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New rights for OTs and PTs: Course reimbursement and family leave

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The following email about course reimbursement and family leave was sent to all DOE-employed occupational and physical therapists from UFT President Michael Mulgrew on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.


We are happy to inform you that we have advocated on your behalf and have come to the following agreement with the DOE on two issues important to occupational and physical therapists: course approval/tuition reimbursement and family leave.

Course approval and tuition reimbursement

For the professional development you need to keep your license current, your supervisor will approve your coursework for reimbursement up to the amount allowed in the DOE-UFT contract. Then, the principal needs to approve.

Coursework should meet criteria for license registration or renewal, or it should be used to further a degree that is related to your work as a therapist. Your supervisor and your principal should approve your coursework for reimbursement as long it fits that criterion and these additional criteria:

  • At the time of approval, you should be current on encounter attendance.
  • There should be no allegations of misconduct against you stemming from an OSI or SCI investigation and no disciplinary charges filed against you in the past three years.
  • You may miss for your coursework no more than two consecutive school days, with the exception of courses your principal requests that you attend, and no more than seven days total in the school year.
  • To the extent possible, your professional development should minimize any students missing their required therapy sessions. You should make up any missed therapy sessions with students if your schedule allows it.
  • If multiple therapists from the same school wish to attend a professional development session on the same day, the school should allow it as long as it does not cause undue hardship.

Family leave

A family leave policy will be made available to full-time occupational and physical therapists that provides the same benefits as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides up to 12 weeks of health benefits. The school should approve leaves for therapists on the same basis on which it approves leaves for teachers.

For more details, see the joint guidance from the DOE and the UFT.

If you have any questions, please contact the UFT Call Center at 212-331-6312.

Thank you, as always, for your hard work bringing needed services to our students.

Related Topics: Chapter News, Coronavirus