Chapter 3A.06
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Sections:

3A.06.010    Employee benefits -- eligibility.

3A.06.020    Holidays.

3A.06.030    Insurance and medical benefit plans.

3A.06.040    Sick Leave and disability leave.

3A.06.050    Vacation Leave

3A.06.060    Other leaves of absence.

3A.06.070    Return from leave of absence.

3A.06.080    Tuition reimbursement and education leave.

3A.06.010 Employee benefits -- eligibility.

Unless otherwise provided for in these rules, or by benefit plan documents, employees who receive a regular appointment and who are employed for 20 hours per week or more are eligible for the full range of employee benefits. Part-time employees who receive a regular appointment and work less than 20 hours per week are eligible for military leave and for accrual and use of sick leave and vacation leave in accordance with the provisions of this chapter but shall not be entitled to any other benefits provided for by this chapter. Temporary appointment employees are not entitled to benefits under this chapter except for military leave, as provided in RCW 38.40.060. The county’s contribution toward the monthly medical insurance premium for an employee in a regular part-time appointment will be pro-rated in an amount equal to the F.T.E. percentage the employee is assigned.

(Added Ord. 84-129, § 2, Nov. 21, 1984; Amended Ord. 89-056, § 1, June 28, 1989; Ord. 08-110, Oct. 15, 2008, Eff date Oct. 28, 2008; Amended by Ord. 10-115, Jan. 12, 2011, Eff date Jan. 23, 2011).

3A.06.020 Holidays.

A paid legal holiday is any day other than Sunday designated by RCW 1.16.050 as a legal holiday as that statute is constituted on the date of the occurrence of a holiday. An employee who is employed in a regular position of twenty hours per week or more is eligible for paid status on holidays. A maximum of eight hours pay will be paid for each holiday, provided that an employee who is on a work schedule of four 10-hour days mandated by the department head will be entitled to ten hours pay for holidays listed below. If the employee is entitled to no more than eight hours of holiday pay, but works four 10-hour days, the employee may use up to two hours of accrued leave through any combination of compensatory time, vacation leave, or may request pre-authorized additional work, or may take leave without pay. An employee in a regular part-time appointment shall receive holiday pay on a pro-rata basis. The following days are currently recognized as holidays with pay for all eligible employees:

New Year’s Day

First day of January

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Third Monday of January

Presidents’ Day

Third Monday of February

Memorial Day

Last Monday of May

Independence Day

Fourth day of July

Labor Day

First Monday of September

Veterans’ Day

Eleventh day of November

Thanksgiving Day

Fourth Thursday of November

Day after Thanksgiving

Day immediately following Thanksgiving Day

Christmas Day

Twenty-fifth day of December

(1) Floating Holidays. In addition to those holidays specified in this section, employees shall receive two floating holidays (maximum of eight hours each) during each calendar year. An employee who is on a work schedule of four 10-hour days mandated by the department head is entitled to a maximum of ten hours pay for each floating holiday. An employee in a regular part-time appointment shall receive floating holidays on a pro-rata basis. Each employee may select the dates on which the employee desires to take the additional holidays provided for herein subject to approval of the supervisor except that an employee may, with prior notice, take one holiday for a personal emergency. These two floating holidays shall be used in the calendar year earned and are noncumulative and noncompensable upon termination. New employees shall be eligible for floating holidays only upon completion of sixty calendar days of continuous employment. Employees hired after June 30 shall be eligible for one floating holiday during that calendar year.

(2) Holidays Falling on Saturday, Sunday or other Regularly Scheduled Days Off. Any recognized holiday that falls on a Saturday will be observed on the preceding Friday. Any holiday that falls on a Sunday will be observed on the following Monday. If a holiday falls on one of the employee’s regularly scheduled days off, other than Saturday or Sunday, the employee may take an alternative day off by arrangement between the employee and employer.

(3) Holidays Occurring While on Paid Leave Status. Holidays that occur during vacation leave, sick leave or while on other paid leave status shall not be charged against such leave.

(4) Work on Holidays. All work on holidays will be paid at one and one-half times the regular straight-time rate of pay for all hours worked in addition to the employee’s regular holiday pay in accordance with this section. Compensatory time off in lieu of straight-time pay may be granted upon supervisor approval and shall be scheduled when the work load permits. All work on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day will be paid at two times the employee’s regular straight-time rate of pay, and shall be in addition to the employee’s regular holiday pay.

(5) Forfeiture of Holiday Pay. An employee will forfeit his or her right to payment for any recognized holiday if he or she is on leave without pay or on leave that has not been approved on the last regular working day preceding such holiday or on the next regular working day following such holiday. An employee who is on sick leave on the day before or on the day after a holiday will receive holiday pay if approved by the department head, who may require a physician’s statement that verifies employee’s need for leave. An employee shall not be eligible for holiday pay when receiving "time loss" payments under the provisions of the Industrial Insurance Act, Title 51 RCW. However, if an employee supplements "time loss" benefits, holidays will accrue and be paid at the same rate of supplementation. This subsection shall not require forfeiture of payment for any holiday in calendar year 2009 or 2010 that would otherwise result solely from a furlough as described in Section 9(a)(1) of Amended Ordinance No. 08-119, Section 5 of Amended Ordinance No. 09-113 or SCC 3.68.060.

(Added Ord. 84-129, § 2, Nov. 21, 1984; Amended Emergency Ord. 92-151, Nov. 25, 1992; Amended Ord. 98-025, § 1, May 13, 1998, Eff May 13, 1998; Amended by Amended Ord. 08-162, Dec. 17, 2008, Eff date Jan. 15, 2009; Amended by Amended Ord. 09-147, Dec. 16, 2009, Eff date Dec. 31, 2009; Amended by Ord. 10-115, Jan. 12, 2010, Eff date Jan. 23, 2011).

3A.06.030 Insurance and medical benefit plans.

Regular employees may participate in insurance and medical benefit programs offered by the county provided that they meet the eligibility requirements specified in these rules and in the contracts with the companies providing these programs. The human resources department will provide applications and information concerning these programs to all eligible employees and will arrange for payroll deductions to cover the employee’s premiums, where applicable.

(Added Ord. 84-129, § 2, Nov. 21, 1984; Amended by Ord. 10-115, Jan. 12, 2011, Eff date Jan. 23, 2011).

3A.06.040 Sick Leave and disability leave.

Sick leave is provided to employees as a protection against loss of income due to absence from work for medical reasons, including extended absence on account of illness or injury. Its use is restricted to health-related absences and employees are encouraged to accumulate sick leave to carry them through unforeseen and lengthy illness.

(1) Sick Leave Accrual. An eligible full-time (1.0 FTE) employee as set out in SCC 3A.06.010 will accrue sick leave at the rate of one working day (eight- hour maximum) for each full calendar month of employment. An employee who is on regular pay status for less than a full calendar month and an employee whose regular pay status is less than full-time (40 hours per week) will accrue sick leave proportionately to the number of hours he or she is on regular pay status. Sick leave will be available for use only after it has been earned and credited to an employee’s sick leave account. An employee who is covered by the disability leave provisions of the LEOFF I system shall not be eligible for sick leave accrual. There is no limitation on the amount of sick leave an employee may accrue. In calendar year 2010 a furlough day as described in Section 5 of Amended Ordinance No. 09-113 or SCC 3.68.060 shall constitute a day of regular pay status for purposes on this section.

(2) Sick Leave Authorization. Accrued sick leave may be taken under the following circumstances:

(a) Personal illness, injury, or pregnancy which renders the employee unable to perform the duties of the employee’s position.

(b) Enforced quarantine in accordance with health regulations.

(c) A family member’s illness or injury that necessitates care-giving by the employee, to the extent provided by state and federal law. An employee may use the employee’s choice of sick leave and/or other paid time off. An employee may be required to obtain a physician’s verification of the qualifying basis upon which the employee relies in requesting the time off from work.

(d) Medical and dental appointments.

(e) Both male and female employees may take up to five days of sick leave during and immediately following the birth or adoption of their infant child. In addition, a female employee may take sick leave for periods of temporary disability related to child birth when a request for such leave is accompanied by a written physician’s statement in accordance with the medical leave and disability leave provisions of this title. Leave taken under this provision will run concurrently with certain other leaves to which the employee is entitled by law or under these rules.

(3) Sick Leave Administration. An employee must notify the employee’s supervisor, or his or her designee, before the start of the shift if the employee is unable to report to work for reasons set forth herein. If the supervisor, or his or her designee, is not available, the employee must leave a message. The employee will be excused from making the notification if extenuating circumstances prevent the opportunity to notify, in which event notification shall be made as soon as possible. Failure to report within a reasonable time may result in the denial of sick leave benefits.

(4) Sick Leave Limitations. An employee whose attendance record is unsatisfactory and whose record has not improved after counseling may be notified that further absences from work may require a written statement from a medical care provider verifying that a condition exists which affects the employee’s ability to perform his or her job duties. For sick leave that exceeds three working days, the employee may be required upon returning to work to submit a written physician’s statement explaining the nature of the illness or disability and assessing the employee’s fitness to return to work. Failure to provide such a statement upon request of the employing official may result in the denial of sick leave benefits and/or other disciplinary action. Consistent with state and federal law, the county may require an employee to be examined by a physician of the county’s choice. The county will bear the cost of any such examination.

(5) Sick Leave Accounting and Monitoring. Each department head will maintain a record of each employee’s accrual and use of sick leave.

(6) Sick Leave Transfers. An employee changing from a position in one department or office to one in another department or office retains all accrued sick leave.

(7) Sick Leave Benefits at Termination.

(a) Base Cash Payment Upon Termination or Death. Upon termination from county employment, an employee will be paid a lump-sum payment from accrued sick leave reserves in the sick leave account up to the maximum amount specified in the following schedule:

Length of Classified Service

Maximum Number of Days Paid

Maximum Number of Hours Paid

Date of employment to end of 5th year

0

0

Beginning of 6th year to end of 10th year

5

40

Beginning of 11th year to end of 15th year

10

80

Beginning of 16th year to end of 20th year

15

120

Beginning of 21st year and thereafter

24

192

Upon the death of any employee in regular pay status, his or her estate will be paid for accrued sick leave in accordance with the above schedule.

(b) Additional Cash Payment Upon Termination. Upon termination, employees with twenty or more years of service or who are sixty-five years of age or older will be paid a lump-sum payment of one day of pay for each ten days of accrued sick leave remaining in the sick leave account after the base cash payment made pursuant to paragraph (7)(a) of this section. This payment will be made at the employee’s then current pay rate.

(c) Upon termination from the classified service for the purpose of receiving LEOFF II or PERS retirement benefits, a classified employee may exchange unused accrued sick leave for retiree medical coverage subject to the following provisions:

(i) Leave to be exchanged shall be only that leave which remains after the classified employee has been compensated in accordance with (7)(a) and (b), if applicable, of this section. Leave may be exchanged on the basis of 100 hours of exchanged leave shall equal one month of paid medical coverage for a retiree or retiree and spouse in the county’s retiree medical program.

(ii) Leave may be exchanged only in 100-hour increments, to a maximum of 1,200 hours.

(iii) Leave which is not used, exchanged or compensated for prior to or upon termination shall be forfeited.

(iv) Upon the death of a retiree, a surviving spouse who has been enrolled in the retiree medical plan may remain on the plan until paid medical coverage in (ii) above has been exhausted.

(8) Industrial Injuries.

(a) When an employee is injured on the job and seeks immediate medical treatment, the employee will be paid for the balance of the work day, which will not be charged to the employee’s accrued sick leave or accrued vacation leave.

(b) Scheduled workdays falling within the first three calendar days following the day of an industrial injury are compensable through accrued sick leave, provided however, if the period of disability extends beyond fourteen calendar days, then sick leave taken will be reimbursed by worker’s compensation on a pro-rata basis. Upon the employee’s written request, sick leave pay may be used to supplement industrial insurance benefits in an amount equal to the difference between the compensation to which the employee is entitled under the Industrial Insurance Act and the employee’s regular county net pay, not to exceed the amount of the employee’s accrued sick leave. Any accrued vacation or compensatory time may be used in a like manner after accrued sick leave is exhausted.

(c) An employee who is temporarily disabled and is being compensated through industrial insurance is entitled to continuation of his or her usual health and life insurance benefits, but the employee will be required to self-pay the employee’s portion of the premium contribution. However, sick leave and vacation shall accrue only for hours in county pay status. An employee receiving industrial insurance may also be eligible for benefits under long-term disability insurance. An employee must submit a completed return-to-work authorization form to the employee’s supervisor and obtain approval before resuming any duties.

(9) Disability Leave.

(a) Disability leave will be granted when an employee is temporarily disabled and unable to perform the essential duties of his or her position as verified by the required medical documentation. Disability leave may be granted for up to twenty-six weeks within any two-year period for disabilities that do not stem from an industrial injury or occupational disease. Disability leave may be granted for up to fifty-two weeks for disabilities caused by an industrial injury or occupational disease. All leave stemming from periods of disability shall be considered in calculating the allowable leave regardless of whether the leave is intermittent or taken over a continuous period from the beginning of such leave. For a medical condition that is not an industrial injury or occupational disease, an employee is required to exhaust accrued sick leave, compensatory time and vacation leave before applying for or being granted leave without pay. An employee is responsible for paying medical, dental, vision, life, and other appropriate premiums while on disability leave without pay. An employee may also be eligible for long-term disability insurance.

(b) Unless otherwise required by state or federal law, when an employee is unable to return to work in the employee’s position after exhausting the disability leave provided under the previous paragraph, the county may either hold the position for a reasonable time if the position can be kept vacant or filled on a temporary basis or lay off the employee and place him or her on a reemployment list for the class of the position or for a class that is appropriate to the employee’s medical condition. If it is determined that the employee will not be able to return to work in any capacity, the county may terminate the employee after a pre-determination hearing, if applicable.

(c) An employee must submit a completed return-to-work authorization form to the employee’s supervisor and obtain approval before resuming any duties.

(10) Medical and Family-Related Leave. Medical and family-related leaves of absence will be granted in accordance with federal and state laws, and these rules. The county reserves the right to require medical documentation to verify the need for leave. Upon request, an employee may be granted a leave of absence without pay and maintain up to a total of forty hours of paid leave accruals in any designated combination of sick leave, vacation leave, compensatory time and floating holidays. Failure to make such a request will result in the required exhaustion of all leave accruals before taking leave without pay. Requests for leave covered by state and federal family and medical leave laws should be submitted to the employee’s immediate supervisor at least thirty days before the date leave is expected to commence, except in cases of unexpected events.

(Added Ord. 84-129, § 2, November 21, 1984; Amended Ord. 88-048, June 22, 1988; Amended Ord. 92-131, Dec. 2, 1992; Amended Ord. 97-100, § 1, Dec. 3, 1997, Eff date Dec. 15, 1997; Amended by Amended Ord. 08-162, Dec. 17, 2008, Eff date Jan. 15, 2009; Amended by Amended Ord. 09-147, Dec. 16, 2009, Eff date Dec. 31, 2009; Amended by Ord. 10-115, Jan. 12, 2011, Eff date Jan. 23, 2011).

3A.06.050 Vacation Leave

An eligible employee as set out in SCC 3A.06.010 will accrue vacation leave based on the number of hours actually worked or while on paid leave status in accordance with the schedule shown below. Vacation leave will not accrue during periods of leave without pay nor for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. In calendar year 2009 or 2010 a furlough day as described in Section 9(a)(1) of Amended Ordinance No. 08-119, Section 5 of Amended Ordinance No. 09-113 or SCC 3.68.060 shall constitute a day of regular pay status for purposes of this section.

(1) Vacation Leave Accrual. During each year of employment an eligible employee will accrue vacation leave up to and including the maximum amount shown in the schedule below. A regular full-time employee will accrue vacation leave at the rates shown in the schedule below. An employee who is on regular pay status for less than a full calendar month and an employee whose regular pay status is less than full-time (40 hours per week) will accrue vacation leave proportionately to the number of hours the employee is on regular pay status. Vacation leave accrual will be based upon the employee’s total time of continuous active employment with the county. Vacation leave accrued may not be used until it has been earned and credited to the employee’s vacation leave account.

Length of Continuous Service (Years)

Monthly Accrual (hours)

Annual Accrual (hours)

Date of employment to end of 1st year

6.7072

80.49

Beginning of 2nd year to end of 2nd year

8.0347

96.42

Beginning of 3rd year to end of 5th year

10.0433

120.52

Beginning of 6th year to end of 9th year

12.0520

144.62

Beginning of 10th year to end of 11th year

14.0607

168.73

Beginning of 12th year to end of 13th year

14.7244

176.69

Beginning of 14th year to end of 15th year

15.4056

184.87

Beginning of 16th year to end of 17th year

16.0693

192.83

Beginning of 18th year to end of 24th year

16.7331

200.80

Beginning of 25th year and thereafter

18.7417

224.90

(2) Vacation Leave - Maximum Accrual. Vacation leave shall not be permitted to accrue in excess of 240 hours by December 31 of any year.

(3) Vacation Leave -- Cash Payment upon Termination. Upon termination from county employment, an employee shall be paid a lump sum payment for all accrued vacation leave up to a maximum of 240 hours; PROVIDED, That such payment continues to be allowed under state law. Accrued vacation leave in excess of 240 hours shall be forfeited.

(4) Vacation Leave Administration. All requests to use vacation leave accruals must be pre-approved by the supervisor. Requests must be submitted to the county in advance to allow adequate time to arrange for workload coverage. The supervisor shall approve or deny the request in writing, within fifteen days of receipt of the request.

(Added Ord. 84-129, § 2, Nov. 21, 1984; Amended Ord. 85-044, § 1, May 22, 1985; Amended Ord. 90-012, March 14, 1990; Amended Emergency Ord. 92-151, Nov. 25, 1992; Amended Ord. 97-014, § 1, April 23, 1997, Eff date May 8, 1997; Amended Ord. 97-099, § 1, Dec. 3, 1997, Eff date Dec. 15, 1997; Amended by Amended Ord. 08-162, Dec. 17, 2008, Eff date Jan. 15, 2009; Amended by Amended Ord. 09-147, Dec. 16, 2009, Eff date Dec. 31, 2009; Amended by Ord. 10-115, Jan. 12, 2011, Eff date Jan. 23, 2011).

3A.06.060 Other leaves of absence.

The county shall provide additional leaves of absence to employees under such circumstances as are specified in this section.

(1) Bereavement Leave. Upon request, an employing official shall grant an eligible employee bereavement leave with pay in the event of a death in the immediate family of the employee. The maximum leave shall be three working days unless the death occurs at a distance of 300 miles or more from the employee’s home, in which case up to four additional working days may be granted to attend the funeral and to make necessary arrangements. If the employee is the personal representative or the trustee of the deceased, the employing official shall grant an additional three days of bereavement leave and the employee may also, upon request to the supervisor, use two days of sick leave. In this section, the term "immediate family" shall include:

(a) Spouse of the employee, children of the employee and children of the spouse;

(b) Mother, father, brother, sister, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepmother, stepfather, stepbrother, and stepsister of the employee or spouse;

(c) Grandparents and grandchildren of the employee or spouse; and

(d) Any relative living in the immediate household of the employee.

In relationships other than those set forth above, or in cases in which an employee is responsible for making funeral arrangements, bereavement leave may be granted by the employing official upon request.

(2) Jury Duty and Court Service. An eligible employee will be granted leave with pay while required to perform jury duty or when required to appear in court on any matter in which the employee is not a party.

(a) The employee will receive the employee’s normal daily earnings for jury duty and court service; however, the employee must submit to the payroll section the employee’s jury duty warrant or witness fee for the time served.

(b) An employee shall report for work during all hours the employee is released from jury duty or court service. If less than one hour remains from the time of such release to the end of the employee’s regular shift, the employee shall call the employee’s supervisor for instructions.

(c) An employee who works on swing or graveyard shift will be transferred to day shift for the period of jury duty or court service. An employee shall notify his or her supervisor within two working days of receipt of a notice of jury duty or court service.

(3) Military Leave.

(a) Any employee who is a member of the Washington national guard or organized military reserve or armed forces of the United States shall be granted a military leave of absence from employment in accordance with RCW 38.40.060.

(b) Any employee who vacates a position of employment for service in the uniformed services shall be reemployed to the extent required by RCW 73.16.033 - .035 or any other provision of state or federal law.

(4) Leave Without Pay. An employee may request leave without pay by submitting a written request to the employing official. Each request for such leave shall be considered in light of the circumstances involved and the needs of the organization. Such leave shall be for a defined period of time, not to exceed six months. Any leave without pay beyond six months duration must have the county executive’s approval for good cause shown. All leaves of absence without pay shall be reported to the human resources department in the manner prescribed by the director and may cause the employee’s seniority and anniversary dates to be adjusted.

(5) Civil Duty. Any employee who is elected or appointed to a political or legislative position which is compatible with the employee’s county employment may be granted leave without pay to perform his or her civil duty or may utilize accrued vacation leave and compensatory time if approved by the employee’s supervisor.

(Added Ord. 84-129, § 2, Nov. 21, 1984;Ord. 08-110, Oct. 15, 2008, Eff date Oct. 28, 2008; Amended by Ord. 10-032, June 23, 2010, Eff Date July 10, 2010; Amended by Ord. 10-115, Jan. 12, 2011, Eff date Jan. 23, 2011).

3A.06.070 Return from leave of absence.

At the expiration of any authorized leave of absence, including vacation leave, the employee shall be returned to his/her last held position unless other conditions were stipulated in writing by the employing official upon granting the leave or unless otherwise stipulated in these rules. Any employee who fails to return to work within three working days after the expiration of such leave shall be considered to have resigned unless the employee, prior to the expiration of such leave, has requested and been granted an extension of leave.

(Added Ord. 84-129, § 2, Nov. 21, 1984).

3A.06.080 Tuition reimbursement and education leave.

An employee may be granted a leave of absence with pay to attend conferences, seminars or other education or training programs when such events or programs are intended to improve or upgrade the employee’s job related knowledge, skills or abilities. If it is found to be in the best interests of the county, reimbursement to an employee of the cost of tuition for such event or program may be allowed subject to the availability of funds and the prior approval of the department head in accordance with appropriate reimbursement procedures. Any employee who desires to attend a conference, seminar or other function, or who desires to enroll in an accredited educational institution, shall apply to the department head at least 10 working days in advance of the proposed enrollment and shall submit a course description. If approved, reimbursement for the cost of tuition at an accredited educational institution shall be contingent upon satisfactory completion of the course (i.e., a grade of "C" or better or the equivalent thereof). An employee, who is granted tuition reimbursement and then voluntarily terminates county employment, shall be required to repay any reimbursement which is received during the last six months of his/her employment. If the employee is required to attend such training by the county, he/she shall be reimbursed for allowable and documented expenses incurred incident to such training.

(Added Ord. 84-129, § 2, Nov. 21, 1984).