North Carolina teachers are a step closer to not having to pay for a substitute to cover their classes when they take a personal day.
Currently, teachers who use personal leave on days when classes are in session are charged $50 to help schools cover the cost of finding a substitute teacher. But the state House unanimously passed legislation on Thursday that waives the “required substitute deduction” for teachers if they provide a reason to their principal for taking personal leave.
“This bill creates an avenue for teachers to be able to utilize their personal leave benefit without being docked $50 a day from their pay,” Rep. Jeffrey Elmore, a Wilkes County Republican and the bill’s primary sponsor, said Thursday.
But if House Bill 362 becomes law, teachers who don’t provide a reason would be charged the full cost of hiring a substitute, which could be more than $100 a day. The bill now goes to the Senate.
The legislation addresses how North Carolina is one of the few states that requires teachers to help pay for the cost of hiring substitutes.
Teachers don’t have to pay for a sub when they use sick leave or vacation days, called annual leave. But they can’t use annual leave when classes are in session.
On days when students are in, teachers can use personal leave. But $50 per day is deducted from the teacher’s paycheck to help defray the cost for hiring a substitute teacher.
Teachers use sick day to avoid $50 fee
Elmore, a public school teacher, has said some teachers have been using sick days to avoid paying the sub fee. He said sick days shouldn’t be lost for non-health situations, such as attending a funeral or a child’s graduation or going to a closing of a house.
Under state law, it’s up to the principal to approve personal leave time. Approval of requests made within five days is discretionary.
But state law says the leave has to be automatically approved if the request is made at least five days in advance and a substitute teacher can be found.
The new legislation still allows those automatically approved requests. It also says teachers can’t be required to give a reason. But a reason will be needed if teachers don’t want to lose any pay.
Teachers who don’t give a reason could be charged the $80 that districts pay for subs who don’t have a teaching license. They could be charged $103 for the fee paid to substitute teachers who have a license.
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