I have a question/concern…why is it that teachers who work at a year round school have to count their off track time when taking time off for things like maternity leave? I am having a baby and it is due right when I go off track. I work part time and so I don’t qualify for FMLA. I was planning on taking my off track time and then using all my sick days and taking a few additional days without pay. Now, I have found out that I only get 6 weeks (which includes my off track time) so if I want to take all the time that I was planning I am going to have to take even more days without pay…even though I will still have sick days available. Isn’t our off track time the equivalent of a traditional school teacher’s summer? How can our off track time be taken? I hope this makes sense…it is something that has really been bothering me so if you could help me to understand I would really appreciate it! Thank you so much!
Granite’s practice has been to allow teachers (all employees) to use accrued sick leave for a period of six weeks following the birth of a baby (eight weeks if it is c-section). We do not treat teachers at year-round schools differently than we treat teachers at traditional schools. In most circumstances (I say most, because there are always exceptions), physicians indicate that the recovery time for delivery is six weeks for normal delivery. Thus, when an employee submits a Diagnosis and Functional Limitations (DFL) form, their own doctor indicates the can return at the six week mark.
As far as the off-track time being equivalent to summer, that is correct. An employee at a year-round school does not use sick leave while off track, just like an employee who is off for the summer does not use sick leave. With that being said, if a teacher at a traditional school gives birth in June, the six weeks that they have to use for recovery begins at that time. Which means, by the time they return to school in August, they do not need the six-weeks to recovery (that has already occurred). For that employee, they still have a few leave options: (1) If they qualify for FMLA, they can take up to 12-weeks off (we do not count summer or off track time in this 12-weeks), (2) If the do not qualify for FMLA, they can apply for two consecutive 15-Day Leaves of Absence Without Pay, or if there are complications (other than normal post-partum recovery), they can use their accrued sick leave until released by their physician.
If a teacher does not qualify for FMLA, according to the negotiated agreement, they must submit a DFL every 21 calendar days. Unless we have questions on the information provided in the DFL, we will accept the date the physician indicates as the “Expected Date of Return.”