The University of Saskatchewan is defending a plan for 2 of it’s top former executives. The former president and vice president are being paid despite no longer holding those positions.

According to the university, top executives earn a paid leave after every five years of service. Peter Mackinnon and Richard Florizone left last year, but they will still receive $1.3 million in combined salary. They’re making their full salary and still fulfill university duties in some capacity.

Former vice president Florizone received one year’s salary while past president Mackinnon gets two because he served in the position for almost 13 years.

According to the U of S, this is a standard practice that was negotiated during the hiring process.

“The purpose of that leave is to have them refresh their scholarly activities, work on their research, be on top of new developments or form some new partnerships that add or enrich the community, said Barb Daigle, the associate vice president of human resources.

The practice isn’t sitting well with some on campus in light of Monday’s announcement to cut 40 jobs.

The university said the practice is about attracting the best people for senior positions. The U of S competes with schools in Alberta and Manitoba who also offer the leaves.

“That’s the practice across the country and that’s what we’re competing with,” said Daigle.

How compensation packages are arranged will be one of the man areas examined in the current restructuring efforts in order to avoid running a deficit by 2016.