Departments

Leave for Employee's Own Health Condition


Sick Leave

What ​is it?

Sick leave is hours of paid leave that may be used by employees to receive pay while absent from work due to the employee’s health condition or in order to receive preventative care or a required consultation from a medical care provider. 

Who is Eligi​ble?

  • Nearly all County employees receive sick leave hours except elected officials and retirees who receive a SAMCERA pension and work in an Extra Help status. 

  • Employees can use sick leave for the diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventative care for, an employee (or an employee’s family member. See section on My Family Member’s Disability or Preventative Care)

  • Full time Regular, Extra Help-Limited Term, Provisional and Temporary employees accrue 3.7 hours of sick leave every pay period.  Such accrual is prorated for those employees that work less than full time during a pay period.  Extra Help Employees receive a specified amount of sick leave hours at the beginning of their employment and again at the beginning of each fiscal year. 

How Lon​g is the Leave?

It depends on the employee’s specific circumstances. Sick leave hours are not intended to provide extended leaves of absence. However, an extended leave of absence may qualify for another type of leave covered in this policy such as FMLA, CFRA, PDL or ADA/FEHA leave. While on such leave the employee may be eligible to use accrued sick leave in order to receive pay.

Is it pa​id?

Sick leave is paid so long as the employee has sufficient accrued sick leave hours available.  It is paid at the employee’s applicable rate of pay in accordance with the appropriate MOU provision or resolution. 

Ben​efits?

Employees using accrued paid sick leave continue to receive the same benefits as they would if they were working regular hours.

How Do I request Sick Leave?

Procedures for Requesting and Approving Sick Leave:

  • When the requirement for sick leave is known to the employee in advance of the absence, the employee shall request authorization for sick leave at such time. In all other instances the employee shall notify their supervisor as promptly as possible.  Employees shall provide notice in the manner set forth by their supervisor, manager or division/department policy or practice. 

  • The department may require a physician's statement from an employee who applies for sick leave or make whatever investigation into the circumstances that appears warranted before taking action on the request.


FMLA and CFRA: Leave for my Serious Health Condition

What is it?

​The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provide eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job protected leave for the employee’s own serious health condition.    (The serious health condition of a family member is covered in My Family Member’s Illness, Disability or Preventative Care.)

“Serious health condition” means an illness, injury (including, but not limited to, on-the-job injuries), impairment, or physical or mental condition of the employee (for employee’s family members see the Leave for My Family Member’s Illness, Disability or Preventative Care Policy) that involves either inpatient care or continuing treatment, including, but not limited to, treatment for substance abuse. A serious health condition may involve one or more of the following:

  • Hospital Care Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with or consequent to such inpatient care. A person is considered an “inpatient” when a heath care facility formally admits the person to the facility with the expectation that the person will remain at least overnight and occupy a bed, even if it later develops that such person can be discharged or transferred to another facility and does not actually remain overnight.
  • Absence Plus Treatment
    • (a) A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days (including any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition), that also involves:
      • (1) Treatment two or more times by a health care provider, by a nurse or physician's assistant under direct supervision of a health care provider, or by a provider of health care services (e.g., physical therapist) under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider; or
      • (2) Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.
  • Pregnancy: {covered in detail in the Pregnancy, Child Bonding and Parental Leave Policy}
  • Chronic Conditions Requiring Treatment A chronic condition which:
    • (1) Requires periodic visits for treatment by a health care provider, or by a nurse or physician's assistant under direct supervision of a health care provider;
    • (2) Continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a single underlying condition); and
    • (3) May cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.).
  • Permanent/Long-term Conditions Requiring Supervision A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The employee must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider. Examples include Alzheimer's, a severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease.
  • Multiple Treatments (Non-Chronic Conditions) Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by a health care provider or by a provider of health care services under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider, either for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury, or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment, such as cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.), severe arthritis (physical therapy), or kidney disease (dialysis).

Who i​s Eligible?

Employees with qualifying serious health conditions who:

  • Have been employed by the County for 12 months in the preceding 7 years (need not be continuous); AND
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the requested start of leave date; AND
  • Have documentation from a healthcare provider confirming the need for leave is due to the employee’s serious health condition. 

How Long is the Leave?

FMLA and CFRA provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave per year.  (For purposes of this calculation the County uses a calendar year.)  If the leave is taken intermittently, the hours used will be tracked and employees will have a maximum number of hours to use per year based on the average number of hours the employee works per week multiplied by 12 weeks.  FMLA and CFRA almost always run concurrently, with very limited exceptions. (Such as disability related to childbirth)

Is it paid?

If you wish to use any of these accrued paid hours during your leave, you must inform your supervisor as soon as possible and indicate the type of hours you would like to use and in what order.  If possible, you should inform your supervisor well in advance of your anticipated leave in case your need for leave comes sooner than expected.

Please note: Some employees have approved Voluntary Time Off (“VTO”).  VTO may be used during FMLA/CFRA leave.  However, if the employee goes into an unpaid status while receiving VTO, there are specific parameters that surround the use of VTO and reimbursement to the County for the VTO hours.  Employees should consult the County’s VTO web page and the employee’s VTO acknowledgment form in Workday.

However, employees may elect to use accrued sick leave, vacation, compensatory leave and/or floating holidays. 

FMLA and CFRA provide for unpaid leave.

Please be aware: If you choose not to use any form of accrued paid hours you will likely owe certain costs such as the employee’s share of health insurance benefits.

An employee on FMLA/CFRA for their own serious health condition leave might be eligible for certain forms of salary replacement, including but not limited to:

  • State Disability Insurance (“SDI”); or
  • Short Term Disability Insurance. 

PLEASE NOTE:   

  • SDI: The SDI program is funded through payroll deductions and administered by the State Employment Development Department (EDD). Most but not all, County employees are covered.
  • Some employees such as Extra Help Employees and members of DSA, OSS, and PDA do not participate in SDI. 

How do I know if I am covered?

You can check your paycheck in Workday to see if you are paying into CASDI.  The EDD requires that you have been paying into CASDI for a certain period of time in order to qualify for benefits.  You may have satisfied this requirement at a prior job if you have not satisfied the requirement while employed with the County.  Contact EDD with questions on this issue.

Additional information on SDI can be found at the following EDD links:

Union Provided Disability Insurance

Some County employees participate in a disability insurance program through their union.  Those employees should check with their union or disability insurance provider for more information.

What happens to my Benefits while I’m on leave?

While Using Accrued Paid Leave Hours

  • If the employee is receiving any pay through the use of accrued paid leave hours (such as sick leave, vacation or compensatory time), the Employee portion of Benefits will continue to be deducted from the employee’s bi-weekly pay in the same manner that it is deducted while the employee is working. 
  • The Employer portion of Benefits will continue to be paid by the County, which includes the employee’s health, dental, life, AD&D and vision insurance.

Not Using Accrued Paid Leave Hours

  • If the employee is not using accrued paid leave hours during an FMLA/CFRA Leave, the employee is entitled to continue to participate in the County’s group health insurance plans on the same basis as active employees. 
  • Therefore, if an employee wishes to continue the coverage, the County will continue to pay the Employer portion of the employee’s health, dental, life, AD&D and vision insurance as if the employee were still working.
  • However, since the County cannot deduct the employee’s portion from the employee’s pay, the County will send the employee a bill on a bi-weekly basis for their contribution.  Failure to provide timely payment will result in cancellation of the employee’s benefits.

How do I request FMLA/CFRA leave?

Employees should notify their supervisors or managers of the need for leave as soon as possible and request the leave in Workday.

An FMLA/CFRA covered leave of absence for a block of continuous time away from work can be requested in Workday.  To find out how to request a leave in Workday, visit the Leave of Absence Quick Reference Card (QRC) on the Workday Connect resource site.

Intermittent leaves of absence are not entered in Workday. The following two forms must be completed by the employee and submitted to their department for signature. The forms should then be forwarded to Risk Management for processing.

Although the County recognizes that emergencies arise which may require employees to request immediate leave, employees are required to give as much notice as practicable of their need for leave.  Where the need for leave is foreseeable, employees must provide at least 30-day notice. In addition, if an employee knows that employee will need leave in the future, but does not know the exact date(s) (e.g. a surgery tentatively scheduled for some time within a certain month depending on doctor availability), the employee must inform their supervisor as soon as possible that such leave is needed.  If the County determines that an employee’s notice is inadequate or the employee knew about the requested leave in advance of the request, the County may delay the granting of the leave until it can adequately cover the position. 

Employees must provide sufficient information and/or documentation to allow the County to determine if the leave qualifies for FMLA and/or CFRA protection, and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.  Sufficient information is generally provided by a certification from a healthcare provider.

A healthcare provider’s certification must include a:

  • A statement that the employee is unable to work at all or is unable to perform one or more of the essential job functions due to the employee’s serious health condition;
  • The date the serious health condition commenced (if known); and
  • The probable duration of the condition.

Employees who know of a need for leave but do not yet have a medical certification should still inform their supervisor or manager of the need and timing of the leave and provide the certification through Workday as soon as possible thereafter.

Reinstatement after leave?

At the end of leave, an employee is entitled to reinstatement to the position the employee held when they went out on leave, or to an equivalent position.  However, if an employee remains on leave beyond their entitlement under the FMLA/CFRA the employee forfeits the right to reinstatement.  In addition, employees have no greater rights to reinstatement, benefits and other conditions of employment than if the employee had been continuously employed during the FMLA/CFRA period. (e.g. no right to reinstatement if position was eliminated through layoff.) 

If an employee is ready to return from leave earlier than the original date set for return, the employee must notify the County as soon as possible and will be reinstated, where feasible, within two business days after receipt of notification.


Worker’s Compensation: Job-Related Illness or Injury Leave

If you have an injury or illness you believe may have been caused by your job, you may be entitled to leave and/or other benefits.  For more information see the County’s website at https://hr.smcgov.org/workers-compensation


Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation

What is it?

Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) the County is required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with qualifying disabilities that would allow them to continue to perform the essential functions of their job. 

Under FEHA and the ADA, leave can be a form of reasonable accommodation when appropriate and necessary. 

Who is eligible?

Employees with a qualifying disability may be eligible for leave as a reasonable accommodation.  The leave must be reasonable and likely to help the employee return to work.  In addition, if the County determines a different reasonable accommodation would allow the employee to return to work and perform the essential functions of the employee’s job, the County may deny the request for leave.

How long is the leave?

The law does not require a specific duration for such leaves and the reasonableness of the length of a leave will be determined on a case by case basis.  

Is it paid?

FEHA and the ADA provide for unpaid leave.

However, employees may elect to use accrued sick leave, vacation, compensatory leave and/or floating holidays. 

Please note: Some employees have approved Voluntary Time Off (“VTO”).  VTO may be used while on leave as a reasonable accommodation.  However, if the employee goes into an unpaid status while receiving VTO, there are specific parameters that surround the use of VTO and reimbursement to the County for the VTO hours.  Employees should consult the County’s VTO web page and the employee’s VTO acknowledgment form.

Employees on leave as a reasonable accommodation for their own health condition must use all accrued sick leave prior to going into an unpaid status.  (This requirement is inapplicable if the employee is also on leave pursuant the FMLA, CFRA or PDL)

  • If you run out of sick leave hours or wish to use vacation, holiday or compensatory time prior to the use of sick leave, you must inform your supervisor as soon as possible and indicate the type of hours you would like to use and in what order.  If possible, you should inform your supervisor well in advance of your anticipated leave in case your need for leave comes sooner than expected.
  • Please be aware: If you run out of sick leave hours and choose not to use any form of accrued paid hours you will likely owe certain costs such as the employee’s share of health insurance benefits.

An employee on leave pursuant to the ADA or FEHA might be eligible for certain forms of salary replacement, including but not limited to:

  • State Disability Insurance (“SDI”); or
  • Short Term Disability Insurance
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Social Security

PLEASE NOTE:

SDI: The SDI program is funded through payroll deductions and administered by the State Employment Development Department (EDD). Most but not all, County employees are covered.

Some employees such as Extra Help Employees and members of DSA, OSS, and PDA do not participate in SDI. 

How do I know if I am covered?

Union Provided Disability Insurance

  • Some County employees participate in a disability insurance program through their union.  Those employees should check with their union or disability insurance provider for more information.

What Happe​ns to My Benefits While I’m on Leave?

  • While Using Accrued Paid Leave Hours:
    • If the employee is receiving pay through the use of accrued paid leave balances, the County continues to cover its portion of the employee’s health, dental, life and vision insurance and the employee’s normal contributions will be taken from the employee’s pay as usual.
  • Not Using Accrued Paid Leave Hours
    • If the employee is not using accrued paid leave hours, there is no legal requirement for the County to continue paying its share of the insurance premiums.  However, such employees may be eligible to continue to participate in the County’s group health insurance plans on the same basis as active employees for two bi-weekly pay periods for each year of County service, or major fraction thereof, up to a maximum of 26 bi-weekly pay periods.  This period begins to run at the beginning of the employee’s leave, even if the employee is using accrued paid leave and/or is covered by the FMLA, CFRA or PDL.  If an employee wishes to continue the employee’s coverage, the County will continue to pay its portion of the employee’s health, dental, life and vision insurance during the appropriate pay periods as if the employee were still working.  However, since the County cannot deduct the employee’s required contribution from the employee’s pay, the County will send the employee a bill for the contribution

How do I request the l​eave?

  • To request leave as a reasonable accommodation, please contact the County’s ADA Coordinator, Alicia Kellie, at (650-363-4613).
  • This type of leave comes up most often when an employee does not qualify or has exceeded employee’s annual maximum of FMLA/CFRA

 

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