he Sick Leave Bank (see Section VII-G of MTI’s Teacher Collective Bargaining Agreement) is an innovative and progressive Contract provision. Because of its value to those in need, unions across the country have tried to emulate it. A sign of Union solidarity, the Sick Leave Bank (SLB) has provided income to many teachers who otherwise would go without.
The SLB was created by MTI’s 1980 negotiations, with each member of MTI’s teacher collective bargaining unit donating three sick days to fund the “Bank”. The Sick Leave Bank acts as a short-term disability policy for teachers needing to be off of work for medical reasons and who have consumed their earned sick leave. SLB benefits begin after a teacher has been absent eleven (11) consecutive work days and has exhausted his/her Personal Sick Leave Account. SLB benefits are payable for a maximum of forty-four (44) days, or until the Contract provided long term disability benefit begins, whichever occurs first. The SLB Contract provision enables pay at 100% of the individual’s daily rate of pay for each work day from the SLB. Without the SLB, teachers without sufficient sick leave to cover an extended illness would be forced to go without pay until long term disability benefits begin when one is absent for 55 work days; i.e. until one qualifies for long term disability coverage.
Teacher recipients are not required to “repay” the bank for days withdrawn; rather all teachers are assessed an additional day from their personal sick leave account, when the balance of days in the SLB drops below the contractually defined threshold of six (6) days per teacher. To help offset the need for assessment, MTI negotiated that 80% of the unused sick leave of the Retirement Insurance Account of one who resigns or dies is transferred to the SLB. This has minimized the need for members of the bargaining unit to be assessed days to fund the Bank.
The SLB is yet another way that, through our collective efforts, MTI members are able to assist each other.
Given that the Sick Leave Bank balance has now dropped below the contractual minimum, all teachers will be assessed one earned sick leave day on their February 1 paycheck. Teachers who do not have at least one sick day in their personal sick leave account may be docked one day’s pay on the February 1 paycheck. This is only the fourteenth (14th) time in the thirty-two (32) year existence of the SLB that an assessment has been necessary.