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E a s t e r n   U p d a t e - Wednesday, November 6, 2012

OECTA Beginning Teacher’s Conference

The OECTA Beginning Teachers Conference is taking place on February 22 & 23, 2013 at the Toronto Airport Hilton Hotel. The theme is Mental Health - Strike a Balance! If you are a beginning teacher in your five first years of teaching call the Unit now to apply: 1-888-250-3799. The deadline for application is Friday, November 16th. Spaces are limited, so don’t delay!

Sick Leave and the M.O.U.

Most teachers will be aware that we now get only 10 days of sick leave paid at 100% of salary per year, and that any used days do not accumulate from year-to-year.

If a teacher is absent due to illness beyond the 10 days, they are entitled to an additional 120 days of short term sick leave. These 120 days are paid at 66.67% of regular salary, or 90% of regular salary if the teacher is deemed eligible under the Short-Term Leave and Disability Plan (STLDP) provisions, as adjudicated by a third-party, (OTIP). Subject to the third party adjudication process, an absence is eligible for STLDP if all, or any part of an absence of five (5) or more consecutive work days occurs beyond the ten sick leave days paid at 100% of salary; or if the absence is due to an ongoing or intermittent medical condition such as, but not limited to, recurring illnesses or medical conditions, or any form of chronic condition.

Currently, in the absence of the establishment of an adjudication process, all absences due to illness beyond the ten sick leave days shall be paid at 90% of regular salary. These days will not be subsequently adjudicated under the STLDP. The Board is not entitled to medical certificates for absences that fall under this category.

Pension Contributions on a Reduced Salary:

The M.O.U. states that contributions will be made by the employee on the unpaid portion of each STLDP (either at 66.67% or 90%), unless the employee directs otherwise in writing. However, Teacher Pension Plan changes have to be made, either through amendment or legislation, to allow for this to happen. This is in the works, but until it happens, currently the school board is unable to maintain contribution levels as if the employee was working 100%.

These contributions will have to be made retroactively by the teacher once the plan is amended. The government/employer is obligated to match these contributions.

Payment of Reduced Income Days:

A day paid at 90% salary for a day shall be calculated as a deduction from salary based on the following formula: Grid salary X 1/194 X 10% = deduction for one day. A day paid at 66.67% salary shall be calculated as a deduction from salary based on the following formula: Grid salary X 1/194 X 33.33% = deduction for one day.

Any deductions to be made are made in full from the next pay period.

How Will the Adjudication Process Work?

At Day 5 or more, if a teacher is expecting that health related absence due to injury or illness will be extending beyond 5 working days (and the teacher has used 10 sick leave days for the school calendar year), the teacher will be directed to contact the Manulife “AMS” (Absence Management Services) toll free intake number. The Customer Care representative will collect and record information from the teacher that includes information such as the first day off work, the length of the current absence so far, expected return-to-work date, reason for current absence and current symptoms, and if the teacher is expecting to meet with their physician or medical professional. The Rep will explain the next steps of the program.

Within 3 business days of intake a Case Manager will call the teacher to do a telephone interview. Case managers are healthcare professionals such as nurses, physiotherapists, occupational health, psychiatric nurses, kinesiologists, or chiropractors. Assessment is based on industry “Best Practice Adjudication Integrity” and evidence based medical guidelines. The teacher’s privacy and confidentiality are maintained. This means that no medical information obtained by the Case Manager, which may include additional medical such as an Attending Physician’s Statement or medical report if required, can be shared, not even with the employer. The cost of any medical certificate required will be borne by the Board.

Within 3 working days from the date Manulife receives referral from the Employee, a recommendation will be provided verbally to the Employee and to the Board regarding whether the teacher is eligible for 90% payment of salary or not. If an absence is non-supported for 90%, the decision can be appealed but not grieved.

Case Management after a recommendation is made may include Early Intervention/Treatment Facilitation, and facilitated Return to Work planning based on functional ability.

If warranted, the STLDP will begin transition to LTD mid-way through the benefit period. The intent is for this to happen in a seamless and timely way in order to avoid late filing. Effective January 1, 2013, OECTA shall be the policyholder of Long Term Disability Plans.

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