Title 17. Education

Chapter 2. Teachers and Employees

Part II. Tenure

Subpart C. School Bus Operators

 

17:500.2     School bus operators; extended sick leave

 

A. (1) Every city, parish, and other local public school board shall permit each school bus operator to take up to ninety days of extended sick leave in each six-year period of employment, which may be used for a medical necessity in the manner provided in this Section, at any time that the school bus operator has no remaining regular sick leave balance.

 

(b) For Fiscal Year 2011-2012 and Fiscal Year 2012-2013, a city, parish, or other local public school board may but shall not be required to comply with the provisions of Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph during a fiscal year for which the amount of the state and local base per pupil cost determination, as established in the minimum foundation program formula most recently approved by the legislature, is not an increase of at least two and seventy-five hundredths percent over the amount established for the previous fiscal year, and at the beginning of such fiscal year the school board has a fund balance deficit that exceeds five percent and an unrestricted fund balance of less than seven and one-half percent. However, the school board shall honor any approved leave that it approved prior to the date the minimum foundation program formula is approved by the legislature.

 

(c)(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph, in the case of a catastrophic illness or injury, a school board shall comply with the provisions of Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph.

 

(ii) For the purposes of this Subparagraph, “catastrophic illness or injury” means a life-threatening, chronic, or incapacitating condition affecting an employee or a member of an employee’s immediate family, as verified by a licensed physician.

 

(2) As used in this Section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

 

(a) “Child” means a biological son or daughter, an adopted son or daughter, a foster son or daughter, a stepson or daughter, or a legal ward of a school bus operator standing in loco parentis to that ward who is either under the age of eighteen, or who is eighteen years of age but under twenty-four years of age and is a full-time student, or who is nineteen years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

 

(b) “Immediate family member” means a spouse, parent, or child of a school bus operator.

 

(c) “Medical necessity” means the result of catastrophic illness or injury, a life threatening condition, a chronic condition, or an incapacitating condition, as certified by a physician, of a school bus driver or an immediate family member.

 

(d) “Parent” means the biological parent of a school bus operator or an individual who stood in loco parentis to the school bus operator.

 

B. (1) Unused days during any six-year period of employment shall not cumulate or carry forward into the next six-year period of employment.

 

(2) The balance of days of extended leave available to a school bus operator shall transfer with such school bus operator from one public school employer to another without loss of days and without restoration of days.

 

(3) Interruptions of service between periods of employment with a public school employer shall not be included in any calculation of a six-year period, such that any employment with any public school employer, regardless of when it occurs, shall be included in any determination of the balance of days of extended sick leave available to a school bus operator.

 

C. (1) All time while on extended sick leave is regular service time for all purposes for which service time is calculated or used.

 

(2) Any school bus operator on extended sick leave shall be paid sixty-five percent of the salary paid to him at the time the extended sick leave begins.

 

D. (1) No school bus operator may undertake additional gainful employment while on extended sick leave, unless all of the following conditions are met:

 

(a) The school bus operator can demonstrate that he will be working not more than twenty hours a week in a part-time job that he has been working for not less than one hundred twenty days prior to the beginning of any period of extended sick leave.

 

(b) The physician who certifies the medical necessity of the leave indicates that such part-time work does not impair the purpose for which the extended leave is required.

 

(2) Any violation of this prohibition may require the school bus operator to return to the employer all compensation paid during any week of extended leave in which the school bus driver worked more than twenty hours and to reimburse the employer all related employment costs attributable to such period as calculated by the employer, without any restoration of such days.

 

E. (1)(a) On every occasion that a school bus operator uses extended sick leave, a statement from a licensed physician certifying that it is a medical necessity for the school bus operator to be absent for at least ten consecutive work days shall be presented prior to the extension of such leave.

 

(b) Repealed by Acts 2014, No. 659, § 2.

 

(2)(a) If the board or superintendent, upon review of the application, questions the validity or accuracy of the certification, the board or superintendent, as the case may be, referred to in this Paragraph as the “challenging party”, may require the school bus operator or the immediate family member, as a condition for continued extended leave, to be examined by a licensed physician selected by the challenging party. In such a case, the employer shall pay all costs of the examination and any tests determined to be necessary. If the physician selected by the challenging party finds medical necessity, the leave shall be granted.

 

(b) If the physician selected by the challenging party disagrees with the certification of the physician selected by the school bus operator, then the challenging party may require the school bus operator or the immediate family member, as a condition for continued extension of sick leave, to be examined by a third licensed appropriate physician whose name appears next in the rotation of physicians on a list established by the local medical society for such purpose and maintained by the challenging party. All costs of an examination and any required tests by a third doctor shall be paid by the employer. The opinion of the third physician shall be determinative of the issue.

 

(c) The opinion of all physicians consulted as provided in this Paragraph shall be submitted to the challenging party in the form of a sworn statement which shall be subject to the provisions of R.S. 14:125.

 

(d)(i) In addition to the authority provided in R.S. 17:500(B), the board shall adopt a policy regarding providing for employees suffering from catastrophic and long-term illness.

 

(ii) The board may, as part of a collective bargaining agreement, or by its own policy, provide additional compensation or extended leave days in excess of what is required in this Section.

 

(e) All information contained in any statement from a physician shall be confidential and shall not be subject to the public records law.

 

F. Each city, parish, and other local public school board shall develop and implement a sick leave bank policy to allow for the donation of sick leave among school bus operators.

 

G. Each city, parish, and other local public school board annually shall submit a report to the state Department of Education on the number of leave requests granted each year pursuant to this Section, the number of leave requests denied, and the reason or reasons for such denials.

 

H. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, all decisions relative to the granting of leave pursuant to this Section shall be made by the superintendent of the local public school system.

 

Added by Acts 1981, No. 829, § 1, eff. Aug. 2, 1981. Amended by Acts 1999, No. 1341, § 1; Acts 2011, No. 405, § 2, eff. July 1, 2011; Acts 2012, No. 788, § 2, eff. June 13, 2012; Acts 2014, No. 659, § 1; Acts 2014, No. 849, § 1, eff. June 23, 2014.