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E a s t e r n   U p d a t e - Monday, September 9, 2013

Welcome Back!

We hope that you had a wonderful summer vacation and that your first week back has been a good one! No doubt getting adjusted to routines again has been tiring.

We’ve been receiving quite a few inquiries about such things as the unpaid days, requests for unpaid leave days, and OT issues. Here is a reminder about some of the important changes to be aware of.


27 Pay Periods

For this school year only, our pays are being spread over 27 pay periods rather than 26. You can attribute the drop in your bi-weekly pay to this. This is being done so as to create an extra pay period in August 2014, so as to better align pay periods with actual days worked. This past summer our first pay period for the school year was August 15th, though we only started to work on September 3rd. For teachers who go on a leave, this creates a situation where they end up owing money back to the board, which can be very difficult. Such adjustments are also done in other boards, usually every seventh year. It is a calendar phenomenon that pay periods start earlier in the summer over time. (LTOs’ pay is not spread over the entire calendar year, and so this does apply to them.) It is important to understand that spreading your pay over 27 rather than 26 pay periods does not affect your salary.


Unpaid Days

There is one certain unpaid day this school year: December 20th. October 11th is now a paid work day. The Friday before the March Break is uncertain. We will be trying to offset having to take this as a second unpaid day through some cost-savings measures. If not enough savings are generated, it will be an unpaid day. Occasional teachers do not have to take any unpaid days. So, for permanent teachers, the number of unpaid days has been reduced from three originally, to one or two. Deductions for the one (or two) unpaid days will appear on the pay issued immediately following the unpaid day. (If you are concerned that you’ve booked a holiday already for October 11th or March 7th, please read on.)



One of the cost-savings measures to off-set having an unpaid day in March is the Voluntary Leave of Absence Program (VLAP). Teachers (permanent and LTO alike) can request up to five unpaid days during the year. Each day would see a deduction of 1/194 of yearly salary. Forms to make such a request will be coming out shortly. If a teacher makes the request within two months of the distribution of the forms, their unpaid VLAP day(s) would be amortized over the remainder of the school year pay periods. There are a few restrictions (e.g. not during the first week of a semester, or exam days, or if too many teachers from a school are requesting to be absent on the same day), however, generally requests will not be unreasonably denied.


Attendance Recognition (How to get an Unpaid Day Paid)

Teachers who use less than six of their 11sick leave days in the year will have one unpaid day paid back at the end of the year. This also applies to LTO’s if they have taken at least one voluntary unpaid day. For teachers whose FTE is less than 1.0, the threshold of less than six sick days used is prorated to their FTE. The “Other Five Days” for family care, medical appointments and personal leave days do not count towards the six.


SEIB Maternity Leave Top-Up Issue Almost Resolved

The Ministry of Education reviewed our local collective agreement over the summer and clarified for us and the Board how it would mesh with the MOU’s. They agreed with OECTA’s position that in addition to six weeks’ salary, permanent teachers would be eligible get their EI topped up to 75% for two weeks and get an additional $3,000 ($100 for 30 weeks.) The Unit is now in the process of comparing whether this OECTA MOU plan is more beneficial to the majority of our members, or if the OSSTF MOU plan of 8 weeks of salary is better. Once the Executive makes that determination, we will be informing the Board of our decision. One important issue is still in dispute: the Board is now taking the position that their payments to teachers will be based on bi-weekly pays rather on daily rates. The difference is as much as $124 per day to a teacher at A4 max. We have shared with the Board legal cases that indicate that daily rates must be used, and we are once again seeking the Ministry’s intervention. The good news is that despite this dispute, the Board has agreed to pay out the lesser amount to affected teachers as soon as possible, with the balance to come if it is determined that the daily rates is the correct payment method.


5 Other Leave Days

You will recall that permanent teachers have, on top of their 11 sick days, 5 other leave days that can be used for family care, medical/dental appointments, their two personal leave days, special leave requests, or to attend conferences on the third day or more. LTO’s can use these days for family care leave, or, for LTO’s of 10 months, their one personal day. Medical appointments can come out of sick leave as well. For a person with an on-going medical condition five days for medical appointments may not suffice. Please be careful about which category you attribute your medical appointment(s) to, whether it’s the five other leave days or to sick leave. Track your usage of your five other leave days- it shows on the bottom of your payslip. If you go over in your usage of five other leave days, the Board may deduct a day’s salary for each day you go over.


Short Term Leave Disability Plan (STLDP)

You may recall that we selected the ETFO model of STLDP. This means the practices in place in the Board as of August 31, 2012 when a teacher went out on a lengthier sick leave continue unchanged. On top of our 11 days of sick leave, each teacher gets 120 days of STLDP paid at 90% of salary. There is no adjudication process, but a teacher may be asked to have a medical certificate filled out on request by the board as per past practice. LTO’s get 60 days of STLDP for a full year LTO, or 6 days per month.


Topping-Up 90% STLDP Days to 100% of Salary

Any of your unused sick leave days from last year (of the base eleven days you initially had) carry over to this year, for the sole purpose of topping up 90% STLDP days (should you have to access them) to 100% of salary. So, for example, 5 unused sick leave days from last year can top up 50 STLDP days (at 10% of a sick leave day each day).


Long Term Disability (LTD)

Effective September 1, 2013, Provincial OECTA became the policy holder of the LTD plan for Catholic teachers in the Province. It is a one-tiered plan, with cost of living allowance (COLA) after 2 years. The waiting period is the later of 100 working days or expiration of sick leave minus 10 days. The benefit level is 55% (same as ours was previously). And the LTD rate is 1.30%, which is a better rate than our COLA inclusive rate was. Attached is a letter delineating the plan.


Registration open for fall Additional Qualification courses

As you kick off the school year, consider taking an OECTA instructional or religious education AQ course to upgrade your qualifications and salary, add another area or build toward a specialization in your portfolio, or to learn something new!

Fall courses will begin September 23, 2013 and end December 20, 2013. OECTA’s courses are online, and face-to-face locations are also offered for FSL Part I and Religious Education. The tuition fee is $600 per course; $500 for Religious Education Part 1. Register online using Visa or MasterCard. A full list of course descriptions and online registration are available on our website, www.oecta.on.ca <http://www.oecta.on.ca> in the Courses section. OECTA’s AQ courses are accredited by the Ontario College of Teachers and can be used to upgrade your QECO rating. Tell your friends and colleagues! Let teachers in other affiliates know that our AQs are open to certified teachers in Ontario, across Canada and internationally.


OECTA’s Foundational Leadership Training Program

OECTA’s Leadership Training Program is offering the Foundational Training Program in the 2013-2014 year. The four days of training will be on October 24-25, 2013 and March 27-28, 2014, at the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel. If you are interested, please read the attached flyer about the application and selection processes. Deadline for application is September 16th.


Staff Rep In-Service

The OECTA Staff Rep In-Service will be held on Tuesday, October 8th at the OECTA Unit Office in Kemptville, 595 County Road 44. It will be a full day in-service from 9:30- 3:00, and lunch will be provided. Please call Sandy at the Unit office a.s.a.p. to identify yourself as the school’s Staff Rep for the year and to indicate if you will be attending.



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