Kent County, DE Policy Manual
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Kent County Code References
§ 68-20 — Holidays.
§ 68-21 — Sick leave.
§ 68-22 — Vacation leave.
§ 68-23 — Family and medical leave.
§ 68-24 — Military leave.
§ 68-25 — Compassionate leave.
§ 68-26 — Special leaves of absence.

§ 11-1 Family and medical leave.

[Adopted 8-26-1997, effective 7-1-1997 (P-54B)]
The Kent County Levy Court strongly supports the Department of Labor's position that a direct correlation exist between stability in the family and productivity in the workplace. This Policy has been developed to ensure compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and to promote a positive balance between family and work lives for all Kent County employees.
A. 
Eligibility. Full-time permanent employees who have at least 12 months of service with Kent County and have worked for the County at least 1,250 hours during the preceding 12 months are eligible for family and medical leave.
B. 
Entitlement. Kent County employees meeting the eligibility requirements indicated above are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave per twelve-month period under FMLA when taken:
(1) 
For the birth of the employee's child or placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, and care of the child upon birth or placement in the employee's home (must be taken within 12 months following birth or placement); or
(2) 
To care for the employee's spouse, son or daughter, or direct parent who has a serious health condition; or
(3) 
For the serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee's position. A serious health condition is an incapacity or treatment, including prenatal care, that involves in-patient care or continuing treatment by a health-care provider, not short-term conditions for which treatment and recovery are very brief and for which regular sick leave would ordinarily be used.
C. 
Spouses employed. Spouses employed full-time by Kent County are jointly entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of family leave during any twelve-month period for the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and to care for a child or parent (but not a parent "in-law") who has a serious health condition.
D. 
Advance notice and medical certification.
(1) 
The employee will provide 30 days' advance notice to the department head when the need for leave is foreseeable. If, because of extenuating circumstances, the employee is unable to provide 30 days' notice, the employee will provide notice as soon as practicable. Notice will immediately be forwarded to the Personnel Director via the department head.
(2) 
The employee will provide timely medical certification to the department head to support a request for leave because of a serious health condition of the employee's or the employee's spouse, son or daughter, or parent. Certification will be forwarded to the Personnel Director for approval. Medical recertification will be required every 30 days. In certain cases, the County may require a second or third opinion at County expense. U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) form "CERTIFICATION OF PHYSICIAN OR PRACTITIONER," is the preferred format for medical certification; copies are available in the Personnel Department. All information requested on the DOL form must be supplied regardless of the format utilized by the health-care provider.
(3) 
If leave is taken due to a serious health condition of the employee, a fitness-for-duty certification must be provided to the employee's department head and the Personnel Director prior to the employee's return to work.
E. 
Administration. The Kent County Levy Court's policy is to integrate the provisions of the FMLA with existing County leave policies, as defined in the Kent County Personnel Ordinance, wherever possible. Therefore, an employee requesting FMLA leave for a reason which would be allowable under another County leave policy must first exhaust all applicable accrued sick leave during the initial portion of the FMLA leave period. (At employee's option, he or she may retain one week of sick leave.)
(1) 
Eligible classified or unclassified employees are entitled to use 12 workweeks of unpaid leave for FMLA-qualifying purposes during a rolling twelve-month period measured backwards from when any FMLA leave is taken. If the employee has a bank of accrued sick leave, vacation, or other leave, it must be used concurrently and the total of combined paid and/or unpaid FMLA leave will not exceed 12 weeks. "Workweek" is defined as seven consecutive twenty-four-hour periods designated as a workweek by the department in which an employee works. As an alternative to 12 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave, an employee may request an intermittent leave or a reduced leave schedule.
[Amended 11-13-2012 (P12-03(a))]
(2) 
Employees requesting intermittent or reduced leave schedules may be required to transfer temporarily to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits. The employee must be fully qualified to perform the duties of the alternative position. All alternative assignments must be approved by the Personnel Director.
(3) 
The amount of leave used on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule will be determined by counting only the amount of leave time actually taken.
(4) 
Leave without pay of less than one full day for documented FMLA-qualifying purposes will not affect an employee's Fair Labor Standards Act exempt status.
(5) 
When an employee requests leave of any kind or is absent for more than three days, the Personnel Director will, upon notification, determine if the leave is FMLA-qualifying. The employee will be promptly notified of the determination, and the employee shall promptly submit all FMLA forms as requested.
(6) 
If a request for leave qualifies under the tenets of FMLA, the employee will be provided with a copy of the Kent County Levy Court Family and Medical Leave Policy, along with an Employee Request for Medical/Leave Form. The Personnel Department staff will be available if an employee requests assistance completing the form. The completed Employee Request for Medical/Leave Form must be returned to the Personnel Department within five days of issuance.
(7) 
All leave (paid or unpaid) taken for FMLA reasons will count against the employee's annual FMLA leave entitlement.
(8) 
While on FMLA leave, an employee must contact his or her supervisor at least once per month and indicate his or her intention to return to work as scheduled.
F. 
Health insurance and employee benefits.
(1) 
Kent County will maintain the employee's health and dental insurance, life insurance, and long-term disability insurance coverage for the duration of the FMLA leave period. The County will continue to pay the full cost of the County's share of the employee's insurance coverage; additional eligible dependent coverage must continue to be paid by the employee. Normal payroll deductions will be made for the eligible dependent and other coverage during any period of paid leave. The employee is responsible for paying the premiums for eligible dependent and other coverage during periods of unpaid leave. Employee payments are due in the Personnel Department by the 20th of each month.
(2) 
Upon the employee's return from FMLA leave, any unpaid employee insurance premiums will be deducted from the employee's pay.
(3) 
If an employee does not return to work at the end of the FMLA leave period, the employee will reimburse the County for all insurance premiums paid by the County on the employee's behalf during the unpaid portion of the FMLA leave. As mandated in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, the employee will not be liable to reimburse the County if the reason the employee does not return to work is due to the continuation, recurrence or onset of a serious health condition (either affecting the employee or an immediate family member) that would entitle the employee to FMLA leave or does not return to work due to other circumstances beyond the employee's control.
(4) 
FMLA leave will not be treated as a break in service for purposes of pension vesting and participation eligibility. However, the County will not make pension contributions during FMLA leave.
(5) 
An employee will continue to accrue vacation and sick leave time at his or her appropriate rates while on unpaid FMLA leave.
(6) 
No part of FMLA leave will be considered a break in employment.
G. 
Job restoration.
(1) 
Upon return from FMLA leave, the employee will be restored to his or her original position or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.
(2) 
Kent County may deny restoration of employment to a key employee if restoration of the employee to employment will cause substantial and grievous economic injury to the operations of Kent County. A "key employee" is defined as a salaried FMLA-eligible employee who is among the highest paid 10% of all employees employed by Kent County.
(a) 
Written notice will be given to any key employee at the time FMLA leave is requested or when FMLA leave commences, if earlier, if the County intends to deny restoration to employment on completion of the FMLA leave. The notice will be served either in person or by certified mail and will explain the basis for the finding that substantial and grievous economic injury will result. The notice will provide the employee a reasonable time in which to return to work, taking into account the circumstances, such as length of leave and the urgency of the need for the employee to return.
(b) 
If a key employee does not return to work in response to the notification of intent to deny restoration, the employee is still entitled to all rights under FMLA. These rights will cease when the employee gives notice of intent not to return to work or at the conclusion of the leave period.
H. 
General. A copy of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is available to all employees through the Personnel Department.

§ 11-2 Donated leave.

[Adopted 12-11-2001 (P-68C)]
This Policy establishes a donated leave program for County employees, whereby employees may donate vacation leave, limited sick leave or both to other specified employees eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act Policy.
A. 
Any employee of Kent County government may donate equal amounts of accrued sick and vacation leave (one vacation day for each sick day donated), vacation leave only, or up to three days of sick leave per calendar year (up to a total annual maximum value of $20,000) to other donor-designated employees eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy. The donated leave will be converted into cash value at the donor's rate of pay and reconverted to equivalent hours of leave at the recipient's rate of pay and credited to the recipient's sick leave account. Sick leave may not be donated within three months of retirement.
B. 
Donated leave may be used by a recipient only for a FMLA-qualifying event, which is diagnosed and certified by a physician as rendering the employee unable to work or an eligible family member requiring the employee's personal care for a period greater than five calendar weeks. Separate periods of need resulting from the same or a related FMLA-qualifying event occurring within any 12 consecutive months shall be considered the same period of eligibility. No employee may receive more than seven months of donated leave during any twelve-month period.
C. 
Before receiving donated leave time, an employee shall have:
(1) 
Been a County employee for at least six months prior to the need;
(2) 
Used all of his or her sick leave and accrued vacation time (except that one week may be retained, if the employee chooses); and
(3) 
Established FMLA-qualifying justification for such receipt, which must be reviewed every 30 days.
D. 
The donated leave program shall be administered by the Personnel Director, and any disputes regarding eligibility shall be resolved by the Personnel Administration Board.

§ 11-3 Time off for deputies and chief deputies.

[Adopted 9-30-2003, effective 7-1-2003 (P-21E, Subsections 2 — 5)]
Deputies and chief deputies shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing official and shall not accrue vacation or sick leave. The amount of any time off shall be determined by the appointing official.

§ 11-4 National crisis/national disaster leave.

[Adopted 11-8-2005, effective 11-8-2005]
This Policy establishes guidelines for the granting of special or extended leave to County employees with special skills responding to a crisis at the request of a government or a national professional organization.
A. 
Whenever a national crisis or natural disaster occurs outside this jurisdiction, the specific skills of certain County employees may be needed by local, state and/or the federal government(s) or professional organizations to help respond to the event or its aftermath. Employees possessing such skills are encouraged to respond when called upon by governments in need or affiliated professional associations.
B. 
Nonprobationary employees possessing a special talent or skill(s) needed to respond to such an emergency and desiring to provide extended or long-term assistance to the response effort must submit a written request and supporting documentation to their department head for consideration. The department head may approve the request if the employee's absence will not adversely impact the operations of the department/division/office, if the employee's previous job performance has been exemplary, if the employee has not taken any unpaid leave during the prior 12 months, and if the employee has not been the subject of disciplinary action for the preceding year. Such approval for special leave shall be for no more than 60 working days.
C. 
Any employee on such approved leave shall be eligible for continued employee benefit coverage, but no other County compensation unless on vacation or similar type leave. If sufficient leave time is unavailable and the department head approves, the Personnel Director at his/her sole discretion may advance up to, but not more than, 160 hours of vacation time to be paid back by the requesting employee as accrued upon his/her return.
D. 
The County assumes and accepts no responsibility for the professional credentials or abilities of employees responding to requests for assistance under this Policy.
E. 
It is the responsibility of the employee on national crisis/natural disaster leave to keep his/her department head informed of his intended date of return.

§ 11-5 Military family leave.

[Adopted 2-10-2009, effective 2-10-2009 (P09-01)]
The Kent County Levy Court strongly supports the armed forces of this country and the families that provide support and comfort to them. This Policy has been developed to ensure compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) amendments adopted in 2008 related to military family members.
A. 
Eligibility. Full-time permanent employees who have at least 12 months of service with Kent County and have worked for the County at least 1,250 hours during the preceding 12 months are eligible for military family leave.
B. 
Entitlement. Kent County employees meeting the eligibility requirements indicated above are entitled:
(1) 
To a maximum of 26 weeks of unpaid military caregiver leave per single twelve-month period, including any regular family and medical leave to provide care to a covered servicemember, defined as an individual in the regular armed forces, National Guard or Armed Force Reserves, who is certified to be undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, therapy, or outpatient treatment, or is otherwise on the temporary disability list due to serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty while on active duty; or
(2) 
To a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid active duty leave per single twelve-month period, including any regular family and medical leave for a qualifying exigency, if they are the parent, spouse, child, or next of kin of a servicemember in the National Guard or Armed Forces Reserves, such as:
(a) 
Attending official ceremonies or programs where the participation of the family member is requested by the military;
(b) 
Attending to farewell or arrival arrangements for a servicemember;
(c) 
Attending to affairs caused by the missing status or death of a servicemember;
(d) 
Making arrangements for urgent child care or elder care;
(e) 
Making financial and legal arrangements to address the servicemember's absence;
(f) 
Attending to certain post-deployment activities or spending time with a covered service member on temporary rest and recuperation leave; and
(g) 
Other purposes arising out of the call to duty, as agreed by the County and employee.
C. 
Spouses employed. Spouses employed full-time by Kent County are jointly entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks or 26 weeks of family/military leave during any twelve-month period depending on the entitlement.
D. 
Advance notice and certification.
(1) 
The employee shall complete a military leave request form with as much as advance notice to the department head and Personnel Office as possible and attach verification of the servicemember's call-up or active duty and the reason for the request. If such verification is not immediately available, it shall be submitted as soon as practicable. If verification is not provided as required, the County can deny FMLA and/or military family leave designation for the leave. The County retains the right, in its sole discretion, to designate any leave as FMLA/military family leave retroactively. Any notice received by the department head should immediately be forwarded to the Personnel Director.
(2) 
When a request is for caregiver leave, an application shall be submitted as soon as practicable and state the nature of the relationship of the employee to the servicemember (spouse, child, parent or next of kin) and must include written certification. The written certification should state: a) the date on which the serious health condition commenced; b) the probable duration of the condition; c) the appropriate medical facts regarding the condition and its duration; and, additionally, d) that the covered servicemember is medically unfit to perform the duties of the member's office, grade, rank, or rating. If said certification is not immediately available, the County may, at its sole discretion, authorize military family leave; however, the employee must submit the required certification within five business days or the leave request may be denied. The County retains the right, in its sole discretion, to designate any leave as FMLA leave retroactively.
E. 
Administration. The County's policy is to integrate the provisions of military family leave with existing County leave policies, as defined in the Kent County Personnel Ordinance, wherever possible. Therefore, an employee requesting military family leave for a reason which would be allowable under another County leave policy must first exhaust all applicable accrued sick leave and vacation during the initial portion of the leave period. (At the employee's option, he or she may retain one week of sick leave.)
(1) 
Eligible classified or unclassified employees are entitled to use 12 workweeks or 26 workweeks of unpaid leave as provided in the policy for military family leave-qualifying purposes during any rolling twelve-month period from the first day leave was taken. If the employee has a bank of accrued sick leave and vacation, the total of combined paid and/or unpaid leave will not exceed 12 weeks or 26 weeks, as the case may be. "Workweek" is defined as seven consecutive twenty-four-hour periods designated as a workweek by the department in which an employee works. As an alternative to 12 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave, an employee may request an intermittent leave or a reduced leave schedule. All such leave should be scheduled in such a way as to not unduly disrupt County operations.
(2) 
Employees requesting intermittent or reduced leave schedules may be required to transfer temporarily to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits. The employee must be fully qualified to perform the duties of the alternative position. All alternative assignments must be approved by the Personnel Director.
(3) 
The amount of leave used on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule will be determined by counting only the amount of leave time actually taken.
(4) 
Leave without pay of less than one full day for documented military family leave-qualifying purposes will not affect an employee's Fair Labor Standards Act exempt status.
(5) 
When an employee requests leave of any kind, the Personnel Director will, upon notification, determine if the leave is military family leave-qualifying. The employee will be notified within three working days of the determination.
(6) 
All leave (paid or unpaid) taken for military family leave reasons will count against the employee's annual FMLA and military family leave entitlements.
(7) 
While on leave, an employee should contact his or her supervisor at least once per month and indicate his or her intention to return to work as scheduled.
F. 
Health insurance and employee benefits.
(1) 
Kent County will maintain the employee's applicable health and dental insurance, life insurance, and long-term disability insurance coverage for the duration of the military family leave period. The County will continue to pay the full cost of the County's share of the employee's insurance coverage; additional eligible dependent coverage must continue to be paid by the employee. Normal payroll deductions will be made for the eligible dependent and other coverage during any period of paid leave. The employee is responsible for paying the premiums for eligible dependent and other coverage during periods of unpaid leave. Employee payments are due in the Personnel Office by the 20th of each month.
(2) 
Upon the employee's return from military family leave, any unpaid employee insurance premiums will be deducted from the employee's pay.
(3) 
If an employee does not return to work at the end of the military family leave period, the employee will reimburse the County for all insurance premiums paid by the County on the employee's behalf during the unpaid portion of the leave. As mandated in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as amended, the employee will not be liable to reimburse the County if the reason the employee does not return to work is due to the continuation, recurrence or onset of a serious health condition (either affecting the employee or an immediate family member) that would entitle the employee to leave or does not return to work due to other circumstances beyond the employee's control.
(4) 
Military family leave will not be treated as a break in service for purposes of pension vesting and participation eligibility.
(5) 
An employee will continue to accrue vacation and sick leave time at his or her appropriate rates while on unpaid military family leave.
(6) 
No part of military family leave will be considered a break in employment.
G. 
Job restoration.
(1) 
Upon return from military family leave, the employee will be restored to his or her original position or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.
(2) 
Kent County may deny restoration of employment to a key employee if restoration of the employee to employment will cause substantial and grievous economic injury to the operations of Kent County. A "key employee" is defined as a salaried military family leave-eligible employee who is among the highest paid 10% of all employees employed by Kent County.
(a) 
Written notice will be given to any key employee at the time military family leave is requested or when military family leave commences, if earlier, if the County intends to deny restoration to employment on completion of the military family leave. The notice will be served either in person or by certified mail and will explain the basis for the finding that substantial and grievous economic injury will result. The notice will provide the employee a reasonable time in which to return to work, taking into account the circumstances, such as length of leave and the urgency of the need for the employee to return.
(b) 
If a key employee does not return to work in response to the notification of intent to deny restoration, the employee is still entitled to all rights under military family leave. These rights will cease when the employee gives notice of intent not to return to work or at the conclusion of the leave period.
H. 
This policy shall become effective immediately upon adoption by Levy Court.