Personal Affairs Leave - 2009

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Tags: Extended Leave, Housing, Community Life

Personal Affairs Leave (2008)

The Personal Affairs Leave (or PAL) policy allows eligible members to leave Twin Oaks Community for a period of time and return as a full member without a poll or visitor period.

This policy also makes it possible for members to reclaim their rooms when they return from their PAL, under certain circumstances.

This policy also makes it possible for members to continue to work in their previously held jobs and managerships, under certain circumstances.

I. Governing Body

The CMT will administer and maintain this PAL Policy.  As with all policies, the CMT may make exceptions to this policy in exceptional cases.

The CMT will grant PALs to all eligible members who request them, unless the CMT and the Community Planners believes that it would be a significant detriment to the community to do so.  In such cases, the CMT and the Community Planners can deny a member a PAL.  See section II.F for details.

II. Eligibility

    Any Full Member is eligible for a PAL as long as they meet the follow criteria:

Co has lived at Twin Oaks as a Member for at least one year.
Co has not returned from a Sabbatical in the past 6 months.
A sufficient amount of time has passed since cos last PAL, as defined below.
Co is in Good Standing with the community, as defined below.

    A. Good standing

        A Member is considered Not to be in Good Standing when the following is true:
Co is in the Labor Hole, according to the Labor Manager.
Co is in the Allowance Hole, VE Hole, or other substantial monetary debt to the community; according to the Accounting Manager.
Co is facing expulsion processes, according the the Community Planners (see Section II.E)
Co is currently in violation of any behavior contracts or other written agreements made between themselves and the community, according to the Process Team.

        If none of the above items apply to the applying Member, co will be considered to be in Good Standing with the community.

    B. Eligibility for requesting to hold one's room

        To be eligible for a request to hold one's room until their return from their PAL, one must been a member of Twin Oaks for at least three consecutive years.  The process for holding one's room are outlined in section III.C.

   C. Time since last PAL taken

        If a member has taken a PAL within their last consecutive membership, the member must wait the following amount of time before they can take another PAL:
- If their last PAL was over 6 months long, the member must wait for three years from the date they rejoined before they may take another PAL.  they are eligible for another PAL 3 years from the date they returned from their last PAL.

- If their last PAL was 6 months or under, the member must wait for three years from the date they dropped membership on their first PAL before they may take another PAL.  They are eligible for a PAL 3 years from the date that they left on their last PAL.

   
    D. Leaving loans

        Members going on PAL are not eligible for Leaving Loans.

    E. Expulsion processes

        Members undergoing an active expulsion process are considered not to be in Good Standing.  It is not the intention of this policy to allow members to make frivolous or unsubstantiated calls for expulsion to prevent a member from being granted a PAL.  The Community Planners will determine if a call for expulsion is reasoned, substantiated and supported by the community in accordance with community policy and by-laws.

    F. Cases where the CMT  and Community Planners choose to deny a member a PAL.

        In exceptional situations, the CMT and Planners can choose to deny a member their PAL request.   Such a decision requires the consent of both the Planners and the CMT.  Should this decision be made by both parties, the decision can be appealed as if it were a Planner decision through the normal appeals policy.
 
III. Process for Requesting a Personal Affairs Leave

    Between 10 and 60 days before the Member wishes to leave on PAL, the Member must notify the CMT in writing of cos intention of taking a PAL.  It is strongly suggested that PAL requests be put to the CMT at least 30 days before the Member leaves, in order to ensure that all the necessary process has taken place before the member has left on their PAL.  However, this process may continue even if the member is not on the farm.

    This notification will include:
Cos leaving date
The best possible methods by which to contact co while they are on PAL
Cos expected return date
Cos current Labor, Allowance and VE balances
The status of any behavior or other contracts that co has made with the community or one of the community's teams
If co is eligible, co should indicate whether or not they wish to have their room held for them.
If co is a parent or guardian of a Twin Oaks Child, co should present a note from the Child Board indicating that all child related issues regarding the PAL have been worked out.

    The CMT will investigate to their satisfaction that the information supplied is accurate.

    The CMT will determine if the member is eligible for a PAL based on the criteria listed under the Eligibility section of this policy.

    A. If the Member is found eligible for a PAL by the CMT, the following process will take place:

        1. The CMT will grant the PAL to the member and post a note to the community announcing that that the member has been granted a PAL.

        2. The note will be posted publicly for 10 days.

        3. If no member or area manager has brought up information during the 10 day notification period that would call into question the members eligibility, the decision to grant the member a PAL is finalized by the CMT.

           . If, during the 10 day notification period, a member or manager brings forward to the CMT substantial proof that the Member is not eligible or in good standing (as described above) with the community; The CMT will investigate by getting official decisions by the appropriate managers for the areas in question. For example, if there is a question about cos labor balance, the CMT will get the final word from the Labor Manager.  If the CMT finds that the Member is indeed not eligible or not in good standing, the CMT will deny the Member's PAL request.

    B. Process for Holding One's Room

        If a member is eligible (see section II.B), the CMT will grant the request to hold the member's room for their return unless the CMT believes that it would be detrimental to the community to do so.

        The CMT will post their decision to hold a room for member on PAL in the SLG in which the room exists.

        The leaving member must clear their room of all of their belongings to make space for the rooms temporary inhabitants, with the following exceptions:

If the room has a raised bed with storage space underneath it, the leaving member may use the under-the-bed storage space to store their belongings  until their return.

If the leaving member and the temporary room occupant can agree on further storage agreements, the Community will not interfere with any personal agreements they may have between them. However, the leaving member must realize and be prepared to deal with the situation that there may be more than one sequential temporary occupant of co’s room, and it is difficult to predict what allowances a second or subsequent occupant might be willing to make. Any agreement made with a temporary occupant need not be assumed by a subsequent one.

        During the time that someone is occupying the leaving member’s room, the temporary inhabitant may not make long-term changes to the room unless co has a specific arrangement with the person on PAL to do so. For example: No painting, no changes in any shelves or furniture that attach to walls, no removal of fixtures or carpeting.

        The room must be left in a livable condition, as determined by the Room Assigners.  The Room Assigners have the authority to make the changes that are necessary to put a room in to a liveable condition.  If the room assigners believe that they need to make major adjustments to the room, they will first do their best to notify the co on PAL and explain why they think these changes are necessary.  Failure to leave ones room in a livable condition may result in revocation of some or all of ones room-holding rights.

    C. Process for Retaining a Managership

       If the member going on PAL has a desire to reclaim an area managership on their return, co must get the approval of the relevant Council before co goes on leave.   The appropriate council may consider holding the managership for them if they believe it is in the best interest of the community to do so.

        Should a council decide to grant the member the opportunity to reclaim a managership on the member's return from PAL, the council will go through the normal manager-replacement protocol to select a replacement manager.  (In most cases, this will include posting a card soliciting candidates, then selecting one of the candidates for the managership).  The replacement manager will serve until the member returns from PAL.  Should the member decide not to reclaim their managership, or does not return after a year from leaving, the replacement manager will become the full manager.

    D. Process for Retaining a Job

        If a member going on PAL wishes to reclaim a job on their return, they must get approval from the job area's manager.   If the area's manager believes it would be in the community's best interest, a job may be held for a member going on PAL.
    
    E. Transition

        A person taking a PAL is entitled to a transition period, including:
Membership off the labor system for up to two weeks before their departure.  Labor done during transition will not affect the member's labor balance.
Exemption from the Property Code for up to four weeks before their departure.

    F. Final Decision

        Once the CMT has made a decision to grant a PAL, the CMT cannot revoke the decision.  However, the decision to grant or deny a PAL is to be treated like any other managerial decision, and subject to our Council and Override policies and norms.  A decision to revoke a PAL may come from the Planning Council, the Planners, or a majority of the full members through due process.

        The purpose of this provision is to limit the amount of time a member's PAL can be called into question. This is done with the hope that any conflict around a controversial PAL decision will be promptly resolved, and to ensure that all relevant information about a PAL request in promptly provided to the CMT so that any issue can be resolved while the member is still on the farm.

    G. Overrides and appeals

        Appeals to CMT decisions regarding PALs shall follow the normal appeals and override process for all manager decisions, with the exception of decisions made jointly by the Community Planners and the CMT to deny a member their PAL request.  Should this decision be made by both parties, the decision can be appealed as if it were a Community Planner decision through the normal appeals policy.

IV. Status of Individual During Their Personal Affairs Leave

For the duration of the PAL the individual on leave is not a Member of Twin Oaks Community, legally or otherwise.

Co does not receive allowance while on PAL.

Twin Oaks is not responsible for cos medical, dental, or any other need while co is on PAL.

Co has no labor obligations to Twin Oaks while co is on PAL and off the farm.

Co may not make any claim to Twin Oaks for any difficulties, legal, financial, or of any other kind while co is on PAL.

Co is not bound by any of the provisions in the Property Code or any other part of Twin Oak's Bylaws while co is on PAL.

Co may return to Twin Oaks as a Full Member at any time, up to one year after taking their PAL.

Guesting at Twin Oaks while on PAL

The cumulative total of guesting days while co is on a PAL may not exceed 30 days without an exception granted by the CMT.
If a person on a PAL guests at Twin Oaks for 7 consecutive days or less, work is voluntary.
If a person on a PAL guests at Twin Oaks for more than 7 days, full quota is expected.

V. Duration of PAL

    The period of time a member can be away for a Personal Affairs Leave is one year or less.

    The Personal Affairs Leave cannot be broken into pieces.

VI. Status of Individual upon their Return From Their Personal Affairs Leave

    Upon cos return, co will be accepted as a Full Member without the need for a Poll, a Visitor Period, or a Provisional Membership.

    Upon cos return, co will have the same sabbatical seniority as at the time of their departure.  Sabbatical seniority is not accrued during their PAL.

    Upon cos return, cos position on the vacation bonus roster will be treated as if they were a returning ex-member.

    A. Waiting List

            If, at the time the leaving member chooses to return, the Community has filled its rooms and now has a waiting list, the returning member will go to the top or the waiting list.

            If there is more than one person who has “top of the waiting list” status, those ready to return will be admitted in the order in which they applied for this status.

            If there is more than one person at the top of the waiting list, but not all are ready to rejoin at the same time, the one ready to rejoin at the time there is an opening will be accepted first.

    B. Labor Balance

            On a member's return from PAL, the member's labor balance is restored to the balance the member had at their departure, with adjustments for any changes that might have occurred since their departure.

    C. Allowance

        The returning member's allowance will be restored to the balance co had at their leaving, with adjustments for any costs or credits that might have accumulated during their leave.

    D. Managerships & Jobs

        The returning member may reclaim any jobs or managerships that they had arranged to have on hold for them before they left, as explained in sections III.D and III.E in this policy.

    E. Reclaiming One's Room

        The Room Assigner will do their best to have the returning Member's room ready for them to move back into, as long as the absent member has been in touch and the Room Assigner has plenty of notice. In any case they will do it as soon as it is reasonably possible.

        The planners may contribute up to 6 hours of Planner Contingency credit to help expedite the process, at their discretion.

VII. Children

    All issues regarding Children and Personal Affairs Leaves will be dealt with by the Child Board.  It is expected that parents and children will have an agreement with the Child Board about their children's status, including issues regarding "Child Slots" in the child-adult ratio and decisions about Child Rooms.

    The CMT requires a notification from the Child Board indicating that all child related issues have been resolved before granting a PAL to a Parent or Guardian of a Twin Oaks Child.

VIII. Pets

    If a member taking a PAL has a pet that they are taking with them, then Twin Oaks will hold open the pet slot that the animal has been holding and will not fill it until and unless the absent member either tells us that co is not returning, or cos time limit has expired.

    It is preferred that members going on PAL take their pets with them, or find a temporary home for their pets off the farm.  If a member taking a PAL wishes to leave their pet at Twin Oaks during cos absence, co may do so at the Pets Manager's discretion.  All details of such an arrangement will be dealt with by the Pets Manager.

IX. Terms, Definitions, and Clarifications

    A. Consecutive Membership:  Consecutive Membership will include Provisional Membership, Leaves of Absences, Sabbaticals and Suspended Memberships.  Consecutive Membership does not include time spent away on PAL.  In all other instances where an individual has dropped membership will not be considered consecutive.