Leave for health reasons - who can use it and when?
The annual health leave can be taken by teachers who meet several conditions. If they submit an application supported by a medical certificate, the school head must grant them such leave. They receive their salary during the holiday period.
Leave for improvement of health - conditions
What conditions must a teacher meet in order to go on leave for health reasons?
The teacher must:
- be employed full-time,
- be employed for an indefinite period,
- have worked continuously for at least 7 years in school, not less than 1/2 of the compulsory number of classes,
- present the opinion of an occupational medicine physician on the need to grant a leave to improve health or a referral from a family doctor for spa treatment or spa rehabilitation.
These conditions must be met cumulatively. They result from Art. 73 Teacher Cards.
Seven years of uninterrupted work at school
One of the conditions for taking the leave for improvement of health is working continuously for 7 years in school, for a period not lower than 1/2 of the working time. The period of seven-year work in the school is considered uninterrupted if the teacher took up employment in the school no later than within 3 months after the end of the previous employment relationship in the same or another school.
The period of seven-year work at school includes periods of temporary inability to work due to illness and holidays other than vacation, lasting in total not longer than 6 months. What if the vacation or incapacity for work lasted more than 6 months in total? The required period of work is then extended.
Health leave may be granted several times (we write about it later). The period of seven years of work at school to justify the right to holiday should fall directly before the start of the first holiday for health reasons.
Types of leave to improve health
Health leave may be granted:
- in order to carry out the prescribed treatment of a disease threatening the occurrence of an occupational disease;
- to carry out the prescribed treatment of a disease in which factors of the working environment or the way of performing work play an important role;
- for spa treatment or spa rehabilitation.
The teacher suffers from a disease that is not related to the work performed. He will no longer be given leave to carry out the prescribed treatment. He may, however, get a health leave for spa treatment or spa rehabilitation.
How many times can you go on a health leave?
During the entire period of employment, the teacher may use the leave to improve health for no more than 3 years. One leave may not be longer than a year.
However, if the teacher is less than a year away from acquiring the right to a retirement pension, he cannot take the annual leave for health reasons. It may be sent on sick leave up to the end of the month preceding the month in which the teacher acquires pension rights. One year - this is the maximum duration of a health leave A teacher may be granted another health leave, but not earlier than one year after the end of the previous health leave.
Salary during sick leave
Leave for health reasons is paid, the teacher is paid all the time.
During the health leave, the teacher retains the right to:
- monthly base salary,
- service allowance,
- other employee benefits, including a rural employment allowance.
Prohibition of work during sick leave
During the health leave, the teacher may not enter into an employment relationship or undertake any other gainful activity.
If it is found that during the health leave the teacher undertakes a different employment relationship or other gainful activity, the school headmaster dismisses the teacher from the leave, specifying the date on which the teacher is obliged to return to work.
What if a teacher works in two schools at the same time, and in one of them he has been granted leave for health reasons? Can he continue working in the second school and take sick leave at the same time? It is unacceptable.
"The basis for dismissing a teacher from health leave may also be the continuation of employment on the basis of an employment relationship or performance of other gainful activity commenced before the leave was granted" - stated the Supreme Court, file ref. no. II PZP 5/05.
In such a situation, if the teacher cannot take the health leave also in the second school, he should take unpaid leave in the second school or terminate her employment relationship.
For work during the sick leave - criminal charges
The teacher cannot work during the leave for health reasons. Taking up work is the basis for dismissal from leave. The school principal should be informed about starting work.
What if the teacher is on leave for health reasons, at the same time working (under an employment or other gainful activity), has not informed the school head about it and is paid leave pay? This could result in criminal charges and a fraud charge. In this way, the teacher extorts undue remuneration for the period of sick leave. It is a crime under Art. 286 § 1 of the Criminal Code:
"Whoever, in order to gain financial benefits, causes another person to disadvantageously dispose of their own or someone else's property by misleading them or exploiting a mistake or inability to properly understand the action taken, shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for a term of between 6 months and 8 years." Start a free 30-day trial period with no strings attached!
Sick leave for the prescribed treatment - procedure
How do I get a health leave for the prescribed treatment?
- the teacher submits a written application to the school head for health leave;
- if the teacher meets the formal conditions (e.g. work experience), the headmaster issues a referral for a medical examination to an occupational medicine doctor within no more than 7 working days; the cost of the research is borne by the school;
- an occupational medicine doctor issues a medical certificate on the need to grant a teacher a health leave; the decision specifies the time needed to carry out the recommended treatment;
- the teacher communicates the decision to the school headmaster;
- the school head grants the leave, or - if he challenges the decision - lodges an appeal within 14 days.
Appeal against a medical certificate
An occupational medicine doctor decides about the need to grant a teacher a health leave on the basis of:
- the results of their medical examination;
- results of additional tests or specialist consultations which it deems necessary;
- medical documentation on the course of previous treatment.
The teacher or the school principal may be dissatisfied with the content of the decision. Both have the right to appeal against the medical certificate.
The appeal shall be submitted in writing within 14 working days. They should be submitted to the voivodeship occupational medicine center competent for the teacher's place of residence or the seat of the school. In the event that a medical certificate was issued by a doctor employed in a voivodeship occupational medicine center, an appeal against this decision shall be submitted to the occupational medicine research institute closest to the teacher's place of residence or the seat of the school.
The appeal is submitted through the physician who issued the certificate, so it should physically reach the doctor. The latter forwards them, together with a copy of the research documentation, to the entity competent to consider the appeal. He has 7 days to do so from the date of receipt of the appeal.
There are 30 days from the date of its receipt to consider the appeal. It is issued after the teacher's medical examination. This judgment is final.
Vacation for spa treatment
The procedure is different in the case of health leave for spa treatment or spa rehabilitation. It is provided by the school head on the basis of a referral from a family doctor (health insurance doctor). The referral must be confirmed by the provincial branch of the National Health Fund competent for the teacher's place of residence.
If a teacher has been granted a health leave for more than 30 days, he or she is subject to a medical check-up. They are aimed at determining the ability to perform work in the current position.