2019 - 2023 DSLEMMemorandum of Understanding: Article 16: Sick Leave
What’s on this Page
- 16.1 Sick Leave Accrual
- 16.2 Sick Leave Use
- 16.2.1 Sick Leave Use – Non-FMLA/CFRA/PDL Leave
- 16.2.2 Sick Leave Use - FMLA/CFRA/PDL Qualifying Leave
- 16.3 Sick Leave – Documentation
- 16.3.1 Annual Period – Allocated Employees
- 16.3.2 First Forty Eight Hours
- 16.3.3 Subsequent Hours
- 16.3.4 FMLA/CFRA/PDL
- 16.4 Restoration of Accrued Sick Leave
- 16.5 Sick Leave Conversion at Regular Retirement
- 16.6 Sick Leave – Payoff at Regular Retirement
- 16.7 Sick Leave – Distribution at Layoff or Non-Duty Related Death
- 16.8 Sick Leave Distribution at Disability Retirement or Duty Related Death
- 16.9 Family Care & Medical Leave Under FMLA and CFRA
- 16.9.2 FMLA/CFRA Eligibility
- 16.9.3 Family Care and Medical Leave Entitlement
- 16.9.4 Family Care and Medical Leave to Care for a Covered Service Member With a Service Injury or Illness
- 16.9.5 Pay Status and Benefits
- 16.9.6 Relationship of Family Care and Medical Leave to Other Leaves
- 16.9.7 Relationship to Pregnancy Disability Leave
- 16.9.8 Notice to the County
- 16.9.9 Medical Certification
- 16.9.10 County’s Response to Leave Request
- 16.9.11 Employee’s Status on Returning From Leave
- 16.9.12 FMLA/CFRA Procedures, Definitions, and Forms
- 16.9.13 Leaves of Absence Without Pay Usage Reference Table
- 16.10 Paid Parental Leave
- 16.10.1 Eligibility
- 16.10.2 Benefit and Use
- 16.10.3 Coordination of Benefits & Leaves
- 16.10.4 Program Review Process
16.1 Sick Leave Accrual
Each full-time employee in a regular, allocated position shall accrue and accumulate sick leave with full pay at the rate of 3.680 hours for each completed eighty hour (80) paid in-service hours. In-service hours include all hours in pay status excluding overtime. This rate shall be adjusted to reflect any unpaid time in each pay period. Part-time employees in allocated positions shall be eligible to receive sick leave on a pro rata basis. Usage and accrual of said benefits shall be governed by the same rules and regulations applicable to full-time employees.
16.2 Sick Leave Use
Earned sick leave credits may, with the approval of the Department Head, be used by the employee, as outlined below:
16.2.1 Sick Leave Use – Non-FMLA/CFRA/PDL Leave
Accrued sick leave for incidents other than FMLA/CFRA/PDL qualifying events may be used as follows:
- Employee Illness: during the employee’s own incapacity due to illness or injury;
- Employee Treatment or Examination: during the time needed by the employee to undergo medical or dental treatment or examination;
- For Care of a Family Member: for diagnosis, care or treatment of a health condition of, or preventative care for the employee family member. For leave under this Section 16.2.1, “family member” is defined as a:
- child (defined as biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child to who the employee stands in place of a parent, regardless of age or dependency status);
- parent (defined as a biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian, or other person who stood in place of a parent to the employee or the employee’s spouse or domestic partner when the employee was a child. A biological or legal relationship in not necessary for a person to have stood in place of a parent to the employee as a child);
- employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner;
- grandparent, grandchild, or sibling of the employee or the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner.
Sick leave use for family members listed in this Section 16.2.1(C) shall not exceed forty-eight (48) hours per occurrence unless extended by joint action of the employee's Department Head and the Director of Human Resources by reason of exceptional hardships. "Occurrence” means per illness or related incidents. The 48 hours do not have be consecutive.
California “Kin Care” (Labor Code 233) provides that an employee may use an amount of paid sick leave each calendar year that is equal to the amount of time that would normally accrue in a six month period and may be used in the same manner as other sick leave described in this Section 16.2.1 Kin Care provisions run concurrent with other protected leaves and do not extend the maximum period of leave to which the employee is entitled to under FMLA or CFRA.
- Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking: When an employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, to work to obtain or attempt to obtain any relief, including but not limited to, a temporary restraining order, restraining order, or other injunctive relief, to help ensure the health, safety, or welfare of themselves or their child(ren); to seek medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking; obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program or rape crisis center as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking; obtain psychological counseling related to an experience of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; participate in safety planning or take other actions to increase safety from future domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, including temporary or permanent relocation. Documentation may be required for approval of use of sick leave under this provision, pursuant to Section 16.3 Sick Leave Documentation.
16.2.2 Sick Leave Use - FMLA/CFRA/PDL Qualifying Leave
In accordance with The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and the Pregnancy Disability Act (PDA) earned sick leave credits may, with the approval of the Department Head, be used by an employee as follows:
- Employee Illness: During the employee’s own incapacity due to illness or injury.
- Employee Treatment or Examination: During the time needed by the employee to undergo medical or dental treatment or examination.
- Disabled by Pregnancy: When a woman employee is disabled by pregnancy, which means that in the opinion of her health care provider, she is unable because of pregnancy to work at all or is unable to perform any one or more of the essential functions of her job or to perform these functions without undue risk to herself, the successful completion of her pregnancy, or to other persons.
- Care of Family Member: When a child, stepchild, or spouse or domestic partner of an employee, being a member of the employee’s household or a person for whom the employee is entitled to a Federal Income Tax dependent exemption, or the parent of an employee or spouse is incapacitated by illness or injury and it is necessary for the employee to care for such child, stepchild, spouse, parent, or domestic partner.
Child is defined as biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child to who the employee stands in place of a parent, who is either under 18 years of age or an adult dependent child. An adult dependent child is an individual who is 18 years of age or older and who is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability within the meaning of Government Code Section 12926(j) and (l).
(Parent for purposes of this Article is defined as a biological, foster or adoptive parent, step-parent, legal guardian or other person who stood in place of a parent to the employee when the employee was a child. A biological relationship is not necessary for a person to have stood in place of a parent to the employee as a child. Parent does not include parent-in-law.)
For FMLA/CFRA qualifying events to care for a covered family member incapacitated by injury or illness under this paragraph (d), employees are allowed to use up to 480 hours of accrued sick leave per eligible event, and not to exceed the number of hours authorized by medical certification. CFRA bonding leave does not qualify for use of sick leave.
Information on FMLA/CFRA/PDL eligibility, documentation, and benefit and pay status is provided under Section 16.9 Family Care and Medical Leave.
16.3 Sick Leave – Documentation
16.3.1 Annual Period – Allocated Employees
“Annual period” is a calendar year. For employees who begin employment mid-year, the annual period begins on their first day of work, restarts on January 1, and runs on a calendar basis thereafter. (This is not the same as the annual calendar used under FMLA/CFRA/PDL qualifying events.)
16.3.2 First Forty Eight Hours
The first 48 hours, or number of hours equal to 6 days of the employees regular schedule (whichever is greater), of accrued sick leave used by an employee in each annual period will be applied to and subject to the provisions of the California paid sick leave laws. During this period, if the need for paid sick leave is foreseeable, the employee shall provide reasonable advanced notice. If the need for paid sick leave is unforeseeable, the employee shall provide notice of the need for the leave as soon as practicable. If the County has reasonable suspicion of sick leave abuse, a signed medical certification may be required for each use of accrued sick leave to the extent permissible by law.
16.3.3 Subsequent Hours
For use of accrued sick leave beyond the first 48 hours or number of hours equal to six (6) days in the annual period (consecutive or non-consecutive), as described above, a signed medical certification may be required. Reasonable medical certification of incapacity shall be required for sick leave use lasting more than 48 consecutive work hour’s duration, and as required by law for FMLA and CFRA eligible events.
If use of accrued sick leave is for an FMLA, CFRA, or PDL qualifying event, medical certification is required, in accordance with the law, and as outlined in the Medical Leave Policy.
16.4 Restoration of Accrued Sick Leave
When an employee separates from County employment, and returns to County employment within one year from the separation date, any accrued sick leave remaining on account will be restored to the employee upon rehire, provided the accrued leave was not otherwise used, paid out or converted to service credit. If the termination date is in the middle of the pay period, end of pay period date will apply.
16.5 Sick Leave Conversion at Regular Retirement
Each employee who separates from County service on regular, non-disability retirement shall convert one hundred percent (100%) of unused sick leave remaining to each employee’s credit at the time of retirement to retirement service credit as provided by Government Code Section 31641.03.
16.6 Sick Leave – Payoff at Regular Retirement
For each employee who separates from County service on regular non-disability retirement, who reaches 100% of retirement benefit allowed by law, and who is prevented by law from converting some or all of the employee’s remaining unused sick leave to service credit under Section 16.5 (Sick Leave – Conversion at Regular Retirement), the County shall pay the monetary equivalent of twenty-five percent (25%) of all unused sick leave remaining to such employee’s credit at the time of separation, computed on the basis of the employee’s base hourly rate.
16.7 Sick Leave – Distribution at Layoff or Non-Duty Related Death
The County shall pay each employee who separates from County service by death or layoff, the monetary equivalent of twenty-five percent (25%) of all unused sick leave remaining to such employee’s credit as of the time of separation, computed on the basis of the employee’s base hourly pay.
16.8 Sick Leave Distribution at Disability Retirement or Duty Related Death
The County shall pay each employee separated from County service by a disability retirement or duty related death at such employee’s base hourly rate for all unused sick leave remaining to such employee’s credit as of the time of separation or duty related death. This Section shall not apply to an employee separated from County service by a service retirement. The County shall not pay an employee under this Section for any sick leave hours donated to the employee by other employees under a catastrophic leave benefit.
16.9 Family Care & Medical Leave Under FMLA and CFRA
Each eligible employee is entitled to Family Leave as provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), as amended. The FMLA and CFRA leaves run concurrently as provided by law.
16.9.2 FMLA/CFRA Eligibility
To be eligible for family care and medical leave, on the date on which the leave is to begin, a full-time or part-time employee must have been employed by the County for at least 12 months, which need not be consecutive, and have actually worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave.
16.9.3 Family Care and Medical Leave Entitlement
Subject to the provision of this MOU, County policy, and state and federal law, including the federal FMLA and the CFRA, an eligible employee is entitled to a total of twelve (12) workweeks of unpaid leave during any twelve (12) month period for any one or more of the following reasons:
The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child (FMLA and CFRA);
The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and care for the newly placed child (FMLA and CFRA);
To care for the employee’s child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner (CFRA only) who has a serious health condition. (Child is defined as biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or child of a person standing in loco parentis who is under 18 years of age or an adult dependent child. Parent is defined as biological, foster or adoptive parent, stepparent, or legal guardian. Parent does not include a parent-in-law under this provision.)
Because of an employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s position, except for disability on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, which is covered by pregnancy disability leave. (Pregnancy disability counts toward only California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) and FMLA leave.)
Because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a U.S. National Guard or Reserve member on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty status) in support of a contingency operation (FMLA only).
The twelve (12) month period for FMLA/CFRA purposes is determined by a “rolling” twelve (12) month period measured backwards from the date an employee first uses FMLA/CFRA leave.
16.9.4 Family Care and Medical Leave to Care for a Covered Service Member With a Service Injury or Illness
Subject to the provisions of this MOU, County policy, and state and federal law, including the FMLA, an eligible employee may take FMLA leave to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the service member. (This 12 month period used under FMLA/CFRA to determine sick leave eligibility is separate from the “annual period” defined in 16 .3.1.)
An eligible employee’s entitlement under Section 16.8.4 is limited to a total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness. The “single 12-month period” in which the 26-weeks-of-leave-entitlement described in this begins on the first day an employee takes leave to care for the covered service member.
During the “single 12-month period” described above, an eligible employee’s FMLA leave entitlement is limited to a combined total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of FMLA leave for any qualifying reason.
16.9.5 Pay Status and Benefits
Except as provided in this Article, the family care and medical leave will be unpaid. The County will, however, continue to provide County contributions toward the health plan premium during the period of family care and medical leave for up to twelve (12) work weeks on the same basis as coverage would have been provided had the employee not taken family care and medical leave. The employee will be required to continue to pay the employee’s share of premiums payments, if any.
Nothing in this Section shall preclude the use of medical or pregnancy disability leave in Section 5.6.1 (Medical / Pregnancy Disability Leave) when the employee is medically incapacitated or disabled. If an employee does not qualify for continued benefits under this Section 16.9 or Section 5.6.1 (Medical / Pregnancy Disability Leave) and the employee wishes to continue benefit coverage, then Section 5.6.2 (Continuation of Health Benefits Coverage) applies.
16.9.6 Relationship of Family Care and Medical Leave to Other Leaves
Any leave of absence that qualifies as family care and medical leave and is designated by the County as family care and medical leave will be counted as running concurrently with any other paid or unpaid leave to which the employee may be entitled for the same qualifying reason. Section 16.8.14 identifies accrued paid leave which an employee may be required to use concurrently with unpaid family care and medical leave.
16.9.7 Relationship to Pregnancy Disability Leave
The family care and medical leave provided under this Section is in addition to any leave taken on account of disability due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions for which an employee may be qualified under state law.
16.9.8 Notice to the County
The employee must provide written notice to the County as far in advance of the leave as possible and as soon as the employee reasonably knows of the need for the leave. If the need for the leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement of a child for adoption or foster care or planned medical treatment, the notice must be provided at least 30 calendar days in advance of the leave, or if not reasonably known 30 calendar days before the leave, then as soon as reasonably practicable.
The written notice must inform the County of the reasons for the leave, the anticipated duration of the leave and the anticipated start of the leave.
The employee shall consult with the County and make a reasonable effort to schedule any planned medical treatment or supervision so as to minimize disruption to department operations.
16.9.9 Medical Certification
An employee’s request for family care and medical leave to care for a child, a spouse, or a parent who has a serious health condition shall be supported by a certification issued by the health care provider of the individual requiring care. If additional leave is required after the expiration of the time originally estimated by the health care provider, the employee shall provide the County with recertification by the health care provider.
An employee’s request for family care and medical leave because of employee’s own serious health condition shall be supported by a certification issued by the employee’s health care provider.
As a condition of an employee’s return from leave taken because of the employee’s own serious health condition, the employee is required to obtain certification from the employee’s care provider that the employee is able to resume work.
Employees are required to use the medical certification forms available from the County Human Resources Department to meet the certification and recertification requirements of this section.
16.9.10 County’s Response to Leave Request
It is the County’s responsibility to designate leave, paid or unpaid, as family and medical leave-qualifying and to notify the employee of the designation.
16.9.11 Employee’s Status on Returning From Leave
Except as provided by law, on return from family care and medical leave, an employee is entitled to be returned to the same or equivalent position the employee held when leave commenced, or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. An employee has no right to return to the same position. Use of family care and medical leave will not result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an eligible employee’s FMLA/CFRA leave.
16.9.12 FMLA/CFRA Procedures, Definitions, and Forms
A description of the required process and procedures to follow for intermittent leave and reduced leave schedules, forms to use when requesting family care and medical leave, and applicable definitions are included in the County Medical Leave Policy and found on the County Human Resources Department website, and are available from the Human Resources Department.
16.9.13 Leaves of Absence Without Pay Usage Reference Table
Employees in regular, allocated positions will be required to use accrued paid leaves before a leave of absence without pay as shown in the following table:
|During the employee’s own incapacity due to illness or injury.||Yes. You may keep 40 hrs.||No||No|
|During the time needed by the employee, or for an employee’s family member to undergo medical or dental treatment or examination.||Yes. You may keep 40 hrs.||No||No|
|When a woman employee is disabled by pregnancy.||Yes. You may keep 40 hrs.||No||No|
|When the employee’s family member is incapacitated by illness/injury and the employee must care for him/her, or for care, exam or treatment of a family member. *||Yes. Up to 48 hours. (You may keep 40 hrs.)||Yes||Yes||You may keep 40 hours in any combination of Vacation & CTO|
|Non-sick FMLA/CFRA** qualifying event (e.g., child bonding leave*)||No||No||No|
|Approved. undisclosed reason or extended vacation||No||Yes||Yes||Must use all Vac. & CTO|
*In the event an employee is eligible to receive Paid Family Leave to care for the serious health condition of a family member or to bond with a new child, they will not be required to use sick, vacation or CTO time, while receiving that benefit.
**Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
This Section 16.9 shall be interpreted as the legal minimum family care and medical leave available to eligible employees. The County may grant additional leave without pay under this Section (16.9) provided it is consistent with the applicable provisions of the Sonoma County Civil Service Rules, County leave policies, and other provisions of this memorandum.
16.10 Paid Parental Leave
Effective 10/1/18, for eligible events that occur on or after Board adoption of this MOU, any permanent or probationary employee who has been continuously employed by the County for at least 12 months prior to the start of the leave shall be eligible for Paid Parental Leave (PPL) to use within 12 months of the following events:
- Birth of a child of the employee, the employee’s spouse, or the employee’s domestic partner
- Placement of a child with the employee’s family for adoption or foster care
For the purposes of PPL, the definition of “parent” and “child” are as defined by the California Family Rights Act.
16.10.2 Benefit and Use
Eligible employees shall be granted 320 PPL hours to use within 12 months of the qualifying event. Part-time employees shall be eligible for a pro-rated number of PPL hours, based on allocated FTE.
PPL is based on a 12 month rolling calendar. No more than 320 PPL hours may be used in any 12 month period.
PPL is based on the employee’s base hourly wage plus cash allowance. It is considered “paid status” for the purpose of merit, seniority, premiums, vacation and sick leave accrual, and County benefit eligibility and contributions.
PPL is pensionable and counts towards retirement service credit.
PPL may be used in a block of continuous time or as intermittent leaves as arranged in advance. Unless approved by the Director of Human Resources, PPL cannot be used retroactively.
Use of PPL shall not be cause for an employee to lose his/her current assignment on a permanent basis; however, assignments may be altered to accommodate the employee’s or department’s operational needs when working a reduced work schedule.
An employee in a disability period following birth of a child must use sick leave down to 40 hours before using PPL.
16.10.3 Coordination of Benefits & Leaves
PPL can be fully integrated with any short-term disability or California Paid Family Leave program. STD and PFL will not reduce PPL leave entitlement. For time covered by FMLA/CFRA job protected leave for bonding, PPL must be used prior to other accrued leave or Leave Without Pay. If an employee has exhausted FMLA/CFRA entitlements, PPL must be used prior to Leave Without Pay for arranged leaves for the purpose of bonding. Scheduling of non-CFRA protected PPL is subject to department approval. PPL does not need to be used when an employee is on leave for reasons other than bonding. To the extent FRA leave is available, it will run concurrently with PPL.
16.10.4 Program Review Process
County and DSLEM Representatives will meet to discuss any unanticipated issues that arise, including administrative and legal issues.