Leaves of Absence FAQ

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    • Q: What is a leave of absence?

      A leave of absence is an extended period of time during which an employee is absent from their primary position while maintaining their status as an employee. The Department of Education provides leaves of absence to eligible employees.

    • Q: What are the types of leaves?

      There are two categories of leaves of absence: medical and non-medical.

      1. A medical leave of absence is taken when the employee has a serious health condition.
      2. A non-medical leave of absence is taken for reasons such as childcare, care of a sick family member, or study.

      The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take leave for a specified family reason or in the event of their own serious health condition, with their job and benefits protected for up to 12 weeks. A FMLA leave can be either a medical or non-medical, depending on the qualifying event. 

      IMPORTANT: FMLA leave starts with the first day of the employee's absence if the leave is a qualifying event, even if the employee is in a paid status.

      For more information on a FMLA leave of absence, click here.

      Employees who do not have a FMLA-qualifying event or who are otherwise ineligible for a FMLA leave, or who need to remain on leave longer than the 12 weeks allowed by FMLA, may still be eligible to apply for a medical  or non-medical leave.

      For information about sabbaticals, click here.

    • Q: Who can apply for a leave?

      Eligibility is based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, job title, collective bargaining unit, and length of service. For more information, see the sections on medical and non-medical leaves.

    • Q: Do I keep my health benefits when I am on a leave of absence?

      Employees on an approved FMLA leave are entitled to health benefits for up to 12 weeks. If you need to remain out longer because of a serious health condition, you may be entitled to additional weeks of health benefits under the SLOAC Special Leave of Absence Coverage.

      For more information about FMLA, click here.

      For more information about SLOAC, click here.

    • Q: Do I get paid while on a leave of absence?

      Employees accrue paid entitlements (Cumulative Absence Reserve [CAR], sick, and annual leave days). Employees on a leave of absence without pay for health reasons or for maternity must exhaust their CAR or sick days prior to coming off of payroll. You must work with your payroll secretary or timekeeper to determine your paid leave entitlement.

    • Q: Can I borrow sick/CAR days? 

      You may borrow sick or CAR days. Days cannot be borrowed if you have days in your bank. Borrowed days will be paid back automatically as you accrue them.

      • Instructional/school-based staff are entitled to borrow up to 20 days.
      • UFT paraprofessionals are entitled to borrow up to 10 days.
      • Administrative employees are entitled to borrow up to 10 days.
      • Instructional/school-based staff who have exhausted all CAR days are entitled to request a grace period of up to 30 calendar days before the start of a medical leave of absence without pay. 

      A grace period allows you to remain on payroll at a prorated rate in lieu of your regular salary. The prorated payment is equivalent to pay for weekends and holidays. For more information about grace periods, click here.


      • Administrative employees with 10 years of service may be entitled to a three month paid medical leave.
      • You may also donate your CAR or sick days to another in-need employee.
      • UFT instructional staff and CSA principals, assistant principals and supervisors, may be entitled to a paid sabbatical for health or study; for more information, click here.

      For more information about these topics, please call HR Connect at (718) 935-4000