(a) The governing board of a school district shall provide by rules and regulations for industrial accident or illness leaves of absence for employees who are a part of the classified service. The governing board of a district that is created or whose boundaries or status is changed by an action to organize or reorganize districts completed after the effective date of this section shall provide by rules and regulations for these leaves of absence on or before the date on which the organization or reorganization of the district becomes effective for all purposes.
(b) The rules and regulations shall include the following provisions:
(1) Allowable leave shall not be for less than 60 working days in any one fiscal year for the same accident.
(2) Allowable leave shall not be accumulative from year to year.
(3) Industrial accident or illness leave will commence on the first day of absence.
(4) Payment for wages lost on any day shall not, when added to an award granted the employee under the workers' compensation laws of this state, exceed the normal wage for the day.
(5) Industrial accident leave will be reduced by one day for each day of authorized absence regardless of a compensation award made under workers' compensation.
(6) When an industrial accident or illness occurs at a time when the full 60 days will overlap into the next fiscal year, the employee shall be entitled to only that amount remaining at the end of the fiscal year in which the injury or illness occurred, for the same illness or injury.
(c) The industrial accident or illness leave of absence is to be used in lieu of entitlement acquired under Section 45191. When entitlement to industrial accident or illness leave has been exhausted, entitlement or other sick leave will then be used; but if an employee is receiving workers' compensation the employee shall be entitled to use only so much of his or her accumulated or available sick leave, accumulated compensating time, vacation or other available leave that, when added to the workers' compensation award, provide for a full day's wage or salary.
(d) The governing board of a district may, by rule or regulation, provide for as much additional leave of absence, paid or unpaid, as it deems appropriate and during this leave the employee may return to his or her position without suffering any loss of status or benefits. The employee shall be notified, in writing, that available paid leave has been exhausted, and shall be offered an opportunity to request additional leave.
(e) A period of leave of absence, paid or unpaid, shall not be considered to be a break in service of the employee.
(f) During a paid leave of absence, whether industrial accident leave as provided in this section, sick leave, vacation, compensated time off, or other available leave provided by law or the action of a governing board of a district, the employee shall endorse to the district wage loss benefit checks received under the workers' compensation laws of this state. The district, in turn, shall issue the employee appropriate warrants for payment of wages or salary and shall deduct normal retirement and other authorized contributions. Reduction of entitlement to leave shall be made only in accordance with this section.
(g) When all available leaves of absence, paid or unpaid, have been exhausted and if the employee is not medically able to assume the duties of his or her position, the employee shall, if not placed in another position, be placed on a reemployment list for a period of 39 months. When available, during the 39-month period, the employee shall be employed in a vacant position in the class of the employee's previous assignment over all other available candidates except for a reemployment list established because of lack of work or lack of funds, in which case the employee shall be listed in accordance with appropriate seniority regulations.
(h) The governing board of a district may require that an employee serve or have served continuously a specified period of time with the district before the benefits provided by this section are made available to the employee provided that this period shall not exceed three years and that all service of the employee prior to the effective date of this section shall be credited in determining compliance with the requirement.
(i) In the absence of rules and regulations adopted by the governing board of a district, pursuant to this section, an employee shall be entitled to industrial and accident or illness leave as provided in this section but without limitation as to the number of days of this leave and without any requirement of a specified period of service.
(j) An employee who has been placed on a reemployment list, as provided in this section, who has been medically released for return to duty and who fails to accept an appropriate assignment shall be dismissed.
(k) This section shall apply to districts that have adopted the merit system in the same manner and effect as if it were a part of Article 6 (commencing with Section 45240).
(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 58, Sec. 2.)