Sick Days

Our current allotment of sick days comes as a result of the OSSTF Memorandum of Understanding with the government in April 2013, which modified our 2008-12 TBU and OTBU collective agreements for 2012-14. (No modified CA has been issued because there has been no agreement with the DSBN as to what those modifications would say.) Teacher Bargaining Unit members now have access each year to 11 sick days at 100% pay and 120 sick days at 90% pay. (During an LTO assignment, OTBU members are eligible for 11 sick days/year at 100% and 60 sick days/year at 90%, pro-rated to the length of the assignment.) There is an exception to this when an absence due to the same illness extends over the end of a school year, and access only to the 120 days at 90% from the old school year continues into the new year. Then, if the member is able to return to work at any time during the new school year, the member is issued a new allotment of 11 + 120 days. Any 90% sick days can be topped up to 100% pay based on 10 days for every one of the eleven 100% days unused from the previous school year, e.g., 5 unused 100% sick days in 2013-14 would allow 50 sick days at 90% to be topped up to 100% in 2014-15.

Entitlement for TBU members to use the 11 + 120 sick days is based on the language in the 2008-12 collective agreement, article 12.01 (b): “An employee shall be entitled to draw upon his/her sick leave credits ... for personal medical absences which shall include illness, injury, medical diagnosis, treatment and consultation.” By virtue of past practice, dental is included in “medical”.

Note that sick leave cannot be used for illnesses of parents or children, which are covered under article 13.01 (g), Family Care Leave: “A teacher shall, in cases involving serious illness/injury, be granted leave without loss of pay to a maximum of three (3) days in any one (1) year for the purpose of tending to the teacher’s own children, parents, spouse, parent-in-law, or any other relative who resides in the household.” If family care leave is required beyond three days in one school year, application must be made using HR-003, Request for Absence form, which is available in FirstClass (DSBN Education Centre/ Human Resources/ HR forms), as a request for Special Circumstances leave (13.01 (h), which may be with or without pay). It is also worth noting that OSSTF TBU members may also apply for up to eight weeks’ unpaid Family Medical Leave with benefits continued (article 13.11) when a family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks.

Absence Reporting is covered in another DSBN procedure (AP 5-28) and in articles 18.18 and 12.04 of the TBU 2008-12 collective agreement, which remain in effect:

18.18 Reporting of Absence
(a) For the purpose of reporting an unanticipated absence, a teacher should make an entry (by telephone or web) in SEMS prior to 6:45 a.m. on the day of absence. Provided such entry is made before the specified time, this shall be the only reporting of absence required.
(b) If it is necessary for a teacher to report an unanticipated absence after 6:45 a.m., the teacher shall make a phone call to the teacher’s school, as directed by the school administration, and make an entry (by telephone or web) in SEMS if so directed.

12.04 Deductions
(a) After five (5) consecutive days of absence, no Sick Leave Credits shall be allowed unless a medical certificate is furnished to the Director of Education (or designate) by a physician or dentist, certifying the teacher’s inability to attend to his/her duties due to personal illness or injury. Updated medical information specifically outlining limitations and restrictions may be required for the purposes of accommodation. The Board shall, if required, reimburse the teacher for the cost of obtaining such documentation.
(b) Notwithstanding the above, the Board may require a teacher to submit the certificate thereunder for a period of absence of less than five (5) days. The Board shall, if required, reimburse the teacher for the cost of obtaining a medical certificate where the period of absence is less than five (5) days.

Note that school administrators are not entitled to see a doctor’s note or other “medical certificate”. When a “medical certificate” is required, it should be sent to the DSBN’s Disability Management Co-ordinator. One way to do this is to hand the document to the school administrator in a sealed envelope addressed to the DSBN Disability Management Co-ordinator.