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  • Lost Days of Work Due to Natural Disaster Federal

    Due to a natural disaster, 25% of our teachers have not been able to get to work. There was a volcanic eruption in Iceland which has grounded ALL transport. Many are trying to find ways back to their jobs but those in the States are stuck and those on vacation are experiencing major problems (like having to sleep in train stations for days).

    We have been told that these people are not being paid while they are gone, which is not a problem for me if they have no sick leave. However, the Board of Ed is saying that teacher's stranded are not allowed to use up their sick leave first before being given unpaid leave.

    I know nothing about labor laws but I know enough to know this sounds foul. If it were a hurricane that swept through Georgia, the schools would allow those misplaced or affected teachers to use up their sick leave before claiming unpaid leave. How is a volcanic eruption that grounds all air space not fall under the same laws?

    Can someone direct me to where I should be reading to begin a protest, if they are breaking labor law rights, or reading to let me know that what they are doing is legal? I would very much appreciate any help.

  • #2
    There is no Federal or state law (in any state) that gives an employee the unqualified right to use sick time for time missed when they are not sick, with the possible exception of some states and time for doctor's appointments. This is not a violation of any kind of law, and I'm not even sure I see it as being wrong. What one school district might or might not due in the matter of a hurricane in Georgia is not binding on all other school districts in the matter of grounded flights. That is a matter for each individual school district to decide, and it is by no means certain that all schools would respond the same way under any kind of natural disaster. What if the employees want to use their sick time for the purpose it was granted (illness) later in the year, and they can't because they were forced to use it for this?

    Now, all that being said, I had employees stranded in Europe after 9-11 when all flights were grounded, and since it was a more-or-less once-in-a-lifetime situation we did not dock them, nor did we require them to use their PTO time (we had all paid leave in a single block). However, the situation was somewhat different in that due to the nature of their specific jobs, they could continue to work at least part time from where they were, and transmit their work by e-mail. They were able to be productive even from a different continent.

    I don't know who you are in this situation, but if you want to file any kind of protest you'll have to do it under whatever procedures the individual school district or their union provides. No laws are being violated.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      thank you

      That gives me some ideas of what to do! We have a lot of young teachers stranded who aren't living off their 20k savings accounts so this is costing them a bit. And yep, it is schools in Europe but under US jurisdiction.

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      • #4
        "Under US jurisidiction"? On US military bases?
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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