Thinking about starting a family? Then a Child Rearing Leave of Absence is what you are looking to do...
Planning a maternity leave of absence can sound overwhelming, but we can help you prepare for this exciting milestone.
We are also here to help you all year long, just call our office and we will be glad to set up an appointment to discuss questions you may have. In the meantime, here are a few items you should review first...
A few key items you should know:
- Request for Leave – your letter should be sent to Human Resource 60 days prior to the start of your leave of absence. Note: It is always wiser to take the minimum amount of time and extend your leave of absence.
- Request for an Extension – your request must be submitted to Human Resources 60 days prior to the end of your initial leave. If you do not return within your 12 week FMLA period, you can not return until the beginning of the next marking period.
- How long can I stay on a child rearing leave of absence? As per contract: "A child rearing leave shall be granted upon request to any tenured employee for a period which shall not extend beyond the second June 30th for twelve (12) month employees, and August 31st for ten (10) month employees, after the date on which the leave is granted. All such leaves shall end on the last day of a marking period, or the last day of the school year in the case of the last marking period."
Please review Article XV-Extended Leave of Absence for complete language. (i.e. if you start your paid disability period prior to or on June 29, that counts for 1 year). Non-tenured employees are required to return at the end of their approved FMLA period.
- How many days do you have in your sick day bank? If you are unsure call the Payroll & Benefits Dept. at (732) 613-6758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sick days are used during your disability leave of absence period which is usually 4 weeks before and 6 weeks after (8 weeks for cesarean section). Sick days are applied only toward days that school is in session (do not include non school/workdays, i.e. winter/spring breaks, etc.).
- Physicians Letter – You will be required to submit a letter from your doctor stating your leave of absence period. This letter should included your due date and dates of time period of disability period, or the amount of days within the disability period you want to use.
- Disability Insurance – If you carry Prudential Disability Insurance, contact Prudential Rep. Cindy Cooper at (800) 727-3414 to notify her of your intended leave of absence and with any questions you may have regarding your plan. Your disability insurance can start the first day you are not physically attending work (yes, you can count sick days).
- Health Benefits for your child – You only have 30 days after the birth of your child to add him/her to your health insurance. Failure to report the birth within 30 days will result in loss of health care benefit until the next Open Enrollment period. Emailing the Payroll & Benefits dept. via email@example.com to notify the district as soon as possible after the birth of your child, follow up if you do not receive a reply. You will then receive a Group Enrollment/Change Request form* to complete and return. For verification purposes this form should be sent by certified, return receipt mail. Official documentation (copies of birth certificate and social security card), if unavailable, can follow later as long as you initiate the paperwork within the 30 day period.
*This form is also available on the Staff Portal website (staff.ebnet.org) under Financial Services/Benefits Information & Forms/Health Benefits/Health Benefits Enrollment/Change Form
- Health Benefits for you – a mother’s health care benefits will remain in effect for three months starting the first day of her unpaid leave. Please note: This also counts for summer months for 10 month employees. If you COBRA your benefits you are eligible to return to the district’s health care plan on the first day back from your leave. However, you must complete and return a Group Enrollment/Change Request form* within 30 days of your return to work. Failure to do so will result in loss of health care benefit until the next Open Enrollment period.
- EBEA Assistance - Please send a draft of your Request for Leave letter to the EBEA office for review, prior to sending it to Human Resources. We are here to assist you, and to ensure you are understanding your request for a leave of absence correctly.
Additional information you may not be aware of:
- EBBOE/EBEA Contract – Please review Article XV-Extended Leave of Absence/C. Child Rearing Leave. You can find it on our website here and on the districts Staff Portal website (staff.ebnet.org)
- Continuation of Health Benefits – Federal law commonly referred to as COBRA requires most employers sponsoring group health plans to offer employees and their families the opportunity to purchase a temporary extension of health benefit coverage. COBRA information if needed is available through the district’s Payroll/Employee Benefits Department.
- Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – Under Federal law you may obtain up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period. During this unpaid leave, you are entitled to the medical coverage provided under the negotiated contract, whether or not you carry the district's insurance. As per Public Law 2011, C.78, all employees enrolled to receive health benefits must pay for a portion of these benefits. Do not count full non work weeks (spring/winter break or summer for 10 month employees.) You may start in June and then continue this coverage in September (i.e. last 3 weeks in June with the balance 9 weeks starting September 1.) *When completing paperwork DO NOT check off that you belong to a union as this pertains to Labor Unions that use hiring halls for employment.
- NJ Family Leave Insurance (NJFLI) – This state law provides up to twelve (12) weeks of state payment in lieu of salary to employees caring for newborns, newly adopted children or caring for sick family members. This starts the first day of your unpaid leave of absence. Please visit www.nj.gov/labor for additional information about eligibility and the timeline for submitting a claim. (The State distributes these payments to you in one lump sum on a debit card.) *When completing paperwork DO NOT check off that you belong to a union as this pertains to Labor Unions that use hiring halls for employment.
- NEA & NJEA Membership – Once your paid leave ends (sick day usage) so do your membership in EBEA and our affiliates. We recommend calling NJEA and requesting an "on-leave membership". If you carry a supplemental insurance plan through a NEA or NJEA sponsored carrier (i.e. NEA Insurance plans, Prudential Disability Insurance plans) you may be required to become an "on-leave member". Additionally, should you need assistance from EBEA or our affiliates while on leave for a matter which occurred prior to your leave, you need to be an "on-leave member" to obtain specialized assistance such as attorney assignment. The dues for persons eligible for active professional or active supportive membership who are on an approved unpaid leave of absence shall be one-half of the full dues for their respective membership category for the time they are on unpaid leave. You may contact NJEA at (609) 599-4561 to find out more information.
- Breastfeeding - Prior to your return, or before scheduling for the upcoming year is approaching, you should plan a meeting to discuss your breastfeeding rights with Human Resources and your supervisor.
Information to Review:
- New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (NJFLI)
- Federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Educators Insurance Services - Prudential Disability Insurance
- NJEA Growing Families - discounts on services and child care available to NJEA members.