2019 - 2023 Local 39 Memorandum of Understanding: Article 17: Leaves of Absence
What’s on this Page
- 17.1 Vacation Accrual
- 17.2 Vacation – Accrual – Part-Time Employees
- 17.3 Vacation Accrual Rates
- 17.4 Vacation – Credit Upon Reappointment
- 17.5 Vacation – Schedules
- 17.6 Vacation Savings Plan and Payment for Unused Vacation
- 17.6.1 Vacation – Payment for Unused Vacation
- 17.7 Sick Leave Benefit for Employees in Allocated Positions
- 17.7.1 Accrual Rate
- 126.96.36.199 Sick Leave Advance
- 17.7.2 Accrual – Restoration of Accrued Time
- 17.7.3 Change in Employment Status – Extra Help to Allocated
- 17.7.1 Accrual Rate
- 17.8 Sick Leave Usage
- 17.8.1 Sick Leave Use – Non-FMLA/CFRA/PDL Leave
- 17.8.2 Sick Leave Use – FMLA/CFRA/PDL Qualifying Leave
- 17.9 Sick Leave – Required Documentation
- 17.9.1 Annual Period
- 17.9.2 First Forty-Eight Hours
- 17.9.3 Subsequent Hours
- 17.9.4 Reasonable Certification
- 17.9.5 FMLA/CFRA/PDL
- 17.10 Sick Leave – Distribution on Employee’s Accidental Death at Work
- 17.11 Sick Leave – Conversion at Regular Retirement
- 17.12 Sick Leave Payoff at Regular Retirement
- 17.13 Sick Leave – Distribution at Disability Retirement
- 17.14 Sick Leave Distribution at Death or Layoff
- 17.15 Time Off for Voting
- 17.16 Compassionate Leave
- 17.17 Court Leave
- 17.17.1 Court Leave – Response to Subpoena
- 17.17.2 Court Leave – Line of Duty
- 17.18 Leaves – Jury Duty
- 17.19 Leaves of Absence – No Break in Service
- 17.20 Leave Without Pay – Water Agency and Sonoma County Fair & Exposition, Inc.
- 17.20.1 General Provisions
- 17.20.2 Disabilities
- 17.20.3 Military Service
- 17.20.4 Fitness for Duty Examination
- 17.20.5 Non-Grievability
- 17.21 Leaves – Candidates for Public Office – Water Agency and Sonoma County Fair and Exposition, Inc.
- 17.22 Family Care & Medical Leave Under FMLA and CFRA
- 17.22.2 Eligibility
- 17.22.3 Family Care and Medical Leave Entitlement
- 17.22.4 Family Care and Medical Leave to Care for a Covered Servicemember With a Service Injury or Illness
- 17.22.5 Pay Status and Benefits
- 17.22.6 Relationship of Family Care and Medical Leave to Other Leaves
- 17.22.7 Relationship to Pregnancy Disability Leave
- 17.22.8 Notice to the County
- 17.22.9 Medical Certification
- 17.22.10 County’s Response to Leave Request
- 17.22.11 Employee’s Status on Returning from Leave
- 17.22.12 FMLA/CFRA Procedures, Definitions, and Forms
- 17.23 Employees will be required to use paid leaves before a leave of absence without pay as shown in the following table:
- 17.24 Leaves – Time Off for Donating Blood
- 17.25 Disaster Leave
- 17.26 Paid Parental Leave
- 17.26.1 Eligibility
- 17.26.2 Benefit and Use
- 17.26.3 Coordination of Benefits & Leaves
- 17.26.4 Program Review Process
- 17.26.5 PPL Implementation
17.1 Vacation Accrual
Each employee shall accrue and may use vacation leave with full pay providing that the maximum accumulation shall be no more than provided for in the table below.
17.2 Vacation – Accrual – Part-Time Employees
Part-time employees shall accrue vacation leave on a pro rata basis; usage and accrual shall be governed by the same rules and regulations applicable to full-time employees.
17.3 Vacation Accrual Rates
Each employee who has completed the following in-service hours shall accrue vacation leave at the appropriate rate shown below. In-service hours include all hours in pay status excluding overtime, up to eighty (80) hours. Rates shown below will be adjusted to reflect any unpaid time in each pay period.
|Years of Completed
|Rate for 80
|0 through 5 years||0 to 10,434||4.94||280|
|5 through 10 years||10,435 to 20,870||5.25||280|
|10 through 15 years||20,871 to 31,305||6.48||280|
|15 through 20 years||31,306 to 41,741||7.09||280|
|20 through 25 years||41,742 to 52,177||7.70||280|
|25 or greater years||52,178 or more||8.01||280|
17.4 Vacation – Credit Upon Reappointment
Each employee with 10,435 in-service hours (five (5) or more years) in paid status who resigns in good standing and who is later reappointed within two (2) years of the resignation, shall be credited with 4,174 in-service hours (two (2) years) for purposes of new vacation accrual. Each employee who was laid off and reappointed within two (2) years shall be returned to the place on the accrual table (in Section 17.3, above) which the employee occupied when laid off.
17.5 Vacation – Schedules
Vacation schedules shall be arranged by the department head with particular regard to the needs of the service and, whenever possible, with regard to the wishes of the employee. Every effort shall be made to arrange vacation schedules so that each employee will take as much vacation in each year as accrues to the employee in that year. Each employee’s vacation time may be so divided as the needs of the service require or permit. No employee may take vacation without advance approval of the department head or appointing authority. No employee may take vacation leave in advance of that actually accumulated by the employee at the time the leave is taken.
17.6 Vacation Savings Plan and Payment for Unused Vacation
Under Vacation Savings Plan (VSP), each eligible (permanent or probationary) full-time employee may elect to set aside up to twenty (20) hours of base rate pay each plan year during years 3 through 5 (4,174 to 10,434 service hours) of permanent, probationary, or unclassified employment. Part-time employees will be eligible to set aside hours on a pro-rata basis, based on their allocated FTE (full time equivalent) position.
Employees enroll during an annual open enrollment period in October / November for the subsequent plan year. The plan year runs from January 1 – December 31. Eligibility to enroll, for full-time and part-time employees is based on the number of service hours earned as of the pay period immediately preceding the start of open enrollment. Employees who have completed 4,174 and have not exceeded 10,434 service hours as of the pay period immediately preceding the start of open enrollment will be eligible to enroll in the benefit.
Employees new to this MOU who have between 4,174 and 10,434 in-service hours may enroll within their first 60 days for the current plan year. Information on the plan will be provided by the payroll clerk. Deductions for current plan year enrollments must be completed by the end of the final pay period in December of the current plan year.
Regular annual enrollments for employees who have reached 4,174 hours by the pay period end immediately preceding the beginning of annual enrollment but have not exceeded 10,434 hours will complete their election through the County’s self-service program or paper enrollment form during the open enrollment period. Employees indicate the number of hours (up to 20) to purchase, and the number of pay periods over which the deductions will occur beginning on the first pay period of the new plan year. Deductions for regular and special enrollments will be in equal amounts over the number of pay periods selected at the base hourly rate as of the time of enrollment. Deductions must be completed by the end of the final pay period in December. Employees may submit one enrollment per plan year. Elections must be in whole hour increments.
At the end of the plan year, up to 20 hours may roll forward to the subsequent plan year until the last pay period in April. Any unused hours from the prior year on account at the end of the last pay date in April will be paid back to the employee in May.
Time may be used in one-tenth hour increments. The dollar value and hours available in the VSP bank will appear on the employee’s pay stub, the County’s self-service program, and Timesaver.
Deductions are made on an after-tax basis. If there are insufficient funds to cover the deduction, the deduction will not be taken and the amount will automatically recalculate the deduction amount to the remaining elected pay periods in the plan year.
Employees may cancel participation in the program by notifying the Auditor Payroll Division in writing by completing a Vacation Savings Plan Enrollment / Declination / Cancellation Form. The employee designates whether the amount accrued to date will be paid out to the employee or will carry forward under the plan provisions. Balances being paid back to the employee will be paid off as soon as administratively feasible.
In the event the employee separates from County employment or has a change in eligibility status for the plan, unused VSP will be paid to the employee as soon as administratively feasible. Reaching 10,434 hours during the plan year is not considered a “change in status” under this provision.
Use of VSP hours are subject to the following guidelines
- Use of VSP hours is subject to the same provisions in Section 17.5 Vacation – Schedules, and require the same pre-approval process as accrued vacation hours.
- When paid, VSP hours are not taxed and are paid at the same hourly rate of pay as they were deducted.
- If the value in the VSP bank is not sufficient to cover the employee’s payroll deductions, the employee must arrange for payment with Auditor Payroll.
- VSP hours will count toward seniority and merit, and will be considered “paid status” for the purposes of health benefits, vacation and sick leave accrual, and holiday pay only.
- VSP hours will not be credited to retirement service hours, or be included in retirement final annual salary calculation.
- VSP hours will not be considered paid status hours for shift pay, premium pay, or cash allowance.
- VSP hours must be depleted prior to receiving Catastrophic Leave or Disaster Leave; Short Term Disability plans may also require depletion of leave, if applicable.
- VSP hours may be used in conjunction with Workers’ Compensation benefits in the same manner as accrued leave.
- VSP hours may not be used to extend a date of separation from County employment.
17.6.1 Vacation - Payment for Unused Vacation
Each employee who is separated from the County service shall be entitled to payment for all unused vacation leave which the employee may have accumulated as of the employee’s last day of work and shall be computed on the basis of such employee’s base hourly rate at the time of termination.
17.7 Sick Leave Benefit For Employees in Allocated Positions
17.7.1 Accrual Rate
Each full-time employee in a regular, allocated position, shall accrue and accumulate sick leave at the rate of 3.680 in-service hours for each completed eighty (80) paid in-service hours. In-service hours include all hours in pay status excluding overtime. This accrual 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, and their usage and accrual of sick leave benefits shall be governed by the same rules and regulations applicable to full-time employees.
188.8.131.52 Sick Leave Advance
On the first day of regular hire employment, regular hire full-time employees will receive an advanced sick leave credit of forty and forty eight one hundredths (40.48) hours. Advanced hours shall be prorated for part time employees based on allocated Full Time Equivalent (FTE) at the date of hire. Employees will not accrue sick leave until the accruals calculated each pay period per Section 17.7.1 equals the advanced sick leave credit (in approximately 11 pay periods). This section shall be implemented as soon as administratively feasible, but no later than September 1, 2016.
17.7.2 Accrual – Restoration of Accrued Time
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, converted to Extra Help sick leave, or converted to service credit. If the termination date is in the middle of the pay period, end of pay period date will apply.
17.7.3 Change in Employment Status – Extra Help to Allocated
Extra Help to Allocated Position
For an Extra Help employee who begins an allocated assignment within one year of separation of an Extra Help assignment, any accrued and unused Extra Help sick leave hours on account will carry forward with the employee. If the separation date is in the middle of the pay period, pay period end date will apply. Hours carried forward may be used, subject to the following restrictions:
- Extra Help sick leave hours must be used prior to using sick leave accrued as a regular employee;
- Extra Help sick leave hours have no cash value; and
- Extra Help hours are not eligible for conversion to service credit at regular retirement (pursuant to Section 17.11).
17.8 Sick Leave Usage
Earned sick leave credits may, with the approval of the department head, be used by the employee for the following purposes, as outlined below:
17.8.1 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 an existing health condition of, or preventative care for the employee family member.
For leave under this Section 17.8.1, "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 of an employee or the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner, or a person who stood in place of a parent when the employee was a minor 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 17.8.1c 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 six month period, and may be used in the same manner as other sick leave described in this Section 17.8.1. 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.
17.8.2 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 an 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, spouse, or domestic partner of an employee, who is 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 employee’s parent, is incapacitated by
illness or injury and it is necessary for the employee to care for the child, spouse, or parent. ("Parent" for purposes of this Section is defined as biological, foster, or adoptive parent, step-parent, a legal guardian or other person who stood in place of a parent to the employee when the employee was a
minor. A biological or legal relationship is not necessary for a person to have stood in place of a parent to the employee as a minor. ("Parent" does not include parent-in-law.) Sick leave under this paragraph 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.
Child is defined as biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child to whom 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 Section is defined as biological, foster, or adoptive parent, step-parent, a legal guardian or other person who stood in place of a parent to the employee when the employee was a minor. A biological or legal relationship is not necessary for a person to have stood in place of a parent to the employee as a minor. ("Parent" does not include parent-in-law.)
For FMLA/CFRA qualifying events to care for a covered family member incapacitated by illness or injury, 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 17.22 – Family Care and Medical Leave under FMLA/CFRA.
17.9 Sick Leave – Required Documentation
17.9.1 Annual Period
The “annual period” is a calendar year. For new employees who begin mid-year, the annual period begins on the employee’s first day of work, restarts on January 1, and runs on a calendar year basis thereafter.
17.9.2 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 an 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.
17.9.3 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 forty-eight (48) consecutive work hours, and as required by law under CFRA eligible events.
17.9.4 Reasonable Certification
Reasonable certification may be required, within a reasonable time after the absence, when an unscheduled absence occurs to obtain relief if the employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, in accordance with Section 17.8.1(d) of this Agreement. Such certification shall be treated as confidential. Certification may be provided directly to Human Resources and shall not be disclosed to any person except to the affected employee, or as provided by law.
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.
17.10 Sick Leave – Distribution on Employee’s Accidental Death at Work
An employee’s beneficiary shall be entitled to payment of the monetary equivalent of one-hundred percent (100%) of all the employee’s unused sick leave in the event of the employee’s accidental death at work. Extra Help sick leave is not eligible for this provision.
17.11 Sick Leave – Conversion at Regular Retirement
Only an employee who separates from County service on retirement only shall have the option of converting one hundred percent (100%) of all 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, excepting that Extra Help sick leave hours are not eligible for conversion to retirement service credit.
17.12 Sick Leave Payoff at Regular Retirement
The County shall pay the monetary equivalent of twenty-five percent (25%) of all unused sick leave remaining to an employee’s credit at the time of separation, computed on the basis of the employee’s base hourly rate, 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 17.11 (Sick Leave – Conversion at Regular Retirement). Extra Help sick leave is not eligible for this provision.
17.13 Sick Leave – Distribution at Disability Retirement
The County shall pay each employee separated from County service by disability retirement at the employee’s base hourly rate for all unused sick leave remaining to such employee’s credit as of the time of separation. Extra Help sick leave is not eligible for this provision.
17.14 Sick Leave Distribution at Death or Layoff
The County shall pay each employee who separates from County service by death or layoff, the monetary equivalent of 25% of all unused sick leave remaining to the employee’s credit as of the time of separation, computed on the basis of the employee’s base hourly pay. Extra Help sick leave is not eligible for this provision.
17.15 Time Off For Voting
If an employee who is a registered voter does not have sufficient time outside of the employee’s working hours within which to vote in any state-wide general or primary election, the employee may, upon request, be granted so much working time off without loss of pay as will, when added to voting time outside the employee’s working hours, enable the employee to vote. No more than two (2) hours taken off work for voting shall be paid. The time off work for voting shall be only at the beginning or end of the regular working shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular working shift.
17.16 Compassionate Leave
With respect to this provision, the term ‘spouse’ shall also include domestic partner. A full-time or part-time employee may be granted up to thirty two (32) hours of leave with pay, in the event of the death of the employee’s spouse, child, step-child, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, grandparent, great-grandparent, grandchild or person who served as a parent to the employee when the employee was a minor, and the mother or father of the employee or of the spouse of the employee. Up to an additional eight (8) hours of sick leave may be granted to supplement compassionate leave. Where travel in excess of 300 miles one way from the employee’s residence is required up to an additional one (1) of the employee’s regular work days of sick leave may be used to supplement compassionate leave. Up to an additional forty (40) hours of accrued vacation leave or accrued comp time off may be granted to supplement compassionate leave upon request.
Part-time employees shall be eligible for a pro-rated compassionate leave benefit that is computed by multiplying the total normal biweekly hours by 0.40 (e.g. 40 hrs. x 0.40 for half-time employees = 16 hrs.) Ongoing work schedule for purposed of this Section shall mean an average of the two (2) pay periods immediately preceding the need for compassionate leave or the employees normal biweekly allocation of hours, whichever is greater.
17.17 Court Leave
17.17.1 Court Leave – Response to Subpoena
A full-time or part-time employee is entitled to a leave of absence with pay at the employee’s base hourly rate to respond to an enforceable subpoena to appear in a court or administrative agency hearing in California other than as a litigant and for reasons other than those caused by the employee’s connivance or misconduct. An employee may retain such payment as may be allowed the employee for lodging, meals and travel, but as a condition for entitlement to this Court Leave the employee shall make payable to the County of Sonoma any and all fees which the employee may receive as payment for the service as a witness. An employee on Court Leave will receive the base rate of pay for those hours spent traveling to and from the court or administrative agency hearing and the hours spent attending to the employee’s obligation as a witness so long as those hours correspond to the employee’s assigned work schedule. Time spent as a witness or travel time which are outside the employee’s assigned work schedule shall not be paid. If an employee’s obligation as a witness expires on any work day with time remaining on the employee’s work schedule, the employee will be obligated to return to work.
17.17.2 Court Leave – Line of Duty
These provisions do not apply to employees whose appearances are in the line of duty.
17.18 Leaves – Jury Duty
It is the policy of the County of Sonoma to encourage County employees to perform service as jurors when summoned for jury duty by a court of competent jurisdiction. Any employee summoned for jury duty shall as soon as possible notify his or her supervisor. The employee shall be entitled to a leave of absence with full pay for the period of time as may be required to attend the court in response to the summons. An employee may retain a payment that is allowed for travel but shall make payable to the County of Sonoma any and all fees which the employee may receive in payment for services as a juror.
17.19 Leaves of Absence – No Break in Service
No absence under any paid leave provisions of this Memorandum shall be considered as a break in service for any employee who is in paid status during each absence. All benefits which, under the provisions of the Memorandum, accrue to employees who are in paid status shall continue to accrue during an absence under the paid leave provisions.
17.20 Leave Without Pay - Water Agency and Sonoma County Fair & Exposition, Inc.
17.20.1 General Provisions
- The General Manager of the Water Agency and the Fair Manager or their designee may grant leaves without pay, for periods not to exceed six (6) months, at the request of the employee concerned, because of illness, disability, pregnancy; or for educational purposes; or for other reasons the General Manager or Fair Manager deems appropriate.
- Requests for leaves without pay for periods in excess of six (6) months may also be approved by the General Manager or Fair Manager.
- An employee may appeal the denial by the General Manager or Fair Manager of the employee’s request for leave without pay. An appeal shall be made in writing and submitted through the County’s General Grievance Procedure in accordance with the procedural requirements in that procedure. Any appeal of a denial of leave without pay for medical reasons shall be accompanied by a statement signed by competent medical authority, setting forth the employee’s ability to perform the duties of the employee’s position and a prognosis of the employee’s ability to return to work at the termination of the requested leave.
- The decision of the Grievance Appeals Committee on any appeals under this Section 17.20 shall be final and binding.
Requests for leave without pay for disabilities which are found by the State Compensation Insurance Fund or the Industrial Accident Commission to be incurred as a result of Water Agency or Sonoma County Fair employment shall be approved by the General Manager or Fair Manager for the period following expiration of paid sick leave and vacation until discontinuation of disability compensation payments.
17.20.3 Military Service
Requests for leave without pay for military service shall be approved by the General Manager or Fair Manager in accordance with applicable law.
17.20.4 Fitness for Duty Examination
When an employee is absent due to illness or disability, the General Manager or Fair Manager may require that before returning to work the employee provide verification from a physician that the employee is medically able to perform his/her job responsibilities. Until the employee’s fitness for duty is verified, the employee shall continue to use available paid and unpaid leave. Failure to provide verification of fitness for duty shall result, after expiration of the employee’s accumulated sick leave, in further leave with pay, leave without pay, and/or separation of the employee.
This Section 17.20 is not grievable nor arbitrable except as stated in Section 17.20.1(c).
17.21 Leaves – Candidates for Public Office – Water Agency and Sonoma County Fair and Exposition, Inc.
Any employee of the Water Agency or Sonoma County Fair and Exposition, Inc. who becomes a bona fide candidate for elective public office, may upon recommendation of the employee’s Agency Manager, take and be granted leave of absence without pay during all or any portion of the period of the employee’s candidacy by delivering to the employee’s department head at least ten (10) days written notice of intention to do so, specifying the dates upon which such leave shall begin and end. The employee may, by further ten (10) days written notice delivered to the employee’s department head, change the date upon which such leave shall end. This leave shall not extend beyond the period of time during which the employee is a bona fide candidate for elective public office.
17.22 Family Care & Medical Leave Under FMLA and CFRA
Each eligible employee is entitled to family care and medical leave as provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), as amended. The leaves under FMLA and CFRA will run concurrently to the extent permitted by law.
To be eligible for family care and medical leave, on the date on which leave is to begin, a full-time or part-time employee must have been employed by the County for at least twelve (12) months, which need not be consecutive, and have actually worked at least 1,250 hours of service during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave.
17.22.3 Family Care and Medical Leave Entitlement
Subject to the provisions 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 place of parent 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.
17.22.4 Family Care and Medical Leave to Care for a Covered Servicemember 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 servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the servicemember. (This 12 month period used under FMLA/CFRA to determine sick leave eligibility is separate from the “annual period” defined in 17.9.)
An eligible employee’s entitlement is limited to a total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember 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 servicemember.
FMLA leave entitlement is limited to a combined total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of FMLA leave for any qualifying reason.
17.22.5 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 15.7 (Medical or Pregnancy Disability) when the employee is medically incapacitated or disabled. If an employee does not qualify for continued benefits under this Section 17.22 or Section 15.7 (Medical or Pregnancy Disability Leave) and the employee wishes to continue benefit coverage, then Section 15.8 (Continuation of Health Benefits Coverage) applies.
17.22.6 Relationship of Family Care and Medical Leave to Other Leaves
Any leave of absence that qualifies 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 17.22 identifies accrued paid leave which an employee may be required to use concurrently with unpaid family care and medical leave.
17.22.7 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.
17.22.8 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.
17.22.9 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 re-certification 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 re-certification requirements of this Section.
17.22.10 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.
17.22.11 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.
17.22.12 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. The provisions of this Article 17 are subject to Article 26, Grievance Procedure, of this MOU, but the County Medical Leave Policy is not subject to Article 26, Grievance Procedure, of this MOU.
This Section 17.22 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 17.22 provided it is consistent with the applicable provisions of the Sonoma County Civil Service Rules, County leave policies, and other provisions of this Memorandum.
Employees will be required to use paid leaves before a leave of absence without pay as shown in the following table:
|§ Employee’s own incapacity due to illness or injury||Yes, you may keep 40 hours||No||No|
|§ During time needed by the employee to undergo medical or dental treatment or examination||Yes, you may keep 40 hours||No||No|
|§ Pregnancy disability||Yes, you may keep 40 hours||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, you may keep 40 hours||Yes||Yes||You may keep 40 hrs. in any combination of Vac. & CTO|
|§ Non-sick FMLA/CFRA** qualifying event (e.g., child bonding leave)||No||No||No|
|Education Leave||No||Yes||Yes||Must use all Vac. & CTO|
|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 & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) / California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
17.24 Leaves – Time Off For Donating Blood
If an employee does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to donate blood or plasma, subject to department operational needs, the employee may without loss of pay take off up to two (2) hours of working time four (4) times per year for the purpose of donating blood. The employee shall give the employee’s supervisor at least five (5) working day’s notice that time off for donating blood is desired, in accordance with provisions of this Section (17.24).
17.25 Disaster Leave
When there has been a natural disaster of a magnitude that requires the Board of Supervisors to Proclaim a County State of Emergency, the County will enact this disaster leave provision.
During the proclaimed emergency period and for up to one year from the termination of the said proclamation, County employees may donate accrued compensatory time and vacation leave to other County employees who have lost work time because they have been a victim of a disaster affecting their primary residence. For up to one year from the termination of said proclamation, impacted employees may use up to 320 hours of donated leave. Such donated time will not exceed the total amount of time lost by the receiving employee including vacation, compensatory time used and any unpaid leave incurred. Unused donated time at the expiration of the leave provision period will be returned to the donor.
17.26 Paid Parental Leave
Effective 10/1/18, for eligible events that occur on or after Board adoption of the parties re-opener agreement, 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 eligible 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.
17.26.2 Benefit and Use
Eligible employees shall be granted 320 PPL hours to use within 12 months of the qualifying event for the purposes of bonding. 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.
17.26.3 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 for reasons other than bonding, 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 CFRA leave is available, it will run concurrently with PPL.
17.26.4 Program Review Process
County and Local 39 Representatives will meet to discuss any unanticipated issues that arise, including administrative and legal issues.
17.26.5 PPL Implementation
For qualifying events occurring after 10/1/2017, PPL may be applied to any remaining CFRA eligible bonding hours still available to the employee after the program effective date.