate academic research, we have been mindful of Article 3 of the Common Agreement regarding Academic Freedom. In particular, we stand by Article 3.03: “The parties to the Agreement agree to uphold and protect the principles and practices of Academic Freedom”. The modified processes are intended to do precisely that.

If you have any questions, please contact fsrel@ualberta.ca or hremps@ualberta.ca.

Requests approved by the Dean should be forwarded to hremps@ualberta.ca in order for approvals to be processed and appropriately documented.

Deferred/Cancelled/Rescheduled Sabbatical Leaves in Relation to COVID-19

Faculties, at their discretion, may alter the normal periods of sabbatical leaves and the Provost can approve these in accordance with Article A4.03.7 and Appendix A.3, clauses L.1. and L.2.b.ii.

Rescheduled COVID-19 sabbatical leaves will be a first call on future years’ Quotas. If a Faculty wishes to exceed the 10% sabbatical leave quota, approval by the Provost and the AASUA President will be required. Approval will not be unreasonably withheld.

A. Academic Faculty Members on Sabbatical Leave January 1 to June 30, 2020

  1. An Academic Faculty member has until no later than April 30, 2020, to request cancellation and
    rescheduling of their current 6-month sabbatical leave (January 1 to June 30, 2020). A request by
    April 22, 2020, is preferred in order to allow sufficient time to adjust salary for month end.
  2. Normally, a sabbatical leave in progress can only be cancelled if a medical leave occurs.
    Furthermore, that cancellation can only occur before 50% of the sabbatical leave has been
    completed (Appendix A.3, Section M.4.b). Due to COVID-19 factors, all requested cancellations
    will be treated in the same manner - as if a medical leave occurred prior to 50% completion of the
    sabbatical leave.
  3. For evaluation purposes, the Academic Faculty member may choose to report activities for the
    period of their sabbatical leave completed, or not (as the full sabbatical plan will be implemented
    in a future year). If the Academic Faculty member provides a report on their disrupted sabbatical
    leave activities, FEC will assess those activities in the context of the reduced period of time (i.e.
    they will be required to extrapolate).
  4. For the remaining months of the disrupted sabbatical leave, the Academic Faculty member will
    return to regular duties, which will be reported in the usual way.
  5. Normally, eligibility for a subsequent sabbatical leave is determined by the dates of the second or
    replacement sabbatical leave, not by the cancelled one (Appendix A.3, Section M.4.b). In this
    case, if a request is approved by the Dean, sabbatical leave credit will accrue from April 1, 2020
    until the beginning of the rescheduled sabbatical leave.
  6. The Academic Faculty member’s salary will return to 100% pay on the request date.

B. Academic Faculty Members on Sabbatical Leave January 1 to December 31, 2020

  1. An Academic Faculty member has until May 31, 2020, to request cancellation and rescheduling
    of their current 12-month sabbatical leave (January 1 to December 31, 2020).
  2. As above, normally, a sabbatical leave in progress can only be cancelled if a medical leave
    occurs. Due to COVID-19 factors, all requested cancellations will be treated in the same manner -
    as if a medical leave occurred before 50% completion of the sabbatical leave.
  3. For evaluation purposes, the Academic Faculty member may choose to report activities for the
    period completed, or not (as the full sabbatical plan will be implemented in a future year). If the
    Academic Faculty member provides a report on their disrupted sabbatical leave activities, FEC
    will assess those activities in the context of the reduced period of time, (i.e. they will be required
    to extrapolate).
  4. For the remaining months of the disrupted sabbatical leave, the Academic Faculty will return to
    regular duties, which will be reported in the usual way.
  5. Normally, eligibility for a subsequent sabbatical leave is determined by the dates of the second or
    replacement sabbatical leave, not by the cancelled one (Appendix A.3, Section M.4.b). In this
    case, if a request is approved by the Dean, sabbatical leave credit will accrue from April 1, 2020
    until the beginning of the rescheduled sabbatical leave.
  6. The Academic Faculty member’s salary will return to 100% pay on the request date.
  7. The rescheduled sabbatical leave remains accounted for in the 2019-20 Quota.
While medical leave provisions are used as a guide here for rescheduled sabbatical leaves, this will not
affect staff members’ eligibility for actual medical leave entitlements should that situation arise during the
rescheduled sabbatical leave.

C. Academic Faculty Members with Sabbatical Leaves Scheduled to start July 1, 2020

  1. An Academic Faculty member has until May 31, 2020, to request a deferral of their 6- or 12-
    month sabbatical leave scheduled to start on July 1, 2020.
  2. Normally, an Academic Faculty member cannot ask to defer a sabbatical leave but may decide to
    cancel their sabbatical leave. This is managed in accordance with Appendix A.3, clause E.3.f)
    where the Academic Faculty member would be required to reapply in the regular manner for a
    future sabbatical leave.
  3. Due to COVID-19 factors, all requested cancellations for 2020-21 which are supported by the
    Department Chair will be treated in the same manner - as if a Department Chair has requested
    that the Academic Faculty member defer (Article A4.02.9):
    • If a request is approved by the Dean, sabbatical leave credit will accrue from July 1,
      2020 until the beginning of the rescheduled sabbatical leave.