Time Off & Medical Leave

Overview of Leave

FCPS offers a variety of options for taking time off. Sick, personal and vacation leave is available to eligible employees. The leave plans accrue with each pay period.

Personal Leave

Accrual/Year

Maximum accrual

10 mo/7 hr

21 hours

1.05 per pay

84  hours

11 mo/7 hr

21 hours

0.95 per pay

84 hours

12 mo/7 hrs

21 hours

0.88 per pay

84 hours

10 mo/8 hrs

24 hours

1.20 per pay

96 hours

12 mo/8 hrs

24 hours

1.0 per pay

96 hours

Sick Leave

Accrual/year

Maximum accrual

0.5

One day/month

1.75 per pay

None

7 hrs

One day/month

3.5 per pay

None

8 hrs

One day/month

4.0 per pay

None

Sarah Minnick
Benefits Officer

301-644-5092
301-644-5122 (f)

Lisa Brashears
Administrative Secretary
301-644-4126
301-644-5122 (f)

Vacation leave must be approved by your supervisor.  Please see your Negotiated Agreement for vacation leave accruals.

To plan time off work, complete and submit a leave request form to your supervisor. You may obtain th is form through Form Finder at InsideFCPS, or fromyour work location. If your time off is unexpected, please communicate the nature of your emergency to your supervisor as soon as you can. 

Be sure to check your Negotiated Agreement for a complete listing of all leave types.

How many days of sick leave are available to employees?

  • 10 month employees earn 10 sick leave days each year of employment. Eleven month employees earn 11 days per year and twelve month employees earn 12 days per year.
  • This full complement of sick days is available for use at the beginning of the work year.
  • Unused sick days are carried over to the following school year.
  • There is no limit to the number of sick leave days that may be accrued.
  • Sick leave may be used in 1 hour, half day, or full day increments.

Under what circumstances can sick leave be used?

  • Sick days may be used for your own personal illness or appointments with a health care provider.
  • Sick days may be used to provide care for a family member who is ill and not able to care for themselves.  In this case, certification of medical necessity may be required.
  • Family members include a parent, child, sibling or partner. Sick leave may also be used to provide care to any member of the immediate household.

Is documentation always required to authenticate sick leave?

  • Not on every occasion. Teachers absent 4 or more consecutive days may be asked to submit a doctor’s note.  This allows the Benefits Office to determine if the leave qualifies for Family Medical Leave.
  • There are also occasions where the superintendent may request documentation of sick leave from a health care provider.  This may happen in cases where the reason for or the frequency of an absence is in question.

What happens if I exhaust all the sick leave in my account due to personal and/or family illness and I still have a legitimate need for additional leave?

  • If you have been employed with FCPS for 5 years or more, you may request that the Board consider granting 10 additional sick days.  These additional days are provided on an as needed basis to support your need for sick leave for your own illness or as you support a family member.  This request may be made once every 5 years.
  • Regarding your own personal illness, additional support to cover your absence due to a prolonged, catastrophic, incapacitating personal illness is available if you are a member of the FCTA, FASSE, or FCASA Sick Leave Bank. 
  • The Family Crisis Leave Exchange program is available to employees who have exhausted their sick, personal and annual leave and need additional leave to care for a member of their immediate family who is experiencing a prolonged, catastrophic incapacitating personal illness.

If I “dip forward” and access the leave I will earn during the school year and then go on an unpaid leave or actually resign from my position do I have to “pay back” the leave I used but didn’t actually earn? 

  • Yes.  Unearned leave does have to be paid back to the school system.  This pay back could be in the form of a deduction on your last paycheck or some other repayment program authorized by the Finance Department.

Where in the Negotiated Agreement can I find more information about sick leave benefits for teachers?

  • Article XXIV  Sick Leave
  • Article XXV  Sick Leave Bank
  • Article XXVI FCPS-FCTA Family Crisis Leave Exchange

Where in the Negotiated Agreement can I find more information about sick leave benefits for support employees?

  • Article VI Leave Provisions 6.2a Sick Leave
  • Article VI Leave Provisions 6.2b Sick Leave Bank
  • Article VI Leave Provisions 6.2a Sick leave
  • Article VI Leave Provisions 6.6 Family Crisis Leave Exchange

Where in the Negotiated Agreement can I find more information about sick leave benefits for A&S and AMT employees?

  • ARTICLE VIII – LEAVE BENEFITS Section 8.2 – Sick Leave
  • ARTICLE VIII – LEAVE BENEFITS Section 8.10 – Family Crisis Leave Exchange (FCLE)BOE Policy 319
  • ADMINISTRATIVE, MANAGEMENT AND TECHNICAL (AMT) GROUP Benefits 319.2

Source: Human Resources, October 2017

FCPS provides certain military family leave entitlements. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for specified reasons related to certain military deployments of their family members.  Also see the FCPS Military FMLA Policy 300-47 for details.

FCPS allows employees time off to address medical issues of your own or those of their immediate family, in compliance with the Family Medical Leave Act.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), a new federal mandate and expansion of current Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations, will go into effect starting April 1, 2020.  The FFCRA codifies the availability of paid sick leave if an employee is unable to work due to the COVID-19 virus, as well as defines other benefits that may be available due to lack of child care.  Because the FFCRA and COVID-19 may impact employees differently, links to Department of Labor (DOL) documents that summarize the FFCRA are included below for your reference.

Please review the Questions and Answers Document (Q & A) to determine if you qualify for leave under the FFCRA.  In the future, specific forms for reporting FFCRA leave will be added to the Benefits website for your use. In the interim, please submit any documentation and information you may have pertaining to your FFCRA leave request (#16 in Q & A) to Benefits.Office@fcps.org or fax to 301-644-5122.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

If you are absent for more than 3 days, you will need to have the Certification of Healthcare Provider form completed by the treating physician.  You may qualify for FMLA under federal guidelines, which provides you certain benefits during your absence.  

You may also qualify for FMLA in order to care for a member of your immediate family.  Medical documentation is also required for this purpose.

FMLA is a Federal law regarding job protection, but does not guarantee you a paycheck.  In order to get paid during this period, you will use your available leave.

During the approved period under FMLA, your medical insurance remains at an active rate.

Medical documentation is sent to the Benefits Office. This documentation will be used to determine if you qualify for FMLA.  You will need to continue to provide ongoing updates as your time off continues. 

Please review this checklist to help as you move through your medical leave.

For benefited employees who do not qualify for FMLA, we offer Personal Disability (see section below). This program works similarly to FMLA, and allows you to be out of work for your own illness or that of your immediate family.

Please review the Return to Work information found in the Time Off section below.

For benefited employees who do not qualify for FMLA, we offer Personal Disability. This program works similarly to FMLA, and allows you to be out of work for your own illness.  See the Negotiated Agreement for details.

What do I do?

You will need to submit a Certification of Health Care Provider Form to determine if you qualify for FMLA.  This same form will detail your need to be out of work for your health issue.  During this time off, you will use your available leave in order to be paid.  Your medical insurance rates will remain at the active rate. 

For more details, please review your Negotiated Agreement.

Please review the Returning from Medical Leave section below.

FCPS provides for time off when an employee has a baby, adoption, or a foster placement, in compliance with the FMLA Law and FCPS Regulation 300-42.  If you do not qualify for FMLA, you may be eligible for Personal Disability Leave as detailed in the Negotiated agreement.

To Qualify

In order to qualify for FMLA, you must be employed with FCPS for more than 1 year, and have worked 0.5 or greater of your position in the year preceeding the leave.  For those who do not qualify for FMLA, FCPS offers Personal Disability leave for the time period when the employee is medically unable to work.

What to Do

When preparing for this absence, please use the following checklist;

Getting Paid

FMLA is an unpaid law that allows you to be absent for medical reasons, and also you are entitled to 12 weeks of bonding time with your new child.  In order to be paid during this time, you will use your available sick, personal, and vacation leave.  You may also consult with your affiliated Union to see if there are more pay options for you.   Contact your Association (FCTA 301-662-9077, FASSE 301-620-9217, FCASA) for information.

Returning to Work

For those who give birth to the child, you will need to provide the doctor’s medical release after the 6-8 week recovery period. 

By the 6th month of pregnancy, you must submit a Projected Parental Leave form.  If you do not intend to return to work, you must request an unpaid Leave of Absence by the 6th month of pregnancy.  This request is made to the HR Executive Director by submitting the Status Change Form.

Insurance Enrollment/Beneficiary Changes

The birth or adoption of your child is considered a Qualifying Event, making you eligible for benefit changes.  You have 30 days from the date of this event to make changes.  Please review the information under Life Events tab.

Special Considerations

Working until delivery

The employee is expected to work until delivery unless medically unable, at which time a physician would need to complete a separate Certification of Health Care Provider form.  This form should indicate the medical reason for an absence prior to delivery. 

Shared FMLA between spouses

If an employee and their spouse both work for FCPS, they may take 12 weeks of FMLA combined for the birth of the baby or adoption/foster care placement of a child.

Calculating the FMLA period

To calculate the FMLA period, a week is counted as a week of FMLA leave regardless of the work schedule. The only exception is if the school system temporarily closes for a solid week, the days the school system's activities have ceased do not count against the employee's FMLA leave entitlement. You will receive the dates of approved FMLA from the Benefits office. 

Additional health benefits for you

Breast pumps will be covered under the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) benefit for FCPS active employees.  If you use one of the in-network vendors, it will be paid at 100%.  If using an out of network vendor, it will be paid at 80% of eligible expenses after the $200 deductible.  National Ancillary DME breast pump providers will ship the breast pump directly to the member.  Members can order breast pumps no more than 30 days in advance of delivery.  Please refer to www.carefirst.com/frederick or call 1-866-386-2043 or contact a supplier on this list. Please be advised that network providers are subject to change.

FirstHelp - free 24-hour nurse advise line

Call 800-535-9700 anytime to speak with a registered nurse. Nurses can provide you with medical advice and recommend the most appropriate care.

Leave of Absence

You may decide to extend your absence from work beyond FMLA.  Per the Negotiated Agreement, if you plan to request an unpaid Leave of Absence for the remainder of the work year, you need to do so by the end of the sixth (6th) month of pregnancy.  Review the Leave of Absence section below for making this request and other details.

FCPS offers employees an opportunity to take time off work, unpaid, for a variety of reasons including health related, parental, and personal, etc.  The employee remains employed by FCPS, however, does not have an active job assignment, i.e. ‘Custodian at Lewistown Elementary School’. 

This option is unpaid, and typically lasts until the end of the fiscal year.  The employee is able to continue health insurance but at the full cost. The employee is billed for any continued coverage.

Leave of Absence Rates FY 2020
Effective July 1, 2019

Plan

MEDICAL

Standard Dental

Buy Up Dental

Individual

$705.86

$28.82

$39.64

Employee + 1

$1537.38

$89.36

$122.91

Family

$1623.50

$98.87

$135.98

Life Insurance

$0.113 per $1000 per Month(ie. 100,000 /1000 * .113 = $11.30 per month)
Life insurance is 2 times salary rounded to highest thousand.

Returning from an LOA

Upon confirmation that you are returning for the following fiscal year, you will receive communication regarding a work assignment. 

For those on parental leave, you may request an LOA for a semester at a time, following FMLA. This applies only to the year in which your child was born. 

How to request an LOA

To request an LOA, you must submit a Status Change Form to Human Resources.  In health related cases, please contact the Benefits Office.

Pension Information

The MD State Retirement Agency considers certain types of LOA’s will ‘Qualifying Leave’ for pension service.  This means that you will be able to ‘purchase’ this time towards your future pension payments.  More information can be found on Form 46. Complete Form 26 in order to purchase an approved leave of absence

When your doctor has determined you are medically able to return to work, you will need to provide medical documentation with the date of return, as well as any recommended work restrictions.  To plan for your return, please provide 24 hours’ notice of your return to work date. 

FCPS makes every effort to accommodate you in returning to work.  If you have restrictions, it may take additional time to determine the accommodations.  It is best to have timely communication with your supervisor.

If you were off work for parental leave, you must provide a medical release after recovering from delivery.  Per the Negotiated agreement, you must confirm your return to work plans within 30 days of the child’s birth.