What’s the Deal with Expanded Sick Time Usage?

Your child was sent home from school for two weeks, your husband was exposed to COVID and has symptoms, or you need to self-quarantine.  You can use your own sick time for any of these options.  In short, try to telecommute first.  If telecommuting is not an option, use sick time instead.

  1. Article 44 – Sick Leave of the URA-AFT Agreement is already strong.  Even pre-pandemic, you could use your own sick time to care for yourself if you were ill or injured.  The only requirement in Article 44 is to call out no less than 15 minutes before your work day starts.  Doctor’s notes can be requested by a supervisor but cannot be a requirement for using your earned sick days.
  • Article 44 always permitted 15 days to care for family or pick up a child from school. You might need to fill out the form in Appendix I or have the school nurse sign off.
  • Article 44 always permitted sick days for medical, dental and wellness visits.  COVID testing and vaccination visits count as medical visits too. You can use sick time for planned or unplanned visits for medical or dental reasons or for wellness visits. If unplanned, use the same 15 minute advanced call out rule (or inform your supervisor that you are ill and need to leave early for the day).
  • For remaining needs related to COVID, Sick Leave Expansion is in effect through December 31.  Refer to Vivian Fernandez’ memo announcing the temporary expansion of permissible use of accrued paid sick time.  10 days are allowed for quarantine even if you are not actually sick.  Unlimited sick time can be used for school closure or child care necessities.
  • If you have no remaining sick days, consider applying for an unpaid leave of absence or using remaining V, PH or AL days.  You might also be eligible for the New Jersey Temporary Disability Insurance, Family Leave Insurance or Unemployment Insurance programs while on unpaid leave status (check with the New Jersey Department of Labor directly). Article 22 of our union contract allows for requests for unpaid leave for personal reasons.
  • Having issues with using these benefits? If your supervisor is being unreasonable, contact union@ura-aft.org immediately.

Reference: