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Human Resources Department

Service Employees’ International Union - Local 1021 (SEIU)

2018 - 2019 SEIUMemorandum of Understanding:  Article 11: Staff Development

Service Employees’ International Union

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Read Next: Article 12: Health & Welfare Benefits

11.1 Staff Development and Training

11.1.1 Staff Development – Quality

Within available resources, the County will provide the maximum in quality staff development. County participation through expense reimbursement or approval of leave will only occur where there is a reasonable expectation that the employee’s work performance or value to the County will be enhanced as a result of the course of study.

11.1.2 Staff Development – Determination of Training Needs

The County and the Union agree that the County retains full authority to determine training needs, resources that can be made available, and the method of payment for training authorized by the County. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the right of an employee to request specific training.

11.1.3 Staff Development – Resources

Resources for staff development include Departmental In-service Training Funds, Continuing Education Leave and Departmental Travel Funds, employee-paid training expenses, and Staff Development Benefit Allowance.

11.1.4 Continuing Education – Courses

Employees in allocated positions are eligible for Continuing Education Courses. Those courses taken on County time must be directly related to an employee’s present position, or career advancement within the present department, and be approved by the employee’s appointing authority.

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11.1.5 Continuing Education – Leave

When a Continuing Education Course is offered during an employee’s normal work schedule, the employee may be authorized continuing education leave. Such leave authorization shall be subject to the approval of the employee’s appointing authority and must be directly related to the employee’s present position, or career advancement within the present department. Approval of one course in a series does not automatically constitute approval for the 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. This provision will be applied as consistently as possible and will not be unreasonably denied. Continuing Education leave shall be considered as time worked.

11.1.6 In-Service Training – Program

The County shall make every effort to provide a program of in- service training for employees in the bargaining unit 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 request by employees should be based on the following criteria:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

11.1.7 In-Service Training – Payment

There are three ways the expenses of the program might be paid.

By the County – Expenditures for travel, meals, lodging, registration and other items included annually within the department budget.

By other public or private agencies – occasionally, employees receive approval for their expenditures to be paid by grants from the State or Federal governments, from private organizations or from professional organizations.

By the individual employee – 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. In-service training time shall be considered as regular hours worked. When more than one employee within a department 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 above, the department head shall establish an attendance list based on the priority order of:

  1. Prior identified training needs.
  2. Prior attendance at similar courses.
  3. Seniority (continuous service) for purposes of this Subsection 11.1.7 seniority (continuous service) shall be defined as in-service hours from the date of appointment in the respective department.

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11.2 Staff Development and Wellness Benefit Allowance Program

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

Full-time and part-time (.40 FTE and above) employees in regular allocated positions are eligible for the Staff Development Benefit Allowance.

An eligible employee may request reimbursement for allowable expenses, upon approval of the appointing authority, and as defined in the County’s Staff Development Benefit Allowance Program Administrative Manual

11.2.1 Staff Development and Wellness Benefit Allowance – Amounts

As specified in the chart below, full-time and part-time eligible employees shall be entitled to the following annual benefit amounts:

Bargaining UnitFull Time
3/4 Time
Part Time
(0001, 0005, 0010,0025)
$500 $500 $250
Non-supervisory (0080) $600 $600 $300
Supervisory (0095) $650 $650 $325

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. Use of funds subject to approval and provisions of the Staff Development Administrative Manual and may be taxable pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code.

The Staff Development funds 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 the Program. The use and approval of all computer hardware and mobile devices is subject to review by the department head (or may be delegated to a senior manager only) 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 reimbursement for computer hardware and mobile devices must be outlined and approved in the employees’ annual Professional Development Plan or proposal and will be considered together with other staff development training and educational priorities required by the department head. Taxability of this benefit allowance is strictly administered under the provisions of the Internal Revenue code, as outlined in the County’s Staff Development Benefit Allowance Program Administrative Manual.

No employee shall work overtime by using the computer hardware or mobile device before or after regular scheduled work time or on non-work days unless the work is authorized as described in Section 7.14 of this MOU by the employee’s designated supervisor.

11.2.2 Wellness Benefits

The total annual maximum Staff Development Benefit Allowance allowed under Section 11.2.1 is available for wellness related taxable expenses, such as reimbursement of regular physical fitness program costs, weight reduction and smoking cessation programs (including patches).

An eligible employee may request reimbursement for allowable expenses, upon approval of the appointing authority, and as defined in the County’s Staff Development Benefit Allowance Program Administrative Manual.

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11.3 Review of Denied Reimbursements

Upon request, denied reimbursement requests made under Article 11.2 will be reviewed by the Director of Human Resources. Within thirty (30) days, the Director of Human Resources will determine whether denied reimbursements are reimbursable.

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