In the previous two posts, I explained two types of paid leaves: (1) the use of sick days to care for oneself when ill or injured, and (2) the use of "Other" days. The third type of paid leave is the use of sick days to care for a relative or dear friend: "Family Illness Days." All three of these benefits are the same for members of Units A, B, C and E. Beginning in September 2020, when members are absent to care for a relative or dear friend, they will draw these days exclusively from their personal sick days. Unlike the current practice, members will no longer use "Other" days to care for relatives or friends. The total number of paid days available to care for a family member or dear friend each school year will be eleven, up from the current nine. And all of those days (unlike the current four) may be used to care for ANY close relative or dear friend. If you are caring for a family member or dear friend for more than six days in a row, the Human Resources Office may request that you provide medical documentation of the illness or injury. That documentation is explained below. This is the total number of PAID days you can be out in a given school year. Once you have exhausted your paid days, contractually you may remain out up to total of sixty total working days, but the remaining days are unpaid. Note that you may remain out on these additional unpaid days whether or not you qualify for leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act guidelines. You have a contractual right to these days. In practice, the district has always been supportive of employees who need to be out over an extended period that is longer than sixty days to care for a family member. Once the sixty days are exhausted, however, members will need to pay the full cost of their health insurance. When someone is out for an extended period of time caring for a loved one who is chronically ill or injured, it puts enormous strain on their own emotional health and well-being. This may require employees to seek support and treatment for their own mental health. Under these circumstances, employees may qualify for extended paid medical leave based on their own health needs. If you are out on extended leave to care for a relative or dear friend with a chronic health concern, the NTA recommends that you also consult with your medical provider to protect your own health, and contact the NTA and the Human Resources Office if your provider recommends a medical leave based on concerns for your own health.
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