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CRITICAL

 

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.


An employee who is absent for reasons other than those specified under Board rules, or by reason of fraudulent application of district leave provisions shall be subject to disciplinary action that may include pay reduction, up to and including termination or non-renewal of employment.


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. Deductions for absences not due to authorized school business and not permitted under this or other leave policies shall be made on the basis of a ratio of one to the total working days of the annual contracted employment for each day’s absence.


No employee will be disciplined or terminated for absences qualifying for protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or other applicable law (see Board policy GBBDA).


In accordance with law, the district may require an employee to present documentation for an absence or a certification of fitness to return to work whenever the employee is absent from work due to the employee's health.


Newly hired employees must have worked one day of the current contract year to qualify for leave.


Leave will not be granted for an employee:

 

1.         Due to adverse weather conditions.

 

2.         To participate in activities in violation of Board of Education policy or law.


This policy does not apply to temporary or substitute staff members unless otherwise noted.


To promote healing and reduce the risk of infecting others, staff members who are ill are encouraged to stay home using the approved paid leave provided by the district. In the event of a significant health event, schools may be closed to all staff and students or just students. If schools are closed only to students, staff members will be given directions regarding how they will fulfill their contract requirements.


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.


The following leaves with pay will be provided to full-time professional staff employees:

 

1.         Approved Paid Leave (APL)

 

There are two categories of APL: Approved Paid Leave (APL) and Carryover Approved Paid Leave (CAPL). CAPL is available only after APL has been exhausted.

 

            a.         Approved Paid Leave – Approved paid leave for the entire year will be advanced to the employee after the first day of work. Professional staff employees whose assignments call for full-time employment only during the regular school term will receive ten days of APL. Employees serving 10 months shall be entitled to 11 days per year; employees serving 11 months shall receive 12 days per year; and employees serving 12 months per year shall receive 13 days per year. The maximum number of days allowed per year shall not exceed the annual rate of accumulation for the respective contract period. APL is divided into two categories: Unforeseen and Foreseen.

 

Staff must utilize half-day or full-day increments of APL for any time taken. If feasible, a staff member may also elect to find coverage, approved by his/her administrator/ supervisor, from within his/her own site to cover for less than one-half day. Covering staff members who lose a majority of their teacher-directed planning time will be compensated at the approved hourly rate. If the leave exceeds two hours, the employee’s APL will be adjusted to a half-day leave.

 

When APL is used for illness, injury or incapacity of the employee, an immediate family member for whom the employee is the primary caregiver, any person over whom the employee has legal guardianship, or any person residing in the employee’s household, the district may request medical certification of the illness, injury or incapacity. FMLA notice and certification procedures will be applied to all FMLA-qualifying absences.

 

Absences may be charged against APL for the following reasons:

 

                        1)        Unforeseen Absences – Leave requests for illness, injury or incapacity of the employee, an immediate family member for whom the employee is the primary caregiver, any person over whom the employee has legal guardianship, or any person residing in the employee’s household. “Immediate family” has the same meaning as in FMLA regulations and includes the spouse, parent, biological child, foster child and stepchild.

 

Unforeseen absences also include the birth and first year care of the employee’s child or the adoption or placement of a foster child with the employee. The employee must call the Substitute Employee Management System allowing sufficient time to obtain a substitute. Employees will call their administrators to report unforeseen absences five days a week.

 

                        2)        Foreseen Absences – Absences that are going to occur in the future and can be planned for in advance.

 

                                    a)        Leave requests for foreseen circumstances shall be submitted in writing on a district form to the employee's supervisor at least five work days in advance. The employee must call the Substitute Employee Management System by the end of the day in which the request is confirmed. Requests submitted to the supervisor for approval for three work days or less that are at least five work days ahead of time, do not need to state the reasons for the leave.

 

                                    b)        The supervisor may approve APL for three work days or less for up to two employees for five percent of the total staff. This approval is based on the educational effect the total number of absences will have on the site or department and the ability to secure substitutes.

 

                                    c)        Leave requests for foreseen absences for more than three work days must state the specific reason and be submitted to the supervisor at least five work days in advance. The supervisor will refer the request to the Human Resources Department (HR) for a decision regarding approval. In general, only absences that are not a consequence of the action or choice of the employee will be approved. Employees will not be compensated for more than three consecutive work days of leave unless additional paid days have been approved by HR.

 

If an employee’s application is denied, the employee may file an appeal. To appeal, a written notice of appeal must be submitted to the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services within five days of the denial.

 

Staff must utilize half-day or full-day increments of APL for any time taken. A staff member may also elect to find coverage, approved by his/her administrator/ supervisor, from within his/her own site to cover for less than one-half day. The appropriate adjustment in APL used will be made by the administrator. Covering staff members who lose a majority of their teacher-directed planning time will be compensated at the approved hourly rate.

 

APL for foreseen circumstances shall not be available on the duty day(s) preceding or following a holiday break or vacation period recognized in the school calendar, including the opening or closing days of the school year. APL may not be used in any form to extend a break in the school calendar.

 

Cash-Out Option – Unused APL may be cashed out each year at the end of June at the rate of $90 per day as listed below:

 

                      Attendance incentive days may be cashed out at the end of the appropriate work calendar (June).

 

                      A minimum of 30 days of Approved Paid Leave (CAPL and APL) must be achieved and then maintained throughout the APL cash-out option.

 

                      When an employee voluntarily submits his/her resignation from the district prior to April 1, effective at the conclusion of his/her contract year, he/she will be paid for all unused APL at the rate of $90 per day (regardless of accumulated CAPL).

 

An employee is not eligible for the cash-out option if days are owed to the short-term medical leave program.

 

Any employee who is terminated will forfeit all rights to the accumulated leave cash-out option.

 

Attendance Incentive – All employees will be eligible to receive one day of APL for not missing a day of work as an attendance incentive on a biannual basis (July 1 to winter break and January 1 to June 30), based on the total number of hours worked. The percentage of hours worked will be proportionate to the number of hours worked each day. All leave required to be reported shall count in computing an employee's attendance incentive except school business, staff development, court, jury duty, firefighter, crime victim, military and FMLA leave, workmen’s compensation and bereavement.

 

            b.         Carryover Approved Paid Leave – APL and attendance incentive days not used for leave or the cash-out option will be carried over to the following year. Once carried over, these days shall be referred to as CAPL days. These CAPL days may be used for the employee or the employee’s immediate family member for whom the employee is the primary caregiver, any person over whom the employee has legal guardianship, or for pregnancy-related incapacity of the employee, or adoption as described elsewhere in this policy.

 

The district may request medical certification of extended illness of the employee or the employee’s immediate family members, evidence of bereavement, pregnancy-related incapacity, or adoptive leave. FMLA notice and certification procedures will be applied to all FMLA-qualifying absences.

 

Falsification of Approved Paid Leave – An employee who falsifies, states an incorrect reason, or fails to report an absence will be docked for the absence(s), lose approved paid leave associated with the absence(s), issued a letter of reprimand, and will not be eligible for the APL cash-out option for the current year. Depending on the severity and/or repetition of the offense, the employee may face disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

 

Employee Death Benefit – Upon an employee's death, up to 60 days of available APL will be paid at the rate of $90 per day to the employee's designated beneficiary or, if no beneficiary has been designated, to the employee’s estate.

 

2.         Leave for Court Subpoena – Upon receipt of a copy of the subpoena related to school duties, the employee will be released for court appearance without loss of approved paid leave.

 

3.         Crime Victim Leave – 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 or APL 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.

 

4.         Bereavement Leave – In the event of death in a certificated employee's immediate family, the certificated employee may be absent with pay for up to three days annually at district expense. Additional days used for the purpose of attending the funeral or making necessary family arrangements may be charged to the employee's APL. For the purposes of this paragraph, the immediate family is defined as:

 

                      The employee’s spouse, foster parent, foster child, aunt, uncle, niece and nephew.

 

                      The following relatives of the employee or the employee’s spouse: parents, siblings, children, children’s spouses, grandparents and grandchildren.

 

                      Any other family member residing with the employee.

 

                      Any other person over whom the employee has legal guardianship or for whom the employee has power of attorney and is the primary caregiver.

 

Upon approval of the Assistant Superintendent-Administrative Services, this leave may be extended to such persons who have, until the date of death, resided regularly with and as a member of the household of the employee requesting leave. Approval should be requested as soon as possible. The Board of Education may require proof of death and relationship prior to payment of such leave.

 

5.         Authorized Leave – Employees may be granted up to five days of authorized leave without pay for personal reasons after exhausting any other form of accumulated leave available by approval of the Assistant Superintendent-Administrative Services or designee. Authorization will not be granted on any day preceding or following a holiday, holiday weekend or any vacation period, including the opening or closing days of the school year. The Assistant Superintendent-Administrative Services or designee is authorized to approve exceptions in rare and unusual circumstances. Application for authorized leave shall be made in writing at least ten days in advance. In the event of an emergency not allowing for ten days’ notice, the employee should contact his or her immediate supervisor and HR as soon as possible for approval prior to the requested leave. Initial duration and/or extension of authorized leave may be granted in extraordinary circumstances with or without pay when such extension is in the best interest of the school district. The employee may be responsible for payment to continue employee benefits during this time. While the employee will retain accumulated APL and vacation leave, no accrual of vacation days will take place while the employee is on leave.

 

6.         Vacation – All professional staff employed on a 12-month basis will receive 20 days of vacation per year. Vacation days will accrue monthly. Vacation days will be converted to hours, with one day of vacation leave equal to the number of hours the employee is scheduled to work each day. Unused days may not be cashed in but may be carried over for future use to a maximum of 40 days. Upon termination, employees will be paid for accrued vacation days to a maximum of 20 days. These days will be paid at an employee’s current daily rate of pay. Remaining accrued days may only be used with the permission of the immediate supervisor. Vacation requests are to be submitted via approval form to the employee’s supervisor. He or she will then submit the form with his or her approval to HR for approval. Approval of vacation schedules will be based on requests of employees and the needs of the school district.

 

A district employee may use approved paid leave during the period the employee receives Workers' Compensation for uncompensated time lost to work-related incidents.

 

7.         Holidays – The district will grant paid and unpaid holidays in accordance with the academic calendar adopted by the Board. School offices are closed and certified staff will not work on the following holidays:

 

                      Independence Day

                      Labor Day

                      Thanksgiving Day

                      Christmas Day

                      Day for the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

                      Presidents’ Day

                      Memorial Day

 

Holidays may be modified or eliminated as needed when the academic calendar is changed due to inclement weather or for other reasons. Holidays may change from year to year.

 

8.         Professional Leave – Employees may be granted professional leave to attend classes or conferences, meet with mentors or participate in other approved professional growth activities. Professional leave must be approved by the superintendent or designee, made at least five workdays in advance of the absence and is not considered APL. Staff members returning from leave may be requested to share information with fellow staff members.

 

9.         Jury Duty Leave – 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.

 

The employee will notify HR at least five days in advance that a jury summons has been received. Furthermore, HR must receive verification listing the days of such service and the court in which the service was performed. The employee shall present verification within five days following the period of service and promptly report back to normal duty whenever released by the court or a court official for either all or part of any day, with a time allowance given for lunch, if applicable.

 

10.       Military Leave – The Board shall grant military leave as required by law. Members of the National Guard or any reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces who are engaged in the performance of duty or training will be entitled to a leave of absence of 120 hours in any federal fiscal year (October 1 – September 30) without impairment of efficiency rating or loss of time, pay, regular leave or any other rights or benefits. Pay will only be available for hours of military leave that occur at a time when the employee would otherwise have been required to be at work. Any pay due an employee will be paid only after the employee has provided a copy of the official order requiring his or her military leave.

 

11.       Civil Air Patrol Leave – Any employee who is a member of Civil Air Patrol and has qualified for a Civil Air Patrol emergency service specialty or who is certified to fly counternarcotics missions shall be granted unpaid leave to perform Civil Air Patrol emergency service duty or counternarcotics missions without loss of time, regular leave or any other rights or benefits in accordance with law. The leave is limited to 15 working days in any calendar year, but is unlimited when responding to a state- or nationally declared emergency in Missouri. The district may request that the employee be exempted from responding to a specific mission.

 

12.       Firefighter Leave – Employees will be allowed to use APL, 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, Urban Search and Rescue Team or those activated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in times of national disaster. 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 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.

 

13.       Election Leave – 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 and will not be required to use vacation or APL. The employee must notify the district at least seven 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.

 

14.       Coast Guard Auxiliary Leave – Employees who are members of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary will be granted an unpaid leave of absence for periods during which they are engaged in the performance of United States Coast Guard or United States Coast Guard Auxiliary duties, including travel related to such duties, when authorized by the director of auxiliary or other appropriate United States Coast Guard Authority. Such leaves of absence will be given without loss of time, regular leave or any other rights or benefits to which such employees would otherwise be entitled. The leave is limited to 15 working days in any calendar year, but is unlimited when responding to a state- or nationally declared emergency in Missouri or upon any navigable waterway within or adjacent to the state of Missouri. The district may request that an employee be exempted from responding to a specific mission.

 

15.       Short-Term Medical Leave Program – The short-term medical leave program is established to provide assistance to employees in extraordinary health-related circumstances. The short-term medical leave program will be administered by the Assistant Director of Human Resources-Benefits. The North Kansas City School District has the authority to construe this policy and to determine all questions that arise under it. District interpretations are binding on all employees.

 

Eligibility

 

The short-term medical leave program is provided to all employees of the North Kansas City School District who are eligible for APL and have been employed for a minimum of 120 duty days.

 

An employee must have exhausted his or her APL and CAPL and vacation time in order to utilize days from the short-term medical leave program.

 

Employees who have met the threshold eligibility for participation in this program (eligible for APL, been employed a minimum of 120 duty days and exhausted all APL, CAPL and vacation leave), may borrow from the short-term medical leave program for their own serious health condition or to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition as defined in FMLA.

 

Application must be submitted to HR within ten days of depletion of accrued leave.

 

Provisions

 

An employee may borrow, when approved, up to a maximum of 30 days. At no time will the number of days borrowed exceed 30.

 

The district will deduct four days from the employee’s APL allotment and apply one-half of any unused APL days at the end of each year until the employee has repaid short-term leave days used.

 

If the employee retires, resigns, is terminated or granted an extended leave at any time after his or her return to service after having used short-term medical leave, an amount will be deducted from the employee’s last month’s earnings, equal to the daily rate established for his or her category of employment for those days not returned to the short-term medical leave program. In the event of death or permanent disability as defined by PSRS or Social Security, all debt to the short-term medical leave program is forgiven.

 

If an employee’s application is denied, the employee may file an appeal. To appeal, a written notice of appeal must be submitted to the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services within five days of the denial.

 

16.       Long-Term Disability Plan – Recognizing that situations occur when a staff member is incapacitated by illness or disability for an extended period of time that will prevent the employee from returning to work, the Board of Education has adopted the following guidelines to reduce the financial loss attending such extended illness:

 

Eligibility

 

In order to receive benefits from the long-term disability plan, an employee must:

 

                      Be eligible for APL;

 

                      Have a serious health condition that prevents the employee from working;

 

                      Have worked for the district for a minimum of 120 duty days;

 

                      Have exhausted all current available APL, vacation leave and short-term medical leave days; and

 

                      Have resigned from the district or have submitted a resignation effective at the end of the school year in which it was submitted that has been accepted by the Board of Education.

 

Benefits

 

Eligible employees may receive up to 120 work days of benefits according to the following schedule:

 

                      Employees who have been employed between 120 duty days and five consecutive work calendar years of service will receive one-third the employee’s daily rate for the first 30 days and one-fourth of the employee’s daily rate for additional days.

 

                      Employees who have been employed between six and nine consecutive work-calendar years of service will receive one-half the employee’s daily rate for the first 30 days and one-third of the employee’s daily rate for additional days.

 

                      Employees who have been employed ten or more consecutive work-calendar years of service will receive three-fourths the employee’s daily rate for the first 30 days and one-half of the employee’s daily rate for additional days.

 

After initial certification from a health care provider that the employee has a serious health condition that prevents the employee from working, the district may request additional certifications once the employee has used the first 30 days of leave and additional certifications every 15 days thereafter in order for the employee to continue to receive benefits.


Pregnancy, Childbirth and Adoption Leave


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 duties is not impaired, based on medical opinion. Pregnant employees shall be treated the same as other employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work for all purposes under this policy.


Both parents may use all available APL for birth, adoption or foster placement of their child.


Pregnant employees may have up to six weeks leave for birth and pregnancy-related disability. After exhausting APL, the employee may use available CAPL and, if necessary, an unpaid leave of absence. After six weeks, an employee may use appropriate available paid leave or unpaid leave for pregnancy-related disability only if the employee provides medical certification of the need for such leave.


Upon written request, an adoptive/foster parent may use CAPL to comply with laws, regulations, residency and other requirements placed on adoptive/foster parents by states and countries. CAPL may also be used for medical appointments or procedures required for the adoption or foster placement. Such leave shall commence with the first day of absence associated with assuming custody of the child.


If APL and CAPL have been exhausted, leave shall be granted without pay. The employee shall inform his or her supervisor(s) of the anticipated date as soon as possible. Upon return from such leave the employee shall be returned to the position he or she held when the leave commenced if such position exists. If the position no longer exists, the returning employee will be placed in a comparable position.


FMLA leave for the birth, adoption, placement of a foster child and first-year care will be applied to all FMLA-eligible employees and will run concurrently with paid leave.


* * * * * * *


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:         02/11/2003

 

Revised:          08/26/2003; 06/13/2006; 06/12/2007; 07/17/2007; 10/16/2007; 06/10/2008; 08/26/2008; 11/10/2009; 03/08/2011; 11/13/2012; 07/23/2013

 

Cross Refs:     DLB, Salary Deductions

HA, Negotiations with Employee Representatives

HPA, Employee Walkouts, Strikes and Other Disruptions

 

Legal Refs:     §§ 41.1000, .1005, 105.270, .271, 115.102, .639, 168.122, 169.595, 320.200, .330 - .339, 494.460, 595.209, 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. 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)


North Kansas City School District, Kansas City, Missouri

 

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