Scheme for Leave of Absence Following Assault
Leave of absence under this scheme may be granted to a teacher who is unable to perform his/her duties due to physical injury following an assault in the course of the teacher's duties and during approved school activities.
The incident giving rise to an application for leave under this scheme must not have been due to any negligence or any act or omission on the part of the teacher and all due procedures and protocols in regard to personal safety must have been adhered to.
Boards of Management should have in place a clearly defined policy/code of behaviour/safety statement which includes procedures to be implemented in the event of an assault of an employee. These procedures should include:
- Seeking medical assistance, where necessary.
- immediate reporting of incidents to School Management
- recording of incidents in an Incident Report Book.
- reporting of the incident to the Health and Safety Authority.
- reporting to the Gardai, where appropriate
- ensuring that all appropriate safeguards have been put in place to protect persons at risk and to prevent, in so far as is practicable, the occurrence of assault.
Entitlement to Leave of Absence following Assault
Only absences medically certified as a physical injury qualify for leave under this scheme.
The maximum leave available under the Scheme for leave of Absence following Assault is 3 months (92 days) at full pay in a rolling 4 year period.
In exceptional cases, such as where a significant period of hospitalisation is required or in situations of a second or subsequent incident of assault, the leave may be extended for a further period, not exceeding 3 months (92 days) at full pay, subject to an overall limit of 6 months (183 days) at full pay in a rolling 4 year period. Any subsequent absence will be dealt with under the Sick leave Scheme.
Leave of Absence following Assault ends on:
- the ceasing of the certification by a duly qualified medical practitioner of the physical injury, or
- the maximum leave limits available under this scheme being exhausted, or
- certification of fitness to return to duties.
In order for an absence to be recorded as Leave of Absence following Assault, the Application Form (attached at Appendix A - circular letter 0061/2017) must be completed by the teacher concerned and the employer (or, in the case of ETB schools, the Principal) and forwarded by the employer to the Department/ETB within a week of the incident occurring.
Where in exceptional cases a teacher is unable to complete his/her part of the application within a week of the incident due to physical incapacity, this period may be extended by the employer - applications must be forwarded to the Department/ETB within a reasonable period in this event.
The Application Form must set out details of the incident and be accompanied by copies of the required reporting documentation.
Occupational Health Service (OHS) referral
Absences recorded under this scheme will be combined with previous Sick Leave absences for the purposes of non-discretionary referral to the OHS under the 28 day rule as provided for under the teachers' Sick Leave Scheme.
The OHS Standard Operating Procedure will apply, including in relation to referral and fitness to return to work.
Recording of Leave of Absence following Assault
DES paid Teachers
For the duration of the pilot scheme, a teacher's initial absence of Leave of Absence following Assault will be entered on the OLCS by the Department, upon receipt of a fully completed application form for such leave from the employer.
Any continued absence under this scheme must be entered on the OLCS by the employer upon receipt of an acceptable medical certificate and subject to a maximum period of 3 months (92 days)
ETB paid Teachers
For the duration of the pilot scheme, Leave of Absence following Assault will be initially entered on the ETB system by the school/HR Department on receipt of the full completed Application Form.
Any continued absence under this scheme must be entered on the ETB system by the employer on receipt of acceptable medical certification and subject to a maximum period of 3 months (92 days)
For full details on the Scheme for Leave of Absence Following Assault please refer to Circular Letter 0061/2017