posted at 6/9/2009 4:52 PM EDTOk girls....I need your thoughts/advice/expertise. I will try and make this as short and easy to understand as possible.
I have mentioned a bunch of times that I am teacher. In terms of maternity leave I can use up to 6 or 8 weeks (depending on how I deliver) of my accrued sick time in order to get paid leave. If I don't have the sick days or don't want to use them, I can just take the time unpaid. I have been trying to save my sick days this year and was planning on taking 6 weeks (or 30 sick days) and then I was going to add on my 12 weeks from FMLA to get some additional (unpaid) time off to be with my baby.
Last week I was home - completely knocked on my rear due a nasty nasty cold. I had no choice but to use 4 sick days. Not a problem as I still had enough to cover my leave and have some left over for when I go back to work. However, I was in touch with my partner teacher as well as the principal and I was told (by the principal) that there were increasing numbers of children being sent home with flu-like symptoms (one from our classroom) and to not return to work until I spoke with my doctor. So I followed his orders and my doc was not comfortable with me returning to work this week. She felt it would unnecessarily put my pregnancy at risk. She sent a note to my employer that stated I could return on the 15th given no other flu cases popped up in our room. Well, this is complicated by the fact that the DPH is not testing for H1N1 anymore and just assuming that any positive influenza test is most likely H1N1. This week the numbers of flu cases are rising in the school and even teachers are getting sick now. I sure am glad that I am not there but I am upset about having to use sick days to stay out this week. Using 5 more days will mean my sick bank will only have enough days to cover the 6 weeks for leave and none leftover for when I go back to work.
What I am curious about is if I should be forced to use my sick days at all. Friends who work in other areas said I shouldn't and it could be considered "administrative leave" or something. This is something that is not in my control so why should I be penalized? The school should be taking action (ugh, maybe closing) but since they are not then I have to use my days??? Any thoughts or ideas how this might be handled in other fields? I am going to take my case to HR to see what I can do so I want to arm myself with as much info. as I can.
Thanks for listening!! :)
ETA: I just re-read this and I hope no one thinks I am complaining about being off - I think maybe I sounded a little ungrateful. I am certainly VERY fortunate and grateful to be able to stay home with all that sickness going on at my school. And I will certainly use the days if I have to and DH and I will adjust our plans for my leave.....I just wanted to get some other persepctives to help me build a case - if I even have one. :)
Re: Flu Frustrations
posted at 6/10/2009 8:43 AM EDT
Sorry to hear about the flu situation and the fact that you were also sick. I was "lucky" enough that my school did shut down for a week for a "flucation". Interestingly enough, I had an OB appointment during the shut-down and was talking to the OB about the outbreak. She wasn't really concerned about H1N1 or the outbreak at my school; she said it was just like regular flu and that I (and everyone else) needed to take normal precautions (hand-washing, sending sick kids to the nurse/home, etc.).
My husband is currently taking a labor relations class and I posed your situation to him. This is his thinking: the catch you are in is that you are under your own doctor's orders not to return to school. Therefore, it is not your school "forcing" you to take time off (which might require concession/compromise on their part). He equated it to a situation where your doctor may place you on bed rest. That would obviously come out of your sick time, and likewise the current flu restrictions of your doctor are similar. Of course, you should definitely talk with your HR or union reps.
Good luck. We're currently done with school, but our flu cases lingered on and on right until the kids left school. We even had bottles of hand sanitizer for the seniors to use before they came up to receive their dilpomas!
Re: Flu Frustrations
posted at 6/10/2009 9:00 AM EDTIf it is the school "forcing" you to take leave, then it should not "eat in" to your sick leave entitlements. For example, when H1N1 all came to a head, we had two enployees vacationing in Mexico and asked them to stay home for a week after returning. It was essentially another weeks paid vacation for them (lucky ducks!).
If however it is your doctor that has advised you cannot work, then, unfortunately for you, it is sick leave.
Re: Flu Frustrations
posted at 6/12/2009 11:08 AM EDTThanks for your thoughts ladies!!
I finally heard back and apparently the superintendent and nursing supervisor reviewed my doctors note and "the superintendent feels I should have been in school this week, therefore I will not be reimbursed any of my days".
So, like I said before, I completely understand about losing the days. You both made good points about the orders coming from doc, etc. It just stinks that I only talked to the doc because the principal wouldn't let me back unless I did and, even when I did offer to come back (which was Tuesday) the principal gave a very firm NO. I'll deal with the sick day thing, it just is what it is. But what gets me now is how the superintendent seemed to feel he could override the doc's advice and deem it necessary for me to be in school. Why couldn't he have just said something like "oh Mrs. happy, we don't have a policy in place for this sort of thing so unfortunately I can't give you your days". Or "Well, since the orders came from your doc then unfortunately you do have to use your days". I feel like it's a slap in the face to say "you should have been in school" and that he completely disregarded me. Ugh, sorry to vent.....gotta love those hormones!!!