Leaves of absence
Any regularly appointed teacher may apply for a leave of absence. Leaves of absence with partial pay include military leaves and sabbatical leaves for study and for restoration of health.
There are also leaves of absence without pay available for those who meet specific criteria and require time for the adjustment of personal affairs. Any situation requiring your full-time attention, such as child care, taking care of a sick family member or your own illness, would apply.
Other types of leaves
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Regularly appointed employees and regular substitutes, if eligible, may apply for a leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of health benefits, beginning on the first day of maternity or childcare leave (even if CAR days have been exhausted). All other FMLA leaves are unpaid, and include 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, among others. You are eligible if you have worked at least 12 full months prior to the first day of your leave (the months need not be consecutive) or for 1,250 hours (equivalent to one school year under DOE regulations) over the previous 12 months. The leave can be intermittent or can be a reduced work schedule, for example for medical treatments. Per the 2023 contract, the DOE will now provide guidance on how staff may apply for a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) intermittent leave at the school-level and submit medical documentation in a confidential manner. This change reflects the needs of employees who need to take off regular, but not continuous, time to receive fertility 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.” Maternity leave is considered a restoration of health leave. However, this type of leave may also be used for treatment of and recuperation from a serious illness. In the case of a serious illness, once you have exhausted your sick bank, your borrowed days (optional) and have been carried on payroll for a calendar month without pay, you must apply for a leave without pay for restoration of health. You must apply on SOLAS and submit medical documentation verifying the information. If your application for a medical leave is denied, medical arbitration may be appropriate.
- 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 September term following the baby’s birthday. A child care leave for an adoptive parent ends at the same time.
There are other leaves without pay that an appointed pedagogue may be granted, such as for teaching at CUNY or SUNY, service in the Peace Corps, or acceptance of a supervisory or teaching position in a foreign country. Please contact the UFT at 212-331-6311 if you need information on other types of leaves.
- FAQs on Leaves of Absence
- The Health and Cancer Helpline assists UFT members with understanding their medical leave options, their rights to take a leave and determining the type of leave appropriate for their situation.
Online leave applications
Non-supervisory educators including teachers, guidance counselors, school secretaries, social workers and psychologists are now required to use the Self-Service Online Leave Application System (SOLAS) to apply for maternity leaves, restoration of health leaves, health sabbatical leaves and non-medical leaves. Your school's designated leave secretary also now has access to SOLAS to verify timekeeping. For more information, see the DOE’s SOLAS FAQ.
- Request for Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Both pedagogues and administrative staff must provide acceptable certification by a physician or other health care provider for their own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a covered family member within fifteen (15) calendar days of the request for leave, where practicable. Please see Personnel Memorandum No. 54, 1995-1996 for further information.
- EB 1054: Health Benefits Report/Inquiry
Payroll secretaries will no longer be required to submit 1054 forms for employees on the administrative and pedagogical payrolls if the 1054 is for a job-related event, such as a SLOAC or FMLA leave. However, this form is still required for paraprofessionals.
- OP 40: Application for Retirement Leave of Absence (Terminal Leave)
Pedagogues and paraprofessionals must use this form to apply for a retirement leave of absence. For every two days in the employee’s sick bank, one day of terminal leave is granted. The form must be filed 30 days in advance of the leave. The leave can only cover up to one term and cannot extend from one school term to another. See page 2 for guidelines. In order to go on a terminal leave, paraprofessionals must be members of the Teachers' Retirement System.
- 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 an absence of up to 20 consecutive school days, for requests to borrow sick days and for excuse of absence due to children’s diseases. Rules and instructions are on Page 2.
- OP 255: Resumption of Service Report
Upon an employee’s return from a leave of absence without pay, the payroll secretary must submit an OP 255 form to the Bureau of Salary Differentials and Status.
- PD 6: Application for Leave of Absence for Health Reasons (for administrative employees)
Administrative staff may apply for a medical leave for Administrative Employees. 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.
- DOE Memo: Continuation of Extended Rights and Benefits for Military Leave
This memo, dated Dec. 13, 2002, details the Department of Education's policy regarding the city's Extended Military Benefits Package.
- Heads of Bureau Circular No. 11: Maternity Leave and Child Care Leaves
Regulations governing leaves of absence for maternity and/or child care for administrative (non-pedagogical) staff. Page 1 of this document is Heads of Bureau Circular #15, 1975-1976, which amends a section of Circular #11.
- Personnel Memorandum #54, 1995-1996: Family and Medical Leave Act
The purpose of this memorandum is to describe the benefits and eligibility requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).