DEC(LOCAL) - COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS: LEAVES AND ABSENCES

Definitions

Family

The term "immediate family" is defined as:

  1. Spouse.
  2. Son or daughter, including a biological, adopted, or foster child, a son- or daughter-in-law, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis.
  3. Parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, or other individual who stands in loco parentis to the employee.
  4. Sibling, stepsibling, and sibling-in-law.
  5. Grandparent and grandchild.
  6. Any person residing in the employee's household at the time of illness or death.

For purposes of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the definitions of spouse, parent, son or daughter, and next of kin are found in DECA(LEGAL).

Family Emergency

The term "family emergency" shall be limited to disasters and life-threatening situations involving the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family.

Leave Day

A "leave day" for purposes of earning, use, or recording of leave shall mean the number of hours per day equivalent to the employee's usual assignment, whether full-time or part-time.

Catastrophic Illness or Injury

A catastrophic illness or injury is a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family that requires the services of a licensed practitioner for a prolonged period of time and that forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned by that employee and to lose compensation from the District. Such conditions typically require prolonged hospitalization or recovery or are expected to result in disability or death. Conditions relating to pregnancy or childbirth shall be considered catastrophic if they meet the requirements of this paragraph.

Availability

The District shall make state personal and local leave for the current year available for use at the beginning of the school year.

Earning Local Leave

An employee shall not earn any local leave when he or she is in unpaid status. An employee using full or proportionate paid leave shall be considered to be in paid status.

Deductions

Leave Without Pay

The District shall not approve paid leave for more leave days than have been accumulated in prior years plus leave currently available. Any unapproved absences or absences beyond accumulated and available paid leave shall result in deductions from the employee's pay.

Leave Proration

Employed for Less Than Full Year

If an employee separates from employment with the District before his or her last duty day of the year, or begins employment after the first duty day, state personal leave and local leave shall be prorated based on the actual time employed.

If an employee separates from employment before the last duty day of the school year, the employee's final paycheck shall be reduced for:

  1. State personal leave the employee used beyond his or her pro rata entitlement for the school year; and
  2. Local leave the employee used but had not earned as of the date of separation.

Employed for Full Year

If an employee uses more local leave than he or she earned and remains employed with the District through his or her last duty day, the District shall deduct the cost of the excess leave days from the employee's pay in accordance with administrative regulations.

Recording

Leave shall be recorded as follows:

  1. For positions for which a substitute is normally required, leave shall be recorded in half-day increments, even if a substitute is not employed.
  2. For positions for which a substitute is not normally required, leave shall be recorded on an hourly basis.
  3. If the employee is taking intermittent FMLA leave, leave shall be recorded in one-hour increments.
  4. If the employee chooses to offset leave against workers' compensation benefits, leave shall be recorded in the amount used.

Order of Use

Earned compensatory time shall be used before any available paid state and local leave. [See DEAB]

Unless an employee requests a different order, available paid state and local leave shall be used in the following order, as applicable:

  1. Local leave.
  2. State sick leave accumulated before the 1995–96 school year.
  3. State personal leave.

Use of sick leave pool days shall be permitted only after all available state and local leave has been exhausted.

Concurrent Use of Leave

When an absent employee is eligible for FMLA leave, the District shall designate the absence as FMLA leave.

The District shall require the employee to use temporary disability leave and paid leave, including compensatory time, concurrently with FMLA leave.

An employee receiving workers' compensation income benefits may be eligible for paid or unpaid leave. An absence due to a work-related injury or illness shall be designated as FMLA leave, temporary disability leave, and/or assault leave, as applicable.

Medical Certification

An employee shall submit medical certification of the need for leave if:

  1. The employee is absent more than five consecutive workdays because of personal illness or illness in the immediate family;
  2. The District requires medical certification due to a questionable pattern of absences or when deemed necessary by the supervisor or Superintendent;
  3. The employee requests FMLA leave for the employee's serious health condition or that of a spouse, parent, or child; or
  4. The employee requests FMLA leave for military caregiver purposes.

In each case, medical certification shall be made by a health-care provider as defined by the FMLA. [See DECA(LEGAL)]

Note: For District contribution to employee insurance during leave, see CRD(LOCAL).

State Personal Leave

The Board requires employees to differentiate the manner in which state personal leave is used.

Nondiscretionary Use

Nondiscretionary use of leave shall be for the same reasons and in the same manner as state sick leave accumulated before May 30, 1995. [See DEC(LEGAL)]

Nondiscretionary use includes leave related to the birth or placement of a child and taken within the first year after the child's birth, adoption, or foster placement.

Discretionary Use

Discretionary use of leave is at the individual employee's discretion, subject to limitations set out below.

Limitations

Request for Leave

The employee shall submit a written request for discretionary use of state personal leave to the immediate supervisor or designee in advance in accordance with administrative regulations. In deciding whether to approve or deny state personal leave, the supervisor or designee shall not seek or consider the reasons for which an employee requests to use leave. The supervisor or designee shall, however, consider the effect of the employee's absence on the educational program or District operations, as well as the availability of substitutes.

Duration of Leave

Discretionary use of state personal leave shall not exceed five consecutive workdays.

Local Leave

All employees shall earn five paid local leave days per school year in accordance with administrative regulations.

Local leave shall accumulate without limit.

Local leave shall be used according to the terms and conditions of state personal leave. [See State Personal Leave, above]

Peace Officers

Mental Health Leave

A District peace officer who experiences a traumatic event in the scope of employment shall be granted a maximum of five days of mental health leave per traumatic event. Such leave shall be provided in accordance with administrative regulations and shall not be deducted from the employee's pay or leave balance.

The Superintendent shall develop regulations regarding mental health leave that address the following:

  1. Circumstances or reasons under which a peace officer may use mental health leave;
  2. Procedures for requesting mental health leave and maintaining the anonymity of the requester;
  3. The administrator authorized to approve requests for mental health leave; and
  4. Other procedures deemed necessary for administering this provision.

Quarantine Leave

A District peace officer shall be granted quarantine leave when ordered by the local health authority or the peace officer's supervisor to quarantine or isolate due to possible or known exposure to a communicable disease while on duty. Such leave shall be provided in accordance with administrative regulations and shall not be deducted from the employee's pay or leave balance.

The Superintendent shall develop regulations regarding quarantine leave that address the following:

  1. Continuation of all employment benefits and compensation for the duration of the leave;
  2. Reimbursement for reasonable costs related to the quarantine; and
  3. Other procedures deemed necessary for administering this provision.

Sick Leave Pool

An employee who has exhausted all paid leave and who suffers from a catastrophic illness or injury or is absent due to the catastrophic illness or injury of a member of the employee's immediate family may request the establishment of a sick leave pool, to which District employees may voluntary donate local leave or state personal leave for use by the eligible employee.

If the employee is unable to submit the request, a member of the employee's family or the employee's supervisor may submit the request to establish a sick leave pool.

Establishment

An employee may receive a maximum of 30 leave days from a pool in a school year. The limit shall include any days received from the balance of retirees' donated days [see Balance of Retirees' Leave Days, below].

Donations

The sick leave pool shall be composed of voluntary donations for a specific individual, and donated days shall be designated to a specific pool. No staff member shall be allowed to donate more than five leave days to sick leave pools in a school year.

Confidentiality

All donations to sick leave pools shall be voluntary and confidential donations. Employees violating this provision shall be considered in violation of District policy and the standards of ethics outlined at DH(EXHIBIT) and shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with DH(LOCAL).

Dissolution

The pool shall cease to exist when the employee no longer needs leave for the purpose requested, uses the maximum number of leave days allowed under a pool, or exhausts all leave days donated to the sick leave pool. No general pool shall remain in existence. When an employee for whom the pool was created no longer needs leave days, the District shall return any unused donated leave days to the donors.

Balance of Retirees' Leave Days

An employee who is retiring from the District may donate some or all of his or her available state personal leave or local leave to the District. An employee for whom a sick leave pool has been established for the first time shall be eligible to receive a one time ten-day donation from this collection of retirees' leave days if at least ten days are available. An employee may receive a maximum of five leave days per school year from retirees' donated leave days thereafter if available.

Appeal

All decisions regarding the establishment or implementation of the District's sick leave pool may be appealed in accordance with DGBA(LOCAL), beginning with the Superintendent or designee.

Family and Medical Leave

Twelve-Month Period

For purposes of an employee's entitlement to FMLA leave, the 12-month period shall be July 1 through June 30.

Combined Leave for Spouses

If both spouses are employed by the District, the District shall limit FMLA leave for the birth, adoption, or placement of a child, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition, to a combined total of 12 weeks. The District shall limit military caregiver leave to a combined total of 26 weeks. [See DECA(LEGAL)]

Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leave

The District shall not permit use of intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave for the care of a newborn child or for the adoption or placement of a child with the employee. [See DECA(LEGAL) for use of intermittent or reduced schedule leave due to a medical necessity.]

Certification of Leave

If an employee requests leave, the employee shall provide certification, as required by FMLA regulations, of the need for leave. [See DECA(LEGAL)]

Fitness-for-Duty Certification

If an employee takes FMLA leave due to the employee's own serious health condition, the employee shall provide, before resuming work, a fitness-for-duty certification. If the District will require certification of the employee's ability to perform essential job functions, the District shall provide a list of essential job functions to the employee with the FMLA designation notice.

End of Semester Leave

If a teacher takes leave near the end of the semester, the District may require the teacher to continue leave until the end of the semester. [See DECA(LEGAL), Leave at the End of Semester]

Failure to Return

If, at the expiration of FMLA leave, the employee is able to return to work but chooses not to do so, the District may require reimbursement of premiums paid by the District during the leave. [See DECA(LEGAL), Recovery of Benefit Cost]

Temporary Disability Leave

Any full-time employee whose position requires educator certification by the State Board for Educator Certification or by the District shall be eligible for temporary disability leave. The maximum length of temporary disability leave shall be 180 calendar days. [See DBB(LOCAL) for temporary disability leave placement and DEC(LEGAL) for return to active duty.]

An employee's notification of need for extended absence due to the employee's own medical condition shall be forwarded to the Superintendent or designee as a request for temporary disability leave.

Workers' Compensation

Note: Workers' compensation is not a form of leave. The workers' compensation law does not require the continuation of the District's contribution to health insurance. [See CRD(LOCAL) regarding payment of insurance contribution during employee absences.]

An absence due to a work-related injury or illness shall be designated as FMLA leave, temporary disability leave, and/or assault leave, as applicable.

Paid Leave Offset

An employee eligible for workers' compensation income benefits, and not on assault leave, may elect in writing to use available partial-day increments of paid leave to make up the difference between the employee's income benefits and the pre-injury wage. [See CRE]

Court Appearances

Absences due to compliance with a valid subpoena or for jury duty shall be fully compensated by the District and shall not be deducted from the employee's pay or leave balance.

Tenaha ISD

DEC(LOCAL)-X

LDU 2021.04

DATE ISSUED: 8/23/2021