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Article 10: Leaves

 

10.1 PAID LEAVES

 

10.1.1  Sick Leave

Each nine (9) month bargaining unit member shall be granted twelve (12) sick leave days per year which shall entitle the member to be absent for reasons as defined below without loss of pay. Each ten (10) month bargaining unit member shall be granted thirteen (13) sick leave days per year which shall entitle the member to be absent for reasons as defined below without loss of pay.  Unused sick leave days shall accumulate and may be used for appropriate causes as needed up to the accumulated amount.  Sick leave shall be prorated for part-time bargaining unit members.

 

Sick leave shall be interpreted to mean personal illness, quarantine at home, or serious illness or death in the immediate family or household.  The immediate family for the purpose of this article shall include parents, legal guardians, children, spouse, partner in a civil union, brothers, sisters, grandparents, great grandparents, grandchildren, parents-in-law, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, grandparents-in-law, great-grandparents-in-law, aunts, uncles, and all step relatives in the aforementioned relationships.

 

The Board may require a physician’s certificate as proof of illness or fitness to resume duties after any absence.  If the Board does require a physician’s certificate or a certificate from a spiritual healer as the basis for pay during a leave of less than three (3) days, the Board shall pay from district funds the expenses incurred by the bargaining unit member in obtaining the required certificate.

 

The Board or appropriate administrator shall furnish each bargaining unit member, within thirty (30) days of the commencement of school, a written statement setting forth the total sick leave credit.

 

10.1.1a  Sick Leave Bank

Once per school year each member of the bargaining unit may voluntarily transfer one (1) day of accumulated sick leave to a Sick Leave Bank.  Bargaining unit members who begin employment after the start of the school year have up to ten (10) working days to voluntarily transfer one (1) day of their sick leave allowance to the Sick Leave Bank. Sick Leave Bank allowance will be prorated (using established practice of pro-ration-allowance (30) / days in school year (180) x working days) to reflect the number of days of Sick Leave Bank a late starting bargaining unit member may use in that school year.

Any bargaining unit member who contributes to the Sick Leave Bank, who exhausts his/her accumulated sick leave, and who is absent for more than three (3) consecutive work days with his/her own illness or disability may apply for the use of days from this Sick Leave Bank.  Any bargaining unit member meeting the above criteria who has submitted an irrevocable letter of retirement and who has received Board approval for retirement may access the sick leave bank prior to exhausting his/her own sick leave.  Use of these days must be during the year the bargaining unit member contributes to the bank.

A Sick Leave Bank request will be forwarded to the president of the Association who will approve or deny the request and then forward the request to the administration for approval.  Such request must be accompanied by a doctor’s verification.  If the request for use of days from the Sick Leave Bank is approved, the day(s) granted will be applied retroactively to include the three (3) days preceding the request.

Members of the bargaining unit will be allowed to use up to thirty (30) days from the Sick Leave Bank at any one time.  After a member has exhausted the thirty (30) days, in cases of catastrophic illness, the bargaining unit member may request up to thirty (30) more days. A member must give a reason for the additional request of sick bank days and provide an updated physician’s note, and additional days will be approved or denied by a committee consisting of the Superintendent or designee and the Association president or designee.

If there are any unused days in this Sick Leave Bank at the end of the school year, they will be carried over into the next school year.

The Sick Leave Bank database will be maintained cooperatively between the parties.  The information will be shared between the parties and the official copy will be housed at the district office.

10.1.1b  Use of Sick Leave for Adoption

A bargaining unit member who is in the formal process of adopting a child may use his/her own accumulated sick leave when he/she is participating in agency-required pre-adoption proceedings. The bargaining unit member will be required to provide a letter from the adoption agency that verifies the required activity. A bargaining unit member who is an adoptive parent shall be entitled to use up to 30 days of their own accumulated sick leave to care for their child within the first 12 months of the adoption. After 30 days, the member may be asked to provide a letter from a physician verifying the need for the parent to be off work for additional days to care for the child. The bargaining unit member will not be allowed to use medical leave or sick leave bank for either of these purposes.

10.1.1c  Procedure for Use of Sick Leave for Less than One-half The Normal Scheduled Workday

Bargaining unit members should make arrangements outside the normal scheduled workday for medical appointments whenever possible. Covering an assignment during such absence may be difficult in some situations, and in some cases it may be necessary to employ an external substitute. Since external substitutes are usually employed for a half-day minimum, it may be necessary for a bargaining unit member to take a one-half (½) day of sick leave for such absence. Sick leave or absences for medical appointments of less than one-half (½) the normal scheduled workday shall be handled as follows:

  • The building principal or designee may grant permission for a bargaining unit member to leave the building for a period of time which is less than one-half (½) the normal scheduled workday, but in increments of no less than one (1) hour, for sick leave or medical appointments as described in 10.1.1.
  • Such time away from the building must be recorded by the bargaining unit member.

 

10.1.1d  Unused Sick Leave per School Year

Bargaining unit members who use less than one full day of sick leave in any given school year shall be given the option of having one (1) additional day added to their accumulated sick leave or receiving a stipend of $100.

  

10.1.2  Personal Leave

Each bargaining unit member shall be granted two (2) days annually for personal leave. Such days may be granted as either full or half-days. Unused personal leave will be added to a bargaining unit member’s accumulated personal leave and/or sick leave at the end of each school year. Bargaining unit members may not accumulate a total of more than four (4) personal days.

 

Personal leave days may not be taken the first five (5) or last five (5) days of the school year, the day before or after an extended break (Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring), or on parent/teacher conference days. A forty-eight (48) hour advance written notice should be given to the building principal when taking a personal leave day except in emergency situations. No reason other than “personal” is to be given when taking a personal leave day.

 

In the months of April, May and June, no more than three (3) bargaining unit members or five percent (5%) of the homebased staff per building, whichever is greater, may be absent on any given day (including restrictions above) due to personal leave.

 

It is understood that the prohibitions and conditions of personal leave use do not apply in instances of personal leave day requests for religious purposes. Leave without pay may be granted by the building administrator. Unless circumstances warrant, leave without pay should not be requested immediately prior to or immediately following a holiday or vacation. A bargaining unit member granted a leave without pay shall have his/her pay reduced as a per diem rate based on the number of days paid in the current contract year. See Board Policy 6.250 for further clarification.

 

An exception to the “black-out” days set forth above may be granted by a decision of the Superintendent (or designee) in consultation with the UFEA President (or designee). Exceptions will be granted on rare occasions based upon the following guidelines:

 

  • the request must be submitted in writing to the Director of Human Resources at least ten (10) calendar days before the date the bargaining unit member wants to use a personal day
  • the written request must set forth the reason the exception
  • the request must be for a significant once-in-life time event for which the bargaining unit member has no control over the scheduling
  • no request will be approved for vacation, travel or recreational purposes
  • the request shall be approved or denied at the discretion of the Superintendent (or designee) in consultation with the UFEA President (or designee). The decision shall be final and will not be subject to the Grievance process outlined in this Agreement.

 

10.1.3  Professional Leave

A bargaining unit member may request professional leave day(s) for professional development activities.  The member shall request professional leave in writing at least one (1) week prior to the day of the requested absence.  The superintendent or designee will approve or deny such requests.

 

10.1.4  Association Leave

 The UFEA president shall be released from all teaching duties, and Schedule B duties as per the by-laws of the Association. Other designees of the UFEA president may be released for an aggregate total of forty (40) days. The Association shall reimburse the District for the cost of substitutes for the designees.

 

In the case of the UFEA President, however, the Association shall reimburse the District the actual cost of replacement, not to exceed the amount found at Step 5 of that lane of the salary schedule appropriate for the replacement.  The Association will make two payments to the District to cover the cost of the president’s salary – one payment for half the amount on October 15 and a second payment for the remainder on May 1.

 

Following service as president, the bargaining unit member shall be reinstated to the same position and duties, including Schedule B assignments, as held before being released from duties, providing that the position(s) continues to be authorized.

 

10.1.5  Leave for Additional Education

A maximum of two (2) bargaining unit members per year may be allowed a leave under the following conditions:

 

The member has been actively employed by Unit Five for seven (7) consecutive years in a full-time capacity.

 

A leave will consist of twelve (12) months, and a member granted such leave will be entitled to one-half pay based on the salary of the nine (9) month bargaining unit member during the year of the leave.  This is to be one-half (1/2) of the bargaining unit member’s base salary and does not include any special increments.

 

To qualify for a leave, a bargaining unit member must have earned a Master’s Degree on personal time and effort or must have earned the approximate equivalent of an advanced certificate.

 

Health insurance and major medical benefits may be purchased by the bargaining unit member during the leave at the group rate.

 

A member granted a year’s leave of absence must return and work for two (2) additional years in Unit Five or refund the leave pay to the Board.

 

A member granted a leave will return to the Unit in a vacancy available at that time and at the salary listed in the salary schedule.

 

A bargaining unit member will remain an employee of the school district while on this leave.  Association members and fair share fee payers will pay associate Association dues or fair share fees while exercising this leave.  These fees will be certified by the Association and may be paid in a lump sum payment or in three equal installments.

 

 

10.1.6  Sabbatical for Recipients of Distinguished Educational Award

Any bargaining unit member who is the recipient of a Golden Apple Award or such other educational award which in the judgment of the Superintendent is of similar distinction may as an alternative to the “Leave for Additional Education” provided in section 10.1.5 of the Negotiated Contract be allowed a leave to pursue additional educational opportunities afforded to the member as part of the award, subject to the following conditions:

 

The leave will consist of one (1) semester, during which time the member will continue to receive his or her base salary, not including any special increments, to be paid consistent with the member’s election to receive his or her annual compensation in either twenty (20) equal payments (September-June) or twenty-four (24) equal payments (September-August).

 

To qualify for the leave, the additional educational opportunities afforded to the member must be part of the award.

 

Health insurance and major medical benefits will be provided to the member during the leave.

After the leave, the member must return and work for two (2) additional years in Unit Five or refund the leave pay to the Board.

 

After the leave, the member will be returned to the same position that was held by the member prior to the leave, provided that position still exists.  If the position held by the member prior to the leave no longer exists after the leave (e.g. a grade level section has been cut), the Board will make every effort to return the member to a position similar to the position held by the member prior to the leave.

 

A bargaining unit member will remain an employee of the school district while on this leave.  Association members and fair share fee payers will pay associate Association dues or fair share fees while exercising this leave.  These fees will be certified by the Association and may be paid in a lump sum payment or in equal installments.

 

10.1.7  Bereavement Leave

A bereavement leave will be granted which would allow a bargaining unit member to be absent for up to three days to deal with funeral matters of the immediate family as defined in 10.1.1.  These days will not be charged against the bargaining unit member’s sick leave allotment.

 

10.1.8  Emergency Leave

Members of the bargaining unit may request up to fifteen (15) days of emergency leave to accommodate extreme situations even if personal leave has not been exhausted and other leaves do not apply.  A member must give a reason for the request, and such leave will be approved or denied by a committee consisting of the Superintendent or designee, principal of the building from which the request was made, and the president of the Association or designee.

 

 

10.2 UNPAID LEAVES

 

Short descriptions of leaves may be found on the Leave Summary (see Appendix C).  This summary shall not be grieved and is included in this agreement strictly for informational purposes.  Unpaid leaves of absence shall not exceed two (2) years for any one (1) bargaining unit member.

 

At the expiration of the leave period the Board will make every effort to offer the member the same or similar position as that which was held prior to the leave of absence.  A bargaining unit member must work at least ninety (90) school days or one semester, whichever is less, in one (1) school year to receive experience credit for that year on the salary schedule.  A bargaining unit member on leave for a full school year shall not advance on the salary schedule while on leave; however, upon return the member shall advance appropriately on the salary schedule.

 

10.2.1  Medical Leave

Each full-time bargaining unit member shall be entitled to ten (10) days medical leave annually.

 

Members employed for more than the regular nine (9) months of school shall be entitled to extra days of medical leave based upon one (1) day for every additional month or major fraction thereof.

 

Unused days of medical leave shall accumulate up to a maximum of one hundred twenty (120) days usable in any one (1) year for nine (9) month members and a proportionate increase for extended contracts.

 

Medical leave may only be used for personal illness and is not granted for any other reason.

 

Medical leave may only be used at such time as accumulated sick leave has been exhausted.

 

The Board may require a doctor’s certificate as proof of illness or fitness to resume duties after any absence.

 

During a leave for personal illness in any bargaining unit member’s contract year, the medical leave days the member would otherwise be entitled to for that year will not be affected.

 

During the period of time a bargaining unit member is utilizing medical leave benefits, the Board will maintain the health insurance coverage for said member, if allowable by the insurer.

 

Medical leave is terminated on the last day of each bargaining unit member’s contract year, and such termination shall not affect the accumulated total of medical leave.

 

A bargaining unit member will remain an employee of the school district while on this leave.  Association members and fair share fee payers will pay associate Association dues or fair share fees while exercising this leave.  These fees will be certified by the Association and may be paid in a lump sum payment or in three equal installments.

 

10.2.2  Leave for Personal Illness

The decision to grant a leave for personal illness for any length of time shall only be made by the Board.

 

A request for a leave for personal illness should be made of the Board prior to such time as accumulated medical leave has expired and the request should be accompanied by a doctor’s certificate as proof of disability.

 

The beginning date of a leave for personal illness is the first working day the bargaining unit member is absent for illness, after all sick and medical leave days are exhausted.

 

When granted a personal illness leave, the Board will maintain the health insurance coverage for said bargaining unit member through the month following the date of the beginning of such leave and/or according to provisions set forth in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.  Coverage beyond the Board’s contribution will be an option of the bargaining unit member by remitting the premium on a monthly basis; however, the last day of coverage will not be extended beyond the last day the bargaining unit member is considered employed by the Board, unless the bargaining unit member is eligible for coverage as a retiree.

 

Leave for personal illness will be terminated on the last day of each bargaining unit member’s contract year.  Such termination shall not affect the accumulated total of medical leave.

 

10.2.3  Family Hardship Leave

The Board may grant a bargaining unit member a leave of absence without pay for a specified period of time with a two (2) school year maximum.  In no instance shall this leave be granted unless the Board determines that a suitable replacement can be hired.

 

A bargaining unit member shall not be eligible for sick leave pay during the period of a family hardship leave, nor will a member be eligible for hardship leave if the member has applied for or used sick leave, medical leave, and/or personal illness leave in reference to the reason that hardship leave is being requested.

 

All benefits available to a bargaining unit member shall be suspended during a family hardship leave unless otherwise allowed according to provisions set forth in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.  The member may maintain membership in the group health insurance program during the leave by remitting in advance payments of all premiums due.  These payments shall be made to the Business Office.

 

A bargaining unit member will retain tenure status during a family hardship leave of absence.  A non-tenure bargaining unit member who is granted a family hardship leave will be considered as having continuous employment interrupted and, therefore, shall continue in a probationary status until the requirements outlined in the Contractual Continued Service section of the Illinois School Code are met.

 

A bargaining unit member granted a family hardship leave of absence shall be required to notify the secretary of the Board in writing stating whether or not said bargaining unit member requests to return to his/her position.  For bargaining unit members on a leave during the second semester, the request to return must be received by the secretary of the Board on or before February 1.  Failure of the bargaining unit member to make proper notification by February 1 will terminate that person’s further employment in Unit Five school district.

 

At the expiration of the leave period the bargaining unit member shall be placed in an available position for which the member is qualified to fill, except in case of reduction in force of staff that could affect reemployment of staff on leave. Should the Board determine not to place the member in the same or similar position held prior to the leave of absence, the Administration shall notify the UFEA President and discuss the considerations for not placing the member in the same or similar position.  A bargaining unit member must work at least ninety (90) school days in one school year or one semester, whichever is less, to receive experience credit for that year on the salary schedule.  A bargaining unit member on leave for a full school year shall not advance on the salary schedule while on leave; however, upon return the member shall advance appropriately on the salary schedule.

 

A bargaining unit member will remain an employee of the school district while on this leave.  Association members and fair share fee payers will pay associate Association dues or fair share fees while exercising this leave.  These fees will be certified by the Association and may be paid in a lump sum payment or in three equal installments.

 

10.2.4 Parental Leave

The Board may grant a bargaining unit member a parental leave without pay for a specified period of time with a two (2) school year maximum.

 

All benefits available to a member shall be suspended during a parental leave unless otherwise allowed according to provisions set forth in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and the member shall not advance on the salary schedule for the year(s) in which the leave is taken.  The bargaining unit member may maintain membership in the group health insurance program during the leave by remitting in advance payments of all premiums due.  These payments shall be made to the Business Office.

 

A bargaining unit member granted a parental leave of absence shall be required to notify the secretary of the Board in writing stating whether or not said bargaining unit member requests to return to his/her position.  For bargaining unit members on a leave during the second semester, the request to return must be received by the secretary of the Board on or before February 1.  Failure of the bargaining unit member to make proper notification by February 1 will terminate that person’s further employment in Unit Five school district.

 

A bargaining unit member will retain tenure status during a parental leave of absence.  A non-tenure bargaining unit member who is granted a parental leave will be considered as having continuous employment interrupted and, therefore, shall continue in a probationary status until the requirements outlined in the Contractual Continued Service section of the Illinois School Code are met.

 

At the expiration of the leave period the bargaining unit member shall be placed in an available position for which the member is qualified to fill, except in case of reduction in force of staff that could affect reemployment of staff on leave. Should the Board determine not to place the member in the same or similar position held prior to the leave of absence, the Administration shall notify the UFEA President and discuss the considerations for not placing the member in the same or similar position.  A bargaining unit member must work at least ninety (90) school days or one semester, whichever is less, in one (1) school year to receive experience credit for that year on the salary schedule.  A bargaining unit member on leave for a full school year shall not advance on the salary schedule while on leave; however, upon return the member shall advance appropriately on the salary schedule.

 

A bargaining unit member will remain an employee of the school district while on this leave.  Association members and fair share fee payers will pay associate Association dues or fair share fees while exercising this leave.  These fees will be certified by the Association and may be paid in a lump sum payment or in three equal installments.

 

10.2.5  Planned Extended Leave

The Board may grant a bargaining unit member a leave of absence for a specified period of time with a two (2) school year maximum.

 

Requests for leaves must be made in writing at least thirty (30) calendar days before the leave would begin. Leaves will not be granted to allow employment in another school district.  A specific reason for the leave must be given.  Tenured status shall not be impaired by virtue of the leave.  A bargaining unit member will not receive experience credit for the year of the leave.  Tuition waivers may be granted to a bargaining unit member on such a leave.  Health insurance and major medical benefits (if allowable by the insurer) may be purchased by the member during the leave at the group rate.

 

Upon completion of the leave, the bargaining unit member shall be placed in an available position which the member is qualified to fill, except in case of reduction in force of staff that could affect reemployment of staff on leave.

 

A tenured bargaining unit member granted a planned extended leave of absence will be required to notify the secretary of the Board in writing stating whether or not said tenured bargaining unit member requests to return to his/her position for the next school term.  This request must be received on or before February 1.  Failure of the bargaining unit member to make proper notification by February 1 will terminate further employment in Unit Five school district.

 

A bargaining unit member will remain an employee of the school district while on this leave.  Association members and fair share fee payers will pay associate Association dues or fair share fees while exercising this leave.  These fees will be certified by the Association and may be paid in a lump sum payment or in three equal installments.

 

 

10.3 MILITARY LEAVE

 

The District will comply with the Military Leave of Absence Act, 129 Ill. Rev. Stat. 500 et seq., as amended from time to time.  Thus, a bargaining unit member who is a member of any reserve component of the United States Armed Forces or for any reserve component of the Illinois State Militia, shall be granted leave for any period actively spent in such military service, including:

 

  • basic training;
  • special or advanced training, whether or not within the State, and whether or not voluntary; and
  • annual training.

 

During such leaves, the bargaining unit member’s seniority, tenure track, and other benefits shall continue to accrue.

 

During leaves for annual training, the bargaining unit member shall continue to receive his or her regular compensation.  During leaves for basic training and up to sixty (60) calendar days of special or advanced training, if such bargaining unit member’s compensation for military activities is less than his or her compensation as a bargaining unit member, he or she shall receive his or her compensation as a bargaining unit member for said period minus the amount of his or her military activities.  The deduction of military pay from the salary of a bargaining unit member shall be reflected in the first payroll prepared after verification of the amount of the bargaining unit member’s military pay.

 

A bargaining unit member serving as a member of the National Guard (or other State military components) who is called to temporary active duty in case of civil disturbance or natural disaster declared to be an emergency by the President or Governor may receive a combined wage from the District and the military, equal to, but not exceeding the bargaining unit member’s straight time daily rate for work days absent.  If the daily rate received for temporary active duty exceeds the daily rate of the bargaining unit member from the District, the bargaining unit member may elect to accept the higher rate in which case the bargaining unit member shall receive no compensation from the District, as the case may be.  The bargaining unit member shall provide verification of military pay to the district, and the district shall make payment as requested by the bargaining unit member either through payroll or in one lump sum.

 

At the expiration of the leave period, the bargaining unit member shall be placed in an available position for which the member is qualified to fill, except in case of reduction in force of staff that could affect reemployment of staff on leave. Should the Board determine not to place the member in the same or similar position held prior to the leave of absence, the Administration shall notify the UFEA President and discuss the considerations for not placing the member in the same or similar position.

 

A bargaining unit member will remain an employee of the school district while on this leave.  Association dues and fair share fees will be waived while exercising this leave.