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If I was put on bed rest, why can't I use leave from the sick leave bank?


Q: I am pregnant and was placed on bed rest because of complications, I asked about getting leave from the local sick leave bank but was told the bank can't be used for pregnancy or child care.

A: Your school division is not required to have a sick leave bank; but if there is a sick leave bank it must cover pregnancy and child birth just like any other medical problem. Special restrictions or exclusions on the use of leave for disabilities caused by pregnancy or child birth discriminate on the basis of sex in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.   Employees with pregnancy-related disabilities must be treated the same as other temporarily disabled employees.
 
Years ago pregnant teachers were forced to take unpaid leave or resign from teaching. Association supported teachers, including one teacher from Virginia, went to the United States Supreme Court to invalidate rules that automatically forced pregnant teachers out of work. Now pregnant teachers can continue teaching as long as they are medically able.

You can't be forced on leave because you are pregnant OR denied paid leave because you are pregnant. Your eligibility for leave must turn on medical opinion about your ability to work. Leave for child care can be excluded from paid sick leave, but not a medical disability related to pregnancy or child birth.

Your UniServ Director will help you confirm your membership in the sick leave bank, and check requirements for medical opinion or waiting periods. I am glad the Association can help you get through this difficult situation. I extend best wishes for the health of you and your baby.

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