Policy Code DEC – Compensation and Benefits: Leaves and Absences – San Antonio ISD Board Policy Manual (2023)

Leave Administration

The Superintendent shall develop administrative procedures addressing employee leaves and absences to implement the provisions of this policy.

Definitions

Immediate Family

The term "immediate family" is defined as:

  1. Spouse.
  2. Son or daughter, including a biological, adopted, or foster child, a son- or daughter-in-law, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis.
  3. Parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, or other individual who stands in loco parentis to the employee.
  4. Sibling, stepsibling, and sibling-in-law.
  5. Grandparent and grandchild.
  6. Any person residing in the employee's household at the time of illness or death.

For purposes of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the definition of family shall include only those individuals listed in items 1, 2, and 3 above but shall exclude son- or daughter-in-law and parent-in-law.

Family Emergency

The term "family emergency" shall be limited to disasters and life-threatening situations involving the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family.

Leave Day

A "leave day" for purposes of earning, using, or recording leave shall mean the number of hours per day equivalent to the employee's usual assignment, whether full-time or part-time.

School Year

A "school year" for purposes of earning, using, or recording leave shall mean the term of the employee's annual employment as set by the District for the employee's usual assignment, whether full-time or part-time.

Catastrophic Illness or Injury

A catastrophic illness or injury is a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family that requires the services of a licensed practitioner for a prolonged period of time and that forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned by that employee and to lose compensation from the District. Such conditions typically require prolonged hospitalization or recovery or are expected to result in disability or death. Conditions relating to pregnancy or childbirth shall be considered catastrophic if they meet the requirements of this paragraph.

Note: For District contribution to employee insurance during leave, see CRD(LOCAL).

Availability

The District shall make state personal leave and local leave for the current year available for use at the beginning of the school year in accordance with administrative procedures.

State Leave Proration

If an employee separates from employment with the District before his or her last duty day of the school year or begins employment after the first duty day of the school year, state personal leave shall be prorated based on the actual time employed.

If an employee separates from employment before the last duty day of the school year, the employee's final paycheck shall be reduced for state personal leave the employee used beyond his or her pro rata entitlement for the school year.

Medical Certification

An employee shall submit medical certification of the need for leave if:

  1. The employee is absent more than five consecutive workdays because of personal illness or illness in the immediate family;
  2. The District requires medical certification when deemed necessary by the Superintendent's designee; or
  3. The employee requests FMLA leave for the employee's serious health condition; a serious health condition of the employee's spouse, parent, or child; or for military caregiver leave.

In each case, medical certification shall be made by a health-care provider as defined by the FMLA. [See DECA(LEGAL)]

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State Personal Leave

The Board requires employees to differentiate the manner in which state personal leave is used.

Nondiscretionary Use

Nondiscretionary use of leave shall be for the same reasons and in the same manner as state sick leave accumulated before May 30, 1995. [See DEC(LEGAL)]

Nondiscretionary use of leave is when leave is used for the employee's own illness; leave used for illness in the employee's immediate family; leave used for emergencies; leave used for a death in the employee's immediate family; or leave used when situations, occurrences, or incidents prevent the employee from reporting for work.

Nondiscretionary use includes leave related to the birth or placement of a child and taken within the first year after the child's birth, adoption, or foster placement.

Discretionary Use

Discretionary use of leave is for leave the employee knows in advance will be necessary and/or leave that can be planned for in advance. Discretionary use is subject to the limitations set out below.

In order to preserve the continuity of the instructional program, the District calls attention to the importance of attendance of campus-based (if applicable) and instructionally related personnel on the following days:

  1. On the first five or last five teaching days of each school year;
  2. On the day before or after an extended break consisting of three or more consecutive days (excluding weekends);
  3. On days scheduled for end of semester or end-of-year exams;
  4. The week prior to state-mandated assessments;
  5. The week during state-mandated assessments; and
  6. On assigned professional or staff development days.

The use of discretionary days by any employee in a manner that negatively impacts the students or mission of the District may be addressed through the District's disciplinary procedures.

Discretionary use of state personal leave shall not exceed three consecutive workdays.

Local Leave

Each employee may earn up to five paid local leave days per school year. Each employee in a position that exceeds 194 days may earn up to two additional paid local leave days per school year.

Local leave shall accumulate without limit.

Local leave shall be used according to the terms and conditions of state sick leave accumulated before the 1995–96 school year, except as otherwise provided by this policy. [See DEC(LEGAL)]

Sick Leave Bank

The District shall establish a sick leave bank that employees may join through contribution of local leave or state personal leave.

Leave contributed to the bank shall be extended to the employee's immediate family. An employee who is a member of the bank may request leave from the bank if the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family experiences a catastrophic illness or injury and the employee has exhausted all paid leave and any applicable compensatory time.

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The Superintendent shall develop procedures for the operation of the sick leave bank that address the following:

  1. Membership in the sick leave bank, including the number of days an employee must contribute to become a member;
  2. Procedures to request leave from the sick leave bank;
  3. The maximum number of days per school year a member employee may receive from the sick leave bank;
  4. The committee or administrator authorized to consider requests for leave from the sick leave bank and criteria for granting requests; and
  5. Other procedures deemed necessary for the operation of the sick leave bank.

Appeal

An employee may appeal a decision regarding the sick leave bank in accordance with the District's sick leave bank administrative procedures.

Peace Officers

Mental Health Leave

A District peace officer who experiences a traumatic event in the scope of employment shall be granted a maximum of five days of mental health leave per traumatic event. Such leave shall be provided in accordance with administrative regulations and shall not be deducted from the employee's pay or leave balance.

The Superintendent shall develop regulations regarding mental health leave that address the following:

  1. Circumstances or reasons under which a peace officer may use mental health leave;
  2. Procedures for requesting mental health leave and maintaining the anonymity of the requester;
  3. The administrator authorized to approve requests for mental health leave; and
  4. Other procedures deemed necessary for administering this provision.

Quarantine Leave

A District peace officer shall be granted quarantine leave when ordered by the local health authority or the peace officer's supervisor to quarantine or isolate due to possible or known exposure to a communicable disease while on duty. Such leave shall be provided in accordance with administrative regulations and shall not be deducted from the employee's pay or leave balance.

The Superintendent shall develop regulations regarding quarantine leave that address the following:

  1. Continuation of all employment benefits and compensation for the duration of the leave;
  2. Reimbursement for reasonable costs related to the quarantine; and

Other procedures deemed necessary for administering this provision.

Family and Medical Leave

FMLA leave shall run concurrently with applicable paid leave and compensatory time, as applicable.

Note: See DECA(LEGAL) for provisions addressing FMLA.

Twelve-Month Period

For purposes of an employee's entitlement to FMLA leave, the 12-month period shall be measured backward from the date an employee uses FMLA leave.

Combined Leave for Spouses

When both spouses are employed by the District, the District shall limit FMLA leave for the birth, adoption, or placement of a child, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition, to a combined total of 12 weeks. The District shall limit military caregiver leave to a combined total of 26 weeks.

Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leave

The District shall not permit use of intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave for the care of a newborn child or for the adoption or placement of a child with the employee.

Certification of Leave

When an employee requests leave, the employee shall provide certification, in accordance with FMLA regulations, of the need for leave.

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Fitness-for-Duty Certification

In accordance with administrative procedures, when an employee takes FMLA leave due to the employee's own serious health condition, the employee shall provide, before resuming work, a fitness-for-duty certification.

Leave at the End of Semester

When a teacher takes leave near the end of the semester, the District may require the teacher to continue leave until the end of the semester.

Temporary Disability Leave

Any full-time employee whose position requires educator certification in accordance with Chapter 21 of the Education Code and by the State Board for Educator Certification shall be eligible for temporary disability leave. The maximum length of temporary disability leave shall be 180 calendar days. [See DBB(LOCAL) for temporary disability leave placement and DEC(LEGAL) for return to active duty.]

An employee's notification of need for extended absence due to the employee's own medical condition shall be forwarded to the Superintendent as a request for temporary disability leave.

The District shall require the employee to use temporary disability leave and paid leave, including any compensatory time, concurrently with FMLA leave.

Workers' Compensation

Note: Workers' compensation is not a form of leave. The workers' compensation law does not require the continuation of the District's contribution to health insurance.

An absence due to a work-related injury or illness shall be designated as FMLA leave, temporary disability leave, and/or assault leave, as applicable.

Paid Leave Offset

The District shall permit the option for paid leave offset in conjunction with workers' compensation income benefits. [See CRE]

Other Employment While on Leave

While on any type of leave status with the District, the employee shall not perform work in any capacity, whether with the District or with another employer, except as approved by the office of Employee Benefits, Risk Management, and Safety as part of an approved return-to-work or transitional duty assignment at the District.

Exceptions may be granted by the office of Employee Benefits, Risk Management, and Safety for employees on approved professional development leave to substitute or work part-time in the District.

Working during a leave of absence without prior approval from the office of Employee Benefits, Risk Management, and Safety shall be considered a violation of the District's leave policy and may be grounds for immediate termination of at-will employees or recommendation of termination for contract employees.

Court Appearances

Absences due to compliance with a valid subpoena not related to personal business or for jury duty shall be fully compensated by the District and shall not be deducted from the employee's pay or leave balance.

Absences for court appearances related to an employee's personal business shall be deducted from the employee's personal leave or shall be taken by the employee as leave without pay.

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Payment for Accumulated Leave Upon Separation

The following leave provisions shall apply to state and local leave accumulated beginning on the original effective date of this program.

An employee who separates from employment with the District shall be eligible for payment for accumulated state and local leave under the following conditions:

  1. If retiring, the employee must be eligible for retirement under applicable Texas Teacher Retirement System (TRS) guidelines;
  2. If resigning, the employee must have ten years of consecutive service with the District immediately preceding the resignation;
  3. The employee must be a full-time employee, as defined by District policy;
  4. The employee shall be employed through the last workday as established by the calendar for the current year; and
  5. The employee provides advance written notice of intent to separate from employment. Employees must provide written notice of their resignation to the human resources department no later than April 15 or the next business day if it falls on a weekend.

The employee shall receive payment for each day of state and local leave, at a rate established by the Board. The Board shall have the exclusive right to change, suspend, or terminate this program at any time and for any reason based on the needs of the District.

Absence Control Policy

Abuse of Leave

All employee leave shall be provided for the specific purposes stipulated in this policy and/or state law. Absence from work shall be based on a particular leave status. An employee's absence without leave (AWOL) shall not be permitted and shall be deemed an abuse of the leave program. Abuse of the employee leave program, including excessive absenteeism, is a violation of District policy and may result in disciplinary action up to and including loss of pay, suspension, demotion, or termination of employment.

Absence without leave means any of the following conditions:

  1. Being absent without available leave and not on Superintendent-approved administrative leave;
  2. Being absent without having followed administrative procedures for taking leave; and
  3. Being absent without having followed designated procedures for reporting absences as established by administrative procedures for taking leave.

Tardiness

Employees shall arrive to work by the time designated by their work schedules. Unexcused or excessive tardiness may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Unexcused or excessive tardiness shall constitute good cause for termination of employment.

Unauthorized Absence

An employee may be terminated for good cause when he or she:

  1. Fails to return to work and fails to notify the office of Employee Benefits, Risk Management, and Safety within three workdays following a release by the treating physician;
  2. Fails to return to work and fails to request or extend a leave of absence; or
  3. Fails to report to work after exhausting all paid leave and, if eligible for leave of absence, does not request a leave.

The uniform enforcement of a reasonable absence control policy is not retaliatory discharge.

Sanctions for Abuse

All employee leave shall be provided for the specific purpose stipulated in this policy and is not intended to be used as a vacation, or for mere convenience. Except for discretionary use of state personal leave, documentation may be required for any chronic absences as determined by the Superintendent or designee. Abuse of the employee leave program and/or excessive absenteeism is a violation of District policy and may result in disciplinary action up to and including loss of pay, suspension, demotion, or termination of employment, in accordance with appropriate District policies. [See DCD and DF series]

Expiration of Available Leave

Upon the expiration of all leave for which an employee has applied and is eligible, the District shall notify the employee in writing that his or her leave has expired if the employee has not already returned to work.

An employee shall have ten workdays within which to apply for any leave for which the employee may be eligible or to notify the District in writing that the employee is ready, willing, and able to return to work. A medical clearance showing that the employee is physically able to perform the essential functions of his or her positions, with reasonable accommodations if necessary, shall be required to return to work. Additionally, some jobs shall require the employee to submit to a fitness-for-duty evaluation paid for by the District wherein the employee must demonstrate the ability to meet all of the essential functions of his or her job.

An at-will employee who does not receive approval of such additional leave and who does not report and document his or her availability and fitness to return to work within the ten-workday period shall be deemed to have voluntarily resigned his or her employment with the District, effective immediately upon the expiration of the ten-workday period designated in such notice, and shall be offered health benefits according to COBRA. [See CRD]

An at-will employee who fails to return to work after exhausting all available leave, regardless of the type of leave, shall be deemed to have voluntarily resigned his or her employment with the District, and shall be offered health benefits according to COBRA.

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A contract employee's failure to receive approval of such additional leave and his or her subsequent failure to report and document his or her availability and fitness to return to work, within the ten-workday period, shall be considered good cause for termination. A contract employee's failure to return to work after exhausting all available leave, regardless of the type of leave, shall be considered good cause for termination. For termination procedures and rights of contract employees, see DCE and DF series.

The employee's eligibility for reasonable accommodations, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act [see DAA(LEGAL)], shall be considered before termination.

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