7000 - Personnel

7510 Leave Of Absence

7510 Leave Of Absence

The Board of education believes that it is important for employees to have leave available to attend to personal, civic and professional matters as well as to meet family commitments. This need for leave is to be balanced with the need to provide an effective instructional program for students. No employee may be discharged, demoted or otherwise subjected to adverse employment action for taking leave in accordance with Board policies and administrative procedures.

All requests for leave, with or without pay, must be addressed in accordance with state and federal law, as well as policies promulgated by the State Board of Education, including those specified in the most current edition of the North Carolina Public Schools Benefits and Employment Policy Manual.

In addition to applicable laws and regulations, the following board policies apply to leave requests. The Superintendent is directed to develop administrative procedures and make them available to any employee upon request.

A. MINIMUM LEAVE TIME

An employee may take any leave in increments of four hours unless otherwise required by law.

B. CONTINUOUS LEAVE OF MORE THAN 10 DAYS

An employee must comply with the notice and verification requirements provided in policy 7520, Family and Medical Leave, for continuous leave of more than 10 days if: (1) the leave also is eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), defined in policy 7520, and (2) the leave is designated as FMLA-eligible at the time it is taken or as soon as is feasible thereafter.

C. SICK LEAVE

Permanent, full-time employees earn one sick day per month or the number of hours worked daily by a full-time employee in that class of work. Permanent, part-time employees earn sick leave computed on a pro rata basis of the amount earned by a full-time employee in that class of work.

Sick leave may be accumulated indefinitely and is transferable between administrative units. Upon retirement, an employee’s unused sick leave may be counted toward creditable service. Pay for unused sick leave is not permitted, except when an employee has been approved for long-term disability.

Employees may use sick leave only for those purposes specified in the North Carolina Public Schools Benefits and Employment Policy Manual. Use of sick leave for other reasons may be considered insubordination and be cause for dismissal. Use of sick leave for a death in the immediate family normally shall not exceed three days although use of additional time may be granted. If circumstances require more than the usual time, the Superintendent may allow use of up to 20 days of sick leave, minus pay for substitutes when they are required. Extension of time beyond 20 days must have prior board approval.

The Superintendent or designee may require a statement from a medical doctor or other acceptable proof that the employee was unable to work due to illness. Employees who anticipate using sick leave for two weeks must inform the principal or immediate supervisor in advance so that arrangements may be made to reassign the employee’s duties during the period of absence.

Up to 20 workdays of extended sick leave is available to permanent full- or part-time teachers and media specialists, who require substitutes, if they are absent due to their own personal illness or injury in excess of their accumulated sick leave and available vacation leave.

D. PERSONAL LEAVE

Teachers earn personal leave at a rate of .20 days for each full month of employment, not to exceed two days per year. Unused personal leave may be carried forward from one year to another and may be accumulated without limitation until June 30 of each year. On June 30, personal leave in excess of five days shall be converted to sick leave so that a maximum of five days of personal leave is carried forward to July 1. At the time of retirement, a teacher may also convert accumulated personal leave to sick leave for creditable service towards retirement.

Personal leave may be requested by application in accordance with the policies of the State Board of Education and may be used only upon the authorization of the teacher’s immediate supervisor. A teacher shall not take personal leave on the first day the teacher is required to report for the school year, on a required teacher workday, on days scheduled for state testing, or on the day before or the day after a holiday or scheduled vacation day, unless the request is approved by the principal. On all other days, if the request is made at least five days in advance, the request will be automatically granted subject to the availability of a substitute teacher, and the teacher cannot be required to provide a reason for the request.

E. VACATION LEAVE

The Superintendent or designee has the authority to approve the vacation schedules of all personnel. To promote the efficient operation of the schools, the Superintendent may designate certain periods during the nonacademic year as preferred vacation periods for 12-month employees. Vacation earned by 12-month teachers during the two months of “extended employment” may be taken only upon the authorization of the employee’s immediate supervisor and in accordance with procedures established by the Superintendent. Vacation earned by teachers and other 10-month employees during the 10-month school-year employment may be taken as outlined in the school-year calendar. If a teacher schedules vacation leave in accordance with the school calendar, the Board and/or principal must give the teacher at least 14 calendar days’ notice before requiring the teacher to work on the scheduled day(s), unless the teacher waives the notice requirement.

Annual vacation leave may be accumulated without any applicable maximum until June 30 of each calendar year. On June 30, accumulated annual vacation leave in excess of 30 days will be converted to sick leave so that only 30 workdays of annual vacation leave are carried forward.

An employee who has unused vacation time from another school system in North Carolina may have the vacation time transferred to this school system.

Within any given year, instructional personnel who do not require a substitute may be granted a maximum of five vacation days when students are in attendance. Such days may not be consecutive. The primary consideration in deciding whether to grant vacation leave shall be the continuity of the instructional program. Leave shall be granted in such a manner to ensure the least amount of interruption to instruction and school operation. The school principal shall be responsible for granting vacation leave to instructional personnel. Vacation leave for teacher assistants may be granted only after consultation with the classroom teacher to whom the teacher assistant is assigned. Leave will not be granted for days immediately before or immediately following days when students are out of school. Leave will not be granted on mandatory staff development days. An exception to these restrictions may be made when an employee is absent due to a catastrophic illness and the employee has exhausted all of his or her sick leave.

Bus drivers and instructional personnel who must be replaced by a substitute may not take earned vacation on days when school is in session for students unless the employee’s absence is due to a catastrophic illness and the employee has exhausted all of his or her sick leave. In such instances, the employee will not be required to pay the substitute. The Superintendent shall establish procedures for reviewing requests for the use of vacation leave for catastrophic illness by instructional personnel and bus drivers.

F. CHILD-SCHOOL INVOLVEMENT LEAVE

All employees may take up to four hours of unpaid leave per year to attend or otherwise be involved in the school of a child for whom the employee is a parent, guardian or person standing in loco parentis. This leave shall be at a mutually agreed upon time between the employer and employee. The employer may require the employee to provide a written request at least 48 hours before the time desired for the leave. Further, the employer may require the employee to furnish written verification from their child’s school, that the employee attended or was otherwise involved at the school during the time of leave.

G. RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE

Employees may be absent from school for bona fide religious holidays for a maximum of two days within any one school year with prior approval from the Superintendent. Absence for these religious holidays will be with full pay.

The employee must agree to make up the amount of time for which his or her absence has been excused. The time must be made up at a time agreed upon by the employee and his or her immediate supervisor or principal.

H. JURY DUTY

Employees retain full salary when absent from work to serve on a jury. The employee is entitled to regular compensation in addition to payment for jury duty.

I. ELECTED OFFICIALS

Employees serving as elected government officials may, with their supervisor’s approval, choose to use appropriate earned leave to attend to the responsibilities of their elected office.

J. PRECINCT ELECTION OFFICIAL

Precinct election officials may not be discharged or demoted because of serving on election day or canvas day provided they have given proper notice (at least 30 days). Employees serving as precinct election officials may, with their supervisor’s approval, choose to use earned leave in order to serve.

K. PETTY LEAVE

Petty leave is defined as an absence from work that is generally less than one hour in length and that is not covered by other policies.

Petty leave is awarded only to employees who work not less than five days per week and for not less than seven and one-half hours per day.

The Board expects that both the request for petty leave and the granting or denial of the request will be based upon the welfare of the employee and the students.

L. COMPENSATORY LEAVE

Because professional employees are expected to fulfill all job duties, compensatory leave should apply only in extraordinary circumstances.

Employees who are not exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act may accrue compensatory time (comp time) at a rate of one and one-half hours for every one hour worked in lieu of receiving overtime pay for each hour worked beyond 40 in a given workweek. For the purpose of compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, the workweek for school system employees will be from 12:00 a.m. Saturday until 11:59 p.m. Friday. Supervisors shall arrange for employees to take comp time within one pay period following the time it is earned if possible. The Superintendent or designee may exempt certain employees or categories of employees from this comp time provision when deemed necessary for the proper administration of the school system.

All employees must obtain approval from their immediate supervisors before taking compensatory leave

M. MILITARY LEAVE

Military leave shall be taken in accordance with Board Policy 7530- Military Leave.

N. LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY

An employee may be granted a leave of absence without pay for the following reasons and for a period of time of up to one calendar year, renewable at the discretion of the Superintendent with approval from the Board of Education:

1. military leave (see also policies 7520, Family and Medical Leave, and 7530, Military Leave);

2. personal illness in excess of sick leave;

3. family leave (see also policy 7520);

4. parental leave during the calendar  year following the date of birth or adoption of a child; the employee may elect to use appropriate leave during this time of leave. For the purposes of education or continuity, with the approval of the Board, the unpaid leave of absence may be extended through the remainder of the school year when the leave would otherwise end in the latter half of the school year. Spouses who are both employed by the school system are limited to a combined total of 12 months of parental leave during the year following the birth or adoption. Whenever possible, an employee should give written advanced notice of the request for the leave of absence. The Board may also determine when the leave will begin or end based on consideration of the welfare of the students and the employee and the need for continuity of service.

5. professional leave for the purpose of professional improvement (only for employees who have rendered three consecutive years of service in the school system);

6. other reasons at the discretion of the Superintendent with the approval of the Board.

An employee seeking leave is responsible for making necessary arrangements as provided in the administrative procedures. Except in the case of an emergency, an employee who desires a leave of absence without pay shall provide at least 30 days’ notice and shall submit a request in writing to the board stating the beginning and ending dates of the desired leave of absence. Consultation with the principal or immediate supervisor is expected. The superintendent may request documentation from the employee in support of his or her request. In determining the length of absence without pay that will be approved, with the exception of military and family leave, due and proper consideration must be given to the welfare of the students as well as the employee. The superintendent may require the employee to give notice of his or her intent to return to work at reasonable time intervals during the leave.

Once a leave of absence without pay has been requested by an employee and approved by the Board, the dates are binding unless both parties agree to a change.

Legal References:

G.S. 95-28.3; 115C-12, -36, -47, -84.2, -285, -302.1, -316, -336, -336.1; 16 N.C.A.C. 6C .0401–.0406; North Carolina Public Schools Benefits and Employment Policy Manual (2008-2009)

Cross References:

Family and Medical Leave (policy 7520), Military Leave (policy 7530), Voluntary Shared Leave (policy 7540), Absences Due to Inclement Weather (policy 7550)

Adopted:

May 09, 2011

Last Updated:

April 13, 2015

Revised:

February 9, 2016

Legal References:
G.S. 95-28.3; 115C-12, -36, -47, -84.2, -285, -302.1, -316, -336, -336.1; 16 N.C.A.C. 6C .0401–.0405; North Carolina Public Schools Benefits and Employment Policy Manual (2008-2009)
Cross References:
Family and Medical Leave (policy 7520), Military Leave (policy 7530), Voluntary Shared Leave (policy 7540), Absences Due to Inclement Weather (policy 7550)
Adopted:
Monday, 09 May 2011
Last Updated:
Tuesday, 09 February 2016