Your rights to access leave time are found in the Draft Collective Agreement: Section G - Leaves of Absence.
Applying for Leaves
Teachers can receive paid leaves for the following purposes. Note that if the leave indicates "may" be granted, the District has some discretion on when they do/do not grant leaves. Other leaves are guaranteed. For more information, contact your staff rep or the GVTA office.
Leaves must be requested, in writing, to Human Resources.
- sick leave (amount accumulated in sick leave bank)
- critical illness or bereavement (new language from 2011 collective agreement)
- up to five days for immediately family
- additional two days for travel if required
- funeral leave (any person, up to half day to attend or full day if outside CRD)
- emergency family illness (up to three days)
- inclement weather (counts as one of emergency family illness days)
- adoption (up to 4 days)
- paternity (up to 4 days at the time of birth)
- examination (up to 1 day may be granted)
- course of study approved by the Superintendent (up to 10 days may be granted)
- holy day (1 day)
- convocation (1 day)
- subpoena or jury duty (time required to attend)
- wcb appeal hearings (time required to attend)
- day of or day before teacher's marriage (1 day)
- day of marriage of immediate family member (1 day)
- cultural or service activity (up to 5 days may be granted)
- participation as a member or coach of an athletic team in a provincial, national or international event (up to 5 days may be granted)
- participation in an activity which offers a unique or unusual opportunity for professional growth (special circumstances, may be granted)
- three discretionary days per year
- a period up to two years (personal unpaid leave, usually must coincide with school breaks unless special circumstances)
- pregnancy and parental, up to 17 weeks plus 35 weeks (see below)
- extended parental, to end of school year
- parenthood up to two years
- elected office, two months prior to polling and up to five years
News update - Statutory leaves agreement
The GVTA and the District have signed an agreement in relation to teachers applying for temporary positions who will be or are already on a statutory leave (such as pregnancy or parental leave). New Agreement re: Maternity Leave
Supplemental Employment Insurance Benefits ("top up")
All birth mothers are entitled to 17 weeks of top-up if they collect EI during their pregnancy leave.
All birth mothers and fathers and adoptive parents are entitled to up to 10 weeks of top-up if they collect EI during some or all of a parental leave.
Top-up is paid in the amount of the difference between your weekly EI earnings and 95% of your current salary. Current salary is zero during the summer months, and may change during the top-up period if your contract terms change.
Applying for positions while on maternity leave
You are entitled to apply for and be assigned contract work while on leave or if your leave overlaps with part of the time of the position. Members are all entitled to apply for all positions. If a temporary position is "restricted" due to multiple teacher changes (more than two), you may not be eligible if you intend on being on leave for part of the position. All "restricted" position will be indicated as such in the job posting. You are entitled to all the benefits associated with the position, so even if you are not collecting a salary (because of your leave), you are entitled to SEB top-up, seniority and any other benefits. See the agreement on statutory leaves (link to agreement)
If you apply for a position and are denied the position because you are "unavailable" due to a statutory leave (such as pregnancy, compassionate care, or illness), and this was not a restricted position, PLEASE CONTACT THE GVTA IMMEDIATELY.
Employment Standards Act
THE GVTA STRONGLY RECOMMENDS THAT YOU TAKE YOUR MATERNITY/PARENTAL LEAVE USING THE 'EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS ACT' CLAUSE OF THE COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT so that you can determine your leave end date.
The Employment Standards clause is superior because: a) it allows you to choose your end date within a one year time frame, and b) it is a short-term leave and you must be reassigned to your same position whenever possible.
We recommend you use one of our sample letters: Maternity Only, Parental Only, Maternity and Parental, to apply for your leave and you ensure that the leave granted (via the letter you receive from Human Resources) acknowledges that a) you have applied under the ESA clause, and b) that you have been granted a short-term leave.
If you are considering maternity leave, please be aware that there are two options available to you: G.21.1.a or G.21.1.b
You can apply for maternity leave under Article G.21.1.a of the Collective Agreement under Part 6 of the Employment Standards Act (1996).
This allows you up to one calendar year of leave and the right to return at a specified date of your choice, at any time during the school year, to the position that you had before you left.
If you apply under Article G.21.1.b of the Collective Agreement for a leave then you can only return at a natural break in the school year, such as the beginning of a semester, at the beginning of the school year or after the spring break. There is no advantage to this type of leave - it restricts your return date unnecessarily.
You must specify which option you are choosing at the time you apply for your leave. You are advised to contact the GVTA for advice before applying for maternity leave.
Note that once you request a leave for a specified period of time, you cannot return earlier than the specified end date except in exceptional circumstances (e.g. stillbirth). You can request to be placed on the TTOC list and work as a TTOC while on leave.
If you take a short-term maternity leave, you return to your original position. If you extend your leave, you will return to a reasonably similar position, but a return to your original position is not guaranteed. You may want to take this into consideration when planning your leave. If you request an extension, your return must occur at a natural break.