School Board Policy 495 -
Leaves of Absence Without Pay

Adopted: February 11, 2013  

I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide criteria to give guidance to the school administration when an employee requests a leave of absence for discretionary purposes.

II. General Statement of Policy

A. The School Board recognizes the right of employees to request leaves of absence without pay based on the employee’s individual needs or desires and consistent with provisions of the appropriate employee master agreement or policy.

B. Because an employee’s absence affects students, other staff and education programming, the needs and desires of the employee must be weighed against the needs of the district whenever a leave of absence is requested.

C. In acting on employee leave requests, the School Board will observe provisions of the appropriate employee master agreement, district policy, and applicable state and federal statutes. In making recommendations to the School Board regarding leave without pay approval, district administration will consider both the reasons for the employee’s request and the needs of the district. In general, concerns related to the educational program will take precedence over personal interests of the employee.

III. Factors to be Considered

A. Multiple factors will be considered when acting on leave of absence requests, including but not limited to:

1. The stated reason(s) of the employee in requesting a leave;

2. Relevant provisions of the appropriate employee master agreement, district policy and/or state and federal statute(s);

3. Length of service to the district of the employee applying for the leave. (Normally the district will not approve any leave during an employee’s probationary period other than leaves required by law or collective bargaining agreement.)

4. Length of leave request:

a. Under M.S. 122A.46, the length of an approved extended leave must be determined by mutual agreement of the School Board and the employee at the time the leave is granted and shall be at least three(3), but no more than five years. An extended leave may be granted to employees who have been employed by the district for at least five (5) years and who have at least ten (10) years of allowable service in Minnesota.

b. Normally, the length of an approved leave of absence for other reasons shall not exceed one (1) year. In extenuating circumstances, an extension of one (1) additional year may be granted for a maximum of two consecutive years of leave.

5. Record of previous leaves taken by the employee;

6. Availability of qualified substitute teachers;

7. Number of other employees in the same assignment category currently on leaves of absence;

8. Timing of the leave as it relates to potential disruption to students, other staff, and educational programming:

a. Whenever possible, leaves should begin when the school year begins and ends when the school year ends. If that is not possible, the beginning or ending of a leave should coincide with a natural break point during the school year.

b. The leave request should provide the district with enough advance notice so it can assess the effects of the leave on students, staff and educational programming.

9. Potential benefits to the district;

10. Whether the purpose of the leave can be scheduled or accomplished during a non-duty (school vacation/break) period.

B. Additional factors pertaining to requests for part-time leaves:

1. Availability of a suitable part-time assignment;

2. Flexibility of the employee in accepting a part-time assignment;

3. Willingness of the employee to return to full time employment should a part-time position to which the individual is assigned be increased to full time if a qualified substitute is not available, or the additional part-time assignment is not deemed feasible;

4. Willingness of the employee to participate fully in parent-teacher conferences and in-district workshops without additional remuneration.

C. Acting upon requests for a leave of absence without pay is a School Board prerogative; however, the Superintendent or designee is authorized to grant such leave status for periods not to exceed ten (10) working days in succession.

D. American Disabilities Act provisions will be considered when reviewing a request for leave without pay due to a disability. The District will comply with applicable state and federal law when considering requests for leave of absence due to an employee’s disability.

Legal References:
Minn. Stat. §122A.46 Extended Leaves of Absence

Cross References:
WBLASB Policy 401 (Equal Employment Opportunities)
WBLASB Policy 402 (Disability Nondiscrimination Policy)
WLBASB Policy 410 (Family Medical Leave Act)