Liz McCormick Published

W.Va. Senate Approves Bill To Change How Teachers Get Paid Time Off

Amy Grady Feb 14 2022.jpg

The West Virginia Senate approved a bill Monday that would alter how public school teachers get their paid time off each year.

Along with summer vacation, teachers get an additional 15 days of paid time off upfront at the start of the school year, but Senate Bill 509 would make it so teachers start with a blank slate and accrue their time off every pay period – similar to how other state employees get their annual leave.

If approved by the full legislature and the governor, the changes would go into effect in 2023.

Sen. Amy Grady, R-Mason, is a public school teacher and said she can’t vote for the bill. She argued that teachers have a different kind of job than other state employees and need access to those days off upfront.

“When you’re teaching, you work with 20 to 30 people who are literally wiping snot on your hands, literally throwing up on your shoes, literally in your face all day long, and you just can’t simply retreat from those sicknesses,” Grady said.

Grady said teachers are also being forced to use their days off when they have to stay home for COVID-19.

“I could support this bill if we were given five days upfront to account for those things,” she said. “But with the time period of COVID right now, where teachers are being told to use their days and stay home, and they cannot work from home like a lot of other state employees. I think we need to consider that.”

Supporters of the bill say the intent is to reduce how often teachers are chronically absent from their classrooms.

No other senators spoke to the bill.

Senate Bill 509 passed 18-15 with several Republicans opposing it.

The bill now heads to the West Virginia House of Delegates for consideration.