18.1. Accrual

All employees, except extra help, shall accrue sick leave at the rate of three and seven-tenths (3.7) hours for each biweekly pay period of full-time work. Such accrual shall be prorated for employees, except extra help, who work less than full-time during a pay period. For the purpose of this Section, absence in a pay status shall be considered work.

18.2. Usage

Sick leave is accrued paid leave from work that can be used for any of the following purposes:

  • Diagnosis, care, or treatment of an employee’s illness, injury, health condition, or exposure to contagious disease which incapacitates him/her from performance of duties. This includes disabilities caused or contributed to by pregnancy, miscarriage, abor­tion, childbirth and recovery therefrom as determined by a licensed physician, or, under the Kaiser plan, a licensed health care professional. Use of accrued sick leave may run concurrently with applicable statutory leaves, such as Family Medical Leave.
  • The employee’s receipt of preventative care or required medical or dental care or consultation.
  • The employee’s attendance, for the purpose of diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventative care, on an immediate family member who is ill. For the purpose of this Section 18.2, immediate family member means parent, spouse, domestic partner, son, daughter, sibling, stepchildren, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparents or grandchildren.
  • The employee’s preparation for or attendance at the funeral of a member of his/her immediate family. For the purpose of preparation for or attendance at a funeral, immediate family member also includes son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandparents-in-law and siblings in-law.  Use of sick leave for this expanded definition is limited to a maximum of three (3) days if travel is required.
  • The employee’s attendance to an adoptive child or to a child born to the employee or the employee’s spouse for up to six (6) weeks immediately after the birth or arrival of the child in the home.

Qualifying employees are eligible for up to twelve (12) weeks of bonding leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).  Sick leave used concurrently with CFRA leave for the purpose of bonding following the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child of the employee must be concluded within one (1) year of the birth or placement of the child.  However, an employee is entitled to leave for one of these purposes (e.g. bonding with a newborn) for less than two (2) weeks duration on any two (2) occasions.

  • An employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking may use up to one half (1/2) of their annual sick leave allotment to:
    1. obtain or attempt to obtain a temporary restraining order or other court assistance to help ensure the health safety or welfare of the employee or their child; or
    2. obtain medical attention or psychological counseling; services from a shelter; program or crisis center; or participate in safety planning or other actions to increase safety.

18.3. Procedures for Requesting and Approving Sick Leave

When the requirement for sick leave is known in advance, employees shall request sick leave authorization at such time in the manner hereinafter specified. In all other instances employees shall notify their supervisor as soon as possible by telephone or other means. Before employees may be paid for the use of accrued sick leave they shall complete and submit to their manager a request, with the dates and hours of absence and such other information as necessary for the request to be evaluated. If an employee does not return to work prior to the preparation of the payroll, other arrangements may be made with the approval of the department head and Controller. The department head may require a physician’s statement from employees who apply for sick leave, or make whatever investigation into the circumstances that appears warranted before acting on the request.

An employee who has exhausted his/her accrued sick leave balance may use other accrued leaves (vacation, comp time, holiday credits), in lieu of sick leave which meets the criteria specified in Section 18.2, unless such employee has been documented by management for attendance problems within the last four (4) months, in which case such other leaves may only be used for pre-scheduled and pre-approved medical and dental appointments, or in accordance with the County’s Family Medical Leave Policy. The use of such leave in lieu of sick leave is subject to all other provisions of Section 18.

18.4. Accounting for Sick Leave

Sick leave may be used in increments of six (6) minutes. Payment for sick leave used shall be at the employee’s base pay plus applicable differential, if any.

18.5. Credits

When an employee who has been working in an extra help category is appointed to a permanent position such appointee may receive credit for such extra help period of service in computing accumulated sick leave, provided that no credit shall be given for service preceding any period of more than twenty‑eight (28) consecutive calendar days in which an employee was not in a pay status.

If an employee who has unused sick leave accrued is laid off and subsequently reemployed in a permanent position, such sick leave credits shall be restored to him/her upon reemployment. The employee shall not have any portion of sick leave credits restored for which he/she received compensation at the time of or subsequent to the day of layoff.

18.6. Incapacity to Perform Duties

If the appointing authority is informed through a doctor’s report of a medical examination, conducted in accordance with the Civil Service Commission rules that an employee is incapable of properly performing their duties, the employee may be required to absent himself/herself from work until the incapacity is remedied. During such absence the employee may utilize any accumulated sick leave, vacation, holiday and compensatory time.

18.7.  Use of Sick Leave While on Vacation

An employee who is injured or who becomes ill while on vacation may be paid for sick leave in lieu of vacation provided that the employee:

  • Was hospitalized during the period for which sick leave is claimed, or
  • Received medical treatment or diagnosis and presents a statement indicat­ing illness or disability signed by a physician covering the period for which sick leave is claimed, or
  • was preparing for or attending the funeral of a member of the immediate family.

To have sick leave considered in lieu of vacation the request and substantiation must be provided within ten (10) days of the employees’ return to work.

18.8. Sick Leave During Holidays

Paid holidays shall not be considered as part of any period of sick leave unless the employee is regularly scheduled to work on the holiday.

18.9. Catastrophic Leave

Leave credits may be transferred from one or more donating employees to another receiving employee under the following conditions:

  • The receiving employee is a permanent full or part-time employee whose participation has been approved by his/her department head;
  • The receiving employee or the receiving employee’s spouse/domestic partner or direct family member has sustained a life threatening or debilitating illness, injury or condition. (The Department Head may require that the condition be confirmed by a doctor’s report);
  • The receiving employee has or will have exhausted all paid time off;
  • The receiving employee must be prevented from returning to work for at least thirty (30) days and must have applied for a medical leave of absence.

Transferring Time

Vacation and holiday time may be transferred by employees in all work groups. Compensatory time may be transferred by employees in work groups 1, 4, and 5. Compensatory time may not be transferred by employees in work groups 2 and 3.

Sick leave may be transferred at the rate of one (1) hour of sick leave for every four (4) hours of other time (i.e., holiday, vacation, MOT or compensatory time).

Donated time will be converted from the type of leave given to sick leave and credited to the receiving employee’s sick leave balance on an hour-for-hour basis and shall be paid at the rate of pay of the receiving employee.

Donations must be a minimum of eight (8) hours and thereafter in whole hour increments.

The total leave credits received by the employee shall normally not exceed three months; however, if approved by the department head, the total leave credits received may be up to a maximum of one year.

Donations approved shall be made on a Catastrophic Leave Time Grant form signed by the donating employee and approved by the receiving employee’s department head. Once posted, these donations are irrevocable except in the event of the untimely death of a Catastrophic Leave recipient. In that event, any excess leave will be returned to donating employees on a last in‑first out basis (i.e., excess leave would be returned to the last employee(s) to have donated).

Appeal Rights

Employees denied participation in the program by the department head may appeal the decision to the Human Resources Department Director and the County Manager whose decision shall be final.

The County shall address changes to the Catastrophic Leave policy through a County-wide process. The County will prepare a modified policy and present it to all labor organizations for comments at the Benefits Committee in 2019.