Chapter 3.68
SICK LEAVE Revised 5/19

Sections:

3.68.005    Intent. Revised 5/19

3.68.010    Eligible Employees. Revised 5/19

3.68.020    Permissible Uses of Sick Leave. Revised 5/19

3.68.021    Misuse of Sick Leave. Revised 5/19

3.68.030    Qualifying for Use of Sick Leave. Revised 5/19

3.68.040    Workers' Compensation – Sick Leave.

3.68.050    Payment Upon Separation. Revised 5/19

3.68.052    Reports – Corrections/Verifications. Revised 5/19

3.68.054    Limitation of County Obligation to Pay for Sick Leave. Revised 5/19

3.68.060    Sick Leave Incentive Program. Revised 5/19

3.68.005 Intent. Revised 5/19

Sick leave is provided as an employee benefit to aid employees. Its use must be restricted to qualifying situations and employees are encouraged to accumulate sick leave to carry them through unforeseen and lengthy illness. Retaliation by the County for the employee's lawful use of paid sick leave accrued, pursuant to state law and other rights provided under Chapter 49.46 RCW and all applicable rules, is prohibited. (Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993; Ord. 91-97 §§ 1, 2, (part), 1991)

3.68.010 Eligible Employees. Revised 5/19

Regular and limited duration full-time employees in a 70 percent accruable pay status per cycle excluding overtime and standby pay shall earn sick leave at the rate of 12/26 of a day per cycle with no upper limit. Regular and limited duration part-time employees shall earn a pro-rata portion of the sick leave based upon their authorized scheduled weekly hours divided by five, provided they work at least 70 percent of their standard work hours per cycle excluding overtime and standby pay. However, no employee shall earn less than one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Extra hire employees shall earn one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Sick leave shall be earned and accrued upon the completion of each accruable pay cycle. New employees who are separated prior to completion of 13 pay cycles shall not be paid for any unused sick leave. (Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 2014-8 § 1 (part), 2014; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993; Ord. 82-56 § 2 (part), 1982; prior Code § 6.39.010)

3.68.020 Permissible Uses of Sick Leave. Revised 5/19

A.    Sick leave shall be paid at the employee's appropriate rate of pay plus longevity pay, if any, for the employee's own needs for the following reasons:

1.    An absence resulting from an employee's mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; to accommodate the employee's need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or an employee's need for preventive medical care;

2.    To allow the employee to provide care for a family member (as defined below in subsection B.) with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; care of a family member who needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or care for a family member who needs preventive medical care;

3.    When the employee's workplace has been closed by order of a public official for any health-related reason and no alternative site is designated by the County, or when an employee's child's school or place of care has been closed for such a reason;

4.    For absences that qualify under the Domestic Violence Leave Act Chapter 49.76 RCW, as set forth in Chapter 3.13 PCC of these guidelines;

5.    Medical treatment or hospitalization of an employee required for participation in an organ donor, bone marrow transplant or other humanitarian medical process when verified by written statement from a competent attending medical authority. Approval may be granted by the Appointing Authority dependent upon operational necessity and work demands.

B.    The family members to whom this Section applies are defined by RCW 49.46.210 and include:

1.    A biological, adoptive, de facto, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of an employee or the employee's spouse or domestic partner, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child;

2.    Child, including a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis, is a legal guardian, or is a de facto parent, regardless of age or dependency status;

3.    Siblings;

4.    Spouse;

5.    Grandparent;

6.    Domestic partner; and

7.    Grandchild.

    Domestic partner is defined in the Pierce County Administrative Guidelines for the Career Service and Chapter 3.98 PCC, which requires an affidavit be filed with the Human Resources Department.

C.    Family Care Leave: An employee may use the leave of their choice subject to the provisions of this subsection under the circumstances listed below. If the employee chooses to use leave other than sick leave, unless otherwise provided by collective bargaining agreement, such leave shall be paid at the employee's regular straight-time base hourly rate of pay.

1.    Any health condition affecting a covered employee's child under the age of 18 years, or for a child age 18 or older and incapable of self-care, which requires treatment or supervision including:

a.    Health conditions requiring medication which cannot be self administered;

b.    Medical or mental health conditions which would endanger the child's safety or recovery without the presence of a parent or guardian;

c.    Any condition warranting preventive health care such as physical, dental, optical or immunization services when a parent must be present to authorize;

d.    Any other circumstance which would constitute a permissible use of sick leave for the employee.

2.    A serious health condition or emergency condition of a spouse, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent of the employee, domestic partner, parent of the domestic partner, or child age 18 or older and incapable of self care, which requires the employee's presence. Such leave shall only be approved for the duration of the condition.

D.    For purposes of this Chapter, "in loco parentis" shall mean those persons who had day-to-day responsibility to care for and financially support the employee, on a long-term basis, when the employee was a child. Proof of such relationship may be required. A biological or legal relationship is not necessary.

E.    Sick leave may be paid in accordance with Chapter 3.67 PCC, Family and Medical Leave.

(Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2007-108 § 2 (part), 2007; Ord. 2003-3s § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 98-123 § 1 (part), 1998; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993; Ord. 87-31 § 1, 1987; Ord. 83-5 § 4, 1983; Ord. 82-56 § 2, (part), 1982; prior Code § 6.39.020)

3.68.021 Misuse of Sick Leave. Revised 5/19

A.    Misuse (unauthorized use) of sick leave is cause for disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

B.    The employer has the right as permitted by law to request the employee provide verification from a health care provider that the use of paid sick leave is for an authorized purpose.

(Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 2003-3s § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993)

3.68.030 Qualifying for Use of Sick Leave. Revised 5/19

In order to qualify for sick leave pay, employees must provide reasonable notice of their absence as soon as possible before the scheduled start of their shift unless impracticable (see WAC 296-128-650(1)(b)). A health care provider's verification that the employee's use of paid sick leave is for an authorized purpose under RCW 49.46.210(1)(b) or 49.46.210(1)(c), the expected duration and that the employee is unable to work, or the same information for care of a family member, may be required for sick leave in excess of three consecutive work days. The health care provider's letter may be required to be updated in writing during an extended sick leave. Any County-required verification may not result in an unreasonable burden or expense on the employee in accordance with WAC 296-128-660. (Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 2003-3s § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 91-97 §§ 1, 2 (part), 1991; Ord. 83-5 § 4, 1983; Ord. 82-56 § 2 (part), 1982; prior Code § 6.39.030)

3.68.040 Workers' Compensation – Sick Leave.

In the instance where an illness or injury qualifies an employee for Workers' Compensation, the County will pay only the difference between the employee's straight time base hourly wage and the amount paid the employee by the Workers' Compensation benefits to the extent of accrued unused sick leave during the period of disability. (Ord. 91-97 §§ 1, 2 (part), 1991; Ord. 82-56 § 2 (part), 1982; prior Code 6.39.040)

3.68.050 Payment Upon Separation. Revised 5/19

A.    Eligible employees who have completed 13 accruable pay cycles and who are separated from service due to death, retirement or disability, shall have the option, upon written agreement, to be paid for unused accrued sick leave as follows:

1.    Twenty-five percent of up to the first 75 days at the employee's base hourly rate of pay plus longevity, if any, for unused accrued sick leave days.

2.    Fifty percent of up to the next 75 days (76 through 150) at the employee's base hourly rate of pay plus longevity, if any, for unused accrued sick leave days.

3.    Seventy-five percent of up to the next 50 days (151 through 200) at the employee's base hourly rate of pay plus longevity, if any, for unused accrued sick leave days.

B.    In no event shall such compensation for employees exceed 200 days. District court judges' compensation is further limited according to RCW 3.34.100.

C.    Effective January 1, 2008, eligible employees who have completed 13 accruable pay cycles and who are separated from employment in good standing for reasons other than death, retirement, or disability shall have the option, upon written agreement, to be compensated for ten percent of the employee's unused accrued sick leave available at the date of separation not to exceed 200 days, at the employee's base hourly rate of pay plus longevity, if any. Compensation for sick leave in any form is not allowable for employees who are separated from employment in any status other than in good standing.

D.    Eligible employees are considered to be retired for purposes of sick leave payment on separation and early retirement for medical insurance when they have received and have provided a written confirmation notice from the Department of Retirement Systems that indicates that they have met the required qualifications for service retirement under their State of Washington Retirement System and have elected to receive either a lump-sum payment in lieu of retirement or elected to receive a service or disability retirement benefit.

(Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 2016-84 § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2014-8 § 1 (part), 2014; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2007-115 § 1 (part), 2007; Ord. 2003-3s § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993; Ord. 91-97 §§ 1, 2 (part), 1991; Ord. 82-56 § 2 (part), 1982; prior Code § 6.39.050)

3.68.052 Reports – Corrections/Verifications. Revised 5/19

A.    Accrued sick leave shall be reported on the employee's payslip in hours and/or hours and parts thereof. To determine the number of sick leave days available, the total number of accrued sick leave hours is divided by the employee's standard number of work day hours. The standard number of work day hours is determined according to the employee's standard workday calculation.

B.    The employee shall have the responsibility of reporting any discrepancy on the payslip to their immediate supervisor or timekeeper.

(Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993; Ord. 91-97 §§ 1, 2 (part), 1991)

3.68.054 Limitation of County Obligation to Pay for Sick Leave. Revised 5/19

A.    The extent of the County's obligation to pay for sick leave shall be for authorized uses and limited in those instances where the right to sick leave accrues by reason of an injury or illness which qualifies the employee for time-loss benefits under the County's Workers' Compensation program, to the difference between the time-loss payment received by the employees from the County and their straight time base hourly wage. Sick leave shall be charged against an employee's accrued sick leave only in such proportion as the County's obligation to pay sick leave is utilized.

B.    Employees who are found to have claimed or used sick leave not in compliance with PCC 3.68.054 A. above and whose employment terminates for any reason and who have claimed or utilized sick leave in excess of the amount of sick leave accrued, shall reimburse the County for the excess sick leave used or claimed through time reporting. If reimbursement is not made prior to the issuance of the final paycheck, recovery may be made using available legal means.

(Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2003-3s § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 91-97 §§ 1, 2 (part), 1991)

3.68.060 Sick Leave Incentive Program. Revised 5/19

Effective January 1, 2008, eligible salaried employees, including employees serving a probationary period for any part of the year, shall be awarded additional vacation leave as follows, whichever is more generous to the employee: If one day or less of sick leave is used in any calendar year, an employee will be awarded two additional days of vacation leave; if two days or less of sick leave is used in any calendar year, an employee will be awarded one additional day of vacation leave. This program shall be accomplished through the payroll system as soon as practicable after the end of the calendar year. Only salaried employees who have been in a pay status for the complete calendar year shall be eligible for this sick leave incentive program.

A complete calendar year shall begin on January 1 and end December 31 and shall include all regularly scheduled workdays for the salaried employee (including observed holidays). In order to qualify as a complete calendar year, a salaried employee must not have been in a leave of absence without pay status for two full work days or longer. New salaried employees must begin work on the first work day in January, exclusive of January 1 (New Year's Day), and up to the next two days if such comprise a weekend for the employee's work site, in order to be eligible to have been in a pay status for the complete calendar year.

All references to "day" in this Section refer to the salaried employee's standard hours per day (weekly hours divided by five), to a maximum of eight hours.

(Ord. 2019-11 § 1 (part), 2019; Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2007-115 § 1 (part), 2007; Ord. 2003-3s § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 92-163 § 1 (part), 1993; Ord. 83-50 § 3, 1983; prior Code § 6.39.060)