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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 4 hours of paid time off annually to get screened for breast or prostate cancer, and up to 3 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.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    I am currently on an approved leave. Will I be receiving lump sum payments/retroactive pay?

    UFT members who take an approved unpaid leave will get all of the rate increases that other employees will receive upon their return. In addition, they will receive all of their retroactive pay so long as they return from leave by Oct. 1, 2023 and remain active until they have received all of their payments. Employees who miss a scheduled lump-sum payment and are on payroll, will be paid on the next Oct. 1 and each following October 1 until all payments are made.

    What are the potential consequences of being frequently late or absent?

    If you are excessively absent or late, you may receive a letter for your official file. If you are tenured, the DOE has the right, with sufficient notice, to file disciplinary charges against you. There is a special, expedited procedure when the DOE seeks to discipline a tenured teacher because of time and attendance issues, but in these cases, the hearing officer cannot terminate you, but rather levy penalties less than termination.

    Am I eligible for a study sabbatical?

    Most appointed pedagogues (lab specialists, school counselors, secretaries, social workers and psychologists and teachers) are eligible for a one year study sabbatical after 14 years of service. Junior high or high school teachers with at least 7 years of service can also apply for a 6 month study sabbatical for the spring semester only.

    What is childcare leave?

    If UFT represented DOE employees want to take additional time off following maternity or paid parental leave to care for their child, they may take an unpaid childcare leave until the September following the baby’s 4th birthday.

    What is a grace period?

    Appointed pedagogues are entitled to a “calendar month” grace period, which pays you for all weekends and holidays for the calendar month following the exhaustion of the days in your sick bank and/or your borrowed days. Work days are deducted from your pay. The advantage of borrowing days and using the grace period is that since you remain on payroll, those days count toward your pension, seniority and pro-rata summer vacation pay, and it also keeps your health benefits intact.

    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.).
    • Application for Borrowing Sick Days for UFT Paraprofessionals
      Paras may use this form to borrow up to 10 days per year to cover serious personal illness.
    • 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