Leaves and Absences


  • Policy DEC,DECA, DECB

    The district offers employees paid and unpaid leaves of absence in times of personal need. This handbook describes the basic types of leave available and restrictions on leaves of absence. Employees must notify their immediate supervisor in advance, or as early as possible, in the event they must be absent or late.  Unauthorized absences, chronic absenteeism, tardiness and failure to follow procedures for reporting an absence may be cause for disciplinary action.  Employees who have personal needs which will require long leaves of absence should call Human Resources for counseling about leave options, continuation of benefits, and communicating with the district.

    The District shall make state paid leave for the current year available for use at the beginning of the school year. Local leave shall accrue at the rate of ½ day per month from September through June and shall be prorated based on the number of days each employee works in each school year.  If an employee leaves the district before the end of the work year, the cost of any unearned leave days taken shall be deducted from the employee’s final paycheck.
     

    The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers and other entities covered by GINA Title II  from requesting or requiring genetic information of an individual or family member of the individual, except as specifically allowed by this law. To comply with this law, we ask that employees and health care providers do not provide any genetic information in any medical certification. ‘Genetic information,’ as defined by GINA, includes an individual’s family medical history, the results of an individual’s or family member’s genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual’s family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or an individual’s family member or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving assistive reproductive services.

     

    Return to Work

     

    Employees must follow district and department or campus procedures to report or request any leave of absence and complete the appropriate leave request form. Any employee who is absent more than three consecutive workdays because of personal illness or injury must submit a medical certification from a qualified health care provider confirming the specific dates of the illness, the reason for the illness, and the employee’s fitness to return to work prior to returning to work.  Any employee who is absent more than three consecutive workdays because of an illness or injury in the immediate family must submit a medical certification from a qualified health care provider confirming the name of the family member, specific dates of the illness and the needed presence of the employee for care of the family member.

     

    Any employee returning to work with any limitations or restrictions as to his/her ability to perform the functions of their job must submit a medical certification from the treating physician outlining in detail all limitations and restrictions.  This may include but is not limited to lifting weight, bending, stooping, wearing of sling, cast etc.  The district’s work status form is provided for return to work status.  If this form is not used, the certification must be in detail either outlining any limitations and the duration of the limitations, or returning the employee to full-duty status with no restrictions. This certification must be provided prior to the employee returning to work.

     
    Employees who take an unpaid leave of absence may continue their insurance benefits at their own expense. Health care benefits for employees on leave authorized under the Family and Med­ical Leave Act will be paid by the district as they were when they were working. Otherwise, the district does not make benefit contributions for employees who are not on active payroll status.
     
    State Personal Leave

    State law entitles all employees to five days of paid personal leave per year. Personal leave is earned at a rate of one-half a workday for each 18 workdays of employment, up to the statutory maximum of five workdays. A day of earned personal leave is equivalent to an assigned workday. There is no limit on the accumulation of state personal leave, and it can be transferred to other Texas school districts and is generally transferable to education service centers. There are two types of personal leave: non-discretionary and discretionary.
     

    Non-discretionary use of leave is when the leave is taken due to an illness or injury of the employee or the employee’s immediate family. There are two types of non-discretionary leave, local sick leave and state personal leave when used as non-discretionary.  Both types of non-discretionary leave shall be used according to the terms and conditions of state sick leave accumulated before the 1995–96 school year, except that an employee may donate local leave to a sick leave pool.  [See DEC(LEGAL)]


    Discretionary use of leave is when leave is taken at an employee’s discretion that can be scheduled in advance. An employee wishing to take discretionary personal leave, non-paid vacation days, or vacation days must submit a notice of the request two working days in advance of the anticipated absence to his or her principal, director, or designee. Discretionary personal leave, as well as other discretionary leave days, will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis, with a maximum of two employees in each category permitted to be absent at the same time for discretionary personal leave. The effect of the employee’s absence on the educational program or department operations, as well as the availability of substitutes, will be considered by the principal, director, or designee and will be subject to the following limitations:

    Discretionary personal leave may not last more than three consecutive days, except with special approval for extenuating circumstances.

    Discretionary state personal leave will not be allowed for any employee on the following days which are identified on the current School Calendar:

    *** the day before or the day after a school or paid holiday,

     


    *** professional or staff development days, or
     
    ***bad weather makeup days, except in emergency circumstances, in which case documentation will be required.
     
    Discretionary state personal leave will also not be allowed for campus employees on the following days in accordance with each campuses' needs:
     
    ***the first or last day of a semester or trimester grading period, or
     
    ***on days scheduled for state or local tests
     
    The Superintendent may approve exceptions to these limits with documented emergency circumstances. 

    State Sick Leave (Before 1996)
     
    State Sick Leave accumulated prior to the 1995-1996 school year, is available for use and may be transferred to other school districts in Texas.  Previously accumulated state sick leave can be used only in half and whole day increments except when coordinated with family and medical leave taken on an intermittent or reduced-schedule basis or when coordinated with workers' compensation benefits.
     
    Local Sick Leave

    In addition to state personal leave, all employees earn local sick leave that accumulates without limit, according to the following schedule:

    10-month positions – 5 days per year

    11-month positions – 6 days per year

    12-month positions – 7 days per year

    If an employee uses more sick leave than he or she has earned, the cost of unearned sick leave will be deducted from the employee’s next paycheck.

    Sick leave may be used for the following reasons only:

    Employee illness

    Illness in the employee’s immediate family

    Family emergency (i.e., natural disasters or life-threatening situations)

    Death in the immediate family

    Active military service

    Use and recording

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

    After exhausting all leave, any leave taken for which leave balances are insufficient shall result in a deduction from the employee’s paycheck commensurate with amount of leave taken.

    Leave shall be recorded in whole workdays and half workdays only, except in accordance with provision for intermittent leave in the Family and Medical Leave Act or when coordinated with workers’ compensation benefits as provided in policy.

    Employee Responsibilities for Reporting Absences

    It is the responsibility of each employee to report his/her own absence to the SmartFind (SAMS) system, as well as to follow any other department or campus procedures required.

    Employee Responsibilities for Absences NOT Reported to SmartFind (SAMS)

    1. Employee must contact their Supervisor immediately upon return to work and arrange with their Supervisor to get the "Absence Not Posted" form.
    2. Employee must complete "Absence Not Posted" form, have their Supervisor sign the form and assure the form is forwarded to the SAMS administrator at their campus or department.
    3. If employee does not get absence reported within two working days of his/her return to work, employee will be given a written reprimand.
    4. Continued non-reporting of absences will result in further disciplinary actions.
    5. Absences not reported may be posted as unexcused and the employee's daily rate will be deducted from his/her next paycheck.

    All excused absences not reported to the SAMS system by the employee, will be deducted from the employee's leave balance in the order described under "Use & Recording".  Once all leave is exhausted, the cost of leave will be deducted from the employee's pay.

     
    Extended sick leave

    Each full-time employee who has exhausted earned paid leave benefits and has been employed at least 12 months shall be permitted up to 10 days of extended sick leave in a 12 (twelve month) period to be used only for the employee’s personal catastrophic illness or disability, including pregnancy-related  catastrophic disability.  Any unused approved extended sick leave shall terminate at the end of the employee's assigned work year.

    An employee shall submit a written request to Human Resources with appropriate medical certification indicating the employee’s inability to perform job-related functions.  The district has provided a form for this request.   http://www/scuc.txed.net/files/477/Extended%20Sick%20Leave.pdf

    One-half (1/2) of an employee’s daily rate shall be deducted from that employee’s pay for use of extended sick leave. Such deduction shall be made whether or not a substitute is employed.

    Sick leave pool

    The Board has chosen to allow District employees to donate earned sick leave days to other employees as follows:

    An employee who has accumulated at least 80 hours (ten working days) of local sick leave may, by submitting a written request, donate a maximum of 40 hours (five working days) above the 80-hour minimum each year to another employee who, due to a catastrophic serious illness or injury, has exhausted all paid leave benefits.

    A catastrophic illness or injury is a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of the employee which requires the services of a certified health care provider for a prolonged period of time and which forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned by that employee and to lose compensation from the District.  The illness/injury must be chronic or debilitating, and it must result in the employee's temporary or permanent incapacity to perform his/her job functions.  Examples of illnesses which may enable an employee to withdraw leave from a sick pool include, but are not limited to, cancer, heart disease or stroke.  Complications resulting from pregnancy shall be treated the same as any other condition.  For purposes of the sick leave pool, normal pregnancies with no serious complications and routine surgeries with no serious complications are not considered to be catastrophic.
     
    The Department of Human Resources has complete authority to determine whether an employee's illness or injury is considered to be catastrophic for purposes of a sick leave pool determination.

    PROCEDURES

    Requests for assistance shall be made in writing to the employee’s Principal/Director, together with a statement from the employee's certified health care provider concerning the employee's catastrophic illness or injury.  Following approval of a sick leave pool request by the Department of Human Resources, the Principal/Director shall seek donations from staff members throughout the District.
     
    The employee must have exhausted all available earned and advanced state personal leave, state sick leave and local sick leave before requesting establishment of a sick leave pool.
     
    Days used from the sick leave pool may only be used for the employee's personal catastrophic illness or injury.  Such days may not be used for an employee to take leave due to an illness or injury of a family member.
     
    An employee may withdraw a maximum of 30 days from a sick leave pool per school year, subject to approval by the Department of Human Resources.

    Unused transferred sick leave hours shall be returned to the donor in half-day increments. Donor contributions shall be date-stamped, with the earliest date-stamped contributions being used first.

    RESTRICTIONS

    An employee who is on leave (illness, educational, etc.) may not donate local sick leave hours until the employee has returned to an active work status for at least ten working days.

    An employee may not use sick leave pool hours to extend the work period of employment beyond the normally scheduled number of days in the school year.

    Reimbursement of unused personal and sick leave

    State leave upon retirement: Upon retiring from the District under provisions of Teacher Retirement System, a professional employee with three or more years of service in the District shall be paid $50 for each day of unused state leave not to exceed a maximum payment of $2,000. A professional employee who resigns from the District shall not be entitled to reimbursement from the District for unused state leave.

    Any other employee with three or more years of service in the District who retires, but not who resigns, shall be paid $25 for each day of unused state leave, not to exceed a maximum payment of $1,000.

    At the time of retirement in accordance with Teacher Retirement System requirements, an employee with ten or more years of service in the District shall be paid up to 100 days of unused state leave with payment being made in the last paycheck from the District. Employees applying for this benefit shall not be eligible for payment described above at MORE THAN THREE YEARS’ SERVICE.

    The payment rate shall be calculated based on the current substitute rate for each category of employee:

    Teacher/administrator/professional

    Clerical/technical

    Manual trades

    Leave then shall be deducted from the employee’s accumulated total when the payment is calculated by the District. For purposes of this reimbursement program, leave taken under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) shall not be included in the calculation of the payment.

    Payment shall be made following personnel department verification of approved and documented service records and employee application for payment.

    An employee with ten or more years of service in the District who resigns from the District shall not be entitled to reimbursement for unused state leave.

    Local leave upon retirement: An employee who leaves the district through retirement with at least a two-week notice and at least ten days accrued leave, may be reimbursed for previously accrued but unused local leave at the rate of $50 per day for professional employees and $25 per day for all other employees. Compensation shall be made in the final paycheck.
     
    An employee who separates from the District by resigning with at least a two-week notice and at least ten days accrued leave, may be reimbursed for previously accrued but unused local leave at the rate of $20 per day for professional employees and $10 per day for all other employees.  Compensation shall be in the final paycheck.

    Temporary disability

    The purpose of temporary disability leave is to provide job protection to any full-time professional employee under contract and educators as provided for in Education Code 21.409 who cannot work for an extended period of time because of a mental or physical disability of a temporary nature. Qualified employees may request to be placed on temporary disability leave. Pregnancy and conditions related to pregnancy are treated the same as any other tempo­rary disability.

    Employees must request approval for temporary disability leave. The leave request must be accompanied by a physician’s statement confirming the employee’s inability to work and estimating a probable date of return. If disability leave is approved, the length of leave is no longer than 180 calendar days.

    If an employee is placed on temporary disability leave involuntarily, he or she has the right to request a hearing before the board of trustees. The employee may protest the action and present additional evidence of fitness to work.

    When an employee is ready to return to work, Human Resources should be notified at least 30 days in advance. The return-to-work notice must be accompanied by a physician’s statement con­firming that the employee is able to do the job. Certified or Professional employees under contract returning from leave will be reinstated to the school/department to which they were previously assigned as soon as an appropriate posi­tion is available. If an appropriate position is not available, the employee may be assigned to another campus/department subject to the approval of the campus principal/director.  If a position is not available before the end of the school year, the employee will be reinstated to a position at the original campus at the beginning of the following school year.

    Family and Medical Leave

    Employees who have been employed by the district for at least 12 months, and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding date of the need for leave are eligible for fam­ily and medical leave. Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year during a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses FML for the following reasons:

    The birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child

    To care for a spouse, parent, or child with a serious health condition

    An employee’s serious health condition

    A husband and wife who are both employed by the district are subject to limits in the amount of leave they can take to care for a parent with a serious health condition or for the birth, adop­tion, or foster placement of a child.
     
    Military Family Leave Entitlements.  Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter or parent on active military duty and deployed to a foreign country may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies.  Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.
     
    The FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement which permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered servicemember during a single 12-month period.  A covered servicemember is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the servicemember is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.  It also includes a family member who is a veteran with an illness or injury that occurred in the line of duty while on active duty and manifests itself before or after the servicemember became a veteran.  The veteran must have been on active duty during the five years preceding the need for treatment, recuperation or therapy.

    Eligible employees are entitled to continue their health care benefits under the same terms and conditions as when they were on the job and are entitled to return to their previous job or an equivalent job at the end of their leave. Under some circumstances, teachers who are able to return to work at or near the conclusion of a semester may be required to continue their leave until the end of the semester.

    Family and medical leave runs concurrently with accrued sick and personal leave, temporary dis­ability leave, and absences due to a work-related illness or injury. The district will designate the leave as family and medical leave, if applicable, and notify the employee that accumulated leave will run concurrently.

    In some circumstances, employees may take family and medical leave in blocks of time or by reducing their normal weekly or daily work schedule. Intermittent leave may be taken under the following circumstances:

    An employee is needed to care for a seriously ill spouse, child, or parent

    An employee requires medical treatment for a serious illness

    An employee is seriously ill and unable to work 

     


    When the need for family and medical leave is foreseeable, employees who want to use it shall provide 30-day advance notice of their need when possible. When the need for leave is not foreseeable, employ­ees must contact Human Resources as soon as possible. Employees may be required to provide the following:

    Medical certification from a qualified health care provider supporting the need for leave due to a serious health condition affecting the employee or an immediate family member

    Second or third medical opinions and periodic recertification of the need for leave

    Periodic reports during the leave regarding the employee’s status and intent to return to work

    Medical certification from a qualified health care provider at the conclusion of leave of an employee’s ability to return to work

    Employees requiring family and medical leave should contact the Human Resources Department for details on eligibility, requirements, and limitations.

    Workers’ compensation benefits

    An employee absent from duty because of a job-related illness or injury may be eligible for workers’ compensation weekly income benefits if the absence exceeds seven calendar days.

    Policy DEC (LEGAL)

    An employee receiving workers’ compensation wage benefits for a job-related illness or injury may choose to use accumulated sick leave or any other paid leave benefits. An employee choos­ing to use paid leave will not receive workers’ compensation weekly income benefits until all paid leave is exhausted or to the extent that paid leave does not equal the pre-illness or -injury wage. If the use of paid leave is not elected, then the employee will only receive workers’ compensation wage benefits for any absence resulting from a work-related illness or injury, which may not equal his or her pre-illness or -injury wage.

    Policy DEC (LOCAL)

    The District has chosen to offer an employee who suffers an on-the-job injury or job-related illness up to five workdays of paid leave with no deduction from salary or sick leave balance, provided the employee obtained a medical certification from a physician that the employee is unable to perform the essential job functions or any modified job functions available for the position. If an employee has not obtained medical certification as to the disability, income benefits shall be implemented in accordance with the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, which states the income benefits begin to accrue on the eighth day of disability.

    Assault leave

    Assault leave provides extended job income and benefits protection to an employee who is injured as the result of a physical assault suffered during the performance of his or her job. An employee who is physically assaulted at work may take all the leave time medically necessary (up to two years) to recover from the physical injuries he or she sustained. Days of leave granted under the assault leave provision will not be deducted from accrued personal leave and must be coordinated with workers’ compensation benefits.

    Bereavement leave

    Employees may use state leave and/or local sick leave for a death in the immediate family but  shall not exceed five workdays per occurrence, subject to the approval of the district.
     
    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.  A copy of the "Notice to Apppear" for jury duty should be given to your campus or department supervisor, and a copy of the "Confirmation of Appearance" given by the Court needs to be given to the district payroll department.  Failure to do so will result in leave being deducted from the employee's pay or leave balance.

    Absences for court appearances related to an employee's personal business shall be deducted from the employee's personal leave.

    Military leave

    Paid Leave for Military Service. Any employee who is a member of the Texas National Guard, Texas State Guard, reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, or a member of a state or federally authorized Urban Search and Rescue Team is entitled to paid leave for authorized training or duty orders. Paid mili­tary leave will not exceed 15 days each federal fiscal year (October 1 - September 30). In addition, an employee is entitled to use available state and local personal or sick leave during a time of active military service.

    Reemployment after Military Leave.  Employees who leave the district to enter into the United States uniformed services or who are ordered to active duty as a member of the military force of any state (e.g., National or State Guard) may return to employment if they are honorably discharged.  Employees who wish to return to the district will be reemployed provided they can be qualified to perform the required duties.  To be eligible for reemployment, employees must provide notice of their obligation or intent to perform military service, provide evidence of honorable discharge or release, and submit an application for reemployment within the time specified by law to Human Resources.  In most cases, the length of federal military service cannot exceed five years. 

    Continuation of Health Insurance.  Employees who perform service in the uniformed services may elect to continue their health plan coverage at their own cost for a period not to exceed 24 months. Employees should contact Human Resources for details on eligibility, requirements, and limitations.
     

    Vacation

    Policy DED

    Non-contract employees working in positions normally requiring 260 days of service at eight hours per day shall accrue .833 days of paid vacation for each month of service. Employees may request and be paid for only those vacation days actually earned; vacation days shall not be advanced. Paid vacation time may not be used within the first six (6) months of employment with the District.

    Employees shall be allowed to carry forward to the next school year a maximum of ten vacation days.  Any unused vacation days, up to a maximum of ten days, shall be paid to an employee upon resignation or retirement as long as the employee provides a two calendar-week notice.  However, employees leaving prior to completing 12 months of service shall not be reimbursed for any unused vacation days. 

    Paid holidays
    Policy DED

    Auxiliary employees are eligible for the following paid holidays:


    Labor Day
    Thanksgiving
    Christmas
    New Year’s Day
    Easter
    Independence Day
    1 day
    2 days
    3 days
    1 day
    1 day
    1 day

    If one of the designated holidays falls on a Saturday, employees shall observe that holiday on the preceding Friday. When such a holiday falls on a Sunday employees shall observe that holiday on the succeeding Monday.

    Any employee required to be on duty for the District in any capacity on a paid holiday (Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, or July 4th) shall be paid holiday pay, plus payment of one hour of regular salary for each hour worked.  In the event that the employee exceeds 40 hours worked in the week by being on duty on a paid holiday, the employee shall be paid holiday pay and one and one-half hours of regular salary for each hour worked.

    To be eligible for holiday pay, an employee must work, or be on supervisor-approved paid leave, on the scheduled day before and the scheduled day after a holiday.