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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. A furlough day shall be considered a day of regular pay status for purposes of this section.

(2) Use of Sick Leave. 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



Beginning of 6th year to end of 10th year



Beginning of 11th year to end of 15th year



Beginning of 16th year to end of 20th year



Beginning of 21st year and thereafter



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 20 or more years of service or who are 65 years of age or older will be paid a lump-sum payment of one day of pay for each 10 days of accrued sick leave remaining in the sick leave account after the base cash payment made pursuant to subsection (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 subsection (7)(a) and (b) of this section, if applicable. 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 subsection (7)(c)(ii) of this section 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 14 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 26 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 52 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 subsection (9)(a) of this section, 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 40 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 30 days before the date leave is expected to commence, except in cases of unexpected events. (Added by Ord. 84-129 § 2, Nov. 21, 1984; Amended by Ord. 88-048, June 22, 1988; Amended by Ord. 92-131, Dec. 2, 1992; Amended by 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; Amended by Emerg. Ord. 20-032, May 26, 2020, Eff date May 26, 2020; Amended by Ord. 20-074, Nov. 10, 2020, Eff date Dec. 3, 2020).