Title: Section 678.2 - Paid educational leave.
678.2 Paid educational leave. (Additional statutory authority: Social Services Law, Section 30, 31) (a) Persons covered. Persons with permanent or probationary status shall be eligible to apply for educational leave. The fields of study be such as to improve the individual's performance of his duties. On induction into the local department each employee shall be informed in writing of the salient features of the educational leave program. In addition, there shall be an annual posting in the local department regarding the educational leave program of the local department for the benefit of all employees.
(b) Purpose, extent, financial provisions of educational leave. (1) Educational leave may be granted on a full-time, part-time or block time basis for a specific education program as approved by the department.
(2) The period of time for which educational leave is granted shall be subject to determination by the appropriate local and/or State authorities with the approval of the State Department of Social Services.
(3) Each educational leave grant shall be for no more than one academic year.
(4) The grant for educational leave may include salary, school tuition, certain fees, and some travel. The continued salary shall not be less than when the grant became effective and not more than it would have been in regular employment. Tuition and fees shall be paid directly to the school. Travel expense shall be reimbursable to the employee.
(5) For those awards granted under Priority I designation, full tuition, specified fees, certain travel, and continued salary shall be furnished.
(6) For those awards granted under Priority II, full salary shall be furnished.
(7) For those awards granted under Priority III, full tuition shall be reimbursed the awardee upon successful completion of the approved education program.
(c) Application process. (1) Applicants for full-time educational leave shall have applied to at least one appropriate and accredited school before submitting application for educational leave.
(2) All applications for educational leave shall be completed on the prescribed form and submitted by the employee to the designated superior in his agency in accordance with prescribed procedures.
(3) All submitted applications for educational leave shall be completed by the local commissioner and/or the State requesting officer who shall recommend approval or disapproval of the applications and forward the approved applications to the appropriate office in the department, in accordance with prescribed procedures.
(4) The department shall approve or disapprove the applications and notify appropriate personnel, in accordance with prescribed procedures. Final action shall be deferred on applications until documentation is received by the department of unqualified acceptance for admission to an appropriate and accredited school for the period for which application was made.
(5) Each applicant shall be notified in writing by his local department of the approval or disapproval of his application, including the reason in case of disapproval.
(d) Selection of participants. (1) Criteria for department approval:
(i) district or department recommendations and the local department's evaluation of applicant;
(ii) number of awards and amount of money available for the program in a given fiscal year;
(iii) program and administrative needs of the department or local social service departments:
(a) Priority I designation.
(1) Jobs, or class of jobs under consideration, must be specifically identified; knowledge, skills, and values desired must be identified.
(2) Education program requested must be deemed essential to the particular job or class of jobs, as determined by a deputy commissioner and approved by the commissioner of the department; or as determined by a local commissioner and approved by the department.
(3) The school and the curriculum requested must be those designated by the department as appropriate for the identified educational need.
(b) Priority II designation.
(1) Jobs, or class of jobs, must be specifically identified; knowledge, skills, and values desired must be identified.
(2) Education program requested must be deemed desirable for a particular job or class of jobs as determined by a deputy commissioner and approved by the commissioner of the department; or as determined by a local commissioner and approved by the department.
(3) The school and the curriculum requested shall be specified by the applicant and approved by the department as appropriate.
(c) Priority III designation.
(1) Education program is one desired by employee for career development.
(2) The school and the curriculum requested shall be specified by the applicant and approved by the department as appropriate.
(2) Criteria for the local department's evaluation of applicant and recommendations:
(i) length of service: at the local department's discretion but no less than six months of satisfactory employment in the local department; or completion of one academic year of graduate education in an accredited school of social work with a B or higher average, and a minimum of 10 weeks of satisfactory employment in the agency;
(ii) quality of performance: demonstrated interest in job's performance and agency program, efforts for improvement of production, use of supervision, attendance at appropriate school courses, institutes, workshops;
(iii) physical and emotional ability to perform effectively at school and on the job, attendance record being one indicator;
(iv) expected improved value to the local social services department, including the local department's plan for utilization of applicant upon his return which takes into consideration the course of study the applicant is planning to follow.
(e) Conditions of the program. (1) An employee granted educational leave shall retain all rights in the position held at the time leave was granted, or in one with comparable security and pay, with no loss of rights and benefits provided under applicable State or local law, such as: accumulated overtime, sick leave, vacation accruals; salary increments; retirement benefits; health insurance; workmen's compensation. Unless contrary to the local department's policy, vacation, sick or personal leave credits shall not accrue during full-time or block-time educational leave. Time on educational leave shall not count as part of the probationary period. The balance of the probationary period shall be served upon return from the educational leave.
(2) An employee receiving full-time or block-time educational leave shall be relieved of all responsibility for performance of current department work for the period of academic time approved.
(3) An employee receiving part-time educational leave shall have his work load correspondingly reduced if the approved educational program requires more than 10 percent of the local department's work week for a continuous period covering an academic semester or quarter.
(4) An employee on paid, full-time or block-time educational leave shall comply with the school's attendance rules while enrolled in the school program. Absences during the period of leave are not charged against leave credits. The dates of the employee's educational leave status shall be according to the official school schedule, from date of first date of registration to the last date of official attendance at school. For full-time educational leave, the dates are from date of registration to end of one work week following the last official attendance date.
(5) In case of withdrawal from the leave, termination of the educational leave status shall coincide with the official date of withdrawal from school.
(6) An employee on educational leave shall be responsible for reporting to his local department his status or standing or attendance at school, as required by that department.
(7) An employee granted educational leave shall be fully informed of the conditions on which educational leave may be granted, including the length of time expected to remain in the local department's service, the terms of the agreement, and his status before, during and following educational leave.
(8) The applicant shall execute an agreement with the New York State Department of Social Services concerning employment responsibility in return for the educational leave award which agreement shall include an agreement by the employee to return to the local department in which employed immediately upon termination of his financed education and to serve in such employment for one calendar year for each academic year subsidized or part thereof. Recognition is given to the fact that circumstances may make it impossible for the employee to fulfill the work requirement for the educational leave given. Situations may arise in which continuation of employment with the agency would result in undue hardship for the employee and a disadvantage to the local department. Under conditions which warrant, the local department may wish to provide for repayment of funds when the original agreement cannot be fulfilled.
(f) Reimbursement. 100 percent of salary expense incurred by the district for educational leave granted according to the policies and prescribed procedures may be claimed.
(g) Substitute worker. Reimbursement shall be available to the district for the salary of a substitute worker while the regular worker is in school, provided the substitute meets the minimum requirements.
(h) Liaison responsibilities. The local commissioner or State requesting officer shall be responsible for maintaining liaison with the employee while on educational leave following prescribed procedures.
(i) Civil emergencies affecting school program. In the case of a disturbance affecting the school program, such as a strike, the employee from the State or a local department of social services who is on educational leave and in attendance at the school in question shall continue in his full-time school program as long as the school remains open, or, if that is not possible, shall immediately report to his employing agent for instructions.
VOLUME C (Title 18)