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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Procedure 5409 - UNPAID HOLIDAYS FOR MATTERS OF FAITH OR CONSCIENCE

Employees who wish to request up to two unpaid days off in a calendar year for a reason of faith or conscience, or for an organized activity conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization should use this policy, regardless of the employee's employment classification.

To request an unpaid day, the employee should submit form 5409F to the Human Resources department.  The request must:

  • Be submitted at least 10 business days in advance of the requested unpaid day off
  • Be submitted in writing, which can include submitting form 5409F via email
  • Include the employee's name, job title, and job location
  • Include the date(s) the employee is requesting off
  • A sufficient description of the reason for the time off so that the Superintendent or designee can determine whether it involves a reason of faith or conscience or an organized activity conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church or religious organization
  • If the request is submitted less than 10 business days in advance of the date of the requested time off, the reason that it was not possible to make the request in a timely manner
  • If a substitute is necessary for the employee to be absent from work, the employee shall show that a substitute has been pre-arranged or that a substitute request has been submitted, or shall include why that has not occurred

Upon the receipt of a request for unpaid days off, the Superintendent or designee will determine whether:

  • The request was submitted on a timely basis or sufficient justification exists for the request not being timely submitted
  • The employee has already exhausted his or her two unpaid holidays per calendar year, as provided by law
  • The request is based on a reason of faith or conscience or an organized activity conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church or religious organization (Note: the requested day does not have to align with a specific holiday or event.)
  • The employee's absence would impose an undue hardship on the district; or
  • The employee is necessary to maintain public or student safety

The Superintendent or designee shall use the following factors to determine if the employee's request constitutes an undue hardship:

  • The number, composition and structure of the staff employed by the district or in the requesting employee's program or school;
  • The financial resources of the district or the requesting employee's program or school;
  • The number of employees requesting leave for each day as well as the number of requests per bargaining unit for any given day;
  • The financial impact on the district or requesting employee's program or school resulting from the employee's absence and whether that impact is greater than a de minimus cost to the district or the requesting employee's program or school;
  • Impact on the district, the requesting employee's program or school, or public or student safety;
  • Type of operations of the district or the requesting employee's program or school;
  • Geographic location of the employee or geographic separation of the particular program or school to the operations of the district;
  • Nature of the requesting employee's work;
  • Deprivation of another employee's job preference or other benefit guaranteed by a collective bargaining agreement;
  • Any other impact on district operations or the requesting employee's program or school due to the employee's absence

The request may be denied for any of the following reasons:

  • The request was not based on a reason of faith or conscience or an organized activity conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church or religious organization (Note: the requested day does not have to align with a specific holiday or event).
  • The employee has already exhausted his or her two unpaid holidays per calendar year (Note: unpaid holidays are not cumulative from year-to-year­ there is no carry-forward for these unpaid days off).
  • The employee is necessary to maintain public or student safety.
  • Granting the request would impose an undue hardship, as defined above, on the district.

When possible, the employee will receive a written response to his or her request within five (5) days of receipt of the request. If the request is denied, the employee will be informed of the reasons.

Approval of unpaid leave under this policy and procedure does not constitute approval for an employee to take compensated or other types of leave in conjunction with that time. An employee must seek separate approval for compensated and other types of personnel leave consistent with applicable district policies and procedures.

Highline School District 401
Adopted by the Superintendent: 9.14