DEC(LOCAL) - COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS: LEAVES AND ABSENCES
The term "immediate family" is defined as:
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.
Parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, or other individual who stands in loco parentis to the employee.
Sibling, stepsibling, and sibling-in-law.
Grandparent and grandchild.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
State personal leave the employee used beyond his or her pro rata entitlement for the school year; and
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.
Leave shall be recorded as follows:
Leave shall be recorded in half-day increments for all employees, whether or not a substitute is employed.
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:
State sick leave accumulated before the 1995–96 school year.
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.
An employee shall submit medical certification of the need for leave if:
The employee is absent more than three consecutive workdays because of personal illness or illness in the immediate family;
The District requires medical certification due to a questionable pattern of absences or when deemed necessary by the supervisor or Superintendent;
The employee requests FMLA leave for the employee's serious health condition or that of a spouse, parent, or child; or
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 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 of leave is at the individual employee's discretion, subject to limitations set out below.
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.
The number of employees using discretionary leave on any one day may be limited by administrative regulations published in the employee handbook.
Discretionary leave shall not be allowed on the day before a school holiday, the day after a school holiday, days scheduled for end-of-semester or end-of-year exams, days scheduled for STAAR tests, professional or staff development days, or the first or last day of semester.
Duration of Leave
Discretionary use of state personal leave shall not exceed two consecutive workdays.
All employees shall earn five paid local leave days per school year at a rate of one-half workday for each 18 workdays of employment.
Local leave shall accumulate to a maximum of 50 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)]
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 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 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.
The pool shall cease to exist when the employee no longer needs leave for the purpose requested, uses the maximum number of days allowed under a pool, or exhausts all leave days donated to the sick leave pool.
The Superintendent or designee shall develop regulations for the implementation of the sick leave pool that address the following:
Procedures to request the establishment of a sick leave pool;
The maximum number of days an employee may donate to a sick leave pool;
The maximum number of days per school year an eligible employee may receive from a sick leave pool; and
The return of unused days to donors.
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
For purposes of an employee's entitlement to FMLA leave, the 12-month period shall be measured backward from the date an employee uses FMLA leave.
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)]
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.
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 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.
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.
Absences due to compliance with a valid school-related 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.
Moonlighting or Other Work While on Leave
Taking another job or working at another job while on FMLA leave or any other paid or unpaid leave pursuant to District policy is prohibited and shall be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination in accordance with applicable policy.
Neutral Absence Control
If an employee does not return to work after exhausting all available paid and unpaid leave, the District shall provide the employee written notice that he or she no longer has leave available for use. The District shall automatically pursue termination of an employee who has exhausted all available leave, regardless of the reason for the absence. [See DF series] The employee's eligibility for reasonable accommodations, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act [see DAA(LEGAL)], shall be considered before termination. If terminated, the employee may apply for reemployment with the District.