Leaves of Absence
Each of the provisions in this policy applies to all professional personnel to the extent that it does not conflict with an applicable collective bargaining agreement or individual employment contract or benefit plan; in the event of a conflict, such provision is severable and the applicable bargaining agreement or individual agreement will control.
Sick and Bereavement Leave
Positions represented by the Faculty Association: See Faculty Association Collective Bargaining Agreement. Administrators: Full-time administrators will receive the same sick leave benefits provided in the Faculty Association Collective Bargaining Agreement, unless otherwise specifically set forth in the administrator’s employment contract.
All other full-time professional staff members are granted 16 days of sick leave each school year at full pay. Unused days are allowed to accumulate without limit. Sick leave is defined in State law as personal illness, mental or behavioral health complications, quarantine at home, serious illness or death in the immediate family or household, or birth, adoption, placement for adoption, or the acceptance of a child in need of foster care.
As a condition for paying sick leave after three days absence for personal illness or as the Board or Superintendent deem necessary in other cases, the Board or Superintendent may require that the staff member provide a certificate from: (1) a physician licensed in Illinois to practice medicine and surgery in all its branches, (2) a mental health professional licensed in Illinois providing ongoing care or treatment to the staff member, (3) a chiropractic physician licensed under the Medical Practice Act, (4) a licensed advanced practice registered nurse, (5) a licensed physician assistant who has been delegated the authority to perform health examinations by his or her supervising physician, or (6) if the treatment is by prayer or spiritual means, a spiritual adviser or practitioner of the employee’s faith. If the Board or Superintendent requires a certificate during a leave of less than three days for personal illness, the District shall pay the expenses incurred by the employee.
Staff members are entitled to use up to 40 days of paid sick leave because of the birth of a child that is not dependent on the need to recover from childbirth. Such days may be used at any time within the 12-month period following the birth of the child. Intervening periods of nonworking days or school not being in session, such as breaks and holidays, do not count towards the 40 working school days. As a condition of paying sick leave beyond the 40 working school days, the Board or Superintendent may require medical certification.
For purposes of adoption, or placement for adoption, or acceptance of a child in need of foster care, paid sick leave may be used for reasons related to the formal adoption or the formal foster care process prior to taking custody of the child or accepting the child in need of foster care, and for taking custody of the child or accepting the child in need of foster care. Such leave is limited to 40 days, unless a longer leave is provided in an applicable collective bargaining agreement, and need not be used consecutively once the formal adoption or foster care process is underway. The Board or Superintendent may require that the employee provide evidence that the formal adoption or foster care process is underway.
Family Bereavement Leave
State law allows a maximum of 10 unpaid work days for eligible employees (Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 20 U.S.C. §2601 et seq.) to take family bereavement leave. The purpose, requirements, scheduling, and all other terms of the leave are governed by the Family Bereavement Leave Act. Eligible employees may use family bereavement leave, without any adverse employment action for: (1) attendance by the bereaved staff member at the funeral or alternative to a funeral of a covered family member, which includes an employee's child, step child, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent (2) making arrangements necessitated by the death of the covered family member (3) grieving the death of the covered family member, or (4) absence from work due to a Significant Event, which includes: (i) miscarriage, (ii) an unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or of an assisted reproductive technology procedure, (iii) a failed adoption match or an adoption that is not finalized because it is contested by another party, (iv) a failed surrogacy agreement, (v) a diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility, or (vi) a still birth. An employee qualifying for leave du to a Significant Event will not be required to identify which specific reason applies to the employee's request.
The leave must be completed within 60 days after the date on which the employee received notice of the death of the covered family member or the date on which an event under item (4) above occurs. However, in the event of the death of more than one covered family member in a 12-month period, an employee is entitled to up to a total of six weeks of bereavement leave during the 12-month period, subject to certain restrictions under State and federal law. Other existing forms of leave may be substituted for the leave provided in the Family Bereavement Leave Act. This policy does not create any right for an employee to take family bereavement leave that is inconsistent with the Family Bereavement Leave Act.
Sabbatical leave may be granted in accordance with the School Code.
Professional staff members are granted three personal leave days per year. A personal leave day is defined as a day to allow professional personnel time to conduct personal business (but not vacation, travel, or work stoppage), which is impossible to schedule at a time other than during a school day. Any unused personal leave days in a school year will be credited to the cumulative sick leave.
The use of a personal day is subject to the following conditions:
- Except in cases of emergency or unavoidable situations, personal leave requests should be submitted to the Building Principal 3 days in advance of the requested date,
- No personal leave day may be used immediately before or immediately after a holiday, or during the first and/or last 5 days of the school year, unless the Superintendent grants prior approval,
- Personal leave may not be used in increments of less than one-half day for those staff members who require a substitute,
- Personal leave days are subject to a substitute’s availability,
- Personal leave days may not be used during the first and/or last five days of the school year,
- Personal leave days may not be used on in-service and/or institute training days, and
- Personal leave may not be used by more than 10% of the teaching staff in each building at the same time.
Leave of Absence Without Pay
The Board may grant a leave of absence without pay to tenured professional staff members who have rendered satisfactory service and desire to return to employment in a similar capacity at a time determined by the Board.
Each leave of absence shall be of the shortest possible duration required to meet the leave’s purpose consistent with a reasonable continuity of instruction for students.
Leave to Serve as an Election Judge
Any staff member who was appointed to serve as an election judge under State law may, after giving at least 20-days’ written notice to the District, be absent without pay for the purpose of serving as an election judge. The staff member is not required to use any form of paid leave to serve as an election judge. No more than 10% of the District’s employees may be absent to serve as election judges on the same election day.
The Board shall grant a professional staff member’s request for a non-paid, child-rearing leave, not to exceed the balance of the school year plus one additional school year (but in no event shall such leave exceed three semesters), provided the request complies with this policy. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a professional staff member from using paid sick days as provided in this policy.
A teacher must request, if possible, a child-rearing leave by notifying the Superintendent in writing no later than 90 days before the requested leave’s beginning date. The request should include the proposed leave dates.
Leaves for Service in the Military
Leaves for service in the U.S. Armed Services or any of its reserve components and the National Guard, as well as reemployment rights, will be granted in accordance with State and federal law. A professional staff member hired to replace one in military service does not acquire tenure.
General Assembly Leave
Leaves for service in the General Assembly, as well as reemployment rights, will be granted in accordance with State and federal law. A professional staff member hired to replace one in the General Assembly does not acquire tenure.
Leave for Employment in Department of Defense
The Board may grant teachers a leave of absence to accept employment in a Department of Defense overseas school.
School Visitation Leave
An eligible professional staff member is entitled to eight hours during any school year, no more than four hours of which may be taken on any given day, to attend school conferences or classroom activities related to the teacher’s child, if the conference or activity cannot be scheduled during non-work hours. Professional staff members must first use all accrued vacation leave, personal leave, compensatory leave, and any other leave that may be granted to the professional staff member, except sick, and disability leave.
Leaves for Victims of Domestic, Sexual Violence, Gender Violence, or Other Crime of Violence
An unpaid leave from work is available to any staff member who: (1) is a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, gender violence, or any other crime of violence (2) has a family or household member who is a victim of such violence whose interests are not adverse to the employee as it relates to the domestic violence, sexual violence, gender violence, or any other crime of violence. The unpaid leave allows the employee to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning, and other assistance, and to grieve and attend to matters necessitated by the death of a family or household member who is killed in a crime of violence without suffering adverse employment action.
The Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) governs the purpose, requirements, scheduling, and continuity of benefits, and all other terms of the leave. Accordingly, if the District employs at least 50 employees, and subject to any exceptions in VESSA, an employee is entitled to a total of 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period. Neither the law nor this policy creates a right for an employee to take unpaid leave that exceeds the unpaid leave time allowed under, or is in addition to the unpaid leave time permitted by, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 U.S.C. §2601 et seq.).
Leaves to Serve as an Officer, Trustee, or Representative of a Specific Organization
Upon request, the Board will grant: (1) an unpaid leave of absence to an elected officer of a State or national teacher organization that represents teachers in collective bargaining negotiations, (2) up to twenty days of paid leave of absence per year to a trustee of the Teachers’ Retirement System in accordance with 105 ILCS 5/24-6.3, (3) a paid leave of absence for the local association president of a State teacher association that is an exclusive bargaining agent in the District, or his or her designee, to attend meetings, workshops, or seminars as described in 105 ILCS 5/24-6.2, and (4) up to 10 days of paid leave per school term for teachers elected to represent a statewide teacher association in federal advocacy work in accordance with 105 ILCS 5/24-3.5.
COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave
When applicable, paid administrative leave related to COVID-19 will be granted to eligible employees in accordance with State law.
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