17.1.             General  

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, 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 to the employee the right to return to a position in the same classification, or equivalent classification, in the same department, as he/she 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 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 an employee’s right under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Total Period of Leave  

Except for Disability Leaves as provided above and in Section 17.4 (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) 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) pay periods must also be approved by the Director of Human Resources. Denial of requested leave in whole or in part at the department head level may be appealed by the employee to the Human Resources Director, whose decision shall be final.