October 17, 2017
To: Superintendents, Member School Districts (K-12)
From: Carl D. Corbin, General Counsel, Mia N. Robertshaw, Associate General Counsel, and Ellie R. Austin, Schools Legal Counsel
Subject: Addendum to Legal Update 24-2017 Regarding Employees’ Use of Personal Necessity Leave for Fire-Related Absences
Memo No. Addendum to 24-2017
This Legal Update will serve as an addendum to Legal Update No. 24-2017 regarding employees’ use of leaves for fire-related absences.
In Legal Update No. 24-2017, this office recommended two approaches to addressing additional leave to cover fire-related absences: 1) to temporarily increase access to personal necessity leave from accumulated sick leave; and 2) to create a temporary fire relief leave bank into which employees can donate leave for other employees to use to cover fire-related absences. Upon further reflection, we recommend the first option (increased access to personal necessity leave) to provide fire-related time off for employees, many of whom may need some time off to deal with the fire and recovery efforts. The second option (temporary fire relief leave bank) is a more complicated solution and so we do not necessarily recommend this approach unless a district has numerous employees who have been impacted significantly by the fires. Please read on for more information.
Temporary Increase to Personal Necessity Leave from Accumulated Sick Leave
For many employees, the ability to utilize more days of their accumulated sick time as personal necessity leave for fire-related absences will cover their fire related absences – for example, ten days in addition to the typical seven days of personal necessity leave.
This Legal Update provides a template Board Resolution and template Memorandum of Understanding to allow employees to utilize accumulated sick leave as additional days of personal necessity leave to cover fire-related absences for unrepresented and represented employees, respectively. If you choose to use the templates, please review them carefully and fill in district-specific information as noted. Any words set forth in brackets [like this] are notes to the district which should not be included in the final resolution or MOU. Comments to the district for your information are included in brackets and italics [like this]. Please ensure that the information in your board resolution and/or MOU is consistent with your applicable policies and regulations.
Temporary Fire Relief Leave Bank
It is possible that a few employees will need more time off than the additional access to personal necessity leave provides. Districts with employees who have been significantly impacted by the fires may wish to create a temporary fire relief leave bank. Please contact our office for a template Memorandum of Understanding and Board Resolution for a temporary fire relief leave bank should you wish to pursue this option. Note that any Memorandum of Understanding creating such a bank must be approved by the Board.
It is laudable that districts are seeking to assist their employees in addressing the fallout from the wildfires that have devastated many communities. Please contact us if you would like our assistance with these important issues.
Please contact our office with questions regarding this Legal Update or any other legal matter.
The information in this Legal Update is provided as a summary of law and is not intended as legal advice. Application of the law may vary depending on the particular facts and circumstances at issue. We, therefore, recommend that you consult legal counsel to advise you on how the law applies to your specific situation.
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All rights reserved. However, SCLS grants permission to any current SCLS client to use, reproduce, and distribute this Legal Update in its entirety for the client’s own non-commercial purposes.