1998 Regular Session
To: Education; Fees, Salaries and Administration
By: Senator(s) Ferris, Jordan (24th), Walls, Gordon, Smith
Senate Bill 2572
(As Passed the Senate)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-7-307, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES TO DONATE PERSONAL OR SICK LEAVE TO ANOTHER SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEE WHO IS SUFFERING FROM A CATASTROPHIC INJURY OR ILLNESS OR WHO HAS A MEMBER OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY SUFFERING FROM A CATASTROPHIC INJURY OR ILLNESS, AND TO PROVIDE PROCEDURES THEREFOR; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-7-307, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-7-307. (1) For purposes of this section, the term "certificated employee" shall mean any employee of a public school district required to hold a valid certificate by the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Development.
(2) The school board of a school district shall establish by rules and regulations a policy of sick leave with pay for certificated employees employed in the school district, and such policy shall include the following minimum provisions for sick and emergency leave with pay:
(a) Each certificated employee, at the beginning of each school year, shall be credited with a minimum sick leave allowance, with pay, of seven (7) days for absences caused by illness or physical disability of the employee during that school year.
(b) Any unused portion of the total sick leave allowance shall be carried over to the next school year and credited to such certificated employee if the certificated employee remains employed in the same school district. In the event any public school certificated employee transfers from one public school district in Mississippi to another, any unused portion of the total sick leave allowance credited to such certificated employee shall be credited to such certificated employee in the computation of unused leave for retirement purposes under Section 25-11-109. Accumulation of sick leave allowed under this section shall be unlimited.
(c) No deduction from the pay of such certificated employee may be made because of absence of such certificated employee caused by illness or physical disability of the certificated employee until after all sick leave allowance credited to such certificated employee has been used.
(d) For the first ten (10) days of absence of a certificated employee because of illness or physical disability, in any school year, in excess of the sick leave allowance credited to such certificated employee, there may be deducted from the pay of such certificated employee the established substitute amount of certificated employee compensation paid in that local school district, necessitated because of the absence of the certificated employee as a result of illness or physical disability. Thereafter, the regular pay of such absent certificated employee may be suspended and withheld in its entirety for any period of absence because of illness or physical disability during that school year.
(3) Beginning with the school year 1983-1984, each certificated employee at the beginning of each school year shall be credited with a minimum personal leave allowance, with pay, of two (2) days for absences caused by personal reasons during that school year. Such personal leave shall not be taken on the first day of the school term, the last day of the school term, on a day previous to a holiday or a day after a holiday. Personal leave may be used for professional purposes, including absences caused by attendance of such certificated employee at a seminar, class, training program, professional association or other functions designed for educators. No deduction from the pay of such certificated employee may be made because of absence of such certificated employee caused by personal reasons until after all personal leave allowance credited to such certificated employee has been used. However, the superintendent of a school district may, in his discretion, allow a certificated employee personal leave in addition to any minimum personal leave allowance, under the condition that there shall be deducted from the salary of such certificated employee the actual amount of any compensation paid to any person as a substitute, necessitated because of the absence of the certificated employee.
(4) Beginning with the school year 1992-1993, each certificated employee shall be credited with a professional leave allowance, with pay, for each day of absence caused by reason of such employee's statutorily required membership and attendance at a regular or special meeting held within the State of Mississippi of the State Board of Education, the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Development, the Commission on School Accreditation, the Mississippi Authority for Educational Television and the meetings of the state textbook rating committees.
(5) Upon retirement from employment, each certificated and noncertificated employee shall be paid for not more than thirty (30) days of unused accumulated leave earned while employed by the school district in which the employee is last employed. Such payment for certificated employees shall be made by the school district at a rate equal to the amount paid to substitute teachers and for noncertificated employees, the payment shall be made by the school district at a rate equal to the federal minimum wage. The payment shall be treated in the same manner for retirement purposes as a lump sum payment for personal leave as provided in Section 25-11-103(e). Any remaining lawfully credited unused leave, for which payment has not been made, shall be certified to the Public Employees' Retirement System in the same manner and subject to the same limitations as otherwise provided by law for unused leave.
(6) The school board may adopt rules and regulations which will reasonably aid to implement the policy of sick and personal leave, including, but not limited to, rules and regulations having the following general effect:
(a) Requiring the absent certificated employee to furnish the certificate of a physician or dentist or other medical practitioner as to the illness of the absent certificated employee, where the absence is for four (4) or more consecutive school days, or for two (2) consecutive school days immediately preceding or following a nonschool day;
(b) Providing penalties, by way of full deduction from salary, or entry on the work record of the certificated employee, or other appropriate penalties, for any materially false statement by the certificated employee as to the cause of absence;
(c) Forfeiture of accumulated or future sick leave, if the absence of the certificated employee is caused by optional dental or medical treatment or surgery which could, without medical risk, have been provided, furnished or performed at a time when school was not in session;
(d) Enlarging, increasing or providing greater sick or personal leave allowances than the minimum standards established by this section in the discretion of the school board of each school district.
(7) Said school boards are further authorized and empowered to include in their budgets provisions for the payment of substitute teachers, necessitated because of the absence of regular certificated employees. All such substitute teachers shall be paid wholly from district funds other than minimum education program funds. Such school boards are further authorized and empowered, in their discretion, to pay, from district funds other than minimum education program funds, the whole or any part of the salaries of certificated employees granted leaves for the purpose of special studies or training.
(8) The school board may further adopt rules and regulations which will reasonably implement such leave policies for all other noncertificated school employees as the board deems appropriate.
(9) For purposes of this subsection, "catastrophic injury or illness" means a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of a certificated or noncertificated school employee or a member of such employee's immediate family that requires the services of a licensed physician for an extended period of time and that forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned by that employee and to lose compensation from the school district for the employee. "Catastrophic injury or illness" excludes routine or optional treatment for an injury or illness not resulting in a threat to life, and routine pregnancy and delivery. Any certificated or noncertificated school employee may donate a portion of his or her earned personal leave or sick leave to another school district employee who is suffering from a catastrophic injury or illness, or to another school district employee who has a member of his or her immediate family who is suffering from a catastrophic injury or illness, in accordance with the following:
(a) The employee donating the leave (the "donor employee") shall designate the employee who is to receive the leave (the "recipient employee") and the amount of earned personal leave and sick leave that is to be donated, and shall notify the donor employee's supervisor of his or her designation. The donor employee's supervisor then shall notify the recipient employee's supervisor of the amount of leave that has been donated by the donor employee to the recipient employee.
(b) The maximum amount of earned personal leave that an employee may donate to any other employee may not exceed a number of days that would leave the donor employee with fewer than seven (7) days of personal leave left, and the maximum amount of earned major medical leave that an employee may donate to any other employee may not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the earned sick leave of the donor employee.
(c) An employee must have exhausted all of his or her earned personal leave and sick leave before he or she will be eligible to receive any leave donated by another employee. Eligibility for donated leave shall be based upon review and approval by the donor employee's supervisor.
(d) Before an employee may receive donated leave, he or she must provide his or her supervisor with a physician's statement that states the beginning date of the catastrophic injury or illness, a description of the injury or illness, and a prognosis for recovery and the anticipated date that the recipient employee will be able to return to work.
(e) If the total amount of leave that is donated to any employee is not used by the recipient employee, the donated leave shall be forfeited by the recipient and the donor.
(f) For the purposes of this subsection (9), "immediate family" means spouse, parent, stepparent, sibling, child or stepchild.
(g) Donated leave shall not be used in lieu of disability retirement.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.