FILE:  GBRH

Cf:  GBRHA, GBRHB

 

EMPLOYEE LEAVES AND ABSENCES

 

 

The DeSoto Parish School Board believes that the provision of leaves for employees helps to attract and retain staff members who will continue to grow professionally, maintain their physical health, and have a feeling of security.  Toward those ends, the School Board authorizes the types of employee leaves and absences described below.  The Superintendent shall develop and maintain pertinent regulations and procedures governing all forms of leave.

 

All leaves granted shall be conducted in accordance with state law and pertinent regulations.  Any employee on leave who does not comply fully with the stated intentions and administrative regulations of said leave may be subject to disciplinary action.

 

If an employee is absent from duty under circumstances in which he/she is not entitled to any kind of leave, such employee shall be considered to be in violation of his/her contract, is not entitled to be paid for the days of unauthorized absence and non-performance of duties, and may be subject to disciplinary action.

 

PERSONAL LEAVE

 

  1. Each employee, except those who receive annual leave, shall be entitled to and shall be allowed to use up to two (2) days of accumulated sick leave during each school year for such purposes as may be determined by the individual without loss of pay.  The employee requesting such leave shall give his/her supervisor at least 24 hours’ notice prior to taking the personal leave without loss of pay.  Personal leave shall be charged to and deducted from the employee’s sick leave for the current year or accumulated sick leave.  Personal leave shall not be accumulated from year to year, nor shall personal leave be compensated for upon death or retirement.

  2. All personal leaves granted shall be in accordance with statutory provisions and the procedures developed by the Superintendent and staff.

 

LEAVE WITHOUT PAY

 

  1. The School Board may grant a leave without pay for periods not exceeding one year to any regularly employed teacher or other employee who requests such leave in writing to the Superintendent.  A leave without pay shall be granted only when it is determined to be in the best interest of the school system to do so, and all other forms of paid leave have been exhausted.

  2. The Superintendent shall have the authority to grant leaves without pay not to exceed ninety (90) working days in any fiscal year without the necessity for School Board action.

  3. For leaves without pay in excess of ninety (90) working days in any fiscal year, the following rules apply:

 

  1. Such leave must be approved by the School Board upon recommendation of the Superintendent; and

  2. Such leaves shall be deemed to interrupt the accumulation of active service toward sabbatical leave and the period of such leaves shall not be counted toward acquiring tenure or for salary schedule purposes; and

  3. Employees shall accrue no annual or sick leave time during such leaves; and

  4. Employees may continue to participate in the group health insurance plan of the School Board provided that the employee remits the total premium (both employer’s and employee’s portions) in a timely manner to the business office.

 

MATERNITY AND ADOPTIVE LEAVE

 

  1. The School Board shall grant maternity leave to regularly employed personnel in accordance with statutory provisions and the procedures developed by the Superintendent and staff.  The School Board shall grant to regular employees leave without pay for maternity purposes for a reasonable period of time before and after the birth of a child.  Reasonable period of time means that period during which the female employee is disabled on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.  Regular employees, for purposes of this policy, shall mean teachers serving under contract (not to include substitute teachers or teachers replacing others on leave) and other female employees who are employed by the School Board on a regular basis.

  2. Maternity leave shall interrupt the accrual of semesters of consecutive service for sabbatical leave purposes, and the period of such leaves shall not be counted toward acquiring tenure or for salary schedule purposes.

  3. The employee has a right to use accumulated sick leave for the period of disability occasioned by the pregnancy/childbirth.  The period of disability shall be certified by the employee’s physician.

    Each teacher granted maternity leave in accordance with state law who has no remaining sick leave days available may also be granted up to thirty (30) days of extended sick leave in each six-year period of employment in accordance with policy GBRHA, Sick Leave.

 

  1. The School Board shall grant leaves of absence not to exceed thirty (30) days to regular employed teachers after the legal adoption of a child.  If multiple children are adopted on the same date, the event shall be considered a single qualifying event.  The granting of such leave shall not affect any of the tenure rights with the teacher may have acquired under state law.

    Each teacher granted adoptive leave in accordance with state law who has no remaining sick leave days available may also be granted up to thirty (30) days of extended sick leave in each six-year period of employment for personal illness related to illness of an infant, or for required medical visits certified by a physician as relating to infant health.

    Adoptive leave shall not interrupt the consecutive service for sabbatical leave purposes.

 

MILITARY LEAVE

 

The DeSoto Parish School Board shall grant military leave to employees of the School Board upon proper submission of an application for such leave.  Leave with pay for military purposes shall be granted when leave is not to exceed fifteen (15) days in one fiscal year.  Leave without pay shall be granted when leave is for more than fifteen (15) days in one fiscal year.  All requests for military leave in excess shall be presented to the School Board for approval and must be accompanied by proper documents attesting to call to duty.

 

An employee on extended military leave (longer than fifteen (15) days) may be required to apply for reinstatement of his/her former position within thirty (30) days after end of leave; the employee shall then be reinstated at the salary then in force in the salary schedule.  The School Board may transfer the employee to a position of like seniority, status and pay, if in the opinion of the School Board, such action is beneficial to the school system.

 

LEAVE FOR JURY DUTY

 

The School Board shall grant leave to any regular employee who has been called or subpoenaed for jury duty in accordance with statutory provisions and the procedures developed by the Superintendent and staff.

 

PROFESSIONAL LEAVE

 

  1. The School Board recognizes the need for professional leave for personnel in order to enrich the instructional program.  The Superintendent or his/her designee may grant professional leave to an employee wishing to attend any professionally related and/or educationally related conferences, meetings, conventions, and similar events, provided such attendance is considered in the best interest of the school system.

  2. The School Board also recognizes the need for professional leave for personnel to attend administrative hearings (i.e., suspension/expulsion hearings, workers’ compensation hearings, etc.) and court proceedings (i.e., depositions, trials, etc.) related to school system operations.  The Superintendent or his/her designee shall grant professional leave to employees for such purposes.

  3. Leave with pay shall be granted any school system employee who is an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana or the Louisiana School Employees Retirement System, an elected or appointed member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), or an appointed member of any task force, commission, or other advisory body established by BESE so that such employee may attend meetings of the entity and any committees thereof on which the employee serves.

    The School Board shall require any employees who may serve on the public entities outlined above to provide notice to the School Board of the dates and times of all meetings of the entity and any committees thereof that are scheduled to occur on a regular basis and reasonable notice to the School Board of any special or otherwise unscheduled meetings.

    Any employee serving on such an entity shall apply in writing for such leave in a timely manner, but in no case less than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the date of the meeting, except in an emergency.  The employee shall also be required to submit proper documentation that the leave granted was used for the purposes for which requested.  Improper use of said leave may result in reimbursement to the School Board of any compensation paid the employee for the leave days taken, and may lead to discipline of the employee up to and including termination.

 

  1. The School Board may pay all or part of any expenses incurred by employees on professional leave.  In each such case, prior approval for such expenses shall be given by the Superintendent or his/her designee.

  2. Professional leave shall be requested and taken in accordance with procedures established by the Superintendent and staff.

 

ANNUAL LEAVE

 

  1. The School Board shall allow 12 month full-time employees to earn and use annual leave (vacation) in accordance with the following schedule:

 

Years of Experience in System

Days of Leave Per Year

0

0

1

5

2

8

3

10

4

11

5-9

12

10-14

15

15-19

18

20+

20

 

  1. Annual leave will be available on July 1st of each fiscal year based on the prior years of experience.

  2. Annual leave must be taken in increments of ½ day or 1 day.

  3. Unused annual leave at June 30 of each fiscal year may be accumulated by an employee to a maximum of sixty (60) total days, and an employee is entitled to payment at his/her current daily rate of pay for a maximum of sixty (60) accumulated annual leave days as of the date he/she terminates his/her employment with the school system.

    Any unused annual leave paid at the time of retirement, termination, or discharge shall be paid to the employee or his/her heirs on or before the next regular payday for the pay cycle during which the employee was working at the time of separation or no later than fifteen (15) days following the date of termination, resignation, or retirement, whichever occurs first.

 

COMPENSATORY LEAVE

 

The School Board shall grant compensatory leave to eligible employees in accordance with statutory provisions and the procedures developed by the Superintendent and staff.

 

SCHOOL AND DAY CARE CONFERENCE AND ACTIVITIES LEAVE

 

The DeSoto Parish School Board may grant any employee of the school system leave from work of up to a total of sixteen (16) hours during any twelve (12) month period to attend, observe, or participate in conferences or classroom activities related to the employee’s dependent children for whom he/she is the legal guardian that are conducted at the child’s school or day care center, if the conferences or classroom activities cannot reasonably be scheduled during the non-work hours of the employee.  An employee who wishes to request such leave shall provide a reasonable notice to the employer prior to the leave and make a reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.

 

The School Board is not required to pay an employee for any time taken as leave for conferences and school activities.  However, an employee shall be permitted to substitute any accrued vacation time or other appropriate paid leave for any leave taken as provided here.

 

SABBATICAL LEAVE

 

The Superintendent may grant sabbatical leave for the purpose of professional or cultural improvement or for medical leave to all teaching personnel in accordance with statutory provisions.  Teaching personnel shall include any person employed by the School Board who holds a valid teaching certificate issued by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and any social worker, school counselor, school nurse, audiologist, educational diagnostician, speech-language pathologist, or school psychologist employed by the School Board who holds the appropriate valid professional ancillary certificate issued by the Louisiana Department of Education.

 

Eligibility

 

Sabbatical leave may be granted on the ratio of two (2) semesters for twelve (12) or more consecutive semesters of active service within the employ of the School Board or one (1) semester for six (6) or more consecutive semesters of such service.

 

At no time may more than five percent (5%) of the total number of teachers employed in a school system be on leave.  Selection of employees among those who qualify for sabbatical leave must be based on years of continuous service and other criteria as specified by statute.

 

Medical Sabbatical Leave

 

A teacher may make application for medical sabbatical leave, which shall be accompanied by a statement from a licensed physician certifying that the leave is medically necessary.

 

If the Superintendent, upon review of the application, questions the validity or accuracy of the certification, the Superintendent may require the applicant, as a condition for continued consideration of the application, to be examined by a licensed physician selected by the Superintendent.  In such a case, the School Board shall pay all costs of the examination and any tests determined to be necessary.  If the physician finds a medical necessity, the leave application shall be granted.

 

If the physician disagrees with the certification of the physician selected by the applicant, then the Superintendent may require the applicant, as a condition for continued consideration of the application, to be examined by a third licensed appropriate physician whose name appears next in the rotation of physicians on a list established by the local medical society for such purpose and maintained by the School Board.  All costs of an examination and any required tests by a third physician shall be paid by the School Board.  The opinion of the third physician shall decide the issue.

 

The opinion of all physicians consulted shall be submitted in the form of a sworn statement.  All information contained in any statement from a physician shall be confidential and shall not be subject to the public records law.

 

Sabbatical Leave for Professional or Cultural Improvement

 

Every person on sabbatical leave for the purpose of professional or cultural improvement, shall during each semester of leave, pursue a program of study, earning at least nine (9) undergraduate credit hours, provided such hours directly improve the person's skills and knowledge as a teacher, or six (6) graduate credit hours, or be certified as a full-time student at an institution of higher learning accredited by the respective Louisiana Board of Education or territorial board in which such institution is located.  If less than fifteen (15) weeks is spent as specified above, the number of weeks less than fifteen (15) shall be spent in either of the two (2) alternatives specified below:

 

  1. Pursue a program of independent study, research, authorship or investigation which involves an approximately equivalent amount of work and which is approved by the School Board.

  2. Engage in travel which is so planned as to be of definite educational value and which has been approved by the School Board.

 

Final authority for granting such leave shall rest with Superintendent.

 

Procedure for Application

 

  1. Application for sabbatical leave shall be made on a form provided by the Superintendent.  Applications shall be sent to the Superintendent by registered mail at least sixty (60) days preceding the beginning of the semester of the scholastic year for which leave is requested, except that when a teacher or other professional employee has become sick during a semester and requests medical sabbatical leave, it shall be sufficient if the application is mailed thirty (30) days prior to the date upon which the requested leave is to commence.

    The Superintendent shall inform the teacher of the approval or denial of sabbatical leave at least thirty (30) days preceding the beginning of the semester of the school year for which the leave is requested, except that, where a teacher has become sick during a semester and has requested medical sabbatical leave, the Superintendent shall inform the teacher of approval or denial of such leave as soon as possible after receipt of his/her request for leave.

 

  1. Whenever, in accordance with statutory provisions, some of the applications cannot be granted, from among those which would otherwise be granted, those to be granted shall be determined in the following manner:

 

  1. Preference in every case shall be given to the applicant who has rendered active service in the school system for the greatest number of consecutive semesters immediately preceding the period for which leave is requested.

  2. Where any two (2) applicants rank equally in point of continuous service, preference in every case shall be given to the applicant who has rendered service in the school system for the greater total number of semesters.

  3. Where any two (2) applicants rank equally in both point of continuous service and in point of total service, preference in every case shall be given to the applicant whose date of birth is earlier.

  4. In cases where all factors are equal, the tie shall be broken by the drawing of lots in the presence of the employees.

 

  1. Applicants whose applications are filed in the first thirty (30) days of the semester shall be given a preference over those who seek medical sabbatical leave under the special provision relating to sickness during a school semester.

  2. Every application for sabbatical leave shall specify all of the following:

 

  1. The period for which leave is requested;

  2. Whether leave is requested for the purpose of professional or cultural improvement, or for the purpose of medical leave;

  3. The precise manner, in so far as possible, in which such leave, if granted, shall be spent;

  4. The semesters spent in active service in the school system from which leave is requested; and

  5. The date of birth of the applicant.

 

The application shall contain a statement, over the signature of the applicant, that he/she shall agree to comply with all sabbatical leave provisions.

 

Compensation

 

A teacher granted sabbatical leave shall be paid compensation at the rate of sixty-five percent (65%) of the person's salary at the time the sabbatical leave begins.  A teacher on sabbatical leave with pay must continue his/her retirement contribution.  Time spent on such leave is considered as active service for retirement purposes.

 

Conditions of Sabbatical

 

  1. Each person granted sabbatical leave, as a condition of the sabbatical leave, shall be prohibited from being employed during the sabbatical leave by any public or private elementary or secondary school in Louisiana or any other state.

  2. Every person on medical sabbatical leave shall be prohibited from undertaking any gainful employment during such leave unless all of the following conditions are met:

 

  1. The teacher can demonstrate that he/she will be working not more than twenty (20) hours a week in a part-time job that he/she has been working for not less than one hundred and twenty (120) days prior to the beginning of such leave.

  2. The doctor certifying the medical necessity of the leave indicates that such part-time work does not impair the purpose for which the leave is granted.

  3. The Superintendent authorizes such part-time work.

 

Violation of the part-time work provisions shall result in the medical sabbatical leave being rescinded.

 

  1. Each person granted sabbatical leave shall sign an agreement or contract as specified with the School Board stipulating that, as a condition of sabbatical leave and in order to be eligible for compensation during such leave, he or she will return to service for one (1) semester for each semester of leave upon completion of the sabbatical leave. Said service shall ordinarily be performed in this School District.

    No person who, upon the expiration of his/her sabbatical leave, immediately begins employment with a state-operated educational agency, city, parish, or other local school board, department, school, college or university instead of returning to the school system which granted him/her such leave, shall be required to forfeit that portion of compensation paid to him/her by the State while he/she was on such leave.  However, such person shall be required to reimburse the school system any salary paid to him/her by the School Board while he/she was on leave, unless the Superintendent opts to exercise the waiver provision as explained under Waiver of Intention to Return to Service Clause below.

    As per statutory requirement, any employee taking sabbatical leave who fails to return to service in this School District upon expiration of the leave as specified above for any reason other than incapacitating illness as certified by two (2) physicians, shall forfeit all salary compensation received during the leave period.

    The Superintendent shall have the authority to waive this requirement in accordance with its pre-published criteria, as noted under Waiver of Intention to Return to Service Clause below, if he/she deems such to be in the best interest of the School District, provided that such a waiver shall not be of a discriminatory nature against any employee or applicant because of his or her job description, age, race, or sex.

 

  1. An employee on professional sabbatical leave shall observe the above stipulations concerning graduate or undergraduate credit hours to be earned and/or alternatives such as productive research or travel.  The Superintendent shall have the authority to require written reports of work done and work to be done at any time during the period of leave.  In addition, written reports are required within thirty (30) days after the beginning of each semester of leave and within thirty (30) days after the end of leave.

  2. Any employee who fails to comply with statutory provisions may have his/her leave terminated by the Superintendent at any time.

  3. Every person on sabbatical leave shall notify the Superintendent of his/her intention to return to work not less than thirty (30) days prior to the beginning of the semester in which he/she expects to return.

    An employee who has been granted sabbatical leave shall, upon expiration of the leave, be returned to the same position in the same school held at the time of said sabbatical leave was granted unless otherwise agreed to by the individual.

 

Guidelines for Waiving Intention to Return to Service Clause

 

The return to service provision, as stated in Conditions of Sabbatical, Item 3 above, may be waived by the Superintendent, after careful review and consideration in any of the following instances:

 

  1. Any person whose spouse is transferred out of the parish (job requirement not anticipated before leave) during the time the teacher is on leave or within one (1) year immediately following the termination of such leave (certification must be provided by spouse's employer).

  2. Any person who receives a position to the State Department of Education, to another public school system within the State of Louisiana, or to a state-operated educational agency.  In such instances, the person granted sabbatical leave, upon the expiration of leave, shall be permitted to retain that portion of compensation paid by the state while he/she was on leave.  However, such person shall be required to reimburse the School Board any compensation paid by the School Board while on leave.

  3. Incapacitating illness or disability, as certified by two (2) physicians.

  4. Whenever, in the Superintendent’s opinion, such a waiver would be in the best interest of the School District.

 

Approved:  December, 2003 Revised:  January 7, 2016
Revised:  February, 2004 Revised:  September 6, 2018
Revised:  October, 2004 Revised:  November 1, 2018
Revised:  December, 2006 Revised:  March 7, 2019
Revised:  January, 2008 Revised:  July 1, 2021
Revised:  May, 2009 Revised:  January 6, 2022
Revised:  October, 2012  

 

 

Ref:    29 USC 2601 et seq. (The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993)

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§1:55, 11:754, 11:755, 14:125, 17:81, 17:425, 17:425.1, 17:500, 17:500.1, 17:1170, 17:1171, 17:1172, 17:1173, 17:1174, 17:1175, 17:1176, 17:1177, 17:1178, 17:1179, 17:1180, 17:1181, 17:1182, 17:1183, 17:1184, 17:1185, 17:1187, 17:1200, 17:1201, 17:1202, 17:1205, 17:1206, 17:1206.1, 17:1210, 17:1215,  23:334, 23:341, 23:342, 23:631, 23:1015.2, 42:394, 42:401, 42:402, 42:403

Board minutes, 10-7-04, 12-7-06, 9-4-08, 5-7-09, 10-4-12, 1-7-16, 9-6-18, 11-1-18, 3-7-19, 7-1-21, 1-6-22

 

DeSoto Parish School Board