Governed by the Texas Education Code, personal leave
- Available to all public school employees.
- Cumulative from year to year.
- Transferable from district to district.
Employees are generally entitled to five personal leave days per school year. A district can require an employee to “earn” the days and can deduct “unearned days” from the five-day total if the employee does not work for the district for the full year. Part-time employees also receive five days, but if they work “half-days,” they also receive five “half-days” of personal leave.
Employees receive full pay for their primary duty, such as teaching. If the employee has a supplemental duty, such as coaching or driving a bus, that has additional daily compensation, the district may deduct this extra amount from the employee’s compensation when the employee is absent and using personal leave.
A district can deny a request for personal leave in some circumstances. Personal leave may be used for illness or some other circumstance outside of the employee’s control (termed “nondiscretionary leave”) or for a purpose within the employee’s control (termed “discretionary leave”). A district may impose restrictions on the use of discretionary leave but may not refuse a request based on the reason leave is requested. For example, district policies commonly prohibit taking discretionary personal leave during the first week of school, immediately before or after a holiday, when a certain number of staff will be out, or during standardized testing. Nondiscretionary leave cannot generally be denied, though the district can require proof of the need for the leave, such as a doctor’s note for illness, if allowed by local policy.
Sick leave accumulated prior to September 1, 1995 (when the Legislature changed the Texas Education Code to provide personal leave rather than sick leave) may only be used in cases of personal illness, illness of a family member, family emergency, or death in the immediate family.
Employees should consult employee handbooks or district policy manuals to find local policies explaining available benefits and how to apply for discretionary personal leave and report personal leave. It is important to know the rules; violations of the rules might lead to denial of leave and other more serious negative employment action.