Nova Scotia

NSTU has no intention of cutting teacher sick days

Teachers have no intention of cutting back the number of sick days they take, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union told the Halifax Regional School Board Thursday.

Teachers have no intention of cutting back the number of sick days they take, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union told the Halifax Regional School Board Thursday.

On Wednesday, the board passed its budget and part of it includes a plan to cut back on the number of substitute teachers required.

The school board estimates each teacher takes between 10 and 12 sick days each year — they're entitled to 20.

The board is hoping those number go down this coming school year.

The budget lays out a plan to save $140,000 by cutting back on the number of times substitute teachers are called in.

NSTU president Alexis Allen said  regardless of the financial crunch, teachers who get sick have to stick to the terms of their contract and stay home from school.

"If it is a good year and everything is working well, and diseases aren't around, maybe we'll be able to live within it," said Allen. "But contractually, we are entitled to our sick days."

She also said that the board is overstating the number of days each teacher takes per year.

"I think the average is six or seven days," Allen said. "We're exposed to every sickness going, so 10 sounded high."

This fall there will be 133 fewer teachers working in Halifax. Both the teachers and administrators agree that the fewer teachers there are, the less demand there will be for substitutes.

Richard Brooks, a retired teacher, said it's hard not to take sick days when classrooms can typically be full of sick kids. ((CBC))
Retired Bedford teacher Richard Brooks said teachers only take sick days when they're needed.

"I'm sure that they will save as many sick days as they can in order to help out.  But I don't know how you can prevent getting sick in the unhealthy environment of the classroom," he said.

"I certainly wasn't taking an excessive number of days off."

The teachers union just ratified a new collective agreement. There is no plan to reopen it and change the number of sick days allowed.

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