Leaves of Absence Frequently Asked Questions
North East ISD offers a wide variety of leaves from duty. Leaves of absence are granted under the Family and Medical Act of 1993, state regulations and North East policies. Each year the Human Resources Department receives many inquires regarding either policies or procedures regulating leaves of absence. The information in this guide provides the answers for more frequently asked questions. Rules and regulations concerning leaves of absence are always changing. Therefore, this guide is not to be considered the final answer to questions regarding leaves of absence. Please contact Michele Matheny, Leave Management Specialist at 407-0497 (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org; fax #: 804-7031). for questions regarding leaves of absence.
1. What is a leave of absence?
The District defines a leave of absence as an extended absence from work by an employee of more than five (5) consecutive days. An employee shall be placed on a leave of absence whether or not the employee has accumulated sick leave to cover the absence. The type of leave will depend upon the reason for the absence and will be determined cooperatively with the Leave Management Specialist in the Human Resources Department.
2. Who qualifies for a leave of absence?
Any employee who works half time or more is eligible to apply for a leave of absence under the District’s leave policies. In order to be eligible to apply for a leave under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, an employee must have worked for the District for 12 months and must have worked a minimum of 1250 hours the previous year.
3. What types of leave are available to North East ISD employees?
In addition to the annual leave provided by the state and the district, North East ISD offers its employees a leave of absence for health or disability, pregnancy, adoption, military, parenting (nurture and care for a newborn), and professional development. The specifics of each type of leave are outlined in the District Policies under DEC Legal and Local.
4. Where do I obtain an Application for Leave of Absence?
An employee will need to submit a request for a Leave of Absence through Employee Space from the Leave of Absence section of the Human Resources website, located by accessing the following link:
5. How long can I be on a leave of absence?
The type of leave requested determines the length of time that an employee may be on a leave of absence. The length of time for each type of leave is outlined in the District Policies under DEC Legal and Local.
6. After returning from a leave of absence, is my return to the same job guaranteed?
The type of leave requested determines the employee’s return to the same job. The specifics of each type of leave and the return from leave are outlined in the District Policies under DEC Legal and Local.
7. What types of leave require medical documentation?
Medical documentation must be provided for maternity leave, temporary disability leave, and illness or injury to a member of the employee’s immediate family. The documentation should indicate the nature of the illness or injury, the expected prognosis, and the estimated length of time the employee is expected to be away from the workplace.
8. How do I know how many earned leave days I have?
You must go to Lawson Employee Self Service (ESS) to access your leave balances.
9. Why do I need to request a leave of absence if I cannot return to work and have no accumulated sick leave?
An employee needs to request a leave of absence to protect his/her employment status with the District.
10. How do I earn state and local leave?
Each person shall earn state personal leave, in equivalent workdays, at the rate of one-half a workday for each 18 workdays of employment, up to the maximum of five workdays annually. All employees shall earn an additional one-half equivalent workday of local sick leave for each 18 workdays of employment to a maximum of seven equivalent workdays per school year. (DEC Local, pages 1 & 2 of 10)
11. May I use my accumulated/advanced leave while on a leave of absence?
All employees must use accumulated leave days for Temporary Disability, Maternity, Parental Leave and Family Illness leave. If leave is granted under the Family Medical Leave Act, accumulated leave shall be used. For purposes of personal illness, illness in the immediate family, family emergency, or death in the immediate family, available leave shall be used in the following order. Local sick leave, state sick leave accumulated prior to the 1995-96 school year, state personal leave. (DEC Local, page 3 of 10)
12. What is meant by accumulated and advanced sick leave days?
Accumulated sick leave is that which you have earned previously and may be carried over from year to the next. Advanced sick leave applies to employees who receive their pay in monthly allotments and shall be available for use at the beginning of the school year; however, while on a leave of absence, an employee can only use the advanced local sick and state personal leave days that have been earned . (DEC Local, page 4 of 10)
13. While on leave of absence, must I use all my accumulated leave?
Yes. If you are a Certified Employee, you are responsible for entering your leave days in the SmartFind Express for any work day for which you are absent, including when you are on a leave of absence. Designated personnel responsible for editing time in Kronos for Auxiliary and Paraprofessional Employees, must continue to enter these employees’ absences in Kronos while they are on leave of absence.
14. Will I receive a check while I am on a leave of absence?
If an employee has accumulated leave that he/she may use, the employee will receive a check until that leave is exhausted. Otherwise, all leaves that are granted are non-paid leaves of absences.
15. What happens to my insurance coverage while I am on a leave of absence?
The type of leave determines the effect on an n employee’s insurance coverage. Please call the Employee Benefits office for an explanation of your insurance coverage while you are on a leave of absence.
16. What is COBRA?
COBRA is an acronym for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Please call 804-7230, extensions 351 & 352 for information about COBRA.
17. If I am eligible to take a leave under the guidelines of the Family Medical Leave Act, what impact does this have on my insurance premium?
The Family Medical Leave Act requires that the District’s contribution toward the employee’s health insurance continue for the first twelve (12) work weeks. If the employee does not return to work after twelve (12) work weeks, the law permits the District to recover its contribution from the employee.
18. How is my salary figured when I am on a leave of absence?
The daily rate of pay is multiplied by the number of days already worked to determine the amount of money that is owed the employee. The pay that the employee has received prior to the leave of absence will be subtracted from this amount. The remaining amount will be paid to the employee.
19. If I have been on an unpaid leave of absence, how will my paychecks be affected when I am ready to return?
When the employee is ready to return to work, the Leave Processing Coordinator in Payroll will determine the number of workdays remaining in the school year. The number of days remaining will be multiplied by the employee’s daily rate of pay to determine the salary to be paid. For more information, contact the Payroll Department.
20. If I am on worker’s compensation, do I need to apply for a leave of absence?
Yes. All employees absent from duty more than five (5) consecutive days shall be placed on a leave of absence.
21. What do I do when I am ready to return from my leave of absence?
Near the end of the leave of absence, you must contact the Leave Management Specialist in Human Resources Department to facilitate your return. All necessary paperwork must be completed prior to your return. You must submit a Request to Return to Work form to the Leave Management Specialist before returning to duty. If the leave of absence is for a health related reason to include pregnancy, the employee must submit a Work Status form from the physician to the Leave Management Specialist. The release should list any restrictions that the employee has that might limit a return to full duty. In the event there are ANY work restrictions indicated on the Work Status form, our ADA Cooredinator will work with the employee’s supervisor to review the restrictions in order to determine weather or not they can be accommodated. If the restrictions can be accommodated, the employee may return to work. Upon receipt of the Request to Return to Work, the Work Status Form, and the approval of the accommodations (if applicable), the employee will be returned to active status (DEC Legal pages 4 and 11of 16, DEC Local page 5 of 10).
22. What do I do if my leave of absence is nearing the end, but I am not ready to return?
You must notify the Leave Management Specialist. The specifics and the length of time that an employee may be on a leave of absence are outlined in District Policy.