Sick Leave Pool Information
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(Revised April 2014)
For a member applying to the pool who has exhausted their sick leave days, the following criteria shall establish how many Sick Leave Pool days that member may withdraw:
1. The Pool is limited as per the bargained agreement between the Association and the District. The Sick Leave Pool Administrator, appointed by the REA President, is responsible for administering the pool.
2. Any member who has pledged in the current “pledge cycle” is eligible to draw from the pool, if they exhaust their regularly accumulated sick days. All other leave must be utilized before the sick leave pool days will be granted (such as personal day, discretionary leave, etc.).
3. It is a member’s responsibility to request the utilization of the sick leave pool as soon as they believe it is needed. If a payroll deadline had passed and the pool is utilized after the payroll cutoff, the District will reimburse the member for the “docked days” within two (2) pay cycles.
4. The Executive Board of the REA may require proof of need (such as a doctor’s note or history of sick leave usage from the district) upon reception of a pool draw request.
5. A member may draw pool days up to the maximum draw day allotment in any pledge cycle or school year.
6. Pool days may not be used as a substitute for/or an extension of FMLA or OFLA leaves for family members, but may be used for personal illness or injury (sick leave) and/or an employee’s serious health condition. Pool day may not be used for parental leave.
7. A new pledge “drive” will be initiated at the time that the pool is reduced to thirty (30) days and will continue for twenty-five (25) calendar days.
8. Each member will receive an invitation, which gives them the opportunity to pledge a day to the “pool” or request not to be involved during the current pledge cycle. The Sick Leave Pool Administrator will attempt to contact all members who fail to respond to determine their intention. Failure to respond during the pledging period will signal the member’s intent to not participate in the “pool.”
9. A maximum of 30 days may be allocated per person. Working-retired members (drawing PERS retirement) may receive one-half (1/2) the maximum number of allocated days.
10. A maximum of 5 days will be allowed for pregnancy disability or a pregnancy that qualifies as a serious health condition.
11. No additional days beyond those listed above will be granted during a cycle or school year.
12.New members will automatically be eligible to participate in the “pool” until the next pledge cycle is initiated. At that point, they will be subject to the same conditions as any other member.
Sick Leave Pool FAQs
Can I join the sick leave pool even if I don’t have any days left right now?
Yes. The way the pool works is that the payroll secretary at district office and I work together. She and I have a list of people who have pledged to donate to the pool. When I receive an application to draw from the pool, if I determine that the application seems legitimate, I let the payroll secretary know that the person has been approved to draw, and I let her know how many days. The secretary then works her way down the list of people who have pledged to the pool. If you are on the list, and you have a sick day left in your own balance, then when she gets to your name, she will take one day and transfer it to the person in need. If you do not have a day left when she gets to you, she skips your name and moves to the next person. If the pool cycles lasts into the next school year, the people that were skipped are then used at the beginning of the next year when they have a fresh set of days. You DO NOT need to currently have a day in your balance to join the pool.
People seem to be using the sick leave pool for questionable reasons. Aren’t there guidelines to keep this from happening?
Yes. Everyone who draws from the pool must fill out an application and submit it with a reason for their absence, and the reason must be personal illness or disability. In addition, the requests are almost always verified by an REA building rep or administrator, and if a building rep, administrator, or someone in human resources is not part of the discussion, then a doctor's note usually accompanies the request. The REA certainly tries its best to maintain the integrity of the sick leave pool. In addition, there are often confidential, and sometimes legal, circumstances that cannot be shared with the membership at large.
Are people required to submit a doctor’s note to draw from the pool?
Members can be asked to submit a doctor’s note to draw from the pool. It is not required in every circumstance, but if requested, the member must submit documentation to be eligible to draw.
Can I donate more than one day to the pool?
No. You can only donate one day to the pool. However, occasionally there are situations where a person needs more than the 30 days that are available to him or her from the pool. In those cases, the sick leave pool administrator and the building rep for the building where the person in need works, work together to run a separate donation drive specifically for that person. In those instances, you can donate one additional day to a specific person. If the building rep and sick leave pool administrator are unable to get enough days from one building, then we move to a district-wide request. You can donate to these drives even if you are not a member of the sick leave pool.
Are people on maternity leave using up the pool?
No. The REA implemented a policy limiting the number of days that could be drawn from the sick leave pool due to pregnancy disability. A maximum of 5 days will be allowed for pregnancy disability or a pregnancy that qualifies as a serious health condition. If necessary, a separate donation drive can be organized as discussed in the section, “Can I donate more than one day to the pool.”
Are people drawing from the sick leave pool instead of using their other leave options?
No. All other leave options must be exhausted before a person can draw from the pool.
What if I need to draw from the pool, but I miss the payroll deadline?
You would see the sick leave pool reimbursement on the paycheck following the submission of your application. The sick leave pool can be retroactive, and it can take up to two pay cycles to kick in.
Am I able to use the pool to stay home with a sick family member?
No. The pool may only be accessed to cover your own personal illness or disability.
How does the sick leave pool work with disability insurance?
To become eligible for long term disability, a person must be unable to work for 90 days. Sometimes, people must draw from the sick leave to pool to cover their absences until they have reached the 90 day deadline.
How long does the sick leave pool cycle last?
It depends. The length of the cycle depends on how many people need to draw from the pool. If there are approximately 300 people donating one day to the pool, and 10 people need to draw the maximum of 30 days from the pool, then the cycle will be short. Currently, it seems to be lasting about one school year.
Do I have to fill out an application every time I need to use the pool?
Yes. You need to fill out a new application for each time you need to draw from the pool, and you can only fill out an application after you have run out of leave and been absent or if you know you will have follow up doctor appointments for a surgery etc. You may not fill out an application asking for days “just in case.” There must be documented circumstance to be eligible to draw.
I am a new teacher to the district; how can I get into the pool?
All new REA members are automatically eligible to draw from the sick leave pool, and remain eligible until the current cycle ends. Then they will be asked to pledge a day to the pool for the next cycle, at which time they become a regular member of the pool.