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

Definitions

Family

The term "immediate family" is defined as:

Spouse.

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).

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 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:

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.

Recording

All leave shall be recorded in full- and half-day increments as follows:

For positions for which a substitute is normally required, leave shall be recorded in half-day increments, even if a substitute is not employed.

For positions for which a substitute is not normally required, leave shall be recorded in half-day increments.

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:

Local leave.

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.

Medical Certification

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

The employee is absent more than five 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

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

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 three consecutive workdays.

Discretionary leave shall not be used in conjunction with non-working days to extend duration of leave.

Local Leave

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

Employees in positions normally requiring more than 216 days of service in a school year shall earn additional local leave days as follows:

217 days = one-half leave day

226 days = one leave day

245 days = two leave days

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]

Catastrophic 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 only local 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.

Unused sick leave pool days shall revert to the donors and shall be divided proportionately among donors according to the amount contributed. Reimbursed days shall be divided in increments of no less than one-half day. No general sick leave pool shall remain in existence.

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; and

The maximum number of days per school year an eligible employee may receive from a sick leave pool.

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 begin on the first duty day of the school year.

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 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.

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.

Annual Reimbursement for Leave

All employees may request annual reimbursement for unused local leave up to a maximum of two leave days per school year.

An employee who wishes to receive reimbursement for unused leave must submit his or her written request in accordance with administrative procedures.

Leave shall be reimbursed at the lowest substitute rate established annually. Days for which reimbursement is paid shall be deducted from the employee's leave balance.

Reimbursement for Leave Upon Retirement

The following provisions shall apply to the reimbursement for local leave earned beginning on the original effective date of this program.

An employee who retires from employment with the District shall be eligible for reimbursement for local leave if the employee uses no more than a total of ten leave days during the school year in which he or she is retiring.

The employee shall be reimbursed for each day of unused local leave at the rate of $25 for professional employees and $15 for paraprofessional and auxiliary employees. The rate established by the Board shall be in effect until the Board adopts a new rate. Any changes to the rate shall apply beginning with the school year following the adoption of the rate change.

Days for which reimbursement is paid shall be deducted from the employee's leave balance.

Incentive for Early Notice of Resignation or Retirement

A contract employee who submits his or her early notice of resignation or retirement on the date established by the Superintendent and prior to the regular March Board meeting shall be eligible to receive an early notice incentive award.

The rate of this early notice incentive award shall be established annually by the Board.

Neutral Absence Control Policy

With the exception of leaves of absence for military duty or as otherwise allowed by law, no authorized leave of absence, by itself or in combination with other periods of leave, may last longer than 180 days in a 12-month period or nine months in an 18-month period. Any employee who, for any reason or combination of reasons, misses a total of 180 days of work in a 12-month period or a total of nine months of work in an 18-month period shall be subject to termination due to unavailability for work, subject to the provisions below.

A medical clearance showing that the employee is physically able to perform the essential functions of his or her position shall be required in order for the employee to return to work.

Contract Employees

In the event that a contract employee fails to immediately return to work upon medical certification of the employee's ability to perform essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodations, such failure to return to work, regardless of the type of leave, shall be considered good cause for termination. For termination procedures and rights of contract employees, see DF series and DCE.

Noncontract Employees

A noncontractual employee who fails to return to duty upon such medical release showing that the employee is physically able to perform the essential functions of his or her position, with reasonable accommodations, shall be deemed to have voluntarily resigned his or her employment with the District effective immediately upon the expiration of the maximum leave period and shall be offered health benefits according to COBRA.

Devine ISD

DEC(LOCAL)-X

LDU 2017.03

DATE ISSUED: 8/25/2017