How to Avoid Going Upside Down in Your Leave Account and Getting Pay Docked
Article 10 of the TVEA/TVUSD Collective Bargaining Agreement Leave is a lengthy contractual article worth reviewing for every bargaining unit member. Your amount of leave is listed monthly on your pay warrant in hours. Through California Education Code a member is provided with ten (10) full days Think of Leave or seventy (70) hours. Think of your Leave as a savings account which you utilize when necessary, yet do not habitually run low on and worse run out of. Unfortunate circumstances such as major illnesses will force members to consume their leave savings and those are the type of situations which donated Catastrophic Leave (Board Policy 4161.9) is intended for. The positive side of maintaining a healthy excess amount of leave can result in that leave being added to your service time in calculating your STRS pension at retirement.
Here are some of the legalities and nuances with Leave:
Your leave is listed on your pay warrant as “Sick Leave”. While there are likely empty categories for Vacation (Vac) and Personal Necessity (P/N), our bargaining unit members do not accumulate vacation hours and personal necessity has been converted to Personal Business (Article 10.8) in the TVEA/TVUSD collective bargaining agreement. This number is your TOTAL number of available leave hours and one would divide by seven (7) to convert to days.
Article 10.8- Personal Business is one of the more used options in selecting a reason for absence. Please note that while it is a sensible selection if the member or a family member is not ill, there is a yearly limit …. “use up to ten (10) days in a school year as Personal Business. Administrative approval is required if that leave extends a holiday or vacation period….” Finally, the most important part to be aware of: “Unit members shall be docked their per diem rate for any days taken in excess of ten (10) Personal Business days in the same school year”. So, even if you have dozens of extra leave days in your possession, one cannot use “Personal Business” more than ten times in a year.
Article 10.4 – Illness Family Member was added to the collective bargaining agreement in the last year or so due to new state legislation ensuring the ability for employees to take time off work to care for sick/ill family members. It is an assurance that family illness is a valid reason for absence, yet members need to understand utilizing this is hours deducted from their leave account.
Personal Illness and Injury is at the top of the Article in 10.1 and speaks to the ten days of leave per year and the principle that unused leave accumulates. There is some extra education code protection for school employees who might exhaust their Leave.
Employees who are out of leave or are nearing exhausting their Leave and anticipate being out for any extended time should consult with TVEA and TVUSD Risk Management about how to qualify for this provision. One thing is clear however: An employee who is out of Leave and selects Personal Business or Illness Family Member will receive a per diem pay dock.
You may review this Ed Code (44977) by clicking this link.
Finally, it is imperative to review and verify your site attendance roster for the month at payroll time. TVUSD has suggested that once the member has verified their absences and coding the district may not change the reason for absence once it is sent to RCOE for auditing.
In closing, your Leave should be considered a valued asset which you should do all you can to Accumulate rather than exhaust. Keeping a healthy reserve of leave and not over utilizing “Personal Business” will protect you from a very unpleasant and often unexpected loss of pay.