Employees 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 to the employee the right to return to a position in the same class, or equivalent class in the same department as they 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 Retirement Board a leave may be granted pending decision by that Board. Nothing in this Section 21 shall abridge an employee’s rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Federal, State or any other applicable Law. Information regarding FMLA is contained in the Letters section of this MOU.
Total Period of Leave: Except for Disability Leaves as provided above and in Section 21.4 (2) (c), no leave of absence or combination of leaves of absence when taken consecutively, shall exceed a total period of twenty-six (26) pay periods.
Approval and Appeals: Initial action to approve or disapprove any leave of absence shall be by the employee’s department head; however, leaves of absence of more than two (2) biweekly pay periods must also be approved by the Human Resources Director. Denial of requested leave in whole or in part at the department level may be appealed by the employee to the Director, whose decision shall be final.
21.2. Benefit Entitlement
Employees on leaves of absence without pay for more than two (2) biweekly pay periods shall not be entitled to payment of the County’s portion of health, dental, life, or long-term disability insurance premiums, except as provided hereinafter. 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. An employee who is granted a leave of absence without pay due to the employee’s 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 21.2 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).
21.3. Seniority Rights and Salary Adjustments
Authorized absence without pay which exceeds twenty-eight consecutive calendar days for either: (1) leave of absence for personal reasons, (2) leave of absence for illness or injury not compensated through Employees’ Compensation benefits, 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. Any authorized absence without pay (regardless of length) which begins on or after October 24, 1994, shall not be included in determining salary adjustment rights, or any seniority rights, based on length of employment.
21.4. Job Incurred Disability Leave
1. Job Incurred Disability Leave With Pay
- Definition: Job incurred disability leave with pay is an employee’s absence from duty with pay because of disability caused by illness or injury arising out of and in the course of their 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 with pay.
- Payment: Payment of job incurred 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.
- Application for and Approval of Job Incurred Disability Leave With Pay: In order to receive pay for job incurred disability leave an employee must submit a request on the prescribed form to their department head describing the illness or accident and all information required for the department head to evaluate the request. The employee 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 after the County, the County 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.
- 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, not to exceed a maximum of 90 calendar days for any one illness or injury. Holidays falling within the period of disability shall extend the maximum time allowance by the number of such holidays.
21.5. Leave of Absence Without Pay
- Qualifying: Only permanent or probationary workers occupying permanent positions are eligible for leaves of absence without pay under the provisions of this Section.
- Application for and Approval of Leaves of Absence Without Pay: In order to receive leave without pay, a worker must submit a request on the prescribed form to their department head describing the reasons for the request and all other information required for the department head, or their representative, to evaluate the request.
- Granting of Leaves of Absence Without Pay: An appointing authority may grant leaves of absence without pay for up to a maximum of 2 biweekly pay periods. Leaves of absence of more than 2 biweekly pay periods must be approved by the Human Resources Director and shall be subject to review by the County Manager, whose ruling shall be final.
2. Leaves of Absence Without Pay For Non‑Job Incurred Illness or Injury: Leaves of Absence without pay on account of illness or injury which are not job incurred may be granted for a maximum period of 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.
3. Leaves of Absence Without Pay for Personal Reasons: Leaves of absence without pay for personal reasons (including but not limited to being employed on a full-time basis by the Union signatory to this MOU) may be granted for a maximum period of 13 full biweekly pay periods. Such leaves shall only be granted after all accrued vacation and holiday credits have been used; however, a worker may request in case of personal emergency, including an emergency relating to the non‑disability portion of maternity leave, that one week’s vacation be retained. The decision of the Human Resources Director shall be final.
4. Parental Leave: A worker/parent of either sex shall be granted a leave of absence without pay to fulfill parenting responsibilities during the period of one 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 shall be for a maximum period of 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. Workers who must assume custody of a minor will be eligible for parental leave.
21.6. Military Leaves of Absence
The provisions of the Military and Veterans Code of the State of California as well as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) shall govern military leave of County workers.
21.7. Absence Due To Required Attendance in Court
Upon approval by the department head, a worker, other than extra-help, shall be permitted authorized 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:
- Said absence from duty will be with full pay to a maximum of eight (8) hours for each day the worker serves on the 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 worker must remit to the County Treasurer, through the worker’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 a worker’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.
- An employee required to appear in court in a matter unrelated to their County job duties or because of civil or administrative proceedings that he or she 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) mediation proceedings, or administrative proceedings related to the Meyers Milias Brown Act or the MOU between the parties.
- Any fees allowed, except for reimbursement of expenses incurred, shall be remitted to the County Treasurer through the worker’s department head.
21.8. Educational Leave of Absence With Pay
Educational leave of absence with pay may be granted to workers under the conditions specified in this Section. In order to be granted educational leave of absence with pay a worker 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 a worker’s application, grant a leave of absence with pay for a maximum of 65 working days during any 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 workers 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 in cases where there is a reasonable expectation that the worker’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 workers 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
21.9. 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 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.
21.10. 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 20.2 (4).