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 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 leave 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.

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 bank 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:

Non-Discretionary Use

  1. Non-discretionary 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)]

Non-discretionary 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

  1. 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 to a maximum of 100 leave days.

Local leave shall be used according to the terms and conditions of state sick leave accumulated before the 1995–96 school year [see DEC(LEGAL)], except that an employee may contribute local leave to a sick leave bank.

An employee may also use local leave for absences related to the birth or placement of a child when leave is taken within the first year after the child's birth, adoption, or foster placement.

Sick Leave Bank

The District shall establish a sick leave bank that employees may join through contribution of local leave.

Leave contributed to the bank shall be solely for the use of participating employees. An employee who is a member of the bank may request leave from the bank if the employee experiences a catastrophic illness or injury and has exhausted all paid leave.

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

The Superintendent or designee shall develop regulations for the operation of the sick leave bank that address the following:

  1. Membership in the sick leave bank, including the number of days an employee must donate to become a member;
  2. Procedures to request leave from the sick leave bank;
  3. The maximum number of days per school year a member employee may receive from the sick leave bank;
  4. The committee or administrator authorized to consider requests for leave from the sick leave bank and criteria for granting requests; and
  5. Other procedures deemed necessary for the operation of the sick leave bank.

Appeal

All decisions regarding the sick leave bank 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 measured forward from the date an individual employee's first FMLA leave begins.

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 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 a 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 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.

An employee eligible for workers' compensation income benefits, and not on assault leave, may elect in writing to use paid leave.

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.

Compensation for Unused Leave at Retirement

For employees hired after May 31, 2003, only unused local leave days shall be eligible for compensation. For employees hired prior to or on May 31, 2003, unused state and local leave days shall be eligible for compensation.

Retirement Prior to the End of the School Year

In order to receive compensation for unused days at retirement, an employee retiring prior to the end of the school year must:

Eligibility

  1. Be eligible for retirement benefits from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and
  2. For employees hired after July 1, 2003, have been employed by the District without any break in service for a minimum of five years. For employees hired prior to or on July, 1, 2003, no minimum years of service shall be required.

Notification

The eligible employee shall receive compensation for unused leave as follows:

  1. If the employee submits written notice of retirement to the human resources department no later than 90 calendar days prior to the effective date of retirement of the school year in which the employee plans to retire, the employee shall receive 100 percent of the eligible compensation.
  2. If the employee submits written notice of retirement to the human resources department no later than 60 calendar days prior to the effective date of retirement of the school year in which the employee plans to retire, the employee shall receive 75 percent of the eligible compensation.
  3. If the employee submits written notice of retirement to the human resources department no later than 45 calendar days prior to the effective date of retirement of the school year in which the employee plans to retire, the employee shall receive 50 percent of the eligible compensation.
  4. If the employee submits written consideration to the Superintendent less than 45 calendar days prior to the effective date of retirement of the school year in which the employee plans to retire, the employee shall be eligible for 25 percent of the eligible compensation.
  5. After these deadlines, exceptions for sudden, unexpected events may be appealed to an administrative committee.

Retirement at the End of the School Year

In order to receive compensation for unused days at retirement, an employee retiring at the end of the school year must:

Eligibility

  1. Be eligible for retirement benefits from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and
  2. For employees hired after July 1, 2003, have been employed by the District without any break in service for a minimum of five years. For employees hired prior to or on July, 1, 2003, no minimum years of service shall be required.

Notification

The eligible employee shall receive compensation for unused leave as follows:

  1. If the employee submits written notice of retirement to the human resources department by March 1 of the school year in which the employee plans to retire, the employee shall receive 100 percent of the eligible compensation.
  2. If the employee submits written notice of retirement to the human resources department by April 1 of the school year in which the employee plans to retire, the employee shall receive 75 percent of the eligible compensation.
  3. If the employee submits written notice of retirement to the human resources department by May 1 of the school year in which the employee plans to retire, the employee shall receive 50 percent of the eligible compensation.
  4. If the employee submits written consideration to the Superintendent after May 1 of the school year in which the employee plans to retire, the employee shall be eligible for 25 percent of the eligible compensation.
  5. After these deadlines, exceptions for sudden, unexpected events may be appealed to an administrative committee.

Compensation Cap

The date of May 31, 2003, is established as the date for the cap for the compensation of eligible unused leave days at retirement or death. This capped amount shall be used to determine an employee's, or the beneficiary of a deceased employee's, maximum compensation for unused leave at the time of retirement or death. The employee shall have his or her capped amount compensation reduced by 20 percent.

If retirement does not occur prior to July 1, 2005, the employee shall have his or her capped amount compensation reduced by an additional 20 percent for an approximate 40 percent reduction. If after the approximate 40 percent reduction an employee qualifies for an amount greater than $10,000, that amount shall remain his or her capped amount until the time of the employee's retirement or death. This amount shall not be exceeded but shall be reduced if the number of unused state and local leave days accumulated in the District, multiplied by 50 percent of the employee's daily rate of pay, results in an amount less than the established capped amount at the time of retirement or death.

If the 40 percent reduction reduces an employee's benefit below $10,000, then the benefit amount may increase to a maximum of $10,000 with the accumulation of additional local and state leave days. This benefit shall be determined by multiplying 50 percent of the employee's daily rate of pay by the number of unused accumulated state and local leave days up to a maximum of 100 days earned in the District at the time of retirement or death.

Employees Hired After May 31, 2003

An employee who qualified for retirement benefits from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas and who was hired after May 31, 2003, or the beneficiary of a deceased employee who was hired after May 31, 2003, shall be eligible to receive a maximum $10,000 compensation benefit at retirement. This benefit shall be determined by calculating 50 percent of the employee's daily rate of pay multiplied by the number of local leave days up to a maximum of 100 days earned in the District, to include days earned in the current school year, at the time of retirement or death.

Birdville ISD

DEC(LOCAL)-X

LDU 2018.02

DATE ISSUED: 4/10/2018