Each employer shall develop and maintain as part of an overall policy on teacher absences, a policy statement specific to the needs of the school authority, in relation to the approval of unpaid leave.
In drawing up this policy, the welfare and educational needs of the pupils shall take precedence over all other considerations and absences should be kept to a minimum to avoid disruption to the teaching duties and to guarantee continuity for all pupils being catered for including ensuring the services of a suitably qualified registered replacement teacher is available to take up duty if required.
Unpaid leave must only be considered in the most exceptional circumstances, where the employer is satisfied that there is a compelling obligation involving absence from duty. Absences under this heading must not be used to substitute other forms of leave, statutory or otherwise and must not be of a recurring nature.
Duration of Unpaid Leave
The maximum amount of unpaid leave which may be taken is 10 school days in a school year. Substitution will be paid by the Department.
Absence for part of a school day constitutes an absence for a full school day.
Pro-rata entitlements to absences will apply to teachers employed on a part-time basis.
Any unpaid absence without the approval of the employer will be dealt with under disciplinary procedures.
The employer shall submit notice of all unpaid leave to the Department (via the On Line Claims System)/VEC regardless of whether or not a substitute teacher was employed. Applications for unpaid leave should be entered on the OLCS system as early as possible after they are approved by the employer to ensure that deductions from pay are made at the correct time. It should be noted that an absence for unpaid leave cannot be changed once it is processed on the OLCS.
Absences under this heading do not impinge on entitlements under Statutory Leave.
A teacher absent on unpaid leave cannot be employed in another recognised primary or second level school to undertake teaching in any capacity or undertake the duties of a special needs assistant.