Employees shall not be entitled to leaves of absence as a matter of right, but only in accordance with the provisions of law and the County Ordinance Code. Unless otherwise provided, or in the event of disciplinary action, involuntary transfer, lay-off, or if an employee is no longer able to perform the essential functions of the job class with or without reasonable accommodation, the granting of a leave of absence also grants the right to return to a position in the same or equivalent class, in the same department, as the employee held at the time the leave was granted. The granting of any leave of absence shall be based on the presumption that the employee intends to return to work upon the leave’s expiration. However, if a disability retirement application has been filed with the Retirement Board a leave may be granted pending the Board’s decision. Nothing in this Section 19 shall abridge an employee’s rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Total Period of Leave
Except for Disability Leaves as provided above and in Section 19.4 below, no leave of absence or combination of leaves of absence when taken consecutively, shall exceed a total period of twenty-six (26) biweekly pay periods.
Approval and Appeals
Initial approval/disapproval shall be by the department head; leaves of more than two (2) pay periods must also be approved by the Human Resources Department Director. Denial of requested leave in whole or in part by the department head may be appealed to the Director, whose decision shall be final.
19.2. Benefit Entitlement
Employees on leaves of absence without pay in excess of two (2) biweekly pay periods shall not be entitled to payment of the County’s portion of the health, dental, life, or long-term disability insurance premiums, except as provided hereinafter or in accordance with legal requirements. The entitlement to payment of the County’s portion of the premiums shall end on the last day of two (2) full biweekly pay periods in which the employee was absent. Employees who are granted a leave of absence without pay due to their illness or accident shall be entitled to two (2) biweekly pay periods of the County’s portion of the insurance premiums for each year of County service, or major fraction thereof, up to a maximum of twenty-six (26) biweekly pay periods payment of premiums.
Where applicable, payment of the County’s portion of the insurance premiums described in this Section 19.2 shall count toward fulfillment of statutory requirements for payment of the County’s contributions toward health insurance under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL).
19.3. Seniority Rights and Salary Adjustments
Authorized absence without pay which exceeds twenty-eight (28) consecutive calendar days for either: (1) personal leave of absence, (2) leave of absence due to illness or injury not compensated through Workers’ Compensation, or (3) leave of absence to fill an unexpired term in elective office shall not be included in determining salary adjustment rights or any seniority rights based on length of employment.
19.4. Job Incurred Disability Leave With Pay
Job incurred disability leave with pay is an employee’s absence from duty with pay because of disability due to illness or injury arising out of and in the course of employment which has been declared compensable under Workers’ Compensation. Only permanent or probationary employees occupying permanent positions are eligible for disability leave with pay.
Payment of job incurred disability leave shall be at the base pay of the employee, reduced by the amount of temporary disability indemnity received pursuant to Workers’ Compensation Law.
- Application for and Approval of Job Incurred Disability Leave with Pay
To receive pay for job incurred disability leave employees must submit a request on the prescribed form to the department head describing the illness or accident and all information required to evaluate the request. Employees must attach a physician’s statement certifying to the nature, extent and probable period of illness or disability. No job incurred disability leave with pay may be granted until the County, the County’s Workers’ Compensation Adjuster, or the State Compensation Insurance Fund has declared the illness or injury compensable under the California Workers’ Compensation Law and has accepted liability.
- Eligible employees shall be entitled to job incurred disability leave for the period of incapacity as determined by a physician, but not to exceed a maximum of ninety (90) calendar days for every one illness or injury. Holidays falling within the period of disability shall extend the maximum time allowance by the number of such holidays.
19.5. Job Incurred Disability Leave Without Pay
Job incurred disability leave without pay is an employee’s absence from duty without County pay because of disability due to illness or injury arising out of and in the course of his/her employment which has been declared compensable under Workers’ Compensation Law. Only permanent or probationary employees occupying permanent positions are eligible for job incurred disability leave without pay. Such leave is taken after the disabled employee has used up allowable job incurred disability leave with pay, as well as accrued credits for sick leave. At the employee’s option, vacation and compensatory time off accruals may also be used.
- Application for and Approval of Job Incurred Disability Leave Without Pay
To receive job incurred disability leave without pay an eligible employee must submit a request on the prescribed form to their department head describing the illness or accident and all information required to evaluate the request with an attached physician’s statement certifying to the nature, extent and probable period of illness or disability.
- Length and Amount of Job Incurred Disability Leave Without Pay
Job incurred disability leave without pay may not exceed twenty‑six (26) pay periods for any one injury, and the combined total of job incurred disability leave with and without pay for one accident or illness may not exceed thirty‑two (32) pay periods, unless otherwise determined through the interactive process.
19.6. Leave of Absence Without Pay
- General Provisions
Only permanent or probationary employees in permanent positions are eligible for leaves without pay under this Section.
b. Application for and Approval of Leaves of Absence Without Pay
In order to receive leave without pay, an employee must submit the prescribed form to the department head describing the reasons for the request and all other information required to evaluate the request.
c. Granting of Leaves of Absence Without Pay
Appointing authorities may grant leaves of absence without pay for a maximum of two (2) pay periods. Leaves of absence of more than two (2) pay periods must be approved by the Human Resources Department Director and shall be subject to review by the County Manager, whose ruling shall be final.
- Leaves of Absence Without Pay For Non-Job Incurred Illness or Injury
Leaves of absence without pay for illness or injury which are not job incurred may be granted for a maximum of twenty-six (26) full biweekly pay periods. This includes disabilities caused or contributed to by pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, childbirth, and recovery therefrom. Such leaves will be granted only after all accrued sick leave credits have been used and shall be substantiated by a physician’s statement. Job incurred disability leave runs concurrently with other applicable statutory leaves, including FMLA and CFRA.
- Leaves of Absence Without Pay for Personal Reasons
Leaves without pay for personal reasons, unrelated to illness or injury, including but not limited to full-time employment by the Union, may be granted for a maximum of thirteen (13) full biweekly pay periods. Such leaves shall only be granted after all accrued vacation and holiday credits have been used; however, an employee may request in case of personal emergency, including an emergency relating to the non-disability portion of maternity leave, that one (1) week of accrued vacation be retained. The Human Resources Department Director’s decision shall be final. Job incurred disability leave runs concurrently with other applicable statutory leaves, including FMLA and CFRA.
- Parental Leave
An employee/parent may be granted a leave of absence without pay to fulfill parenting responsibilities during the period of one (1) year following the child’s birth, or one (1) year following the filing of application for adoption and actual arrival of child in the home. Such leave is to be for a maximum of thirteen (13) biweekly pay periods. Use of accrued vacation, sick leave, comp time or holiday credits shall not be a pre‑condition for the granting of such parental leave. However, employees can choose to use accrued vacation, compensatory time or holiday credits during their parental leave.
An employee shall take bonding leave provided under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) concurrently with Parental Leave, in accordance with County policies.
19.7. Military Leaves of Absence
The provisions of the Military and Veterans Code of the State of California, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) shall govern military leave of County employees.
19.8. Absence Due to Required Attendance in Court
With the department head’s approval, employees, except extra help, shall be permitted authorized absence from duty for Court appearance for jury service, in obedience to subpoena related to the employee’s San Mateo County employment or as directed by proper authority, in accordance with these provisions:
- Absence from duty will be with full pay to a maximum of eight (8) hours for each day the employee serves on a jury or testifies as a witness in a criminal case, other than as a defendant, including necessary travel time. As a condition of receiving such full pay, the employee must remit to the County Treasurer, through the employee’s department head, within fifteen (15) days after receipt, all fees received except those specifically allowed for mileage and expenses.
- Attendance in Court in connection with an employee’s usual official duties or in connection with a case in which the County is a party, together with travel time necessarily involved, shall not be considered absence from duty within the meaning of this Section.
- Any fees allowed, except for reimbursement of expenses incurred, shall be remitted to the County Treasurer through the employee’s department head.
- An employee required to appear in court in a matter unrelated to their County job duties or because of civil or administrative proceedings that they initiated does not receive compensation for time spent related to those proceedings. An employee may request to receive time off using vacation, compensatory, holiday or voluntary time off if accrued balances are available, or will be in an unpaid status, for time spent related to those proceedings. This provision does not apply to grievance proceedings pursuant to this MOU, San Mateo County Civil Service Commission proceedings, EAP or Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center (PCRC) medication proceedings, or administrative proceedings related to the Meyers Millias Brown Act or the MOU between the parties.
- Employees on alternate work schedules may change their schedule to a 5/8 work schedule during one or more entire pay period(s) for the duration of jury service, subject to supervisory approval. Employees on 4/10 alternate work schedules may change their schedule to a 5/8 work schedule during one or more entire workweek(s) for the duration of jury service, subject to supervisory approval. Employees who do not change their work schedule to a 5/8 schedule shall use personal time for all regular work hours not in jury service.
19.9. Educational Leave of Absence With Pay
Educational leave of absence with pay may be granted to employees under the conditions specified in this Section. In order to be granted educational leave of absence with pay an employee must submit on the prescribed form a request to the department head containing all information required to evaluate the request.
Educational Leave of Absence With Pay From County Funds
The County may, after approval of an employee’s application, grant a leave of absence with pay for a maximum of sixty-five (65) working days during any fifty-two (52) biweekly pay periods to attend formal training or educational course of study. Eligibility for such leaves will be limited to employees with at least thirteen (13) biweekly pay periods of continuous service and who are not extra help or temporary. Such leaves will be granted only where there is a reasonable expectation that the employee’s work performance or value to the County will be enhanced as a result of the course of study. Courses taken as part of a program of study for a college undergraduate or graduate degree will be evaluated individually for job relatedness under the above criteria.
The employee must agree in writing to continue working for the County for at least the following minimum periods of time after expiration of the leave of absence:
Length of Leave of Absence Period of Obligated Employment
44 to 65 workdays 52 biweekly pay periods
22 to 43 workdays 26 biweekly pay periods
6 to 21 workdays 13 biweekly pay periods
19.10. Absence Without Leave
- Refusal of Leave or Failure to Return After Leave
Failure to report for duty after a leave of absence request has been disapproved, revoked or canceled by the appointing authority, or at the expiration of a leave, shall be considered an absence without leave.
- Absence Without Leave
Absence from duty without leave for any length of time without a satisfactory explanation is cause for dismissal. Absence without leave for four (4) or more consecutive days without a satisfactory explanation shall be deemed a tender of resignation. If within thirty (30) days after the first day of absence without leave a person who has been absent makes an explanation satisfactory to the Board of Supervisors, the Board may reinstate such person.
19.11. Bereavement Leave
Effective the first full pay period following the Board of Supervisors’ approval of a successor MOU in 2019, the County will provide up to twenty-four (24) hours paid bereavement leave upon the death of an employee’s parent, spouse, domestic partner, child (including through miscarriage or stillbirth), step-child, sibling, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparents or grandchildren.
In addition, employees may utilize accrued sick leave pursuant to Section 18.2, subsection (4).