CERTIFICATED EMPLOYEE LEAVE
A. Paid Leaves
1. Paid Leaves Available. Columbus Public Schools makes the following forms of paid leaves available: Sick Leave, Bereavement Leave, Personal Leave, Emergency Leave, Administrative Leave, Vacation Leave and Professional Leave. In addition, Columbus Public Schools complies with laws that require leaves to be allowed without loss of pay, such as for military service and jury duty.
2. Negotiated Agreement. Paid leaves are provided for in the negotiated agreement with the designated association of certified employees. The negotiated agreement will control where there is any direct conflict with this policy.
3. Nature of Paid Leave. Paid leave is available to employees when the following specific conditions are met: (1) the employee is currently employed by the District; (2) the paid leave day is taken on a day the employee would otherwise be expected to be at work; and (3) the employee has met the conditions that are applicable to the type of paid leave that has been requested.
4. Leave Year. The leave year for paid leaves is Columbus Public Schools’ fiscal year unless otherwise stated by individual contract.
5. Leave Days. Paid leave days are provided based on the same number of hours the employee is scheduled to work on the day the leave is taken, except for any day in which premium pay may be paid. For example, if an employee is scheduled to work 6 hours on a day that sick leave is used, the use of the sick leave on that day constitutes the use of 1 full sick day. Paid leave days may not be used in increments of less than one-half day unless otherwise specified or approved.
6. Eligibility Based on Employment Status. For purposes of eligibility for paid leave days, employees are identified as:
i. Full-Time Employees—Employees scheduled to work in one position at least 1,387.5 hours per leave year. Eligibility for full-time status treatment based on combinations of positions is subject to prior written approval of the Superintendent.
ii. Part-Time Employees—Employees who are contracted to work at least 9 months in the leave year and who are scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week. Except as otherwise specified, Part-Time Employees are provided paid leaves on a pro rata basis measured against a 1,387.50 hour work year (185 days x 7.5 hours).
iii. Ineligible Employees—Employees who are not Full-Time or Part Time Employees, as defined above, including any employees employed on a substitute or temporary basis. Ineligible Employees are not eligible for any paid leaves.
iv. New Classified Employees—Employees who have been employed with the District less than 4 months and who are employed in a position that does not require NDE or HHS certificate or license. New Classified Employees are not eligible for paid leaves. Upon reaching the 4 month employment anniversary, the employee becomes eligible for paid leaves for the remainder of the leave year, including the 4 month probationary period, on a pro rata basis.
7. Unused Days. There is no pay for unused paid leave either during or upon ending of employment except as may be provided in the negotiated agreement with the designated association of certified employees or in written employment contracts approved by the Board, and except as required by law. A condition of paid leave being available is that the employee not engaged in misconduct warranting termination. Accordingly, in the event the Superintendent or the Board determines that an employee has engaged in misconduct, there shall be no pay for unused leave days. In the event unused leave days are required to be paid, the employee will be paid at the employee’s daily rate of pay at the time the unused paid leave days first became available.
B. Sick Leave
1. Days Per Leave Year. Employees have 10 days sick leave available per leave year.
2. Availability. Sick leave is a paid workday when the employee may be absent from duties. Sick days are only available when the employee is unable to perform assigned duties due to the illness or temporary disability of the employee or due to the employee needing to care for a member of the employee’s immediate family who is ill or has a serious health condition. The following shall be considered members of the immediate family of an employee: Husband, wife, child, mother, father, sister, brother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparents, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, grandchild, niece, nephew, aunt, and uncle, step children, step mother, step father, step brother, and step sister.
2. Employees are to use sick leave when unable to work. Activities other than caring for their own health or that of an immediate family member reflect an abuse of sick leave.
3. Carry-over and Accumulation. Unused sick leave may be carried over from one leave year to the next succeeding leave year to a maximum of 80 sick leave days. Once the maximum is accumulated, no further sick leave days will be available or granted for the ensuing leave year or years until the accumulated number of days is less than 80.
C. Bereavement Leave
1. Immediate Family. Five (5) days shall be granted in the event of the death of a child, spouse, parent, brother, sister, or sole responsibility, which shall not be charged against sick leave accumulation. Five additional days may be granted which shall be charged against accumulated sick leave.
2. Three (3) days shall be granted in the event of the death of a parent-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandparents, grandparent-in-law, or grandchildren, which shall not be charged against accumulated sick leave. Three additional days may be granted which shall be charged against accumulated sick leave.
3. Non-Immediate Family. Up to two (2) days per year may be allowed to attend the funerals of relatives or personal friends not covered by the immediate family definition, which shall not be charged against accumulated sick leave. Two additional days may be granted during the current school year, which shall be charged against accumulated sick leave.
3. Use of Bereavement Leave. Bereavement leave is to be used for purposes of addressing issues related to the death and to attend funeral services. The taking of a bereavement leave without attending funeral services would be an abuse of bereavement leave, except in the case of the death of the employee’s parent, child or spouse, where grief would be expected to impair the employee’s ability to function at work. Bereavement Leave will be deducted from an employee’s sick leave balance.
4. Carry-over and Accumulation. There is no carry-over or accumulation of unused bereavement leave. Sick, Personal or Emergency leave may, at the employer’s option, be granted beyond the provisions noted above.
D. Personal Leave
1. Days Per Leave Year. Certificated Employees have 2 days of personal leave available per leave year.
a. Two (2) days of personal leave requested shall be subject to
administrative approval and must be applied for at least (5) calendar
days in advance of the date the leave will occur.
b. The Superintendent may grant personal leave without 5 days notice (assuming the employee has a day of personal leave left) when conditions or situations make it impossible for an employee to fulfill his/her assigned duties.
c. Application for personal leave that extends the breaks of Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas / New Years, spring break, Easter, or Memorial Day; or that replaces the first contract day, the last contract day, or parent / teacher conferences shall be subject to the Superintendent’s approval.
d. Personal Leave shall be handled confidentially.
e. The District will compensate certificated employees $100 for each day of unused personal leave. Unused personal leave will be compensated in increments of no less than .5 days. Compensation will appear in the June payroll check.
2. Availability. Personal leave is available for use when an employee has personal matters to attend to that require an absence from duties. The availability of personal leave is to be determined at the discretion of the Superintendent.
3. Carry-over and Accumulation. There is no carry-over or accumulation of unused personal leave.
E. Professional Leave
1. Days Per Leave Year. Certificated employees covered by this agreement shall have 3 days Professional Leave to attend professionally enhancing opportunities. Professional Leave is subject to approval by the Board of Education or its designee (s). Professional Leave is also subject to approval of the certificated employee covered by this agreement, should such leave fall outside normal school day or is on a non-contract day.
2. Availability. Professional leave is available for attendance at local, regional, state, or national functions provided attendance is judged by the Superintendent or designee to be for professional development of the employee in an aspect of the employee’s employment duties or of potential benefit to the District or schools served by the employee. Attendance at such functions is to be determined at the discretion of the Superintendent. Expenses for attendance, including transportation, meals, registration fees, and other function-related expenses deemed necessary and approved by the Superintendent will be paid by in accordance with the Coffee Act Policy.
a. Carry-over and Accumulation. There is no carry-over or accumulation of unused professional leave.
F. Unpaid Leaves
The Columbus Public Schools Board of Education, recognizing the need of staff members to take leave from their duties at school for various situations, establishes a program in which staff members can request a leave of absence without pay for a specific period of time. Approval of such leave shall be governed by the instructional needs of the students as determined by the Building Principal/Director. Requests for leave without pay must receive the written approval of the Building Principal/Director and the Superintendent of Schools before being granted. Staff members shall submit their requests for leave on appropriate forms supplied by the School District and follow specific rules and regulations as established by the administration and the master agreement to support this policy. Should an employee be absent from work in excess of the employee’s available paid leaves, the absence will be an unpaid leave. The employee’s salary and fringe benefits (including the cost of premiums for group health insurance) may be subject to reduction for the day or days of work missed.
G. Leave Without Pay
The Columbus Public Schools Board of Education, recognizing the need of staff members to take leave from their duties at school for various situations, establishes a program in which staff members can request a leave of absence without pay for a specific period of time. Approval of such leave shall be governed by the instructional needs of the students as determined by the Building Principal/Director. Requests for leave without pay must receive the written approval of the Building Principal/Director and the Superintendent of Schools before being granted. Staff members shall submit their requests for leave on appropriate forms supplied by the School District and follow specific rules and regulations as established by the administration to support this policy.
The following rules and procedures will govern leave without pay:
1. A leave shall not be granted for a time period greater than one year in length.
2. Staff members shall make their requests on a leave without pay form and shall attach a written letter identifying the purpose for such leave. Forms should be submitted to their Principal or Director.
3. A Principal or Director shall consider the following before acting upon a request for leave without pay:
a. Instructional needs of the students in the District.
b. The needs of the staff member requesting the leave.
c. Ability to find a suitable replacement for said staff member.
d. If leave is for less than one year, appropriate starting and ending times of leave will be established. These times should prove to be the least disruptive for the students’ educational program.
4. The Principal/Director may approve or reject the request for leave without pay.
5. If the Principal/Director approves the leave without pay, the staff member shall do the following:
a. Submit to the Principal/Director on an approved form the mailing address where the staff member can be reached during March of the year when the staff member is on leave so that the staff member can receive notice of the offer of continuing employment.
b. The staff member will understand that he/she shall respond to the offer of continuing employment by:
i. Stating that he/she wants to return to his/her position or;
ii. Requesting an extension of his/her leave for another year thereby giving up his/her right to a guaranteed position.
c. If a teacher is on an extension of his or her leave, and said teacher indicates that he/she wishes to be employed, such teacher shall accept the first position offered. If such offer is not accepted, no other offers will be made during that year. The teacher is free to apply for any position that is available and such application will be given consideration.
d. If the staff member does not respond within the allotted time frame, it shall be considered as a resignation and the Board will terminate the contract and all obligations to the staff member.
e. If the Principal/Director approves an extension for the staff member, the staff member shall complete all steps (a) through (c).
6. In no case will a staff member be granted more than two extensions to leave without pay. The total time frame of leave without pay and extension will not exceed three years. If a leave of absence begins during a school year and does not extend beyond ten (10) working days, said employee’s salary will be reduced by 1/(number of contract days) for each day missed. If said absence continues beyond ten (10) consecutive working days in one school year, said employee’s salary and health insurance/annuity money will be reduced according to the formula named above. Said employee’s life insurance and long term disability insurance will be continued at the District’s expense for the duration of the leave during the school year for which the leave was initiated. Any employee receiving an extension of his/her leave beyond the school year during which the leave was initiated will receive no salary or other monetary benefits until he/she returns to work. An employee on such leave beyond ten (10) consecutive days may elect to continue his/her health insurance at his/her expense. No increment credit will be awarded to any teacher on such leave if his/her absence during any school year is for more than one-half school year.
Family and medical leaves shall be allowed under the terms and conditions of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) as amended.
The “leave year” for purposes of the FMLA shall be a “rolling” twelve-month period, measured backward from the date of any FMLA usage.
Substitution of accrued paid leaves for otherwise unpaid FMLA leaves may be required at the discretion of the Superintendent or the Board. The employee may also have paid leave run concurrently with unpaid FMLA leave entitlement, provided the employee meets applicable requirements of the leave policy.
Employees shall be required to submit medical certifications to support a request for FMLA leave because of a serious health condition, or a sick leave, when such leave is for a duration in excess of five successive days, and in such other cases as deemed appropriate by the Superintendent or the Board based on the nature of the illness or other circumstances surrounding the leave. Second and third medical opinions may, in the Superintendent or the Board’s discretion, be required. Employees shall be required to report periodically, at such times as requested by the Superintendent or the Board, on their intent to return to work from FMLA leaves and other leaves. Employees shall be required to submit a fitness-for-duty certification from their health care provider as a condition of returning to work from a FMLA leave taken because of the employee’s serious health condition, or from a sick leave taken by reason of the employee’s illness, when such leave was of a duration in excess of five (5) successive days, and upon request of the Superintendent or the Board when such is deemed appropriate by the Superintendent or the Board based upon the nature of the illness or other circumstances surrounding the leave.
An “equivalent position” for FMLA restoration purposes shall, in the case of certificated employees, be any administrative, teaching, or instruction related position for which the employee is qualified by reason of endorsement, college preparation, or experience, or other indicia. In the case of coaching or other similar extracurricular duty assignments, “equivalent position” can be any extracurricular duty assignment. In the case of other employees or positions, “equivalent position” can be one with or at equivalent pay, benefits, and working conditions, involving similar or related duties, as determined by the Superintendent or the Board.
By law, FMLA leave is available only to employees who meet certain conditions. One of the conditions is that the employee “is employed at a worksite where 50 or more employees are employed by the employer within 75 mile of that worksite.”
The District will allow employees who do not meet this condition due to the location of their worksite to take unpaid leaves on the same terms and conditions as other ESU employees are allowed to take FMLA leaves. Such unpaid leaves will be allowed as an ESU provided benefit and not as an FMLA protected leave.
I. Military and Family Military Leave
Military leave and family military leave will be granted to the extent required by state and federal law.
Employees requesting military leave must notify the Superintendent as soon as they receive notification of activation. Employees are to attach a copy of their orders to a leave request form when they prepare the request for military leave.
Employees requesting to take family military leave under the Nebraska statutes must notify the Superintendent at least 14 days in advance of taking such a leave if the leave will be for 5 or more consecutive days, consult with their supervisor to schedule the leave so as to not unduly disrupt operations of the District. For leaves of less than 5 days, the employee is to notify the Superintendent of the leave request as soon as practicable.
Family military leave under the FMLA will be provided in accordance with that law and subject to the provisions of the Board policy pertaining to FMLA leave.
J. Adoption Leave
Adoption leave will be permitted to be taken by an adoptive parent for the same time and on the same terms as an employee is permitted to take a leave of absence upon the birth of the employee’s child.
The adoptive parent leave of absence begins following the commencement of the parent-child relationship. The parent-child relationship commences, for purposes of adoption leave, when the child is placed with the employee for purposes of adoption. The employee shall be deemed to have waived any adoptive leave days not taken following the commencement of the parent-child relationship, except as the Superintendent and the employee may otherwise agree. Advance notice of an anticipated adoption shall be provided by the employee to the Superintendent as early as possible.
K. Jury Duty Leave
An employee who is summoned for jury
service must promptly notify the employee’s immediate supervisor. The employee
will be allowed time off for jury duty. There will be no loss of salary or
deduction in leave time for time spent in jury services. The District may at
its discretion reduce salary by an amount equal to any compensation, other than
expenses, paid by the court for jury duty.
If an employee reports for jury duty in the morning and is then dismissed from jury duty for the remainder of the day, the employee is to report for work and resume duties for the balance of the day, except as may be otherwise arranged by the employee’s immediate supervisor.
L. Subpoena to Testify Leave
An employee must promptly notify the employee’s immediate supervisor when the employee receives a lawfully issued subpoena to testify in court or to give a deposition that may require an absence from duty.
In the event the subpoena involves a job-related matter in which the employee is testifying on behalf of the District, the absence will be treated similar to a jury duty leave.
In the event the subpoena involves a personal matter, the employee will be required to use available leave days. A subpoena will be considered to involve a personal matter whenever the employee or a family member or friend of the employee is a party to the legal proceeding, unless the employee’s involvement in the legal matter is solely due to actions taken in connection with the employee’s work duties, the actions of the employee were not inappropriate, and the District is not an opposing party in the legal matter.
Policy COLUMBUS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Adopted: 10-10-11 Columbus, Nebraska