A new sick-leave policy that would allow teachers more job security in the event of prolonged illness has been approved by the Davis Board of Education.

The policy essentially provides teachers and other Davis District employees an unlimited amount of leave and the right to return to the same job or an equivalent position.The existing policy allows an employee to be out for a maximum of 60 days, 10 days using accumulated sick leave and 50 days of leave without pay. If an employee is out longer, he faces the prospect of termination.

The change would allow an employee to first use all accumulated sick leave and also apply for a five-day advance against anticipated sick-leave earnings. If that is not enough, an employee could then take 21 more calendar days of leave without pay. If more time is needed, an employee can then request relief from his current contract without penalty and with the understanding that he could return to work the following year without loss of seniority or other accrued benefits.

Superintendent Richard Kendell said the changes are meant to bring the district into compliance with federal regulations. He said pregnancy leave would fall under the guidelines outlined, since the federal regulations require pregnancy to be handled the same as any other illness.

The policy affects negotiated agreements with the Davis Education Association and must receive DEA ratification before it can be formally adopted by the board. The district hopes to have employee ratification by April 19.