Frequently Asked Questions

LOA Facts – FMLA/PERSONAL II

How do I request a leave?
Are all leaves the same?

Who do I notify about requesting a LOA?

How are leaves granted?

When does a family leave begin?

What happens if a holiday or vacation falls during my leave?

What is the length of a leave?

What happens when my 12 weeks expire?

What is the policy regarding return dates from FMLA?

What is the policy regarding return dates from personal leave?

How do I know what step I will be on upon my return from a leave?

How are steps granted when returning from a leave?

What happens if I borrow days?

What happens with sick days and benefits?

Can I revise my leave?

What happens if I am in the second year of an approved leave of absence and I become pregnant with another child?

What needs to be done in order to return from a leave?

How does leave affect tenure if the leave is during the year tenure is to be granted?

Am I entitled to my same job back upon my return from a LOA?

What leave rights are afforded to the teachers who are adoptive or foster parents?

Can I take I take time to care for a family member who served in the Armed Forces?



How do I request a leave?

Use the District LOA request form. These forms are available in your school's main office. If not, contact Personnel. When filling out the form, please fill it out completely and sign. Accuracy of Start and End date is particularly important.

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Are all leaves the same?

All forms of paid leave offered by the District will be treated the same, regardless of the type of leave substituted. Personal leave is granted at the discretion of the Board of Education. If FMLA meets the requirement, the FMLA leave will be approved.

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Who do I notify about requesting a LOA?

Please notify the Superintendent's Designee, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel, if foreseeable, at least 30 days prior to the date when the leave is to begin. Give a copy to your Building Principal. Staff members are required to provide at least verbal notice sufficient to make the District aware that the employee needs FMLA qualifying leave, and the anticipated timing and duration of leave.

The District must now notify staff members of the employee's eligibility to take FMLA leave within five business days from when the staff member requests FMLA leave, absent extenuating circumstances. The District may retroactively designate leave as FMLA qualifying so long as the designation does not cause "harm or injury to the employee."

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How are leaves granted?

Staff members may be granted up to a one year leave of absence without pay, renewable for one additional year, upon application to the Superintendent of Schools and approval of the Board of Education. The District will not grant leaves to allow a teacher to take a job in another district. In addition, working as a substitute in Commack will not be approved while on leave.

For FMLA, you have had to be employed for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding commencement of the leave.

The District must count a staff member's prior service toward the 12 months needed to earn FMLA eligibility if a break in service does not exceed seven years. There are a few exceptions to the Seven Year Rule.

The District must use the following breaks in employment when determining whether a staff member has been employed for at least 12 months, regardless of the length of the break in service:

  • where breaks in service result from an employee fulfilling military obligation
  • where there is language written in the collective bargaining agreement

The District is not permitted, absent unusual circumstances, to delay or deny FMLA if staff members do not follow established call-in procedures and fail to properly notify employers of absences. Staff members are to provide the District with at least 30 days' advance notice before FMLA leave is to begin if the need for the leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption or foster care, planned medical treatment for a serious health condition of the employee or a family member or the planned medical treatment for a serious injury or illness of a covered service member. If 30 days is not practicable, notice must be given as soon as practicable

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When does a family leave begin?

Family leave begins on the first day you are absent due to the event, beginning with an absence without a return.

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What happens if a holiday or vacation falls during my leave?

Absences of one or more weeks when school is closed due to a holiday vacation, e.g., Winter Break, do not count against FMLA leave entitlements. However, when a particular holiday falls during a week taken as FMLA leave, e.g., Veterans' Day, the day is counted as FMLA leave.

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What is the length of a leave?

Normally, all personal leaves can be up to one year in duration. A leave for one semester may be considered under extenuating circumstances. A leave of absence for less than a semester shall be considered a short-term leave. Short-term leaves of absence may be granted at the discretion of the Board of Education.

Family Leave is for 12 weeks and includes up to 60 workdays, under FMLA.

A family leave can be extended up to one year in duration.

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What happens when my 12 weeks expire?

Once the 12-week leave has expired you may request an additional unpaid leave. If you wanted to use additional accumulated days, or borrow up to thirty days, you would need to have a doctor fill out the District required form certifying that you are unable to work because of a medical issue. If this does not happen, you'll be on unpaid leave and must assume payment responsibilities for your health coverage.

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What is the policy regarding return dates from FMLA?

FMLA return dates may not be after the first week of June. If the 12 weeks were to end beyond that week, the District could request they remain out for the balance of the school year.

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What is the policy regarding return dates from personal leave?

Return dates from personal leave are at the discretion of the Board of Education.

FMLA rules give up to 12 weeks leave. If a staff member would like additional time beyond the 12 weeks specified as part of the FMLA, that then becomes a personal leave. As a rule, the BOE will only approve return dates of the first day of the school year and the first day of the second semester. This date might change from year to year, but would probably be some time in January. There may be exceptions where the BOE will approve other return dates. That then becomes a personal leave.

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How do I know what step I will be on upon my return from a leave?

Five months and a day, or more, but less than one full year, will be credited as a full year on the schedule.

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How are steps granted when returning from a leave?

A return date at the start of the second semester is needed in order to receive your step. Being on the payroll for the entire first semester and then being on an unpaid leave for the balance of the school year would also allow that year to count as a step.

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What happens if I borrow days?

The employee must repay days in the future years. If the employee resigns, the district will require payment in full. The payment required will be at the rate at the time of resignation. This rate may be more than what you were paid for the days at the time they were borrowed.

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What happens with sick days and benefits?

You must use accumulated sick days concurrently with the FMLA leave for up to 12 weeks. During this time, you are entitled to 12 weeks of non-interrupted health benefits. If FMLA ends during the month, the employee will retain coverage at the payroll rate. You must have enough sick days to remain on payroll. If sick days run out before the end of 12 weeks you will no longer be on payroll. You are responsible for the entire premium if you choose to continue the health insurance benefit beyond the statutory twelve-week FMLA period if at that time you go off payroll. If you wish to continue health insurance coverage, please notify the Assistant Superintendent for Business with a copy to the Employee Benefits Secretary. Include the dates of the coverage.

In the year that the leave takes place, you are only entitled to days for the months you are on payroll. You earn 1.3 days per month, at the conclusion of each month.

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Can I revise my leave?

Individuals can fill out a revised form to extend or shorten a leave. If an employee starts the approved leave earlier than the original start date, he/she must fill out a revised LOA request form with new start and end dates for Board of Education approval.

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What happens if I am in the second year of an approved leave of absence and I become pregnant with another child?

In order to qualify for another FMLA leave with 12 weeks of paid health insurance, the law requires that the employee must return to work for one year. However, though not part of FMLA, the District has allowed employees, under these circumstances, to apply for and receive an additional personal unpaid year from the date of the second delivery. If a second leave is requested, a new request form for a personal leave must be submitted.

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What needs to be done in order to return from a leave?

If the staff member plans to return, written notice shall be given to the Superintendent's Designee, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel, no later than NINETY DAYS prior to the expiration of the leave to confirm the date of return.

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How does leave affect tenure if the leave is during the year tenure is to be granted?

In order for time to count, individuals must remain on the payroll. Any time that is off payroll would have to be made up, day for day, before tenure is awarded. The tenure date is moved back equal to the number of days off payroll.

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Am I entitled to my same job back upon my return from a LOA?

If you are on a paid LOA, every attempt will be made for you to return to the same job or a similar job. Unpaid leaves entitle you to a job in your certification and tenure area upon your return.

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What leave rights are afforded to the teachers who are adoptive or foster parents?

A staff member who adopts a child or who takes in a foster child is entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA within one year of adoption of a child(under 18 years of age) or the placement of a foster child in the teacher's home. However, under FMLA an eligible staff member may elect, or the District may require, the teacher to substitute his or her accrued vacation, personal, or family leave for any part of the 12 weeks. Additionally, under State Labor Law, any employer who permits an employee to take a LOA when a child is born must afford that same leave to an adoptive parent of a preschool child at the time the child is placed in the home by an authorized agency, or upon filing court papers for adoption if the adoption is not sponsored by an authorized agency.

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Can I take I take time to care for a family member who served in the Armed Forces?

The FMLA was amended to provide additional leave opportunities to eligible employees with family members in the Armed Forces. The new Service member Family Leave permits a "spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin to take up to 26 work weeks of leave to care for a covered service member of the Armed Forces who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness during a single 12-month period to care for his/her injured service member relative.

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