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Human Resources Department

Service Employees’ International Union - Local 1021 (SEIU)

2023 - 2026 SEIU 1021 Memorandum of Understanding:   Article 11: Staff Development

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 the Staff Development and Wellness 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 Staff Development and Wellness Benefit Allowance Program.

Full-time and part-time (.40 FTE and above) employees in regular allocated positions are eligible for the Staff Development and Wellness Benefit Allowance and may request reimbursement for allowable expenses as defined in the Program Administrative Manual.

All policies governing the program including any categories of items and services eligible for the Staff Development and Wellness Benefit Reimbursement Program will be documented in a manual and posted on a County website available to employees.

The County shall provide the Union a minimum of 30 days’ notice prior to any change to the Staff Development and Wellness Benefit Allowance Program.

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 Unit Full 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. The Staff Development funds may be used towards reimbursement for the purchase of computer hardware and mobile devices as defined in the Staff Development and Wellness Reimbursement Program Administrative Manual.

Unused funds may not be carried over into the next fiscal year. Use of funds are subject to the Staff Development and Wellness Reimbursement Program Administrative Manual and may be taxable pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code.

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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11.4 Training – Extra Help

Extra Help Employees are eligible to attend training classes with advanced approval from the County. If the class is scheduled on a day and time when the employee is scheduled to work, attendance at the class will be considered work time. If the employee is not scheduled to work during the time the class is scheduled, attendance at optional classes will be on the employees own time. Mandatory training will be considered work time.

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11.5 Sunset of Staff Development and Wellness Benefit Allowance Program

Effective 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2025, sections 11.2, 11.2.1, 11.2.2, and 11.3 shall sunset.

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