PROFESSIONAL STAFF SHORT-TERM LEAVES AND ABSENCES

 

Consistent contact with students and staff is important to the learning environment and district operation and therefore is an essential duty of a professional staff member's position.  When a professional staff member is routinely tardy, frequently absent or is absent for an extended period of time, the learning environment and district operations deteriorate and the students suffer.

 

Professional staff employees may be terminated for excessive absences or tardiness.  Unless authorized by the Board or the superintendent or otherwise authorized by law, an employee’s absence or tardiness is considered excessive if it:

 

<                    Is for a reason not granted as paid or protected leave under Board policy.

 

<                    Exceeds the number of days allotted by the Board for that particular leave.

 

<                    Is for a reason authorized by Board policy but exceeds five (5) days a month, 20 days in a semester or 40 days per school year, unless otherwise authorized by law.

 

Even if the absence or tardiness is authorized by the Board or the superintendent, if the absence or tardiness occurs for a reason not granted as paid leave under Board policy or if it exceeds the number of days the employee has been granted under a designated leave, the employee’s salary will be docked.

 

No employee will be disciplined or terminated for absences qualifying for protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or other applicable law.

 

The district may require an employee to present a certification of fitness to return to work whenever the employee is absent from work due to the employee's health.

 

The following leaves with pay will be accorded full-time professional staff employees:

 

1.         Leave -- Professional staff employees whose assignments call for 12 months of full-time employment will be entitled to 9 days of leave.  Professional staff employees whose assignments call for full-time employment only during the regular school term will be entitled to 9 days of leave.  Unused leave will be cumulative to 60 leave days.  An absence of over one (1) through four (4) hours shall be counted as a half-day of sick leave.

 

Absences may be charged against leave for the following reasons:

 

a.         Illness, temporary disability or permanent disability of the employee.  The Board reserves the right to require a physician's certification attesting to the illness or disability of the claimant and/or inclusive dates of the employee's incapacitation if the absence is for more than ten (10) consecutive days.  FMLA health certification procedures apply to FMLA-qualifying absences, even if such absences are paid sick leave.  The district need not wait ten (10) days before requesting an FMLA Certification of Health Care Provider form in conjunction with a preliminary designation that FMLA applies to an absence.

 

b.         Illness or injury to a member of the immediate family.  The Board defines "immediate family" to include spouse, parents, children, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers and sisters of an employee or employee's spouse.  (Note:  "Family" for FMLA purposes is more limited.)

 

c.         Illness or injury of other relatives, with permission granted by the superintendent.

 

A district employee shall not be entitled to use sick days during the period the employee receives Workers' Compensation for time lost to work-related incidents.

 

Any certificated employee who is a member of a retirement system shall remain a member during any period of leave under leave provisions of the district or under Workers' Compensation.  The employee shall also receive creditable service credit for such leave time if the employee makes contributions to the system equal to the amount of contributions that he or she would have made had he or she been on active service status.

 

2.         Leave -- A maximum of 9 days of leave will be available per school year.  Unused personal leave days do not accumulate.

 

Absences may be charged against personal leave for the following reasons:

 

a.         Tax investigation.

 

b.         Court subpoena.  If the subpoena is directly related to his or her school duties, the employee will be released for court appearance without loss of personal leave.  Other court appearances will be deducted from personal leave.

 

c.         Jury duty.

 

d.         Wedding, graduation or funeral for a member of the immediate family.  The Board defines "immediate family" to include spouse, parents, children, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers and sisters of an employee or employee's spouse.

 

e.         Observance of a religious holiday that is normally observed by persons of the employee's faith.

 

f.          Conducting personal business of such a nature that it cannot be performed on a Saturday, Sunday or before or after school hours, including parent-teacher conferences.

 

g.         Leave under the FMLA.

 

Leave will not be granted for an employee due to adverse weather conditions.

 

Whenever possible, it is expected that requests for leave will be made in writing to the designated administrator at least 48 hours in advance of the time leave is requested.  However, 30 days' notice is required by law if the leave qualifies as FMLA leave.  The administrator will respond promptly to the employee's written request.

 

A district employee shall not be entitled to use personal leave days during the period the employee receives Workers' Compensation for time lost to work-related incidents.

 

3.         Vacation -- All professional staff employed on a 12-month basis will receive two weeks of vacation per year. For the first year or partial year of employment, 12 month employees will receive one vacation day for each month worked, after completing a two month probationary period.  For the purposes of this policy, the vacation year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30.   An employee must submit a written request for vacation to the superintendent and receive written authorization before taking vacation days.  If the employee's absence may disrupt district operations, the superintendent has the discretion to deny a request for vacation or to limit the time of year the employee may take his or her vacation.

 

A district employee shall not be entitled to use vacation days during the period the employee receives Workers' Compensation for time lost to work-related incidents.

 

4.         Holidays -- [List paid holidays district recognizes.]  Independence Day—Labor Day—Thanksgiving—Christmas Eve—Christmas Day—New Years Eve—New Years Day—Presidents Day unless school is in session—Memorial Day

 

5.         Professional Leave -- Teachers may be granted professional leave upon the approval of the superintendent.  Professional leave must be arranged well in advance and is not considered personal leave.

 

6.         Military Leave -- The Board shall grant military leave as required by law.

 

7.         Election Leave -- Any employee who is appointed as an election judge pursuant to state law may be absent on any election day for the period of time required by the election authority.  The employee must notify the district at least seven (7) days prior to any election in which the employee will serve as an election judge.  No employee will be terminated, disciplined, threatened or otherwise subjected to adverse action based on the employee's service as an election judge.

 

8.         Leave  to Vote -- Employees who do not have three (3) successive hours free from work while the polls are open will be granted a leave period of three (3) hours for the purpose of voting.  Requests for such leave must be made prior to election day, and the employee's supervisors will designate when during the workday the leave should be taken. Any employee who properly requests leave to vote and uses the leave for that purpose will not be subject to discipline, termination or loss of wages or salary.

 

Pregnancy, Childbirth and Adoption Leave

 

A pregnant employee shall continue in the performance of her duties as long as she is able to do so and as long as her ability to perform duties is not impaired, based on medical opinion.

 

The employee may use accrued sick leave, personal leave or vacation leave during periods of pregnancy-related disability and, if necessary, an unpaid leave of absence to begin at the time recommended by her physician.  The employee shall return to duty when she is physically able, based on medical opinion, except that this paragraph creates no rights extending beyond the contracted period of employment.

 

Pregnant employees shall be treated the same as other employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work for all purposes under this policy.

 

An employee who is the primary caretaker of an adopted child will be provided the same leave opportunities afforded employees for pregnancy-related leave for the purpose of arranging for the child's placement or caring for the child after placement.

 

An employee must notify the district of the need for and anticipated duration of the leave at least 30 days before leave is to begin, if foreseeable.  If 30 days' notice is not practicable, the employee must give as much notice as possible.

 

These rules are subject to preemption by the FMLA as necessary for FMLA-eligible employees.

 

Family/Medical Leave

 

Family and Medical Leave Act cases will be administered in accordance with federal law.

 

For all FMLA purposes, the district adopts a 12-month leave year beginning on July 1 and ending the following June 30.  All eligible employees are entitled to family/medical leave for a period not to exceed 60 workdays per leave year.  When an employee has an absence (taken as paid or unpaid leave) AND the absence meets the criteria to be an FMLA-qualified absence, the district may designate such absence as part of the employee’s total annual FMLA entitlement.  If any employee is on a Workers’ Compensation absence due to an injury or illness that would also qualify as a serious health condition under the FMLA, the same absence may also be designated as FMLA-qualifying and charged against the employee’s FMLA-protected time entitlement.

 

The district shall apply paid leave, including sick leave, personal leave and vacation time, to an FMLA absence to the extent allowed by law, giving proper notice to the employee.  If an employee’s accrued paid leave is exhausted but an FMLA-qualifying reason for absence persists, or a new FMLA-qualifying reason for absence occurs, the resulting absences will continue to be protected FMLA leave until the aggregate of 12 workweeks of designated FMLA leave has been reached, but such absences will be unpaid.

 

Employees who take leave without pay under the provisions of this section shall be entitled to continued participation in the district’s health plan.  However, an employee who fails to return to work after the expiration of his or her allowed leave time will be expected to reimburse the district for those benefits paid, as required by law.

 

To be eligible for unpaid family/medical leave, the employee must have:

 

1.         Been employed in the district for at least 12 months (but not necessarily consecutively), and

 

2.         Been employed for at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave (full-time teachers are deemed to meet this requirement), and

 

3.         Given at least a 30-day notice for foreseeable circumstances.

 

FMLA-qualified leave includes the following reasons:

 

1.         Birth and first-year care of the employee’s child.

 

2.         Adoption or foster placement of a child with the employee.

 

3.         Serious health condition of the employee or the employee’s spouse, child or parent.

 

Additional Provisions -- Leave for Health-Related Reasons

 

The district reserves the right to require certification of the serious health condition of the employee or employee’s family member.  Employees on FMLA-designated leave must periodically report on their status and intent to return to work.  The district may also require that an employee present a certification of fitness to return to work.

 

FMLA leave may be taken intermittently as required for the health of the employee or family member or as reduced-schedule leave in hourly increments.  Under circumstances allowed by law, the district may require instructional employees who request intermittent leave due to medical reasons to take block leave or to find an alternative placement for the period of planned medical treatment.  However, if the intermittent leave equals more than 20 percent of instructional time, special rules apply as set forth by law.  When an instructional employee on FMLA leave is scheduled to return close to the end of a school term, the district may elect to use a special rule to prolong the employee’s leave until the beginning of the next school term, thus extending the leave beyond the period where an FMLA-qualifying reason exists.  In such an instance, the prolonged leave time is unpaid and is not charged against the employee’s annual FMLA entitlement.  In cases where the special rules for instructional employees apply, the superintendent may apply those special rules or the general FMLA rules as better serves the interest of the district.

 

Notice

 

Information concerning the employee's rights under this act will be posted in accordance with law and will be provided in any employee handbooks that are distributed.

 

For any employee who is not eligible for the FMLA leave, including any employee who has exhausted available FMLA time, requests for leave and the use of benefits time shall proceed according to the district’s established policies, and the procedural requirements of the FMLA shall not apply where they are not mandated by law.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Note:   The reader is encouraged to check the index located at the beginning of this section for other pertinent policies and to review administrative procedures and/or forms for related information.

 

Adopted:        April 14, 2003

 

Revised:         August 14, 2012                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                           

Cross Refs:      DLB, Salary Deductions

GCBC, Professional Staff Fringe Benefits

GCBDB, Professional Staff Long-Term Leaves and Absences

GCL, Professional Staff Development Opportunities

 

Legal Refs:      §§ 105.102, .270, .271, 115.639, 168.122, 169.595, RSMo.

Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964 as Amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 e(k)

29 C.F.R. § 1604.10

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2611-2619

Aubuchon v. Gasconade County R-1 School Dist., 541 S.W.2d 322

(Mo.App. 1976)

Stewart v. Bd. of Ed. of Ritenour, 574 S.W.2d 471 (Mo.App. 1978)

Willis v. School Dist. of Kansas City, 606 S.W.2d 189 (Mo.App. 1980)

 

Advance R-IV School District, Advance, Missouri

 

 

Portions © 2003 Missouri School Boards’ Association

For Office Use Only:  GCBDA-C.1M (2/03)