Chapter 3.52


3.52.010    Working Conditions.

3.52.020    Conflict of Interest.

3.52.030    Work Week.

3.52.033    Pay Deductions.

3.52.040    Legal Holidays and Furlough.

3.52.050    Compensatory Time – Overtime.

3.52.060    Benefits Reinstatement for Rehired Employees.

3.52.070    Inclement Weather or Conditions.

3.52.080    Weapons Policy.

3.52.085    Employee Incentive and Recognition.

3.52.010 Working Conditions.

All employees shall hold their positions subject to the conditions stated in this Title and the Administrative Guidelines promulgated hereunder. Nothing contained in this Title and Administrative Guidelines shall prevent, relieve, or otherwise excuse any employee from the performance of any duty imposed by any law of the State of Washington and/or ordinance of Pierce County or from rendering of services at such times and places as are necessary in order to properly perform the functions of their office or employment. (Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993; Ord. 82-56 § 2 (part), 1982; prior Code § 6.35.010)

3.52.020 Conflict of Interest.

A.    No employee may engage in any occupation or outside activity which is incompatible with the proper discharge of official County duties or which may impair independence of judgment or action in the performance of such official duties.

B.    A conflict of interest shall be deemed to exist when any employee has the authority or practical power to directly supervise, appoint, remove, discipline, or is responsible for auditing the work of or where other circumstances exist which would reasonably place the employee and an individual he/she supervises in a situation of actual or potential conflict. A conflict is presumed to exist if an employee supervises one of the following relatives: mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, stepbrother, stepsister, stepson, stepdaughter, stepmother and stepfather, domestic partner or a like relative of the domestic partner.

C.    The existence of a conflict of interest shall preclude the continued employment of one of the parties when such conflict is created after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this Title. When it is necessary to terminate or transfer an employee because of a conflict, the persons involved shall be given the opportunity to determine who shall have or retain employment. In the event the persons involved cannot agree, the decision shall be made by the Appointing Authority.

(Ord. 2016-84 § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2007-108 § 2 (part), 2007; Ord. 98-123 § 1 (part), 1998; Ord. 82-56 § 2 (part), 1982; prior Code § 6.35.020)

3.52.030 Work Week.

A.    Except as otherwise determined by department directors, the normal work week shall consist of five consecutive working days for all full-time employees. Except as otherwise designated by the Human Resources Director, the standard work week shall be the 7-day period beginning at 12:01 a.m. on a Monday and ending at 12:00 (midnight) on a Sunday.

B.    It shall be the duty of each department director to arrange the work of that particular department so each full-time employee therein shall work not more than five days of each week; however, a department director may require any employee in such department to perform service in excess of five days per week when public necessity or convenience so requires. All department directors are authorized and empowered to stagger, rearrange and adjust the hours of employment of the various employees in such a manner as to enable them to keep their offices open at all times required. Department directors are responsible for maintaining accurate attendance records for their employees.

(Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 82-56 § 2 (part), 1982; prior Code § 6.35.040)

3.52.033 Pay Deductions.

A.    It is the County's policy for all employees whether or not they are members of the Career Service that no improper deductions shall be made from an employee's pay. In the event an improper deduction is made from an employee's paycheck, the employee shall immediately bring the error to the attention of the timekeeper. If the discrepancy is not resolved by the timekeeper, the employee shall submit a written request for review to the Human Resources Department.

B.    When the County determines that an employee was overpaid wages, the employee will be served a written notice of the amount of the overpayment, the basis for the claim, a demand for payment within 20 calendar days of the date on which the employee received the notice, and the rights of the employee under this Section.

1.    The notice may be delivered to the employee in person or be mailed to the employee at his or her last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested.

C.    Within 20 calendar days after receiving the notice that an overpayment has occurred, the employee may request, in writing, to the Human Resources Department that the County review its finding that an overpayment has occurred. The employee may choose to have the review conducted through written submission of information challenging the overpayment or through a face-to-face meeting with the employer. If the request is not made within the 20-day period as provided in this subsection, the employee may not further challenge the determination of overpayment and has no right to further agency review, an adjudicative proceeding, or judicial review.

D.    Upon receipt of an employee's written request for review of the overpayment, the County shall review the employee's challenge to the overpayment. Upon completion of the review, the employer shall notify the employee in writing of the employer's decision regarding the employee's challenge. The notification must be mailed to the employee at his or her last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested.

E.    If the employee is dissatisfied with the employer's decision regarding the employee's challenge to the overpayment, the employee may request an adjudicative proceeding to the Pierce County Personnel Board, pursuant to Chapter 3.48 PCC and Section 3.48.020 (Step 4) of the Administrative Guidelines.

1.    The employee's application for an adjudicative proceeding must be in writing, state the basis for contesting the overpayment notice, and include a copy of the employer's notice of overpayment. The application must be served on and received by the Human Resources Department within 28 calendar days of the employee's receipt of the employer's decision following review of the employee's challenge. The employee must serve the Human Resources Department by certified mail, return receipt requested.

2.    For represented employees, any dispute relating to the occurrence or amount of the overpayment shall be resolved using the procedures contained in the collective bargaining agreement or this procedure, but not both.

F.    If the employee does not request an adjudicative proceeding within the 28-day period, the amount of overpayment provided in the notice shall be deemed final and the County may proceed to recoup the overpayment from the employee's regular paycheck or by other collection action.

G.    Where an adjudicative proceeding has been requested, the Personnel Board shall determine the amount, if any, of the overpayment received by the employee.

H.    If the employee fails to attend or participate in the adjudicative proceeding, upon a showing of valid service, the presiding or reviewing officer may enter an administrative order declaring the amount claimed in the notice sent to the employee after the employer's review of the employee's challenge to the overpayment to be assessed against the employee by a payroll deduction and subject to collection action by the County.

I.    Failure to make an application for a review by the County as provided in subsections C. and D. of this Section or any adjudicative proceeding within 28 calendar days of the date of receiving notice of the employer's decision after review of the overpayment shall result in the establishment of a final debt against the employee in the amount asserted by the County, which shall be collected as a payroll deduction or by other collection action.

(Ord. 2011-28 § 1 (part), 2011; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008)

3.52.040 Legal Holidays and Furlough.

A.    Regular full-time, regular part-time employees and employees occupying limited duration positions will be granted legal holidays off with pay as set forth below, unless otherwise provided by collective bargaining agreements, provided the employee is in a paid wage status of at least 70 percent of their normally scheduled hours, on the normal workday preceding and following such holiday. Regular part-time employees and employees occupying limited duration positions, regularly scheduled to work an amount equal to or greater than 40 percent of the regular work schedule of the department per month, shall be eligible for a pro-rata portion of holiday pay based on their standard weekly hours worked during the cycle in which the holiday occurs, provided they worked at least 70 percent of their standard work hours. The number of hours compensated as holidays off with pay and the pro-rata portion for regular part-time employees and employees occupying limited duration positions shall be calculated by dividing the employee's standard weekly hours by five.

1.    If a legal holiday occurs on a non-exempt employee's regularly scheduled day off, the employee shall receive an alternative day off with pay which shall be scheduled with the department director and should be taken within the first 30 days following the holiday. Holidays occurring during a period of vacation or sick leave shall be paid as they occur and the employee shall not be charged with vacation or sick leave for the holiday.

2.    If a non-exempt employee is required to work on a legal holiday which falls on the employee's regularly scheduled workday, one of the following shall occur:

a.    The employee shall be compensated for the holiday at the straight-time rate and shall be compensated at time and one-half for hours worked; or

b.    The employee shall be compensated for hours worked on the holiday at the straight-time rate and shall take an alternative day off within the calendar year.

3.    Furlough. Employees who are required to work in a facility or department that operates on a 24/7 basis:

a.    With the approval of the Human Resources Director, employees may be designated by the County to receive furlough days in lieu of holidays. Such furlough days will be scheduled and taken within the calendar year.

b.    Designated furlough days shall be available for use on January 1 and must be scheduled, using the same procedure as used for scheduling vacation, within the calendar year, unless extended by the Human Resources Director. Before the occurrence of any holidays for which a furlough day was accrued and used, the employee shall be required to reimburse the County for the value of the unearned day(s).

c.    Employees assigned to receive furlough days in lieu of holidays will receive one and one-half times the straight hourly rate of pay when they are required to work on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. This shall mean the actual holiday, not the day the County observes as the holiday for pay purposes.

d.    Employees hired or terminated during the calendar year shall be entitled to furlough days or must reimburse the employer for used furlough days based upon the holidays remaining when they are hired or terminated. Unused furlough days will be lost and will not be compensated if the employee terminates or transfers to another department.

e.    Employees shall not begin a leave of absence (with or without pay) with a negative furlough balance. Employees will be required to reimburse the employer for all negative furlough balances prior to going on a leave of absence.

B.    Legal holidays include: New Year's Day, January 1st; Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 3rd Monday in January; President's Day, 3rd Monday in February; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, July 4; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Veterans' Day, November 11; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; the day after Thanksgiving Day; and Christmas Day, December 25.

C.    Paid Personal Holiday.

1.    Regular full-time, regular part-time employees, and employees occupying limited duration positions, shall also receive two additional paid "personal" holidays. Each paid personal holiday shall accrue on January 1 of each year and must be taken during the calendar year in which it was accrued or the day will lapse except when an employee has requested and been approved use of the personal holiday and the approval is later canceled by the County. In such instances, with the recommendation of the Appointing Authority, the Human Resources Director may authorize the personal holiday to be used within the month of January during the following calendar year. A personal holiday carried forward in such manner may not be compensated in any form upon the separation of employment. Personal holidays may be taken in less than full day increments in accordance with County timekeeping standards.

2.    Regular full-time, regular part-time employees, and employees occupying limited duration positions, hired on January 1 or the first work day following January 1 shall accrue and be eligible to use the paid personal holidays during that year. Employees hired after the first work day of the year shall not be eligible to accrue or use paid personal holidays during that year.

3.    Employees eligible to use a paid personal holiday must request and receive approval by the appropriate supervisor to utilize the personal holidays. Once the personal holiday has been accrued, it may be used without regard to the requirement for paid status on the day before and after usage since paid status before and after was required for the holiday to be accrued.

4.    Employees, except new employees beginning work on January 1 or the first workday following January 1, must have been in a paid wage status of at least 70 percent on the workday immediately preceding and immediately following January 1 in order to accrue the holidays. Effective January 1, 1999, employees not in a paid wage status who are receiving time-loss payments under the County's Workers' Compensation program shall also accrue the paid personal holidays.

D.    No holidays including personal holidays falling or accruing during unpaid leaves shall be compensated.

(Ord. 2016-84 § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2010-14 § 1 (part), 2010; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 98-123 § 1 (part), 1998; Ord. 97-1 § 2, 1997; Ord. 94-117 § 1, 1994; Ord. 93-11 § 1, 1993; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993; Ord. 83-5 § 4, 1983; Ord. 82-56 § 2 (part), 1982; prior Code § 6.35.070)

3.52.050 Compensatory Time – Overtime.

Unless otherwise set forth and agreed upon in a current collective bargaining agreement, it shall be the policy of the County to allow department directors to authorize for all employees not exempted by State law Chapter 49.46 RCW as further defined in the Administrative Guidelines or exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, to receive either:

A.    Time and a half pay or compensatory time for hours worked in excess of 40 hours compensated per week; and

B.    Compensatory time for hours worked in excess of their regular work week at the rate of one hour off for each hour of overtime worked up to and including 40 hours per week; or

C.    Regular pay at the employee's regular hourly wage for time worked in excess of normal workday but less than 40 hours worked per week; or

D.    Compensatory time accrued or taken must be recorded on the employee's payroll time record to the nearest one-tenth hour. The maximum amount of compensatory time that may be carried over from one pay cycle to another pay cycle shall be ten days, provided that, with the approval of the Appointing Authority or designee and the Human Resources Director, compensatory time in excess of ten days may be carried over into the next pay cycle. Compensatory time accrual shall be paid at the employee's hourly pay rate plus longevity, if any, upon separation.

(Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 98-123 § 1 (part), 1998; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993; Ord. 82-56 § 2 (part), 1982; prior Code § 6.35.080)

3.52.060 Benefits Reinstatement for Rehired Employees.

A.    Laid off employees who are rehired within 12 months of their layoff date shall be reinstated to their same accrual rates for earning of County benefits provided the period of layoff will not count toward the computation of the amount of continuous time in service. Such employees shall have non-cashed out sick leave balances reinstated.

B.    Employees on an authorized unpaid leave of absence shall not be considered separated; however, the period of unpaid leave of absence shall not be counted toward the computation of the amount of continuous time in service.

C.    Effective July 1, 2007, employees who separate from employment in good standing and who are rehired within five years of their effective resignation date, shall be reinstated to their same accrual rates for earning of County vacation leave benefits, provided the period of non-county employment will not count toward the computation of benefit levels. Such employees who return to employment within 12 months and who have chosen to cash out 10 percent of their sick leave pursuant to PCC 3.68.050 C. shall have the 90 percent balance of their accrual reinstated; such employees who return to employment within 12 months and who have chosen not to cash out any sick leave shall have 100 percent balance of their accrual reinstated. Such employees shall otherwise be considered new hires and their prior period of employment shall not count toward seniority, computation of the amount of time in continuous service, or for any other purpose unless required by other applicable law, such as retirement benefits.

(Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 2011-28 § 1 (part), 2011; Ord. 2010-14 § 1 (part), 2010; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993; Ord. 82-56 § 2 (part), 1982; prior Code § 6.35.090)

3.52.070 Inclement Weather or Conditions.

In the event of difficult driving conditions caused by flooding, snow, ice, windstorm, or other severe weather condition which may create difficult or hazardous driving conditions, the County Executive, or designee, may declare an inclement weather condition to exist. Upon that declaration, the following conditions shall apply:

A.    Absence due to an employee's inability to report for scheduled work because of severe inclement weather or conditions caused by severe inclement weather shall be charged to the following, in the order listed:

1.    Any accrued compensatory time;

2.    Any accrued personal holiday hours;

3.    Any accrued vacation leave;

4.    At the employee's option, accrued sick leave up to a maximum of three days in any calendar year;

5.    Leave without pay.

B.    Although the types of paid time off shall be used in the order listed in A., and each type shall be exhausted before the next in succession is used, employees may use leave without pay, rather than pay status, at their request.

C.    The County Executive, or designee, may authorize up to two hours of paid time for tardiness or early departure when inclement weather conditions warrant. Inclement weather tardiness or early departure in excess of the time authorized by the County Executive, or designee, shall be charged as provided in A., above.

D.    Employees shall request approval from their supervisor if they wish to depart earlier than the time designated by the County Executive, or designee.

(Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 2014-57 § 1, 2014; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 98-123 § 1 (part), 1998; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993)

3.52.080 Weapons Policy.

With the exception of authorized employees of the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office, Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel, and Sheriff's Department, including Correctional Deputies, no employee of Pierce County shall possess firearms, whether licensed or not, or any other weapon while on premises or property owned or leased by Pierce County or in County vehicles while on County business or while otherwise conducting County business. Employees who carry firearms and/or weapons in their personal vehicles shall comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws regarding weapons. (Ord. 2011-28 § 1 (part), 2011; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 98-123 § 1 (part), 1998)

3.52.085 Employee Incentive and Recognition.

The County Executive is authorized to create and provide funding for programs designed to create good will, provide incentives to encourage excellence, and recognize employee accomplishments and tenure with the County. Recognition programs may include, but are not limited to, banquets, award certificates, and items of appreciation. Funding for Countywide programs may be included in the County's annual budget. Funding for departmental programs may be included in departmental budgets.

(Ord. 2001-6 § 1, 2001)