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Human Resources Department

Engineers and Scientists of California (ESC)

2018 - 2019 ESCMemorandum of Understanding: Article 7: Staff Development & Wellness

Engineers & Scientists of California

7.1 Staff Development & Wellness Benefit Allowance

Each full and part-time employee in the bargaining unit shall be entitled to a Staff Development / Wellness Benefit Allowance. Eligible employees may request reimbursement for allowable expenses, upon approval of the appointing authority, and as defined in the County’s Staff Development / Wellness Benefit Allowance Program Administrative Manual.  

7.1.1 Staff Development/Wellness Benefit Allowance – Program

The annual Staff Development / Wellness Benefit Allowance amount will be provided to all full and part-time eligible employees as specified in the following table:

Employee StatusBenefit
Effective September 13, 2016
Full-Time (.075 and above) $850
Part-Time (less than 0.75 FTE)$425

Effective September 13, 2016, total funds per fiscal year can be used for Staff Development and/or Wellness expenditures.   Funds may not be carried over into the next fiscal year, except that any carryover from FY 15/16 may be used in FY 16/17.  Use of funds are subject to approval and provisions of the County’s Staff Development Benefit Allowance Program, Administrative Manual and may be taxable pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code.

Effective September 13, 2016, benefit balances will be brought to $850 for full time and $425 for part-time, (plus carryover amounts from FY 15/16, minus amounts already spent between July 1, 2016 and September 12, 2016). Remaining funds may be used towards reimbursement for allowable Staff Development and Wellness Benefit. Reimbursement of expenses will be based on the MOU in effect on the purchase date.

7.1.2 Computer Hardware And Mobile Devices

The Staff Development / Wellness Benefit Allowance may be used towards reimbursement for the purchase of computer hardware and mobile devices as defined in the County’s Staff Development Benefit Allowance Program Administrative Manual. Monthly service charges for internet and mobile communication connections are not reimbursable under this Program. The use and approval of all computer hardware, and mobile devices is subject to review by the department head (or a senior manager designee) and is subject to the specific job requirements for each job classification in that department. All computer hardware, and mobile devices must be directly job related, must be used for County business a minimum of 50% of their use and requires department head (or senior manager designee) authorization in order to qualify for reimbursement. Department head authorization for the use of this benefit towards reimbursements for computer hardware and mobile devices must be outlined and approved in the employee’s annual Professional Development Plan or proposal and will be considered together with other staff development training and educational priorities required by the department head.

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7.2 Continuing Education Leave

Employees are eligible for Continuing Education Leave subject to the following conditions:  

  1. Courses taken on County time must be directly related to the employee’s present position, or career advancement within the present County department. 
  2. Requests for leave must be approved by the employee’s appointing authority. This provision will be applied as consistently as possible and leave shall not unreasonably be denied.
  3. Approval for leave will be based, in the judgment of the County, on the needs of the County, the needs of the employee and the availability of adequate resources to cover the absence of the employee. 
  4. Time spent by an employee on an approved continuing education leave will be considered as normal time worked for the period of the employee’s absence which falls within the employee’s regular work schedule. 
  5. Approval of one course does not automatically constitute approval for an entire series unless specifically authorized by the appointing authority.  Approval or denial of leave will be provided to employees in writing in a timely manner.

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7.3 In-Service Training

The County shall make every effort to provide a program of In-Service training that is designed to maintain a high standard of performance and to increase the skills of employees in the bargaining unit.  Training courses to be attended shall have a direct bearing on the work of the employee. Attendance at training courses may be authorized by the department head. Decisions by department heads on requests by employees should be based upon the effect the absence of the employee will have on the department’s operations and its ability to continue to provide the services and perform the functions for which it is responsible; and the relationship of the subject of the program, seminar, conference or workshop to the function performed by the employee and the department, and the employee’s professional development.

7.3.1 In-Service Training Reimbursement

Expenditures for travel, meals, lodging, registration and other items may be included as part of the In-Service training line item in each of the department’s budgets. Occasionally, the departmental budget may not permit trips to be paid by the County. The employee may feel that the trip would be of benefit to the employee’s professional development, and therefore, would be willing to pay the expenses if the employee were permitted time off from work at full salary.  In addition, other public or private agencies provide grants that can be used to cover the cost of the training.

7.3.2 In-Service Training Requests

When several employees within a department make requests to attend In-Service training and it is not possible to grant attendance for all those employees who have made such a request, because of the criteria listed in Section 7.3, the department head shall establish an attendance list based upon the following order of priority: prior identified training needs; prior attendance at similar courses; and seniority (continuous service).

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7.4 Staff Development Benefit Allowance Program, Administrative Manual

The Department of Human Resources shall develop, modify, implement and administer administrative and programmatic guidelines to remain in compliance with Internal Revenue Service guidelines, based on the County’s Staff Development Benefit Allowance Program, Administrative Manual.

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