HR Toolkit

HR Policies & Employment Legislation

Sample Policies on Common HR Topics

Leaves - sick and personal leave

To address the issue of occasional absence from work due to illness, many organizations grant employees a limited number of days per year often referred to as sick days. A policy on sick/personal leave may include:

  • Purpose of the leave
  • How time is accrued
  • Conditions for claiming sick or personal leave
  • A maximum number of days which can be taken
  • What happens with unused leave time

Considerations when developing a sick and personal leave policy include:

  • Employment standards in some jurisdictions have requirements for unpaid sick leave
  • Paid sick leave is an optional benefit employers may grant to employees
  • Some people believe that abuse of sick leave is reduced by requiring a note from a medical practitioner
  • Some organizations pay employees for unused sick days. Others grant wellness days in place of sick days or for unused sick days
  • Some organizations grant each employee "personal time off". These days can be used for personal responsibilities, family obligations, illness, or any other purpose. Typically, no explanation is necessary and a note from a medical practitioner is not needed
  • Some jurisdictions have minimum standards for unpaid family responsibility or emergencies
  • The priorities and values of your organization should be reflected in a sick/personal leave
  • Arrangements to deal with short-term and long-term disability may complement sick leave


Sample policies

Sick Leave - YWCA Yellowknife (PDF - 31KB)

  • Grants sick days for regular full and part time employees in case of illness or to attend to a close relative
  • Grants personal days to employees who used fewer than 10 sick days in the previous year

Sick Leave - Nova Scotia Organization (PDF - 28KB)

  • Allows for a carry over of a maximum of 15 days
  • Includes details about record keeping and unused time