Employees of the Harris County Board of Education who have been employed for twelve (12) months or more and who worked at least 1250 hours during that time, are entitled to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave per year in connection with:
The birth and first year care of a child;
The adoption or foster parent placement of a child;
The illness of an employee's spouse, child, or parent with respect to a serious health condition, defined as one that requires in-patient care in a hospital; hospice or residential medical care facility, or which requires continuing treatment by a health care provider; or
The employee's own illness.
- A qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that your spouse; son or daughter; parent is on active duty or call to active duty status in support of a contingency operation as a member of the National Guard or Reserves.
- The spouse; son or daughter; parent; next of kin of a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.
In the instance of birth, adoption and foster placement, the entitlement for child care ends after the child reaches the age of one (1) year, or twelve (12) months after the adoption or placement.
Entitlement for leave associated with illness of a child occurs only where the child is under eighteen (18) years of age or incapable of self-care due to mental or physical disability.
Amount of Leave Available
In cases where both spouses are employed by the Harris County Board of Education, the combined amount of leave for childbirth, adoption and family illness is limited to twelve (12) weeks.
The unpaid medical and family leave provided under this policy includes and extends up to twelve (12) weeks the period of sick and/or personal leave provided under other policies of the Harris County Board of Education. However, an employee is not eligible for unpaid leave under this policy until any paid leave, provided to the employee under other Board policies, has been taken. Employees must use accrued paid leave if the absence qualifies for paid leave before being placed on unpaid leave. Use of paid and unpaid leave (in any combination) does not extend the twelve (12) weeks of family and medical leave set forth in this policy.
Notification of Anticipated Leave
Except where circumstances are such that reasonable advance planning is not possible, employees must provide the Office of the Superintendent at least thirty (30) days notice of the date when leave is to begin. With respect to foreseeable family or employee illness, the employee shall make reasonable effort to schedule treatment, including intermittent and reduced hourly leave, so as not to disrupt, unduly, the operations of the school district, subject to approval of the employee's or family member's health care provider.
Benefits accrued by the employee before leave is taken will not be altered by the employee's absence under this policy. The employee is entitled to continuation of health benefits during the leave period. Upon return, the employee is entitled to restoration to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and conditions of employment.
If an employee fails to return to work after the leave period has expired, the Board of Education may recover the health benefits premium expenditures extended to the employee during the leave period.
The Board of Education requires that a request for leave be supported by a certification issued by the appropriate health care provider of the eligible employee or of the son, daughter, spouse, or parent of the employee.
The certification shall include (1) the date that the condition commenced, (2) the duration, (3) the necessity for the employee's leave, and (4) the employee's inability to perform his/her job functions. The Board of Education reserves the right, at its own expense, to designate a second health care provider (other than a school district employee) to provide a second opinion. A third such opinion, should it be necessary, shall be binding.
Upon the employee's return to work, the school district may require the employee to provide certification by his/her health care provider that the employee is able to resume work.
If an employee begins leave under this policy within three (3) weeks before the end of the academic term and the duration of the leave is greater than five (5) working days, the Board of Education may require the employee to continue to take leave until the end of the term.
The Board of Education may deny coverage under this policy to an employee whose salary is in the highest ten percent (10%) of the employees employed by the school district if such denial is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the district's operations.
The Superintendent shall make, keep, and preserve records showing compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act and in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and federal regulations.