SICK LEAVE AND SICK LEAVE BANK
The Winchester Public School Board provides a sick leave plan for eligible employees.
Legacy employee – full-time employee who was hired in a Virginia Retirement System (VRS) eligible position prior to January 1, 2014 who is a member of the VRS Plan 1 or Plan 2. This employee was offered the option to enroll in the VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan during the opt-in period of January 1, 2014 through April 30, 2014, and chose not to do so.
Hybrid employee – full-time employee who was hired in a VRS eligible position on or after January 1, 2014 and who is a member of the VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan, or VRS Plan 1 or Plan 2 member who opted to switch to the VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan during the opt-in period of January 1, 2014 through April 30, 2014.
A. The sick leave plan shall be organized in three (3) parts:
1. Sick leave days are granted by the School Board for use by legacy, hybrid, and eligible part-time employees during the school year, and a reservoir of unused days may be accumulated.
2. A Sick Leave Bank is maintained to which eligible legacy employees may contribute. Sick Leave Bank days may be used for major personal illnesses or injuries that extend beyond the employee's accumulated sick leave days.
3. A short-term disability (STD) benefit is provided for hybrid plan employees. Winchester Public Schools has contracted with a third-party insurer to provide this benefit. There is a waiting period of one year before being eligible for STD benefits (the eligibility waiting period of one year is waived for work related claims).
B. Use of Sick Leave Days with Full Pay
1. New employees cannot use sick leave unless or until they have physically reported for duty.
2. Employees who have accumulated sick leave in the Winchester Public Schools and who are unable to report for work at the beginning of their contract year because of illness, as certified by their physician, may use accumulated leave not exceeding the number of days to their credit as of June 30 of the preceding school year or may be eligible to use the Sick Leave Bank. Those who physically report to work will receive an allocation of days for the new fiscal year. They may be required to provide a physician's certification of their ability to perform their duties.
3. The School Board may require a verification of illness or injury by a licensed physician at the employee's expense before sick leave pay is approved.
4. Employees with available sick leave may be absent with pay for personal illness and/or quarantine, for illness or death in the immediate family or for emergencies as approved by the Superintendent or Superintendent’s designee.
5. To the extent that an employee is entitled to paid leave under this and other School Board policies, such paid leave shall be used concurrently with the family and medical leave entitlement.
1. Sick Leave Allocations
Legacy and hybrid full-time employees are granted sick leave days at the rate of one day per month of employment. Ten month employees are granted ten (10) days per year, eleven-month employees are granted eleven (11) days per year; twelve-month employees are granted twelve days per year. Sick leave is credited to the employee’s balance at the beginning of each school year. For partial years of employment, this allocation is prorated.
An employee must work more than half the work days in a given month to be granted a day of sick leave. In a month that has twenty (20) work days, the employee must work eleven of the work days to receive the day of sick leave. No partial day of sick leave may be earned.
2. Transferred Sick Leave Days
Employees eligible for sick leave may transfer sick leave accumulated in another school division in Virginia or in an agency of the state or local government. Employees must have reported for work before transferred sick leave days may be used or credited. Employees must have remained in continuous service in another school division in Virginia or in an agency of the state or local government with no more than a three year break between termination of employment with the transferring employer and the reporting date with Winchester Public Schools.
3. Accumulation of Sick Leave Days
There is no maximum limit on the accumulation of the number of unused sick leave days. Remaining personal and/or emergency leave will be transferred to accumulated sick leave at the end of each fiscal year. Except as provided at retirement, no compensation for unused accumulated sick leave shall be provided to employees who cease employment with Winchester Public Schools and all unused sick leave days in the school division will terminate. Employees who leave public school employment to enter the armed services do not forfeit accumulated sick leave unless they fail to return to such employment or employment in an agency of the state or local government immediately upon discharge from an original tour of duty in the armed services.
4. Eligible Part-time Employees
Part-time employees eligible for sick leave shall earn sick leave days in the same manner as full-time employees except that a sick leave day shall be equal in length to their part-time workday. Part-time employees who work less days per week than full-time employees shall earn sick leave days in proportion to the number of days they actually work. Sick leave shall not be for credit or use by employees in summer school or evening school or for substitute or temporary employees.
5. Bus Drivers, Custodians (part-time), and Cafeteria Workers
Bus Drivers, part-time Custodians, Mail Runner and Cafeteria Workers are excluded from the provisions of Paragraph D.1-3 of this sick leave policy. They shall have an annual allocation of ten (10) days, accumulative to a maximum of thirty (30) days. For partial years of employment, this allocation is prorated.
or Death in the Immediate Family
An employee may use up to five (5) days for each instance of death in the immediate family and five (5) days in cases of illness in the immediate family. The maximum amount of days that may be used for illness in the immediate family per contract year is 15. The Superintendent may, at his discretion, invoke emergency provisions to extend these allowable maximums. Immediate family includes natural parents, foster parents, step parents, wife, husband, children, brother, sister, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandparents or spouse's grandparents, aunts, uncles, or any relative or non-relative living in the household of the employee.
D. Sick Leave Bank
The School Board shall maintain a sick leave bank for legacy full-time employees. The sick leave bank has been established for the use by employees who have prolonged, catastrophic, or long-term personal illness or injury, and have exhausted their own sick leave. Bus Drivers, Bus Aides, Cafeteria Workers, and part-time Custodians are not eligible for participation in the sick leave bank.
a. Legacy employees are automatically enrolled during the first 30 days of employment unless they opt-out of the plan during this period.. Membership in the bank shall be continuous unless the employee withdraws in writing from participation during any subsequent open enrollment period.
b. Membership in the sick leave bank is voluntary and open only to legacy employees. Employees may participate in the bank by making an initial contribution of two (2) days from their accumulated sick leave allocation. The days of sick leave may be taken from an employee's accumulated sick leave as of June 30 of the preceding year or, for new employees, from their first year's allotment of sick leave days. Employees will not be required to contribute more days to the sick leave bank until all sick leave days in the bank have been exhausted.
c. Part-time employees desiring to join the Sick Leave Bank must contribute two (2) days as noted above. A sick leave day for a part-time employee shall be equal to the number of hours the employee contracted to work per day. An employee must report for work for a new fiscal year to renew eligibility for the sick leave bank, but may use any balance left in the bank from the previous year if unable to report for work.
3. Use of Sick Leave Bank Days
Only participating members shall be eligible to use sick leave days from the bank. New employees who become participating members cannot use the Sick Leave Bank unless or until they have reported for duty to have earned the two (2) days to contribute to the Sick Leave Bank. The employee may be required to provide a physician's certification of his or her ability to perform his or her duties.
The sick leave bank does not cover the first twenty (20) consecutive days of a disability/sickness. The waiting period must be covered by the participating member’s accrued sick leave or leave without pay. After members return to work, the waiting period must again be satisfied before qualifying to use the sick leave bank again. However, if members suffer a relapse within thirty (30) calendar days due to the original disability/sickness, they do not have to satisfy another waiting period. A participating member may use up to a maximum of ninety (90) days from the bank in a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date the medical leave began. The member must have exhausted all of his/her paid leave days before using days from the bank.
Days drawn from the bank for any one period of eligibility must be consecutive, except additional periods of disability resulting from reoccurrence or relapse of the original illness, which will be covered on a continuing basis up to the maximum of ninety (90) days. Otherwise, members must return to work and meet the requirements of this regulation before becoming eligible to utilize sick leave bank benefits again.
The total number of days available to members through the bank shall be limited to the days contributed to the bank. Days remaining in the bank at the end of the school year will be carried over to the next school year. In the event all sick leave bank days have been utilized, members of the bank will be assessed a contribution of two (2) sick leave days to replenish the sick leave bank. Upon the termination of employment or the voluntary withdrawal from the bank, the member shall not be permitted to withdraw any sick leave days.
E. Short-Term Disability
VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan employees are provided a short-term disability (STD) benefit. Winchester Public Schools has contracted with third-party insurer to provide this benefit. Therefore, all eligibility requirements are dictated by the insurer. The insurer requires that the employee must be a VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan member for a waiting period of one year before being eligible for STD benefits. (The eligibility waiting period of one year is waived for work-related claims.)
The benefit elimination period is waived for catastrophic or chronic conditions.
STD benefits are provided to a hybrid employee during a sickness/disability.
2. Elimination Period
Once the employee has been deemed eligible for STD benefits, a benefit elimination period of seven calendar days must be satisfied before benefits are payable. The required workdays during the benefit elimination period must be covered by the employee’s paid sick leave (or other paid leave) or leave without pay. Once the employee reaches Day 8 of the absence, the employee must report the absence to the insurer.
3. The compensation benefit payable during the STD absence is based on continuous months of service and will provide partial or full income replacement for a maximum of 125 days. Compensation is paid directly to the employee by the school division. (It is important to note that if an employee works more than 20 hours during the benefit elimination period, a new benefit elimination period must be met before STD benefits begin.)
The VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan employee will be permitted to supplement his/her income of less than 100 percent compensation by utilizing his/her earned sick and other paid leave balance to offset the difference in pay. The amount deducted to supplement the per diem rate will not exceed the full per diem rate of the pre-disability wage.
VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan employees are also provided a long-term disability (LTD) benefit that will begin upon the expiration of the maximum period of 125 days for which the employee receives STD benefits.
During the STD absence, employees will remain “active” and all benefits will remain in force. Employees must cooperate and adhere to all guidelines and requirements during the absence.
Employees who retire under the Virginia Retirement System (VRS and have worked for Winchester Public Schools for the immediate ten (10) consecutive years prior to retirement in a full-time position, shall be paid $50 per day upon retirement for their unused sick leave up to a maximum of ninety (90) accrued days.
May 19, 2008, Revised July 7, 2008, June 9, 2014, October 12, 2015, October 24, 2016, April 24, 2017
Legal Refs: Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended § 22.1-78.
State Board of Education Regulations Governing Sick Leave Plans for Teachers.
Cross Ref.: GCBE Family and Medical Leave