12. Leaves of Absence
12.1: Teacher Sick Leave
12.2: Teacher Sick Leave Bank
12.3: Personal Leave
12.4: Jury Service Leave
12.5: Teacher Attendance at Professional Meetings
12.6: Teacher Representation at Conventions, Workshops, and Conferences
12.7: Bereavement Leave
12.8: Religious Leave
12.9: Teacher General Leave of Absence
12.10: Family and Medical Leave
12.11: Military Leave
12.12: Teacher Political Leave
12.13: Teacher Sabbatical Leave
12.14: Teacher Service Leave of Absence
12.15: Extensions of Leave
12.16: Teachers: Procedures for Reporting Absences
12.17: Emergency School Closing
12.1 TEACHER SICK LEAVE
The Board will grant sick leave to each certified employee at the following rate:
180-189: 11 days
190-199: 11.5 days
200-209: 12 days
210-219: 12.5 days
220+: 13 days
A. Sick Leave Accumulation and Notification of Unused Days
For each teacher, unused sick leave may be accumulated to 360 days. Teachers will be notified in September of the total of their accumulated sick leave.
Following the completion of the 25th year of teaching with District 186, an exception to the annual allotment of 11 days per year per teacher will be 20 days per year which will be allocated to those with at least 100 accumulated days.
Each sick day a teacher accumulates above 180 days toward the 360 cap, the teacher’s access to the Sick Bank will be reduced by equal number of days. Example: A teacher who has accumulated 200 days would only have access to 160 days of Sick Bank. Therefore a teacher would not ever have access to more than 360 days.
B. Sick Leave Definition
Sick leave” shall be interpreted to mean personal illness, quarantine at home, or serious illness in the immediate family or household. The “immediate family”, for purposes of this section, shall be defined as in the Bereavement Leave section.
C. Eligibility Requirement for Annual Sick Leave Days
If a teacher fails to report for duty on the opening day of school, he/she will be eligible for the 11 days of such leave for the current year when he/she returns to duty and receives the first payment for services rendered.
D. Doctor’s Certificate Requirement for Absences
The Superintendent may at his/her discretion require a doctor’s certificate for any absence of three or more consecutive days.
E. Termination of Employment
Any teacher who voluntarily terminates his/her employment, and who does not elect the early-out retirement provision, may contribute no more than 40 of his/her unused sick days to the Sick Leave Bank.
12.2 TEACHER SICK LEAVE BANK
A. Establishing of Sick Leave Bank
If by the end of any given year the bank has dropped below 300 days, the Board agrees to restore the bank to that level. The Board also agrees to place in the bank one day for each teacher employed as of the first day of October. Any days not used during one school year shall be accumulated by the Bank to be used in successive school years.
B. Procedure for Use of Bank
Any teacher currently employed in the District shall be entitled to draw from the Bank provided the following four conditions are met:
1. The teacher has used all his/her personal accumulated sick days.
2. The teacher shall produce two doctors’ certificates as proof of need.
3. The teacher shall have been absent more than three school days in connection with the same illness.
4. Any teacher eligible for disability benefits from Worker’s Compensation or a disability insurance program shall, as a condition of acceptance into the Sick Leave Bank, show proof to the Sick Leave Bank Committee that said teacher has applied for benefits from Worker’s Compensation. The Bank will supplement the difference between the net value of the disability benefits paid by Worker’s Compensation or a disability insurance program and the net value of the teacher’s salary less amount withheld for income tax deduction.
C. Governing Committee
A committee will be established to act as the governing body for the administration of the Sick Leave Bank. Said committee shall consist of two teachers named by the Association and an administrator named by the Superintendent.
12.3 PERSONAL LEAVE
A. Use of Personal Leave (excluding days before and after a holiday and first and last day of the school term)
Employees will be granted up to three days per year for personal reasons. These days will be deducted from the employee’s allotted sick leave.
Up to two unused personal days will be carried over to the following year and employees so affected may use up to five such days in any following year. Three personal days may be used consecutively at the discretion of the employee subject to 12.4.B of this article. The additional use of the carried over days is subject to approval by the Superintendent. The additional use of the days which have been carried over is intended for extraordinary events and all parties agree that such approval might not be granted on a regular or recurring basis.
If possible, the employee will give a 24 hour advance notice to the immediate supervisor.
During this Agreement, employees may use all three personal days without reason.
Upon returning from leave, the staff member will enter the absence online identifying the cause of absence as personal business. Such leave will be automatic with no prior approval necessary except on days before or after a holiday.
B. Personal Leave Usage (days before and after a holiday and/or first and last day of school term)
Usage of personal leave days on a day before or after a holiday and/or on the first and last day of the school term, scheduled school improvement days, and parent-teacher conference days shall require at least a two working day advance notice by the employee to the Superintendent. This advance notice must be submitted on the request form found on-line. A response must be returned to the employee within 24 hours of submission. Failure to respond to the request within the 24 hour period will mean approval has been granted.
2. Emergency or Personal Obligations
Appointments with university advisors; imminent danger to one’s person, family, or personal possessions; handling details of settling an estate; being present for personal or family problems/responsibilities requiring immediate attention; receiving an award or degree; attending ceremonies for children or spouse; participation in a wedding; attendance at a church or civic convention as an official delegate or officer; attendance at a professional meeting, conference, or convention as an official delegate or a local, state, regional, or national professional group; legal hearings, court proceedings and other legal matters of any kind and nature whatsoever in which the employee or any member of his/her family is a party or a direct pecuniary or penal party of interest. This rule shall not apply to any employee subpoenaed to appear in a matter in which said employee is not a party or a direct pecuniary or penal party of interest.
3. Additional Bereavement Leave
Personal leave days may be used for days needed in addition to the approved days allowed for members of the immediate family, or to attend the funeral of a close friend or relative not listed for approved bereavement leave.
4. Procedure for Reporting Personal Leave Absence
Upon returning from leave, the staff member will fill out a “Certificate of Absence” card identifying the cause of absence as personal business along with the specific reason(s) as found in C.1 and C.2 above.
C. Use of Personal Days for Severe Weather
1. Employees who have personal day(s) remaining and who because of severe weather conditions cannot be in attendance at school shall have these day(s) counted as personal day(s).
2. Employees who have no personal day(s) remaining and who because of severe weather conditions cannot be in attendance at school may petition the Superintendent for additional personal days(s).
D. Use of Half Days
If conditions warrant, half days may be used.
These days may not be used during a work stoppage.
12.4 JURY SERVICE LEAVE
An employee serving on a jury or an employee who is subpoenaed to appear in a matter in which said employee is not a party or party of interest, during his/her scheduled working hours, shall receive his/her full salary for the time served on the jury or subpoenaed to appear in court, surrendering to the employer all payments received as juror, less payments for non-duty days, mileage allowance, meal allowance and parking fees.
12.5 TEACHER ATTENDANCE AT PROFESSIONAL MEETINGS
The teaching staff of the District is encouraged to attend conferences and workshops which will help them to grow professionally. Teachers may be authorized to attend professional meetings and conferences for a maximum of three days per annum (July 1 – June 30). These days may be school or non-school days. Substitutes will be furnished at District expense and expenses will be reimbursed for a total of three days, including duty and non-duty days per annum. The providing of a substitute or the reimbursement of any expense or a combination of both on the same date shall be considered the utilization of one of three days allowed per annum for employees of the professional staff placed on the base salary schedule. Newly employed, as well as continuing employees of the professional staff, are eligible and are encouraged to submit their requests through their immediate supervisors as specified on the application form.
A. Procedures for Application
All certificated staff, including special education personnel, wishing to attend a professional meeting should obtain from the principal the form entitled “Request to Attend Professional Meeting”. The left half of the form shall be completed and submitted through the building principal to the Superintendent for approval 15 calendar days prior to the meeting. The form will then be returned to the applicant with approval or denial. Application shall be approved or denied and returned to the applicant no later than five school days following date of submission to the office of the Superintendent. If request is denied, a specific reason or reasons for doing so must be stated or indicated on a checklist.
B. Procedures for Reimbursement
After attendance at a professional meeting, the right half of the form should be completed together with receipts and original summary of the conference and implications for the District (not exceeding one single-spaced typed page) and filed with the principal in order that the teacher may be reimbursed. Every effort will be made to reimburse expenses as soon as possible, if proper application has been made. Participants in professional meetings will be allowed registration and per meal cost as per past practice of the Superintendent or his/her designee. Conference sponsored meals will be reimbursed in full. Mileage and reimbursement for members of the professional staff accompanying students are not to be submitted on the form for requesting attendance at a conference or professional meeting.
C. Exceptions and Limitations
There shall be no exception for any member of the certified staff covered under this section except those approved by the Superintendent as exceptions to policy. Any limitations may be modified by the Superintendent or his/her designee for the following reasons:
1. For personnel holding significant positions in local, state, regional, or national professional organizations.
2. For personnel whose attendance at a meeting would, in the judgment of the Superintendent, make a significant contribution to the school system.
3. For personnel representing the Superintendent at his/her invitation or on official school business.
D. Budget Appropriations for Professional Meetings
The annual budget figure allotted for instructional personnel travel and expenses connected with attendance at meetings, conventions, workshops, etc., shall be determined by district administration and shall be designated for the use of instructional personnel, education support personnel, classroom support personnel, and supervisory personnel. Lack of funds shall constitute a valid reason for denial of attendance at a professional meeting.
E. Incremental Credit Professional Meetings
Some universities/colleges offer graduate level course credit at conferences, workshops, and meetings. If a teacher elects the option of receiving graduate level course credit as specified in Article VII for attendance at such conferences, workshops, or meetings, the absence, if any, shall be charged as a personal day(s). If the teacher already has used all available personal days for the school year, then that teacher may opt to take a dock day. No remuneration under D above shall be given for any attendance at such conferences. All regulations pursuant to 8.3 apply.
12.6 TEACHER REPRESENTATION AT CONVENTIONS, WORKSHOPS, AND CONFERENCES
The budget of the Educational Fund shall carry annually an amount to pay the expenses of teachers who are chosen and who are approved by the Superintendent to represent the public school system at educational conferences, workshops, and meetings on subjects of particular value for the improvement of teaching. Reports are required by the Superintendent. No deduction shall be made in salary. When teachers other than the chosen representative wish to attend a conference, workshop, or educational meeting, they may do so at their own expense after having made arrangements with the principal and the Superintendent. No deduction shall be made in salary. Permission to be absent from duty may be granted by the Superintendent to teachers to visit schools or attend school business meetings, conferences, and workshops.
12.7 BEREAVEMENT LEAVE
Employees may use up to three days, per incident, for leave connected with the death of members of the immediate family or household. Such leave shall be an annual allowance and not cumulative.
B. Definition of Immediate Family:
The immediate family shall include spouse, children, step children, father, mother, step parents, parents-in-law, brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandchildren, grandmother, grandfather, legal guardian, aunt, uncle, nieces and nephews. This will also be applicable for an executor of an estate. The household shall include those individuals actually residing in the household of the employee.
C. Use of Personal Leave Days:
Personal leave days may be used for days needed in addition to the approved days allowed for the death of members of the immediate family, or to attend the funeral of a close friend or relative not listed for approved bereavement leave.
12.8 RELIGIOUS LEAVE
Religious holidays requiring full or one-half day observance by the employee’s religious affiliation in which the employee is a practicing member may be taken as personal days on any work day.
12.9 TEACHER GENERAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE
A. Tenure Teacher:
1. For the purpose of establishing eligibility for leaves of absence reserved by contract for tenured employees only, eligibility for such leaves commences the day following completion of an employee’s final probationary year of service with District 186.
2. Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, the Board may grant a tenure teacher a leave of absence without pay for illness, maternity, adoption, child care, disability, educational or professional purposes or such other leaves as may be deemed appropriate by the Superintendent. Eligibility for such leave commences the day following completion of an employee’s final probationary year of service with District 186.
B. Length of Leave:
The length of a leave shall be limited to two consecutive years except in the case of TRS disability.
C. Notification of Intent to Return From Leave:
The teacher on leave shall give the Superintendent written notice by February 1 of his/her desire to return at the beginning of the next school year. If the leave is for the first half of the school year only, he/she shall notify the Superintendent by November 15 of his/her intention to return.
D. Reinstatement Upon Return from Leave:
Pursuant to the provisions of this Contract, when the leave of absence has expired, the Superintendent shall return the teacher to the position occupied by any person hired to replace him/her, providing that position exists. If the teacher does not wish to return to the same/equivalent position (as stated above), he/she may request a transfer at the time that he/she notifies the Board of his/her return, and said request shall be considered in the same manner as any other voluntary transfer request under Article XVII. The administration may require a physician’s consent for reinstatement from a medical leave.
E. Returning Prior to Expiration of Leave:
If a teacher submits a written request to the Superintendent indicating a desire to return to duty prior to the expiration of a leave, he/she may be reinstated provided a suitable vacancy exists. Upon reinstatement, the teacher shall waive his/her right to the previously held position.
12.10 FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE
1. All teachers who have worked at least 1250 hours and all ESPs who have worked at least 1000 hours during the 12 months preceding the start of the leave and who have been employed by the Board of Education for at least 12 calendar months as of the date of their application for the leave shall be eligible for Family and Medical Leave in accordance with the provisions agreed to and set forth in this Agreement.
2. Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to deny an employee eligibility for other leaves or benefits provided by the terms of this Agreement or provided by state or federal statutes or administrative rules and regulations.
Family and Medical Leave shall be limited to a total of 12 weeks in a school year and shall be available to an employee for the following purposes:
1. Birth and care of a child for the first year following birth;
2. Adoption or placement of foster children in the employee’s home;
3. The employee’s own serious medical condition;
4. The serious medical condition of an employee’s spouse, child, or parent; and
5. Any other purpose allowed by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
1. If an employee is entitled to paid leave, the employee may take the paid leave during the term of the family medical leave, however the combination of paid leave and family medical leave shall be limited to 12 weeks as per the FMLA. Reduced, altered, or intermittent work schedules may be accommodated as provided in the Act; an employee shall substantiate, upon request, reasons why leave is necessary and treatment schedule, if applicable. The limitations placed on length of leave by this section shall not in any way affect the length of other leaves which may be available.
2. Spouses who are employed by the District are entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave for the reasons stated in B. above and subject to all of the limitations of this section.
D. Notification and Certification Procedure:
1. When the need for leave is foreseeable, such as the birth or adoption of a child, or planned medical treatment, the employee shall provide reasonable prior notice not less than 30 calendar days prior to the leave.
2. An employee shall substantiate his/her eligibility for leave; the choice of when to utilize the leave shall be at the employee’s discretion.
3. For leave taken because of the employee’s or a covered individual’s serious health condition, the Board may require the employee to have the appropriate health care provider provide certification.
4. The employee shall have at least 15 calendar days to respond.
5. If the Board has reasonable cause to doubt the validity of a medical certification, it may require the employee to obtain a second opinion from an independent health care provider at the Board’s expense. If the opinions differ, the Board may require the employee to obtain certification from a third health care provider, at the Board’s expense.
E. Disclosure of Medical Information:
All medical information pertaining to an employee or to a covered individual shall be considered confidential and shall not be released to any third party without the employee’s or the covered individual’s prior written authorization.
1. For purpose of this Family and Medical Leave only, an employee on an unpaid portion of a family or medical leave of absence shall continue to receive group insurance benefits for up to a total of 12 weeks.
2. Benefits other than the group health insurance coverage (e.g., sick leave, personal leave, seniority) shall not continue to accrue during Family and Medical Leave. No employee who takes a leave under this provision will lose any employment benefit that accrued before the date the leave began, and such leave shall be considered continued service for participation in the Teachers Retirement System/IMRF.
G. Return From Leave:
Provisions for reinstatement upon return from leave shall be as per section 8.9D.
12.11 MILITARY LEAVE
A. Return from Active Duty:
An ESP or certificated employee who has been called into the military service shall, upon completion of his/her service, be reinstated in the same/equivalent position which he/she formerly held if he/she applies for reinstatement within 90 days after honorable discharge or return from active duty. Such reinstatement shall include any paid extra-curricular position provided the returning employee is available for the start of the extra curricular assignment. He/she shall receive the benefit of such experience increments and salary adjustments as were made during his/her military service.
B. Military Duty Days:
In the event that weekend training requires the use of a personal day to be taken on a Friday or Monday, such personal day shall be granted by the District as a paid Military Duty absence and shall not be deducted from the employee’s own personal day allotment. The employee will be required to furnish verification of required duty.
C. Extension of 90-Day Adjustment Leave:
In the event an extension of the 90-day adjustment period prior to reinstatement is required by an employee returning from active duty or honorable discharge, such extension shall be granted upon written request for such extension including medical documentation of need.
12.12 TEACHER POLITICAL LEAVE
A. Tenure Teacher:
Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, the Board may grant a tenure teacher a leave of absence without pay for political appointment or election.
B. Length of Leave:
Political leave is limited to a maximum of five years.
C. Return From Leave:
1. When a teacher elected or appointed to a full-time political office is reinstated, he/she shall be granted the same years of experience he/she had at the time he/she left.
2. The following provisions shall apply to a teacher on a political leave returning to active employment: 8.9C, Notification of Intent to Return from Leave; 8.9D, Reinstatement upon Return from Leave; 8.9E, Returning Prior to Expiration of Leave.
12.13 TEACHER SABBATICAL LEAVE
Sabbatical leave may be granted to teachers, as allowed by law, for resident study, research, travel, or other purpose designed to improve the school system. The granting of a sabbatical leave by the Board constitutes a finding that the leave is deemed to benefit the school system by improving the quality and level of experience of the teaching force.
Sabbatical Leave may be granted to three teachers. Teachers shall be eligible after the completion of six full years’ service in the school system.
C. Procedure for Application and Recommending Sabbatical Leave:
1. Application for a sabbatical leave of absence shall be made on or before January 1 of any school year. If approved, such leave shall become effective at the beginning of the succeeding year.
2. Application shall be made upon a regular form prescribed by the Superintendent and shall clearly state the nature, purpose, and professional benefits of the proposed activity for which the sabbatical leave is requested.
3. The Board shall make a decision on or before May 1.
4. In recommending sabbatical leave of absence, due consideration shall be given to the reasonable and equitable distribution of leaves among the different schools and departments. Each applicant shall be notified promptly in writing by the Superintendent of the decision of the Board concerning his/her application.
D. Salary and Employment Status While on Leave:
Teachers on sabbatical leave shall retain employment status while on leave, relative to membership in the retirement system, and any other fringe benefits. During absence pursuant to such leave, such teacher shall receive the same basic salary as if in actual service, except that there may be deducted therefrom an amount equivalent to the amount payable for substitute services. However, such salary after deduction for substitute services shall in no case be less than the minimum provided by Section 24-8 of the School Code, or one-half of the basic salary, whichever is greater.
E. Responsibilities of Teacher:
Before a sabbatical leave is granted, the applicant shall agree in writing that if at the expiration of such leave he/she cannot return to and perform contractual continued service in the school system for at least two full school terms after his/her return (or four full semesters if the applicant returns at the beginning of the second semester), all sums of money received from the Board during his/her sabbatical leave shall be returned to the Board unless such returned performance is prevented by illness or incapacity. The refund shall be prorated if the teacher returns for less than two years.
F. Return from Leave:
1. Upon return from sabbatical leave a teacher shall be placed at the same position on the salary schedule as he/she would have been had he/she taught in the District.
2. The following provisions shall apply to a teacher on sabbatical leave returning to active employment: 8.9C, Notification of Intent to Return from Leave; 8.9D, Reinstatement upon Return from Leave; 8.9E, Returning Prior to Expiration of Leave.
12.14 TEACHER SERVICE LEAVE OF ABSENCE
A Service Leave of Absence, normally not to exceed one year and without pay, may be granted to any teacher upon proper application and approval by the Board for the purposes of participating in: (1) exchange teaching programs in other territories or countries; (2) foreign or military teaching programs; (3) Peace Corps, Teacher’s Corp, Job Corp, Vista, or some other similar program, as full-time participant in such programs; (4) cultural travel or work program related to his/her professional responsibilities; and (5) Illinois Education Association or the National Education Association as an officer or staff member of the Association.
B. Application for Leave:
Application for such leave must be submitted to the Superintendent by March 1. A Service Leave of Absence may be granted to no more than any five tenure teachers.
C. Returning from Leave:
1. Upon return from such leave a teacher shall be placed at the same position on the salary schedule as he/she would have been had he/she taught in the District during such period.
2. The following provisions shall apply to a teacher on a service leave returning to active employment: 12.11C, Notification of Intent to Return from Leave; 12.11D, Reinstatement upon Return from Leave; 12.11E, Returning Prior to Expiration of Leave.
12.15 EXTENSIONS OF LEAVES
A. For teachers, all provisions of Article XII (Leaves of Absence) may be extended by the Superintendent. Employees returning to active employment after an extended leave shall be reinstated under the provisions of Article 17.3.
12.16 TEACHERS: PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING ABSENCES
A. Use of Answering Service:
Teachers requiring a substitute shall call and report their absence to the designated answering service. The phone number of the designated service shall be given to each teacher at the beginning of the school year.
B. Information to be Given to Answering Service:
2. Assignment (When it starts, subject and/or grade, etc.)
3. Reason for absence (This would only include such general categories as sick day or personal day and would not require any specific information.)
4. Estimated duration
5. Specify if automatic release.
C. Request for Substitutes:
If at all possible, requests for substitutes should be made no later than one and one-half hours prior to the teacher’s first assignment.
D. Advance Notification of Absence:
Teachers may call the designated answering service five days in advance when they know they will be absent, indicating the date or dates they will be absent and the date they will return.
E. Returning from Absence:
Teachers returning from absence shall call the answering service. Every effort shall be made to call the evening before and no later than one and one-half hours prior to their first assignment. This is not necessary when a definite return date is given in 12.19B.
F. Teachers Not Requiring Substitutes:
Teachers who are absent and who do not require a substitute shall notify the principal (or the principal’s designee) in the school of their first assignment 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the student day.
G. Every effort shall be made by the teacher to communicate with their supervisor and/or to enter the absence on the online absence manager prior to the absence. The absence must be entered within 48 hours of returning to work.
12.17 EMERGENCY SCHOOL CLOSING
When an emergency results in closing of the school(s), notification of the closing will be released for broadcast as soon as possible, and every effort will be made to release notification at least 90 minutes prior to the opening of the affected school(s). When the school(s) are closed for a substantial portion of the school day, and school offices are officially closed by the Superintendent, paid personal leave days previously arranged by an employee will not be considered as personal leave days. In the same situation, an employee will not be charged with a sick day. When a bomb threat occurs, no employee shall be required to search for the bomb.