Monday, December 16, 2013

3 Ways to Handle Teachers Taking Extra Personal Days

Teacher's Party
So who's ready to teach 1st Period Tomorrow?

Q: @SchoolHR: Any policies dealing with teachers taking extra personal days?

A: This can be a tough one to handle.  Many teachers feel that leave is given to them to use, which I guess technically it is, so they use all of their allotted days plus some.  There are, however, a couple of things you can do to curb the practice.

1) The nice approach - let the teacher know how it affects her students when she is out.  Assuming she's using all of her sick leave, all of her personal days, and taking additional days that adds up to a lot of time out.  Do the math for her.  The conversation could go like this, "You missed a total of 18 days this year, that seems like a lot to me.  Do you realize that you missed over 10% of the school year by being out so much?  Think how you students could have benefited from your increased attendance."  Then trust the teacher to act professionally see if attendance improves.

2) Next step would be to check your district's policies.  Most of the districts I've worked for had a policy that read something like, "attendance patterns that hinder the normal operation of the school will be treated as a discipline issue." This allows you to note the attendance problem on the evaluation - low mark in professionalism and a comment like, "you have missed X days this year which is over the number allotted to you; in the future you will maintain regular attendance."  You can also document the behavior through letters and written reprimands.  If your district allows, require doctor's notes for each instance of sick leave.

3) Don't bend the rules.  If the teacher is taking personal leave and is out of personal leave don't allow her to record sick leave in order to be paid.  When you can effect someone's pay check you can usually get results.  Record the hours over the allotted as leave without pay.

Finally, I have to ask who is approving the leave?  Generally, personal reasons leave has to be approved by someone, a supervisor, an assistant principal, or the principal and it is okay for those with sign-off authority to say "no."  The teacher will bitch and moan but if they're abusing the policy then it's up to those in charge to put a stop to it.

Good luck!

Recommended Reading:

iTunes Link:

Dealing With Difficult Teachers - Todd Whitaker

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