Do teachers get sick pay due to stress?

In this blog we will answer the question “Do teachers get sick pay due to stress?”

We will also briefly touch upon what sick pay is, where you can find details related to sick pay, and what the sick pay entitlements are for teachers. 

Do teachers get sick pay due to stress?

Teachers do get sick pay or paid sick leave for mental health conditions like stress related to their jobs however, the laws related to how much and for how long vary by state and by the size of the company according to the Burgundy Book. 

A teacher’s entitlement to sick pay and sick leave for teachers is set out in the Burgundy Book under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, (TUPE). 

The entitlements laid out in the Burgundy Book is what informs the employee contacts of teachers related to sick leave. However, in some states and counties, institutions can make a call for whether they incorporate the Burgundy Book into the contracts and by how much. 

Some independent private schools may set their own sick pay schemes but many public schools will follow the Burgundy Book.

According to the Burgundy book, teachers’ national sick pay entitlements are based on a sliding scale based on how long they have been in service. 

  • If an individual has served for one year, they are entitled to full pay for 25 working days.
  • For Second year of service they are entitled to full pay for 50 working days and then half pay for 50 working days. 
  • For Third year of service they are entitled to full pay for 75 days followed by half pay for 75 working days
  • For working for four years in service and more teachers are entitled to full pay for 100 working days followed by half pay for 100 working days

How can I go about applying for stress leave as a teacher?

If you wish to take leave for stress, you can take the following steps:

Get in touch with a doctor

You must inform the doctor about your condition and how it is impacting you. To be eligible for leave, the employee’s stress must indicate the following:

  • The stress causes you to be unable to perform their job duties for at least three consecutive days 
  • The stress require ongoing medical treatment, such as prescription medication or therapy
  • The employee has had to stay overnight in a hospital or another medical care facility
  • The condition is a chronic condition that requires medical treatment at least twice a year.

Get a doctor’s note

Once you are under treatment for stress, make sure that you get a detailed record of your condition as well as a doctor’s note of your diagnosis and on-going treatment. 

If you plan to take leave for one week or less, most schools and states do not require a doctor’s notes. 

However, you might need to confirm the reason for your absence when you return, which is why it is important to keep a note of your condition. 

If you’re off work for more than 7 days, you’ll need a doctor’s note that states how fit you are to work, this note should contain information related to:

  • Recommendations for changes to help you get back to work- accommodations like lesser workload or working fewer hours etc. 
  • Minimum duration for leave

What is sick pay?

Sick pay also known as paid sick leave or paid sick days refers to paid time off employees receive. 

This means that the employee when they take time off due to stress, illness, and injury, they are paid full or half of their working day salary.

Through these paid sick leaves that company policy and laws of certain states cover, an employee is entitled to their full wages or part of their wages when they are out sick- this includes mental and physical illnesses including stress. 

Sick pay covers various life circumstances, though state laws and institutional policies can vary, most commonly covered issues include:

  • Illness, injury, or health condition
  • Preventative medical care
  • Medical diagnosis
  • Care or treatment of physical or mental illness
  • Care for a family member who is ill or injured

Where can I find details on my sick pay entitlement as a teacher?

To find more details about sick pay entitlement as a teacher you can refer to The Burgundy Book which is a handbook related to conditions of service for school teachers based on National policy for teachers in England and Wales. 

This particular resource covers issues related to the following:

  • Notice period
  • Retremenet
  • Sick pay
  • Maternity leave
  • Insurance provisions
  • Other leaves and time offs
  • It also covers arrangements made between local authorities and teacher organisations. 

What is the Burgundy book entitlement to sick pay?

According to the Burgundy book, teachers’ national sick pay entitlements are based on a sliding scale based on how long they have been in service. 

  • If an individual has served for one year, they are entitled to full pay for 25 working days.
  • For Second year of service they are entitled to full pay for 50 working days and then half pay for 50 working days. 
  • For Third year of service they are entitled to full pay for 75 days followed by half pay for 75 working days
  • For working for four years in service and more teachers are entitled to full pay for 100 working days followed by half pay for 100 working days

The working days included Monday to fridays and weekends as well as holidays are not covered by sick day entitlements. 

The National policy as settled by The Burgundy Book also covers leave for a mental condition, including stress. However this may vary by state and by the size of the company.

 As a teacher, your entitlements for sick pay should be covered in the contract of employment that you have with the school administration and this contract should have all the details of sick pay entitlement from day one of joining the school as a teacher. 

If your contract does not cover sick pay entitlements you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay provided you meet the Government eligibility criteria. From the SSP you will receive up to £96.35 per week SSP for up to six months. (NASUWT)

What are the various sick leaves that a teacher is entitled to?

Yearly sick leave

For most schools and community colleges, teachers are entitled to up to 10 days of sick leave every year provided they work for an average of 600 hours. 

This sick leave is typically awarded at the beginning of each school year and it can be used for personal issues related to health, as well as health issues within the family. 

The amount of sick leave that an individual teacher gets can differ from state to state or even from institution to institution based on board policy. 

FMLA

Other leaves that teachers are entitled to are covered by the FMLA. This entitles employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year in the case that their family member has a serious health condition. 

Teachers covered by this law are allowed to take leave and be reinstated after the period ends or to an equivalent job after. Most schools in the US are covered by this law however, not all employees are eligible for it. 

Employees should have a history of at least 1250 hours in the past year and should be part of an institution that has at least 50 employees, only under these circumstances will a teacher be eligible for unpaid leave for stress under the FMLA. 

The leave can be continuous or intermittent meaning that the leave can be taken at once or taken as and when needed. 

Unused Sick leave

In some states, there are some policies that alert teachers with retirement benefits for unused sick leave. For example, in the US, the Illinois Teachers’ retirement System, the State Universities Retirement System, and the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund may increase retirement benefits based on unused sick leave.  

for a spouse or an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or when unable to work because of a serious health condition. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have answered the question “Do teachers get sick pay due to stress?”

We have also briefly touched upon what sick pay is, where you can find details related to sick pay, and what the sick pay entitlements are for teachers. 

FAQ related to Can teachers get sick pay due to stress?

Can you get paid sick leave for stress?

Teachers do get sick pay or paid sick leave for mental health conditions like stress related to their jobs however, the laws related to how much and for how long vary by state and by the size of the company according to the Burgundy Book. 

Some independent private schools may set their own sick pay schemes but many public schools will follow the Burgundy Book.

What qualifies you for stress leave?

You must inform the doctor about your condition and how it is impacting you. To be eligible for leave, the employee’s stress must indicate the following:

  • The stress causes you to be unable to perform their job duties for at least three consecutive days 
  • The stress require ongoing medical treatment, such as prescription medication or therapy
  • The employee has had to stay overnight in a hospital or another medical care facility
  • The condition is a chronic condition that requires medical treatment at least twice a year.
  • You have worked for your employer for at least one year for up to 1,250 hours to qualify. 

How long can you take off for stress leave?

Under the FMLA laws, you are entitled for up to 12 weeks of unpaid stress leave in the US. Whereas in other countries, the amount of stress leave you can take differs according to the length of your service. 

How do I ask for a leave of absence due to stress?

Here are the steps you can take to ask for leave:

  • Consult your doctor.
  • Get your doctor’s note for stress leave.
  • Tell your employer.

References

Do Employees Have a Right to Sick Leave for Stress? Poster Compliance Center. Retrieved on 12th january 2022. https://www.postercompliance.com/blog/do-employees-have-a-right-to-sick-leave-for-stress/

Sick Pay For Teachers.Edapt. Retrieved on 12th january 2022. https://www.edapt.org.uk/support/knowledge-base/what-do-i-need-to-know-about-sick-pay/

Statutory Sick Pay for Supply Teachers (England). Nasuwt. Retrieved on 12th January 2022. https://www.nasuwt.org.uk/advice/supply-teacher/statutory-sick-pay-for-supply-teachers/statutory-sick-pay-for-supply-teachers-england.html

Taking sick leave. Gov.UK. Retrieved on 12th Jnaury 2022. https://www.gov.uk/taking-sick-leave

Everything you need to know about stress leave. Timetastic. Retrieved on 12th january 2022. https://timetastic.co.uk/blog/stress-leave/

Teacher Sick Leaves.Education Rights. Retrieved on 12th january 2022. https://www.educationrights.com/teacherleaves.php

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