Q & A on the issues

Q&A on the grievance settlement for long-term substitute teachers filling vacancies

The following Q&A should answer the most frequently asked questions regarding the settlement.

Why did this grievance come about?

Starting in September 2005 the DOE paid long-term uncertified substitute teachers who were filling vacancies as day-to-day per diem substitutes (“O” status). Teachers received a fixed daily rate of pay with no benefits.

How were these teachers paid prior to September 2005?

In the past, long-term uncertified substitute teachers who were filling a vacancy were paid as regular teachers on the “Q” Bank payroll and received full benefits.

What is meant by “Q” Bank payroll?

The “Q” Bank payroll is an annual payroll. It is how all appointed teachers in the system are paid according to the salary schedules listed in the UFT contract.

Why did the DOE make this change?

Effective Sept. 1, 2005, the State Education Department, in following No Child Left Behind, mandated that all teachers hired in New York State be certified. The DOE unilaterally decided that all uncertified long-term substitute teachers filling a vacancy would be paid as day-to-day per diem substitutes, and not on the “Q” Bank payroll, as in the past.

What steps did the union take to rectify the situation with the DOE?

Many members filed individual grievances when they were improperly paid as per diem substitutes. The union filed a union-initiated grievance on Nov. 16, 2006, to protect all those members who had not filed individual grievances. As a result of the union-initiated grievance, the UFT and DOE recently reached a settlement that covers all members improperly paid.

If I filed an individual salary grievance, do I need to do anything?

All individual salary grievances that were filed will be subsumed into the union-initiated grievance. You do not have to do anything.

How does this agreement affect me?

If you were a long-term substitute teacher filling a vacancy and were paid as a per diem teacher, you will be paid on the regular “Q” Bank payroll if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • covering for a regular teacher out on a sabbatical for the full term or full school year; or
  • covering for a teacher on an unpaid leave of absence for the duration (until the last day of school) of the school year; or
  • covering for a teacher on an approved leave due to an injury in the line of duty (LODI) and the leave is for the duration (until the last day of school) of the school year; or
  • covering for a teacher who is reassigned to a teacher reassignment center for the duration of the school year (however, the substitute teacher shall not receive “Q” Bank status for the first 60 days in the assignment); or
  • covering for an absent teacher who is on a paid status using CAR (sick) days, borrowing up to 20 days and/or grace period and whose status is subsequently adjusted to unpaid leave for the duration (until the last day of school) of the school year; or
  • covering for a teacher on an approved paid absence using CAR days, borrowed days and/or grace period for the duration (until the last day of school) of the school year; or
  • you were a substitute teacher hired to fill an unencumbered vacancy after the 15th calendar day following the first day staff reports and were employed for a minimum of two months; or
  • you were a substitute teacher hired to fill an unencumbered vacancy within the first 15 days of a term.

What is a vacancy?

There are two types of vacancies — encumbered and unencumbered. An encumbered vacancy is a position filled by a long-term substitute teacher who replaces an appointed teacher. (For example: a position that is vacant because a teacher is on an unpaid child care leave is called an encumbered vacancy.)

An unencumbered vacancy is a new position that was created by a school or a vacancy created by a retirement, resignation or termination of an employee.

I am a certified teacher. Am I covered by this grievance settlement?

Yes. Both certified and uncertified long-term substitute teachers are covered under this settlement.

I was filling a position for an appointed teacher who took an unpaid medical leave from Oct. 1 through May 15. Am I entitled to be paid on the “Q” Bank?

No, because you did not fill the position until the last day of the school year; however, under this agreement you are entitled to be paid on “Z” status instead of being paid the flat daily rate as a per diem substitute teacher (“O” status).

What is “Z” status?

“Z” status is a per diem teacher who works 30 or more days covering the same teacher in the same position. You are paid at the rate of 1/200th of your annual salary up to salary step 4A; however, you are not entitled to benefits.

I was a long-term substitute teacher who was filling an encumbered vacancy for an appointed teacher on an unpaid child care leave that started in the middle of the school term and ended the last day of school. Am I entitled to be paid on “Q” Bank?

Yes, because you worked until the end of the school year. You do not have to start at the beginning of a term to be eligible for “Q” Bank status.

When will I be paid on the “Q” Bank payroll?

If you meet the criteria, you must first work until the end of the school year. You will be placed on the “Q” Bank payroll with all benefits retroactively to your first day of work in the position (exception: “Q” Bank payroll begins the 61st day if you are covering for someone in the teacher reassignment center). For the first 60 days, you will be paid on the “Z” status payroll.

Because I was an uncertified teacher, I was dropped from the “Q” Bank payroll at the end of the school year and lost my health benefits. In order to continue my health insurance I had to purchase COBRA benefits. Will I be reimbursed for my premium costs?

If you fall under the parameters of the agreement, the DOE has agreed to reimburse teachers for their COBRA premiums if they provide complete documentation.

What if I worked the following year covering an encumbered vacancy but was paid as a per diem substitute teacher?

If you subsequently worked the following school year and should have remained on the “Q” Bank payroll with all benefits, the DOE agreed to reimburse teachers for their COBRA premiums if they provide complete documentation.

What if I filed an individual salary grievance prior to Nov. 16, 2006?

Individual members who filed a grievance prior to Nov. 16, 2006 will be paid back to the date they filed the grievance.

I did not file an individual grievance. Am I entitled to be retroactively paid?

Yes, the union-initiated grievance entitles you to be paid on the “Q” Bank if you met one of the above-stated criteria.

How long will it take to be paid?

The union must provide to the DOE within 90 days from Sept. 8, 2008, a list of members affected by this settlement. Upon DOE review, payroll will then process the claims.

Who do I contact at the UFT to file my claim?

You should contact your UFT borough office as soon as possible and ask to speak with a salary representative. Salary representatives can be reached Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.

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