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Excused absences

New York Teacher
Excused absences

One of the many benefits of union membership is having paid leave to rest and recuperate when you are sick. If you are a teacher or appointed pedagogue, you can be paid for up to 10 days in any school year if you are sick and absent from school without submitting a doctor’s note. Other titles, such as paraprofessionals, can take up to five such sick days per term but no more than three consecutive days without a doctor’s note. People with sufficient sick days can be paid for more than 10 days in a school year if they submit a doctor’s note.

But there are other occasions — aside from personal illness — when you are entitled to be absent from work but still get paid without using your Cumulative Absence Reserve, or sick bank.

Form OP 201 is required for bereavement as well as for most absences that are not due to personal illness, including jury duty or appearing in court as a witness, religious observances, graduations and extraordinary transportation delays.


You can take the day of a high school, middle school or college graduation or degree, whether in person or virtual, for yourself, your parent, spouse, child or stepchild. Excluded are stepping-up or graduation ceremonies from pre-K, kindergarten and 6th grade. See additional guidance on excused absences to attend graduations.


UFT members can take up to four days of paid leave time following the death of an immediate family member. Before the 2023 contract, these four days had to be the day of death and the next three consecutive workdays. Now, the bereaved can take four days at any point in the three months after the date of death if those leave days are connected to a funeral or memorial service. The day of death could be one of those four days, but it doesn’t have to be. UFT-represented employees are also entitled to take up to one day for the death of a relative outside the immediate family or household.

Jury duty

The time you spend serving on a jury is not deducted from your CAR.

Screenings and blood donation

Accommodations can also be made for up to a four-hour excused leave for a cancer screening or three hours on an annual basis to donate blood. The request must be made in advance in writing. Your principal, or their designee, must grant an approval and can request that you reschedule if the school has received a number of requests for the same time.

Other health-related absences

Four hours of paid time off can be used each year for COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots that are scheduled during the workday.

If you test positive for COVID, you may take an excused leave with full pay of up to two workweeks with medical documentation during the 2023–24 school year.

Absences due to hepatitis B as a result of working with children or due to an allergic reaction from a DOE-mandated skin test will not be deducted from your CAR provided you submit appropriate medical documentation.

Other health-related absences that are not deducted from your CAR include absences due to contracting measles, mumps or chicken pox from a student. (Shingles is not on the list.) These are considered “nonattendance” days and can be requested on the OP 201 form.

Other absences

With approval by the principal, you won’t have the time deducted from your CAR if you are up to three hours late for work due to an extraordinary transportation delay.

For religious observances, you may use your three personal days, which will be deducted from your CAR, or you may take a pay deduction, equal to the cost of a per-diem sub, for each day that you do not report to work.

Related Topics: Absences and Leaves