Ask Ali: Unpaid Days and Leaves of Absence

Q: I have a family event to attend next fall and need to take 1 unpaid day off work.  Is this possible and do I have to apply for it? 

- I. Travel

A: It is possible.

A web form leave request is required for all unpaid leave requests- even for 1 day.  The web form can be found on the HR portal.

Unpaid leave requests of 10 days or less do not require 3 months notice.  Rather, reasonable notice (4-6 weeks) is required.

Q: I would like to take a leave of absence next school year.  When does the paperwork need to be completed? 

- W.T. Datum

A: Teachers, who are requesting a leave of absence for the 2017-2018 school year, will need to submit their request to Human Resources online by April 1, 2019.  There is no paperwork.  The WRDSB requires you to complete an eForm through the Human Resource Portal.

Request for leave of absence must be received by the Human Resources Department three (3) months, excluding July and August, prior to the date on which the leave is to commence. 

If you need more time to decide what full-time equivalency (FTE) you would like to work next year, ETFO advises applying for the leave prior to the April 1 deadline as teachers can always change/cancel the leave once it has been approved, but will likely not be approved if they apply late.  Once a leave commences, the leave can be cancelled/changed with 3 months notice.

Teachers who have completed their probationary period can request a full-time or part-time leave of absence for the 2017-2018 school year.  

Q: I would like to request a part-time leave.  Can I request to teach mornings only? 

- P.M. Offerman

A: Yes.  

There is an agreement with the Board, that the principal when it is reasonable, shall make every attempt to schedule the a.m., or p.m. preference of the teacher.  As well, the teaching assignment shall be scheduled in a consecutive manner during the part of the day that the teacher has agreed to teach. 

If there is a preference, it is recommended that a teacher make this request known to his/her administration in writing when requesting the leave.

If the administration states that they are unable to accommodate the a.m. or p.m. request, please octant the ETFO office.

Q: Is it possible to take one day off per week? 

- I.N. Quire

A; Perhaps…

Human Resources needs to approve the leave and it is up to the administration to timetable accordingly. 

The WRDSB prefers that principals timetable the same FTE for each day.  For example,  a 0.80 FTE would likely be timetabled as 0.8 of each day.  In some instances, the principal may timetable most days at 0.7 and a few days at 0.90 resulting in a 0.80 FTE overall.  There are a few principals that will timetable 1 day off per cycle for a 0.8 FTE- but it is rare.  

In any case, it is beneficial to have any timetable arrangement confirmed in writing as principals move and the incoming principal may not be aware of the arrangement or wish to maintain the promises made by the previous principal.

Q: There is a staff member at my school that works only Tuesdays and Thursdays but the school operates on a 5 day cycle.  How is this possible? 

- N. Ozie

A: This is likely a medical leave and not an unpaid leave. 

The employer has a duty to accommodate employee medical needs and follow the restrictions and limitations outlined by their doctor.  In this example, the teacher may being undergoing treatment on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and therefore can only work on the days in between.  As medical leaves and accommodations are confidential, there is no obligation for the employer and/or teacher to explain the rationale for the work day to others. 

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