Unit members shall not be entitled to leaves of absence as a matter of right, but only in accordance with the provisions of law and this Memorandum of Understanding. Unless otherwise provided, the granting of a leave of absence also grants to the unit member the right to return to a position in the same classification, or equivalent classification, as held at the time the leave was granted. The granting of any leave of absence shall be based on the presumption that the unit member 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 unit member’s right under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Total Period of Leave: Except for Disability Leaves as provided above and in Section 15.4 (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 action to approve or disapprove any leave of absence shall be by the unit member’s department head; however, leaves of absence of more than two (2) biweekly pay periods must also be approved by the Human Resources Department Director. Denial of requested leave in whole or in part at the department head level may be appealed by the unit member to the Human Resources Department Director, whose decision shall be final.
16.2 Benefit Entitlement
Unit members 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 for their health, dental, life or long-term salary continuation 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 unit member was absent. A unit member who is granted a leave of absence without pay due to the unit member’s illness or accident shall be entitled to have 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 16.2 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).
16.3 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 Workers’ 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.
16.4 Job Incurred Disability Leave
- Job Incurred Disability Leave with Pay
- Definition: Disability leave with pay is absence from duty with pay due to disability due to 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 unit members occupying permanent positions are eligible for disability leave with pay.
- Payment: Payment of disability leave shall be at the base pay of the unit member 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 disability leave, a unit member 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 unit member must attach to the request a statement from a physician certifying as to the nature, extent and probable period of illness or disability.
No job incurred disability leave with pay may be granted until after the State Compensation Insurance Fund or the County’s Workers Compensation Adjuster 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 Workers Compensation benefits to be paid.
- Length of Job Incurred Disability Leave with Pay: Except for Safety members of the Retirement System, eligible unit members 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. Safety members, as defined in the Government Code and in determinations made by the San Mateo County Board of Retirement, may be found eligible for disability leave up to a maximum of twenty-six (26) biweekly pay periods. Holidays falling within the period of disability shall extend the maximum days allowed by the number of such holidays.
- Job Incurred Disability Leave without Pay
- Definition: Disability leave without pay is a unit member’s absence from duty without County 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 Workers’ Compensation Law. Only permanent or probationary unit members occupying permanent positions are eligible for disability leave without pay. Such leave is taken after the disabled unit member has used up allowable disability leave with pay, as well as accrued credits for sick leave. At the unit member’s option, vacation and compensatory time off accruals may also be used.
- Application for and Approval of Job Incurred Disability Leave Without Pay: In order to receive disability leave without pay, an eligible unit member 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 unit member must attach to the request a statement from a physician certifying as 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 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 biweekly pay periods. However, Safety members of the Retirement System may be allowed a maximum of fifty-two (52) biweekly pay periods for any one injury total disability leave. In the event a unit member is disabled and is receiving Workers Compensation benefits, this leave may be extended as long as such disability continues.
16.5 Leave of Absence without Pay
- Qualifying: Only permanent or probationary unit members occupying permanent positions are eligible for leaves of absence without pay under the provisions of this Section.
- Granting of Leaves of Absence without Pay: An appointing authority may grant a leave of absence without pay for personal reasons up to a maximum of two (2) biweekly pay periods. Leaves of absence of more than two (2) biweekly pay periods must be approved by the Human Resources Department Director.
- 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 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 must be substantiated by a physician’s statement.
- Leaves of Absence without Pay for Personal Reasons: Leaves of absence without pay for 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.
- Parental Leave: A unit member/parent of either sex 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 to be for 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. Unit members who must assume custody of a minor are eligible for parental leave.
16.6 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 unit members.
16.7 Absence Due to Required Attendance in Court
Upon approval by the department head, a unit member other than extra help or seasonal, 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:
- Absence from duty will be with full pay to a maximum of eight (8) hours for each day the unit member serves on the jury or testifies as a witness in a criminal case related to their County job duties, other than as a defendant, including necessary travel time. As a condition of receiving such full pay, the unit member must remit to the County Treasurer, through the unit member’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 unit member’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.
- Any fees allowed, except for reimbursement of expenses incurred, shall be remitted to the County Treasurer through the unit member’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. The time spent in these proceedings is not considered work time. This provision does not apply to grievance proceedings pursuant to this MOU, San Mateo 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.
- Immediate notification to one’s supervisor is required upon receipt of a subpoena or summons to appear.
16.8 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 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 person who has been absent makes an explanation satisfactory to the Board of Supervisors, the Board may reinstate such person.
16.9 Educational Leave of Absence with Pay
- Educational leave of absence with pay may be granted to unit members under the conditions specified in this Section. In order to be granted educational leave of absence with pay, a unit member 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 unit member’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 unit members with at least thirteen (13) biweekly pay periods of continuous service and who are not extra help, temporary or seasonal; provided however, that eligibility for such leave for the purpose of taking Category I courses required to maintain the unit member’s medical license will be limited to unit members with at least six (6) months of satisfactory continuous service who are not extra help or temporary. Such leaves will be granted only in cases where there is a reasonable expectation that the unit member’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 unit member 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
Effective June 30, 2013, Education Leave will no longer be granted, and employees shall not be permitted to rollover unused Education Leave. Any unused Education Leave will be eliminated. Sections (c) and (d) below will be deleted effective June 30, 2013.
- Administrative Leave
Employees in the unit will be regarded as FLSA exempt and overtime compensation has been eliminated.
Effective the first full pay period following July 1, 2014, full-time regular employees will receive five (5) hours of administrative leave per pay period, which shall be prorated for part time regular employees.
Administrative leave can be accrued up to a maximum of two hundred sixty (260) hours, at which point employees shall stop accruing administrative leave until such time the total number of accrued hours is reduced below two hundred sixty (260) hours. Every April, employees shall be permitted to cash out up to fifty percent (50%) of their administrative leave balance. During the term of the 2019, the County and the Union shall meet and confer over the cash out election procedures.
Requests to use leave pursuant to this section will follow established time off policies.