Catastrophic Leave and Decedent's Benefit Guidelines

Human Resources Disability Management 750

The Catastrophic Leave Benefit began in 1990 and was later augmented to include the Decedent's Benefit in 1998.  Since then Catastrophic Leave and Decendent's Benefit has been incorporated in the Salary Resolution.

To learn more, see Salary Resolution

2.5 Catastrophic Leave, Decedent's Benefit

The following is an excerpt from Salary Resolution, Section 2 - Applicability, Paragraph 2.5

  1. Definition
    1. Catastrophic Leave is a paid leave of absence due to verifiable, long-term illness or injury such as, but not limited to, cancer and heart attack which clearly disables the individual.
    2. A Decedent's Benefit is the accumulation of vacation or compensatory leave hours donated by other County employees to the designated beneficiary or estate of a County employee who dies while an employee of the County.
  2. Coverage
    All regular employees of the County of Sonoma, the Sonoma County Community Development Commission, the Sonoma County Water Agency, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, and the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District, who have successfully completed two-thousand eighty (2,080) hours (one year) in paid status shall be eligible for such leave due to their own serious illness or injury, or serious illness or injury to spouse, registered domestic partner or dependent minor child. The designated beneficiary or estate of an employee who was employed by any of the above-mentioned entities and successfully completed two-thousand eighty (2,080) hours (one year) in paid status and met the criteria set forth at paragraph 2.5(a) (2) shall be eligible to receive any decedent's benefit.
  3. Other Leaves
    The employee must first exhaust all accrued sick leave, vacation leave and compensatory time before qualifying for catastrophic leave.
  4. Catastrophic Leave
    Catastrophic leave shall be additional paid leave available from vacation or compensatory leave hours donated by other County employees to a specific, qualified employee.
  5. Decedent's Benefit
    Decedent's Benefit shall be the accumulation of vacation or compensatory leave hours (up to a maximum of six-hundred eighty (680) hours) donated by other County employees to the designated beneficiary or estate of a County employee who dies while an employee of the County. The decedent's benefit shall be paid to the designated beneficiary or estate of the County employee in the same manner as payment to the designated beneficiary or estate of the County employee of the decedent's own vacation and compensatory leave hours.
  6. Employees donating vacation or compensatory leave must donate in increments of whole hours. The donating employee must have a vacation leave balance of at least forty (40) hours after the donation of vacation time. Employees may donate all of their accrued compensatory time.
  7. An employee or a decedent requesting catastrophic leave must receive the recommendation of his/her Department Head and the approval of the Director of Human Resources. Such leave may initially be approved up to a maximum of three-hundred forty (340) hours donated hours. If the catastrophic illness or injury continues, up to an additional three-hundred forth (340) donated hours may be recommended and approved.
  8. A County Department/Agency may submit a final request for up to 280 additional hours after the employee has exhausted all available paid leave benefits, including available paid leaves (vacation, sick, compensatory time, vacation savings, etc.), Short Term Disability, Long Term Disability, and any other legislated leave benefit, and the donated leave balance is 80 hours or less. The following documents must be submitted by the employee’s department to the Human Resources Director:
    1. Medical documentation stating the employee needs to be off-work and the anticipated length of the absence.
    2. A written request from the department/agency verifying who the leave applies to (employee, employee spouse/domestic partner, or dependent child), a statement verifying that the employee has requested that the department/agency pursue additional leave on their behalf, and a summary of benefits used/exhausted to date.
    3. Human Resources will route eligible requests with completed documentation to the County Administrator for approval.
    4. If approved, the donations under this section are administered in the same manner as other approved Catastrophic Leave.
    5. No further requests are allowable upon exhaustion of the final allocation of hours.
  9. Employees donating vacation or compensatory leave to a decedent's benefit must donate their vacation or compensatory leave hours no later than thirty (30) days after the employee's death or within thirty (30) days of the enactment of this revised Decedent's Benefit Policy.
  10. The Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector shall account for the donation and disbursement of catastrophic leave hours. At the end of the thirty (30) day period allowed for donations for a Decedent's Benefit, the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector will process adjustments and then disburse to the designated beneficiary or estate all funds for leave time donated.
  11. The decision of the Director of Human Resources or County Administrator (under section H) to deny Catastrophic Leave requests shall be appealable to the Civil Service Commission within ten (10) calendar days of his/her decision. The decision by the Civil Service Commission shall be final.

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