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:

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

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

3. 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.

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 provided to full-time professional staff employees. Part-time professional staff employees will receive these leaves on a pro rata basis:

1. Sick Leave B Professional staff employees whose assignments call for 12 months of full-time employment will be entitled to _____ days of sick leave. Professional staff employees whose assignments call for full-time employment only during the regular school term will be entitled to _____ days of sick leave. Unused sick leave will be cumulative to _____ sick 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 sick leave for the following reasons:

a. Illness, injury or incapacity of the employee. The Board reserves the right to require a physician’s certification attesting to the illness or incapacity of the claimant and/or inclusive dates of the employee’s incapacitation. FMLA health certification procedures apply to FMLA-qualifying absences, even if such absences are paid sick leave.

b. Illness, injury or incapacity of a member of the immediate family. The Board defines “immediate family” to include spouse, parents, children, children’s spouses, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings of an employee or employee’s spouse, and any other family member residing with the employee. (Note: “Family” for FMLA purposes is more limited.)

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

d. Pregnancy, childbirth and adoption leave in accordance with this policy.

A district employee may not use sick leave 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 sick 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. Personal Leave B A maximum of _____ days of personal 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 appearances, unless applicable law requires no leave be charged to the employee.

c. Wedding, graduation or funeral.

d. Observance of a religious holiday.

e. 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.

f. Leave under the FMLA.

g. Leave connected with duty as a volunteer firefighter, member of Missouri-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team, Missouri Task Force One, or Urban Search and Rescue Team.

h. Leave for other purposes as approved by the building principal.

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 and such notice is practical. The administrator will respond promptly to the employee’s written request.

A district employee may not use personal leave days during the period the employee receives Workers’ Compensation for time lost to work-related incidents.

3. Vacation B All professional staff employed on a 12-month basis will receive weeks of vacation per year. An employee must submit a written request for vacation to the superintendent or designee and receive written authorization before taking vacation days. If the employee’s absence may disrupt district operations, the superintendent or designee 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 may not use vacation days during the period the employee receives Workers’ Compensation for time lost to work-related incidents.

4. Bereavement Leave B When a death occurs in an employee=s immediate family, employees may take up to five (5) days off with pay to attend the funeral or make funeral arrangements. The district may require verification of the need for the leave. The Board defines “immediate family” to include spouse, parents, children, children’s spouses, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings of an employee or employee’s spouse, and any other family member residing with the employee. After the exhaustion of the five (5) days of bereavement leave, the employee may use personal leave.

Unless otherwise provided, the following leaves will be provided to full-time and part-time professional employees.

1. Holidays B [List paid holidays district recognizes.]

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

3. Military Leave B The Board shall grant military leave as required by law.

4. Election Leave B 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.

5. Leave to Vote B 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.

6. Jury Duty Leave B An employee will be granted paid leave for time spent responding to a summons for jury duty, time spent participating in the jury selection process or time spent actually serving on a jury. An employee will not be terminated, disciplined, threatened or otherwise subjected to adverse action because of the employee’s receipt of or response to a jury summons.

7. Leave for Court Subpoena B If the subpoena is directly related to the employee’s school duties, the employee will be released for court appearance without loss of leave. Other court appearances will be deducted from personal leave.

8. Firefighter Leave B Employees will be allowed to use personal, vacation and/or unpaid leave for any time taken to respond to an emergency in the course of performing duties as a volunteer firefighter. For the purposes of this section, “volunteer firefighter” includes members of Missouri-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team, Missouri Task Force One and Urban Search and Rescue Team. Employees covered under this section shall not be terminated from employment for joining a volunteer fire department or for being absent from or late to work in order to respond to an emergency. Employees shall make every reasonable effort to notify the building principal or supervisor if the employee may be absent from or late to work under this section. Employees are required to provide their supervisors with a written statement from the supervisor or acting supervisor of the volunteer fire department stating that the employee responded to an emergency along with the time and date of the emergency.

9. Crime Victim Leave B Any employee who is a crime victim, who witnesses a crime or who has an immediate family member who is a crime victim will not be required to use vacation, personal or sick leave in order to honor a subpoena to testify in a criminal proceeding, attend a criminal proceeding or participate in the preparation of the criminal proceeding.

Pregnancy, Childbirth and Adoption Leave

This section creates no rights extending beyond the contracted period of employment. FMLA certification and recertification procedures apply to FMLA-eligible employees. 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 practical, the employee must give as much notice as possible. 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 her duties is not impaired, based on medical opinion.

Employees eligible for FMLA leave for the birth, first-year care, adoption or foster care of a child will have such leave applied in accordance with the FMLA, as detailed in the following section. The district shall only apply up to six (6) weeks of accrued paid leave to such absences.

Employees who are ineligible for FMLA leave may take up to six (6) weeks of leave for the birth, first-year care, adoption or foster care of a child and may use any combination of accrued sick leave, personal leave, vacation leave or unpaid leave.

Pregnant employees who need more than six (6) weeks of paid or unpaid leave for a pregnancy-related incapacity must provide certification of the medical necessity for such leave.

Family/Medical Leave

Leave that qualifies for Family and Medical Leave Act protection will be administered in accordance with federal law.

Eligibility

To be eligible for FMLA leave benefits, the employee must:

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

2. Have 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. Be employed at a worksite where 50 or more employees are employed by the district within 75 miles of that worksite, and

4. Provide the district at least a 30-day notice of an expected absence for foreseeable circumstances, if practical.

An absence may qualify for FMLA protection if it is for one (1) of 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.

Leave Protections

Eligible employees who are absent for an FMLA-qualifying reason generally may return to the same position or an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits and working conditions at the conclusion of the leave, in accordance with law. Eligible employees are entitled to continued participation in the district=s health plan as long as they are entitled to FMLA leave protection. 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.

Leave Application

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 leave for a period not to exceed 12 workweeks 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 and as otherwise limited in this policy, 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.

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. If intermittent leave or leave on a reduced schedule equals more than 20 percent of instructional time, the district may require instructional employees who take such leave due to medical reasons to take block leave or to find an alternative placement for the period of planned medical treatment. 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 best serves the interest of the district.

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.

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-protected leave, 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.

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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: 7-14-08

Revised:

Cross Refs: DLB, Salary Deductions

Legal Refs: 105.270 – .271, 115.639, 168.122, 169.595, 320.200, .330 – .339, 494.460, 595.036, .209, RSMo.

Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201-219

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

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

29 C.F.R.  1604.10

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

Stewart v. Board of Educ. of Ritenour, 574 S.W.2d 471 (Mo. Ct. App. 1978)

Aubuchon v. Gasconade County R 1 Sch. Dist., 541 S.W.2d 322 (Mo. Ct. App. 1976)

Raymondville R-VII School District, Raymondville, Missouri