Nurses shall not be entitled to leaves of absence as a matter of right, but only in accordance with the provisions of law and this MOU. Unless otherwise provided the granting of a leave of absence also grants the nurse the right to return to a position in the same or equivalent class in the same department as at the time the leave was granted. The granting of any leave of absence shall be based on the presumption that the nurse intends to return to work upon the expiration of the leave. However, if a disability retirement application has been filed with the County Board of Retirement a leave may be granted pending decision by that Board. Nothing in this Section shall abridge a nurse’s rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Where there is a conflict between the Act and this MOU, whichever provides the greater benefit to the nurse shall apply.
Total Period of Leave: Except for Disability Leaves as provided above and in 22.4 (2) (c) 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 action to approve or disapprove any leave of absence shall be by the nurse’s department head; however, leaves of absence of more than two (2) biweekly pay periods must also be approved by the HRD Director. Denial of requested leave in whole or in part at the department head level may be appealed by the nurse to the Director, whose decision shall be final.
23.2 Benefit Entitlement
Unless otherwise required by law, nurses on leaves of absence without pay for more than two (2) pay periods shall not be entitled to payment of the County’s portion of premiums for health, dental, life or long term salary continuation insurance, except as provided hereinafter. The entitlement to County payment of premiums shall end on the last day of two (2) full pay periods in which the nurse was absent. A nurse who is granted a leave of absence without pay due to the nurse’s illness or accident shall be entitled to have two (2) pay periods of the County’s portion of the insurance premiums paid by the County for each year of County service, or major fraction thereof, up to a maximum of twenty-six (26) pay periods payment of premiums.
23.3 Seniority Rights and Salary Adjustments
Authorized absence without pay which exceeds twenty-eight (28) consecutive calendar days, for either: (1) leave of absence for personal reasons; (2) leave of absence due to illness or injury not compensated through Workers’ Compensation benefits; or (3) leave of absence to fill an unexpired term in an elective office shall not be included in determining salary adjustment rights or any seniority rights based on length of employment.
23.4 Job Incurred Disability Leave
(1) Job Incurred Disability Leave With Pay
(A) Definition: Disability leave with pay is a nurse’s absence from duty with pay because of disability caused by illness or injury arising out of and in the course of employment which has been declared to be compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Law. Only permanent or probationary nurses occupying permanent positions are eligible for disability leave with pay.
(B) Payment: Payment of disability leave shall be at the base pay of the nurse and shall be reduced by the amount of temporary disability indemnity received pursuant to Workers’ Compensation Law.
(C) Application for and Approval of Job Incurred Disability Leave With Pay: In order to receive pay for disability leave a nurse 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. The nurse must attach a statement from a physician 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, State Compensation Insurance Fund or the County Workers’ Compensation Adjustor has declared the illness or injury compensable under Workers’ Compensation Law and has accepted liability on behalf of the County, or the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board has ordered benefits to be paid.
(D) Length of Job Incurred Disability Leave With Pay: Eligible nurses shall be entitled to disability leave for the period of incapacity as determined by a physician, not to exceed a maximum of ninety (90) calendar days for any one illness or injury. Holidays falling within the disability period shall extend the maximum days allowed by the number of holidays.
(2) Job Incurred Disability Leave Without Pay
(A) Definition: Disability leave without pay is a nurse’s absence from duty without County pay due to disability caused by illness or injury arising out of and in the course of employment which has been declared compensable under Workers Compensation Law. Only permanent or probationary nurses occupying permanent positions are eligible for disability leave without pay. Such leave is taken after the disabled nurse has used up allowable disability leave with pay, as well as accrued credits for sick leave. At the nurse’s option vacation and comp time accruals may also be used.
(B) Application for and Approval of Job Incurred Disability Leave Without Pay: In order to receive disability leave without pay an eligible nurse must submit a request on the prescribed form to the department head describing the illness or accident and all information required for the department head to evaluate the request. The nurse must attach a statement from a physician certifying to the nature, extent and probable period of illness or disability.
(C) 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. The combined total of disability leave with pay and disability leave without pay for one accident or illness may not exceed thirty-two (32) pay periods. In the event a nurse is disabled and receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits this leave may be extended as long as such disability continues.
23.5 Leave of Absence Without Pay
(1) Qualifying: Only permanent or probationary nurses occupying permanent positions are eligible for leaves of absence without pay under the provisions of this Section.
(2) Application for and Approval of Leaves of Absence Without Pay: In order to receive leave without pay, a nurse must submit a request on the prescribed form to his/her department head describing the reasons for the request and all other information required for the department head to evaluate the request.
(3) Granting of Leaves of Absence Without Pay: Appointing authorities may grant leaves of absence without pay for personal reasons for a maximum of two pay periods. Leaves of absence of more than two pay periods must be approved by the HRD Director.
(4) Leaves of Absence Without Pay for Non-Job Incurred Illness or Injury: Leaves of absence without pay for non-job incurred illness or injury may be granted for a maximum of twenty-six (26) full 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 has been used and must be substantiated by a physician’s statement.
(5) Leaves of Absence Without Pay for Personal Reasons: Leaves of absence without pay for personal reasons may be granted for a maximum of thirteen (13) full pay periods. Such leaves shall only be granted after all accrued vacation and holiday credits have been used.
(a) RNRN Disaster Relief: The parties recognize that the County’s priority and mandate is to serve the population of San Mateo County. However, the parties also recognize that nurses may participate in disaster relief/RNRN on their own time. If a nurse requests leave of absence without pay under this provision to participate in organized disaster relief, up to two (2) nurses per calendar year in separate units may preserve up to two (2) weeks of accrued vacation during the leave of absence without pay under the following conditions:
- A leave of absence for nurses in Acute Care positions shall not exceed twenty-one (21) consecutive days between May 1st and August 31st.
- Leaves may be granted subject to operational needs and staffing requirements.
(6) Parental Leave: A nurse/parent of either sex may be granted a leave of absence without pay for the purpose of fulfilling parenting responsibilities during the period of one (1) year following the child’s birth, or one 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) full pay periods. Use of accrued vacation, sick, comp time or holiday credits shall not be a pre‑condition for granting such parental leave.
(7) Union Work: Leaves of absence without pay to take employment with the Union signatory to this MOU shall be granted for a maximum period of twenty-six (26) full biweekly pay periods upon forty-five (45) days advanced written notice from the Union. Employees are entitled to retain any accrued vacation and holiday credits while on such leaves. In the event that employees on approved Union leaves want to continue group benefits coverage (including medical, dental, vision and life insurance) through the County plans, arrangements will be made for the Union to reimburse the County for the costs associated with continuing such coverage. In the event the employee is in a business critical position, a meeting will occur between the Union and the Department Head regarding the feasibility of the release. (i.e. if the request were to release the only nurse in a specialty or assignment, it may not be feasible to release that period with only forty-five (45) days notice.) No more than one employee at a time county-wide will be released for this type of Leave of Absence with a maximum of two (2) employees per calendar year.
23.6 Military Leaves of Absence
The provisions of the Military and Veterans Code of the State of California shall govern military leave of County employees.
23.7 Absence Due to Required Attendance in Court
Upon approval by the department head any nurse, other than extra help, shall be permitted absence from duty for appearance in Court because of jury service, in obedience to subpoena related to the employee’s San Mateo County employment or by direction of proper authority, in accordance with the following provisions:
(1) Absence from duty will be with full pay for each day a nurse serves on a jury or testifies as a witness in a criminal case, other than as a defendant, including necessary travel time not to exceed eight (8) hours. As a condition of receiving such full pay, the nurse must remit to the County Treasurer, through the department head, within fifteen (15) days after receipt, all fees received except those specifically allowed for mileage and expenses.
(2) Attendance in Court in connection with a nurse’s usual official duties or 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.
(3) Absence from duty will be without pay when the nurse appears in private litigation to which the County of San Mateo is not party.
(4) Any fees allowed, except reimbursement of expenses incurred, shall be remitted to the County Treasurer through the department head.
23.8 Assignment Upon Return from Absence
Nurses working at SMMC who return from any authorized absence with or without pay of not more than six (6) weeks duration or in cases of authorized maternity leave not more than twelve (12) weeks shall be returned to their previous shift and position.
(1) 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.
(2) Absence Without Leave: Absence from duty without leave for any length of time without an explanation satisfactory to the appointing authority is cause for dismissal. Absence without leave for four (4) or more consecutive days without an explanation satisfactory to the appointing authority shall be deemed a tender of resignation. If within thirty (30) days after the first day of absence without leave a nurse who has been absent makes an explanation satisfactory to the Board of Supervisors, the Board may reinstate such person.
23.10 Educational Leave of Absence With Pay
Educational leave of absence with pay may be granted to nurses under the conditions specified in this section. In order to be granted educational leave of absence with pay a nurse must submit on the prescribed form a request to the appointing authority containing all information required to evaluate the request. The County may, after approval of the application, grant leave of absence with pay for a maximum of sixty-five (65) working days during any fifty-two (52) biweekly pay periods for the purpose of attending a formal training or educational course of study. Eligibility for such leaves will be limited to nurses with at least thirteen (13) pay periods of continuous service who are not extra help, temporary or seasonal. Such leaves will be granted only in cases where there is a reasonable expectation that the nurse’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 described criteria.
The nurse 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
23.11 Continuing Education Leave With Pay
(A) All nurses in the bargaining unit will be allowed forty (40) hours of continuing educational leave each fiscal year under prescribed policies for the purpose of completing their Continuing education (C.E.) requirements for licensure.
Nurses may use continuing educational leave with pay as follows:
- Such time must be used for courses/seminars for the purpose of completing the Nurse’s C.E. requirements for licensure or for other approved courses.
- It is the Nurse’s responsibility to ensure that the courses/seminars requested under this provision be accredited as appropriate, otherwise reimbursement shall not be approved.
- Such time must be requested and approved in advance by the Nurse’s manager or designee.
- Such time will be paid at the straight time rate.
- The Nurse must submit documentation to substantiate the attendance and completion of the course.
- Reimbursement shall be paid within six (6) weeks from the time the Nurse submits complete and approved documentation.
Nurses may request educational leave to do home study C.E. courses on regularly scheduled days off, or may opt to use any or all of the allowed hours for home study.
The usage period for these continuing education hours is the first day of the first full pay period of the fiscal year to the last day of the last full pay period of the fiscal year.
Continuing educational leave with pay shall be prorated for part-time nurses, or nurses hired during the fiscal year, under the same conditions as stated above for full-time nurses.
For newly hired RNs, continuing education hours will be allotted per quarter for nurses hired during fiscal year as follows:
Full time RN hired July 1-Sept 30: forty (40) hours
Full time RN hired Oct 1-Dec 31: thirty (30) hours
Full time RN hired Jan 1-Mar 31: twenty (20) hours
Full time RN hired Apr 1-June 30: ten (10) hours
For courses required by the County (i.e., ACLS, BLS, PALS, etc.), time spent shall be considered as time worked and shall be paid at the appropriate rate.
Payment for the tuition or registration fees for discretionary courses on and certification and recertification in a nursing specialty continuing educational leave with pay will be reimbursed up to a six hundred fifty dollars ($650.00) total maximum per nurse, excluding Nurse Practitioners, per fiscal year. Nurse Practitioners will be reimbursed up to a total maximum of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) per employee per fiscal year. The nurse shall incur any cost in excess of this rate; however, additional monies may be made available on a case-by-case basis based on departmental needs. This continuing educational leave with pay amount shall be prorated for part-time nurses or nurses hired during the fiscal year.
For courses required by the County (i.e., ACLS, BLS, PALS, etc.), the Department will pre-pay the fees for these required courses, or provide them at no cost to the nurse.
(B) Nurses employed in a half-time (.5 FTE) status and above shall be allowed additional paid educational leave on the following basis:
a. eight (8) hours after three (3) calendar years of service.
b. twenty-four (24) hours after five (5) calendar years of service.
c. thirty-two (32) hours after ten (10) calendar years of service.
d. forty (40) hours after twelve (12) calendar years of service.
The usage period for these continuing education hours is the first day of the first full pay period of the fiscal year to the last day of the last full pay period of the fiscal year.
There shall be no specific educational requirement for the granting of this leave. The number of paid hours off shall be prorated for part-time employees (i.e. a nurse with half-time (.5 FTE) status shall receive twelve (12) hours after five (5) calendar years of service).
23.12 Certification Fees
Nurse Practitioners who are required by the County to secure and maintain National Certification required by Medicare will be reimbursed for the actual cost of certification and re-certification. Nurses who are required by the County to secure and maintain certifications in specializations will be reimbursed for the actual cost of certification and re-certification.
23.13 Bereavement Leave
Effective the first full pay period following Board of Supervisors’ approval of a successor MOU in 2022, the County will provide up to twenty-four (24) hours paid bereavement leave upon the death of an employee’s parent, grandparent, spouse, registered domestic partner, child, step-child, sibling, grandchild, mother-in-law, or father-in law.
In addition, employees may utilize accrued sick leave pursuant to Section 22.2-4.