LEAVE PROCEDURES Policy Code: 7510R
All requests for leave, with or without pay, will be addressed in accordance with state and federal law, as well as policies promulgated by the State Board of Education. In addition to applicable laws and regulations, the following policies of the board will apply to leave requests.
A. MINIMUM LEAVE TIME
Leave will be charged in minimum units of one hour. If an employee is required to have a substitute and is absent less than one-half day, the employee will be charged with the use of one-half day of leave. If a substitute is required for more than one-half day but less than one full day, the employee will be charged one day of leave. Principals will make every effort to assist teachers with covering their classrooms when they need to be out for one hour or less.
B. CONTINUOUS LEAVE OF MORE THAN TEN DAYS
An employee must comply with the notice and verification requirements as provided in board policy 7520 for continuous leave of more than 10 days if: the leave also is eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), defined in board policy 7520, and the leave is designated as FMLA-eligible at the time leave is taken or as soon as feasible thereafter.
C. SICK LEAVE
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 a period of time must inform the principal or immediate supervisor in advance, so that continuity of duties may be maintained.
D. PERSONAL LEAVE
Teachers have two days of personal leave per year, cumulative to a maximum of five days, which may be requested by application in accordance with the policies of the State Board of Education. Employees using personal leave receive full salary less the required substitute deduction. The deduction is mandatory whether or not a substitute is employed.
E. VACATION LEAVE
- The superintendent or designee will have 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 twelve-month employees.
- Vacation which is earned by 12-month teachers during the two months of "extended employment" will be taken only upon authorization of the employee's immediate supervisor and under procedures established by the superintendent. Vacation which is earned by teachers or other 10-month employees during the 10-month school-year employment will 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 shall 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.
- Vacation may be accumulated with a maximum of 30 days being carried forward to July 1 of any calendar year.
- An employee may have unused vacation from another school district in North Carolina transferred to this school district as long as the employee remains in a permanent, full-time position. An employee who transfers to another local education agency will have unused leave transferred to that agency. Unused leave also may be transferred to a state agency or institution, community college, technical institute, or county agencies of mental health, public health, social services or emergency management. When an employee transfers from one of the state or county agencies listed above to the Chatham County school district, the board will accept the transfer of unused leave.
- Instructional personnel that require a substitute may not take earned vacation on days during which 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. All employees, including bus drivers, teachers and other instructional personnel, may also use earned vacation leave on days during which school is in session for students to care for a newborn child or for a child placed with the teacher for adoption or foster care. Leave used for this purpose must be taken during the first 12 months after the birth or placement of the child, unless the employee and board agree otherwise. The superintendent will establish procedures for reviewing requests for the use of vacation leave for catastrophic illness by instructional personnel and bus drivers.
- 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 will not be consecutive. Leave will not be granted 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.
F. PROFESSIONAL LEAVE
Employees are encouraged to attend and participate in relevant professional educational meetings and commendable programs. Approval for professional leave should be requested in advance from the immediate supervisor and in accordance with procedures adopted by the superintendent. Requests for professional leave are subject to regulations of the State Board of Education and procedures adopted by the superintendent.
G. EDUCATION LEAVE
The school district encourages licensed employees to pursue additional course work and advanced degrees. To this end, educational leave may be granted in semester increments not to exceed one year per degree for licensed employees who have worked in the county for five years and who are enrolled as full-time students at a college or university. Leave cannot be granted in consecutive years, unless extenuating circumstances exist.
To receive educational leave, the following requirements must be met:
- The request must be made at least 60 days in advance of the opening of a new school year and must include a course of study that the employee plans to pursue.
- The employee must provide verification of acceptance into a graduate program.
- The employee is responsible for providing a transcript, copy of grades or official verification from the college attended to be sent to the assistant superintendent for human resources upon completion of each semester’s course work.
- The employee is expected to notify the assistant superintendent for human resources of any variance in the approved plan.
Failure to meet the agreement for an educational leave of absence will be noted in the employee’s personnel file and could result in leave being repaid by the employee or further disciplinary action, including dismissal. Exceptions to these requirements will be considered on an individual basis by the board of education.
H. REPLACEMENT OF TEACHER ASSISTANTS ON LEAVE
The board of education recognizes the importance of teacher assistants in the classroom. When a teacher assistant is approved by the board for a leave of absence of four weeks or more, a replacement may be provided for the classroom if funds are available. In the event a leave of absence is less than four weeks, the principal will make arrangements to cover the class by sharing teacher assistants in the school.
I. 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 up to one calendar year, renewable at the discretion of the superintendent with approval by the board of education:
- Military leave (see also board policy 7530)
- Personal illness in excess of sick leave
- Family leave (see also board policy 7520)
- Professional leave
- Other reasons in the discretion of the superintendent with the approval of the board of education.
An employee seeking leave is responsible for making necessary arrangements as provided in the administrative procedures. With the exception of emergencies, an employee who desires a leave of absence without pay will provide at least 60 days notice and will submit a request in writing to the board of education 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 in support of the request. In determining the length of absence approved without pay, with the exception of military and family leave, due and proper consideration will be given to the welfare of the students as well as the employee. The superintendent may require notice of intent to return to work at reasonable time intervals during the leave.
Once a leave of absence without pay has been requested and approved by the board of education, the dates are binding unless both parties agree to a change.
J. VOLUNTARY SHARED LEAVE
Employees requesting Voluntary Shared Leave shall do so via a form devised by the Human Resources Department. Donors of Voluntary Shared Leave shall also use a Human Resources form devised for that purpose.
Since due and proper consideration must be given to the welfare of students as well as instructional personnel, principals may require any instructional personnel whose attendance record reflects chronic absences (whether intermittent or continuous) to submit a Fitness for Duty Certification signed by a physician and/or psychologist or psychiatrist.
The superintendent may require instructional personnel whose attendance record reflects chronic recurring absences (whether continuous or intermittent) to take an alternate position for the remainder of the semester; or be placed on leave of absence without pay for the remainder of the semester to ensure the proper continuation of the instructional program.
The frequency and duration of absenteeism is reflected in an employee’s overall dependability, and is therefore subject to scrutiny and consideration by supervisors who must balance the welfare of individual employees with that of the student body as a whole.
Legal References: G.S. 95-28.3; 115C-12, -36, -47, -84.2, -302.1(b), -316, -336; 16 NCAC 6C.0401 - .0405
Adopted: March 17, 1986
Revised: July 9, 2007, June 20, 2011, February 13, 2012, July 21, 2014