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, the granting of a leave of absence also grants to the employee the right to return to a position in the same or equivalent class, in the same department as 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 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 is this Section 20 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 20.4 (2) (c), 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 or disapproval of any leave of absence shall be by the department head; leaves of absence of more than two biweekly pay periods must also be approved by the HRD Director. Denials in whole or in part at the department head level may be appealed to the HRD Director whose decision shall be final.
20.2 Benefit Entitlement
Employees on leaves of absence without pay for more than one (1) month shall not be entitled to payment by the County of their health, dental, vision, life or long term salary continuation insurance premiums, except as provided hereinafter. Entitlement to County payment of premiums shall end on the last day of the month in which the employee was absent one (1) full calendar month. An employee granted a leave of absence without pay due to their illness or accident shall be entitled to have one (1) month of the County’s contribution to insurance premiums paid by the County for each year of County service, or major fraction thereof, to a maximum of twelve (12) months payment of premiums.
Where applicable, payment of the County’s portion of the insurance premiums described in this Section 20.2 shall count concurrently 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).
20.3 Seniority Rights and Salary Adjustments
Authorized absence without pay for either: (1) a leave of absence for personal reasons; (2) a leave of absence on account of illness or injury not compensated through Worker’s Compensation benefits; or (3) a 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.
20.4 Job Incurred Disability Leave
(1) Job Incurred Disability Leave With Pay
a. Definition: Disability leave with pay is an employee’s absence from duty with pay due to disability caused by illness or injury arising out of and in the course of employment which has been declared compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Law. Only permanent or probationary employees occupying permanent positions are eligible for disability leave with pay.
b. Payment: Payment of disability leave shall be at the base pay of the employee 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, an employee must submit a request on the prescribed form to the appointing authority describing the illness or accident and all information required for the department head to evaluate the request. The employee 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 State Compensation Insurance Fund or 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 employees shall be entitled to disability leave for the period of incapacity as determined by a physician, but not to exceed a maximum of ninety (90) calendar days for any one illness or injury. Holidays falling within the period of disability shall extend the maximum days allowed by the number of such holidays.
(2) Job Incurred Disability Leave Without Pay
a. Definition: Disability leave without pay is an employee’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 employees occupying permanent positions are eligible for disability leave without pay. Such leave is taken after the disabled employee has used up allowable 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.
b. Application for and Approval of Job Incurred Disability Leave Without Pay: To receive disability leave without pay an eligible employee must submit a request on the prescribed form to the appointing authority describing the illness or accident and all information required for the appointing authority to evaluate the request. The employee must attach a physician’s statement 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) biweekly 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) biweekly pay periods.
20.5 Leave of Absence Without Pay
(1) Qualifying: Only permanent or probationary employees in permanent positions are eligible for leaves of absence without pay under this Section.
(2) Granting of Leaves of Absence Without Pay: Appointing authorities may grant leave of absence without pay for personal reasons up to a maximum of two (2) biweekly pay periods.
(3) Leaves of Absence Without Pay for Non-Job Incurred Illness or Injury: Leaves of absence without pay for non-job incurred illness or injury, including disabilities caused or contributed to by pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, childbirth and recovery therefrom may be granted for a maximum of twenty-six (26) full biweekly pay periods. Such leaves will be granted only after all accrued sick leave has been used and must be substantiated by a physician’s statement.
(4) Parental Leave: An employee/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 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 shall be for a maximum period of thirteen (13) biweekly pay periods. Use of accrued vacation, sick, compensatory time or holiday credits shall not be a pre‑condition for the granting of such parental leave.
a. Leaves of Absence Without Pay for Personal Reasons: Leaves of absence without pay on account of personal reasons may be granted for a maximum period of thirteen (13) full biweekly pay periods. Such leaves shall only be granted after all accrued vacation and holiday credits have been used.
20.6 Military Leaves of Absence
The provisions of the Military and Veterans Code of the State of California shall govern military leave of County employees.
20.7 Absence Due to Required Attendance in Court
Upon approval by the department head, any employee, other than extra help or seasonal, shall be permitted absence from duty for appearance in Court because of jury service, in obedience to subpoena in connection with an employee’s usual official duties or in connection with a case in which the County of San Mateo is a party, or by direction of proper authority, in accordance with the following provisions:
(1) Absence from duty will be with full pay 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.
(2) Attendance in Court in connection with an employee’s usual official duties or in connection with a case in which the County of San Mateo 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 employee appears in private litigation to which the County of San Mateo is not party.
(4) Any fees allowed, except for reimbursement of expenses incurred, shall be remitted to the County Treasurer through the employee’s department head.
20.8 Absence Without Leave
(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 or more consecutive days without an explanation satisfactory to the appointing authority shall be deemed a tender of resignation. If within thirty days after the first day of absence without leave a person makes an explanation satisfactory to the Board of Supervisors, the Board may reinstate such person.
20.9 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 employees 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 an employee’s 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 employees with at least thirteen (13) biweekly pay periods of continuous service and who are not extra help, temporary or seasonal. Such leaves will be granted only in cases 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 described 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 Fifty‑two biweekly pay periods
22 to 43 workdays Twenty‑six biweekly pay periods
6 to 21 workdays Thirteen biweekly pay periods
20.10 Bereavement Leave
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, sibling-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparent, grandparent-in-law or grandchild. In addition, employees may utilize accrued sick leave pursuant to Section 19.2-4.