Arizona Education Association

Spring 2020

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at the capitol 8 ADVOCATE | SPRING 2020 Q The Governor and the Superintendent jointly announced that all schools are closed statewide for the rest of the school year. Can my district still make me report to work, notwithstanding the closures? If I am asked to work during school closures, will I get paid? A Yes, your district may ask you to report to work as usual or to work remotely from home. You would be paid for your work in either event. Q Will I get paid for days on which the school is closed? A Yes, you will get paid if: • You are committed to being available to work and/or working (whether remotely or onsite) under HB 2910 and various district governing board resolutions; or • You utilize paid leave in the event you are unavailable or unwilling to work, including: • Emergency paid sick leave under federal law (qualifying reasons, eligibility, and other terms explained above) on or after April 1; • Public health emergency leave under federal law (qualifying reason, eligibility, and other terms explained above) on or after April 1; • Earned paid sick time under state law in the event of an employee's/family member's illness or medical care or in the event of a public health emergency 1 . • Other accrued available leave (e.g., personal leave or vacation). • If you are an FLSA-exempt non-teaching employee, you should receive your full salary for any weeks where you perform any work despite school closures, although you may have to use accrued leave benefits to the extent they are available. This rule does not apply to teachers, but could apply to school nurses, administrators, some managers or directors, school psychologists or occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, some who work in the technology or business offices, and others. Q Is there a legal reason why my district is now requiring me to indicate my commitment to being available to work? A This is based on your district's interpretation of the School Closures Act. Section 1(C)(6)(a) of HB2910 requires that "[b]efore March 30, 2020, each public school employee, including hourly employees, shall commit to be available to work during the employee's normal work hours." It is not clear that this language requires employees to W e encourage you to work proactively through your local associations to address many of these issues with your school districts, including reporting/work location issues, pay matters, evaluations, and other matters. For example, some districts tie performance pay to attendance. You should confirm with your district that educators' absence from school due to closures or exposure to COVID-19 will not be held against them for this or other purposes. If you are on a performance improvement plan, you should request an extension at the appropriate time. You should also acquaint yourself with relevant governing board policies, including GBGCB/GBGCB-E, which deal with communicable diseases (staff exclusion from school, reporting of diagnosed and suspected cases and notification, and confidentiality). Separate guidance on the questions your local association should be asking will be forthcoming. If you are a member and have any questions about your employment rights or any related concerns, please contact your local association or AEA Help Desk at or (877) 820-1983. Disclaimer: What follows is general information on employee rights in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak in Arizona. Employee rights and responsibilities may vary in some respects from district to district and from position to position. For example, individual employment contracts, meet-and-confer agreements, and governing board policies and regulations may differ in significant ways by district and by employee classification. This AEA Legal Department publication is for informational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for legal or other professional advice based on or addressing one's specific circumstances. Employment Rights FAQ FAQ for Employees While Schools Are Closed 1 Under the earned paid sick time law, a district must allow you to utilize accrued sick time in order to receive pay for, among other things, (1) time used to seek medical care or for illness of the employee or the employee's family member (an employer may not ask for a doctor's note until the third consecutive day) or (2) under certain circumstances during a public health emergency. Specifically, an employee may use sick time during a public health emergency in the event of the Closure of the employee's place of business by order of a public official due to a public health emergency or an employee's need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency, or care for oneself or a family member when it has been determined by the health authorities having jurisdiction or by a health care provider that the employee's or family member's presence in the community may jeopardize the health of others because of his or her exposure to a communicable disease, whether or not the employee or family member has actually contracted the communicable disease. See A.R.S. § 23-373(A)(3).

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