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Absences

Self-treated days

If you are a teacher or other appointed pedagogue and are absent from school because of illness, you will be paid for up to 10 days in any school year without submitting a doctor’s note. These are known as “self-treated days.” If you take more than 10 self-treated days in any school year, you will not be paid for the additional absences unless you submit a doctor’s note – even if you have accumulated days in your Cumulative Absence Reserve (CAR), commonly referred to as your sick bank. Whenever possible, you should submit medical certification for each day you are absent to preserve as many of your self-treated days as possible.

Here are some more important things to know about self-treated days:

  • You can use three of your 10 days for personal business, provided that you give reasonable notice to your principal. Personal business is officially defined as something that cannot be done at any time other than a school day, during school hours. All three personal business days may be used to care for family members who are ill.
     
  • Aside from these three personal business days, your self-treated days may only be taken for illness or disability. If you have exhausted all the days in your CAR and you are regularly appointed, you may borrow up to 20 additional sick leave days. You must submit a request to borrow additional days in writing to your principal. It is important that you call your school and notify the principal each day that you will be absent. After ten self-treated sick days, whether they are borrowed or not, you will need a doctor's note.
     
  • If your supervisor suspects that you are abusing the sick leave provisions in the contract -- for example, absences are always on Mondays or Fridays or before holidays, s/he may investigate investigate.

Other absences

You are entitled to take one day each school year for an annual physical exam or for annual laboratory tests. This absence is deducted from your sick bank (CAR).

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

Other absences that are not deducted from your CAR include those used if you contract German measles, mumps or chicken pox from a student; for the death of an immediate family member or to appear in court as a juror or witness. These are considered "non-attendance" days. Your chapter leader can advise you about which forms to file for these absences.

You can request up to four hours of paid time off annually to get screened for breast or prostate cancer, and up to three hours of unpaid time off annually to donate blood. The request should be made in advance and in writing to your principal. It will be granted if it is determined that it will not be a major disruption to the school.

Absences for paraprofessionals

Educational paraprofessionals may use their sick leave (CAR days) for their own personal illness with certification from their physician.

CAR is time earned by a full-time educational paraprofessional that can be used for personal illness. Eligible employees can earn one CAR day for every month for which they are on payroll, up to 10 CAR days per year These days may be carried over from year to year.

Eligible employees can accrue a maximum of 200 CAR days.

An educational paraprofessional may not use more than 10 self-treated days in an academic year. Absences due to personal illness beyond an employee's 10 self-treated days must be medically certified.

Educational paraprofessionals may use their sick leave up to three consecutive days for a self-treated illness. Beyond three consecutive days, an employee's principal may request certification from their physician, such as a note from their doctor, to certify their absences.

An educational paraprofessional may use three sick leave days for personal business during the academic year. These days included as part of the educational paraprofessional's 10 self-treated days in a ten-month period. If three personal business days are used, then the employee can only use seven self-treated days during the school year. For more information regarding the use of personal business days, refer the employee to their payroll secretary.

Educational paraprofessionals who exhaust their sick leave balances are eligible to borrow up to 10 days with certification from their physician. UFT educational paraprofessionals, whose sick leave allowance has been exhausted, have the right to borrow against future sick leave in accordance with applicable administrative regulations.

A request to borrow CAR in conjunction with a leave of absence needs to be submitted through SOLAS for approval. Employees who are unable to use SOLAS may submit their request by completing the Application for Borrowing Sick Days Form. The employee's CAR is placed in a negative balance for the number of days borrowed. As the employee earns CAR, the negative balance is adjusted.

UFT educational paraprofessionals do not have the option to buy back borrowed CAR days. They may only accrue one sick day each month, which will be applied to their negative CAR balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

A list of the most commonly asked questions.
How many sick days do teachers have each year? How many personal days?
UFT represented DOE employees may take up to 10 self-treated days per school year without a doctor’s note for absences due to illness. Three out of the 10 may be used for personal business. Paras may not take more than 5 in a term and must have a doctor’s note for consecutive absences of 3 or more days.
How can personal days be used?

You can use three of your 10 days for personal business, provided that you give reasonable notice to your principal. Personal business is officially defined as something that cannot be done at any time other than a school day, during school hours.

Reasonable notice must be given for personal business that is scheduled in advance, such as the closing on a house. This allows you an opportunity to speak to your chapter leader if you feel the principal is being unreasonable in denying your request. If you are out to take care of a suddenly ill child, advance notice is not ordinarily required. Personal days are part of the contractual right to 10 self-treated CAR days allowed each year, not in addition to those days.

Are there any illnesses for which time off will not be deducted from my sick bank?

Yes. Measles, mumps and chicken pox are childhood diseases that are not deductible from your sick time. Ask your school secretary or UFT chapter leader for an OP 198 application to submit to your principal. Form: http://www.uft.org/files/attachments/op198.pdf

Your principal may also excuse additional non-attendance days other than for illness such as jury duty; bereavement; graduation; extraordinary transit delay; and for donating blood or cancer screening. You must submit an OP 201 application. Permissible non-attendance days are listed on that form. Form: http://www.uft.org/files/attachments/op201_0.pdf

If a close family member dies, can I take time off to attend the funeral?

You may take off the day of death and up to three calendar days immediately following the death of an immediate family member and up to one day for the death of a relative outside the immediate family or household. Form OP 201 is required.

What types of leaves are available?

The most frequently requested leaves are:

• Paid parental leave: Eligible UFT-represented DOE employees may take up to six weeks of paid leave following the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child.

• Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Regularly appointed employees and regular substitutes may apply for a contractual leave which may be covered under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of health benefits, commencing with the first consecutive absence, during maternity leave (even if CAR days have been exhausted) and childcare leave. All other FMLA leaves are unpaid, such as care of a child under age 1, adoption, the start of foster care, caring for an ill family member, or treating a serious personal health condition. You are eligible if you have worked for a total of at least 12 months as of the date the leave commences (the months need not be consecutive) or for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months. The leave can be intermittent or involve reducing your work schedule, such as if you need to go for medical treatments.

• Leave of absence without pay for restoration of health: Medical circumstances could lead you to apply for a “leave of absence without pay for restoration of health.” Once you have exhausted your sick bank, you may borrow days (optional). Pedagogues may then remain on payroll for a calendar month with prorated pay by choosing to take a grace period.

• Contact the UFT Welfare Fund about disability payments if you are going to be off payroll for a significant amount of time. You must apply for the leave on SOLAS and submit medical documentation provided by your doctor including a diagnosis and prognosis. If your application for a medical leave is denied, medical arbitration may be appropriate. Please call your UFT Borough Office for assistance.

• Child care leave: Child care leave may be used by either parent but not both. This leave normally begins six weeks after the birth of the baby (but may begin eight weeks after for C section births) and can last up to four years from the next September term following the baby’s birthday. A child care leave for an adoptive parent ends at the same time.

There are additional leaves without pay that an appointed pedagogue may be granted, such as for teaching at CUNY or SUNY, military leave, service in the Peace Corps, sabbatical leave or acceptance of a supervisory or teaching position in a foreign country. Please call your UFT Borough Office to discuss other types of leaves that may fit your particular situation.

Further guidance on Absences

Know Your Rights definitions for:

Absence forms

  • CAR Transfer Form & Rules
    All pedagogues may use this form to donate sick time to a colleague. The recipient receives one day for every two days donated. Pedagogues may only donate sick days to a colleague suffering from a catastrophic illness. Sick leave transfer rules are on page 2 of the form.
  • OP 44: Application for Termination Pay for Pedagogues
    Upon resignation, termination or retirement, pedagogues and paraprofessionals may be granted half of their sick leave balance (up to 100 days) at the rate of 1/200th of their annual salary. Pedagogues must fill out this form online, download it, print it and get it signed by the principal and then mail or hand-deliver (strongly suggested) it to the DOE. The DOE does not accept faxes. Paraprofessionals do not need to fill out this form. However, in order to collect termination pay, they must be members of the Teachers' Retirement System.
  • OP 175W: Request for Waiver of Restriction on Per Session Employment
    The appropriate Per Session Supervisor must sign and submit this form to request a waiver of the restrictions on per session employment, in accordance with Chancellor’s Regulation C-175. Per session employment may not exceed 400 hours (with a maximum of 270 hours in a school psychologist and/or school social worker (SP/ SW) position) in a per session year unless prior approval is received from the Division of Human Resources.
  • OP 198: Application for Excuse of Absence for Personal Illness (Sick Leave)
    This form is used by all pedagogues to apply for medical certification for absence up to 20 consecutive school days, for requests to borrow sick days, for excuse of absence due to children’s diseases, and for injury in the line of duty claims. Rules and instructions are on page 2 of the form.
  • OP 201: Application for Excuse of Absence Without Pay and/or as Non-Attendance
    All pedagogues use this form to request time off with pay and no loss of CAR time for the circumstances listed on page 2 (death in the family, jury duty, graduation, religious observance, etc.). OP 201 is also used to request a day off without pay in certain circumstances.
  • OP 221: Application for Attending a Convention or Conference Outside NYC
    All pedagogues, paraprofessionals and administrative staff use this form to request approval for time off for a meeting or conference either with pay as non-attendance and no loss of CAR time, or without pay.
  • OP 407: Confidential Medical Report and Medical Evaluation
    All pedagogues, paraprofessionals and administrative staff are required to submit an OP 407 when applying for sabbatical leaves, for restoration of health leaves, for sick leaves over 20 consecutive school days and for alleged line of duty injuries. To maintain confidentiality, this form may be submitted directly to the Medical Bureau in place of a doctor’s statement on an OP 198 form.
  • PD 6: Application for Leave of Absence for Health Reasons
    Administrative staff may apply for a medical leave of absence without pay only when they have exhausted all sick leave and/or annual leave days. This application must be completed, signed and submitted to HR Connect for approval. Documentation and/or statement of particulars must be submitted with the form.
  • Application to Use Earned Annual/Sick Leave or Report Non-Chargeable Absence
    All >UFT members may use this form to report any kind of absence (e.g. sick day, personal day, meeting attendance, etc.).
  • PD 19: Application for Excuse of Absence with Pay for Administrative Employees
    Administrative employees and paraprofessionals should use this form to apply for a paid excused absence in one of the accepted circumstances for excused absence (e.g. death in the family, jury duty, workers' compensation, etc.).

DOE documents regarding absences