8.1 Grants of Leaves of Absence
Leave must be requested and approved in advance either online through HRMS or in writing using an alternate method approved by the agency head in consultation with the Director of Human Resources. However, where an absence cannot be predicted in advance and where conditions warrant, the absence may be authorized orally by the immediate supervisor/manager followed by a written (paper or online) request by the employee. The County Manager may approve an alternate approval process for agency heads and above.
Annual, sick, or compensatory leaves of absence may be granted to eligible employees only up to the employee’s current accumulated leave balance. Leaves of absence shall be granted at the times desired by the employee, subject first to the needs of the agency. In any agency where it is impractical to grant leave according to the normal leave provisions, the agency head shall arrange the leave schedules in such a manner to ensure that each employee will be granted the leave in an equitable manner.
In cases where the reason for the leave request changes after the leave request is submitted and approved, an employee may submit an amended request before the approved leave is taken to reflect the change in circumstances. The amended request is subject to approval and verification by the employee’s supervisor.
Attendance is an essential function. Employees are expected to regularly and consistently adhere to their assigned work schedule and not have leave usage regularly reduce their presence on the job.
The following types of leaves of absence (paid and unpaid) may be granted to full‐time employees:
|Adoption Leave (8.17)
Annual Leave (8.5)
Bereavement Leave (8.10)
Civil Leave (8.6)
Compensatory Leave (8.13)
Conference Leave (8.12)
Educational Leave (8.9)
Emergency Leave (8.20)
Extended Leave Pool (8.14)
|Family and Medical Leave (8.18)
Holiday Leave (7.3)
Injury Leave (8.11)
In‐Service Training Leave (8.15)
Leave without Pay (8.7)
Military Leave (8.8)
Sick Leave (8.4)
Eligibility: Full‐time employees are eligible for paid and unpaid leaves of absence as outlined in this section, provided appropriate approval is obtained in accordance with these Policies and Procedures. Part‐time employees are eligible for pro‐rated leave based on their standard hours per payperiod.
Accruals: Sick and annual leave accrues on a payperiod basis. The maximum accruals specified in this section are for sick and annual leave for full‐time employees in authorized positions.
In order to accrue sick or annual leave, an eligible employee must be in a paid status for at least seven‐ eighths (7/8) of their standard hours in a payperiod. For example, an 80‐hour employee must be in a paid status for 70 or more hours and a 112‐hour employee must be in a paid status for 98 or more hours in order to accrue sick or annual leave.
Employees whose balances exceed the maximum annual leave accrual amount found in the chart in Section 8.5 will have their annual leave balance reduced to the appropriate maximum after the last payperiod of each fiscal year.
Typically, annual, holiday, and sick leave shall be charged on an actual usage basis, rounded to the nearest quarter hour. However, leave will be charged without rounding when employees in the VRS Hybrid Plan use accrued leave balances to bring Hybrid disability benefits through payroll to 100% of pay. Leaves of absence with pay shall not be used until sufficient leave is accrued.
Leave balances for active employees who move from Henrico County Public Schools to General Government employment will be transferred as outlined in Section 6.11.
Transfer of leave balances when an employee changes assignment categories from full-time to part-time or part-time to full-time will be addressed as outlined in Section 11.2.
Leave taken under this section may be eligible to be used in conjunction with the Family and Medical Leave Act (see Section 8.18).
- For employees in VRS Plan 1 or 2, sick leave shall accrue at the rate of four (4) hours per payperiod without a limit on accumulation and may be taken in 15‐minute increments.
- For employees in the VRS Hybrid Plan, sick leave shall accrue at the rate of three (3) hours per payperiod, not to exceed 78 hours at any time. Whenever an employee reaches the 78 hour maximum of sick leave accrual, sick leave accruals will cease. If usage brings the balance below 78 hours, then sick leave accruals will resume and continue until the 78 hour maximum is reached.
- Sick leave may be used for authorized absences necessitated by reason of:
- Personal Sick Leave: Illness or injury incapacitating the employee and preventing the employee from performing assigned duties, doctor or dental appointments during working hours, and exposure to contagious disease such that the employee’s presence on the job would jeopardize the health of coworkers and/or the public.
- Family Sick Leave: Illness or injury in the immediate family, including doctor and dental appointments, requiring the attendance of the employee. Use of sick leave by an employee for this purpose may not exceed 48 hours in one fiscal year. This provision applies to employees in all VRS retirement plans. For firefighters working a 112‐hour schedule, use of sick leave for this purpose may not exceed 67.2 hours in one fiscal year.
Exceptions to this policy may be considered on a case‐by‐case basis if recommended by the agency head and approved by the Director of Human Resources.
- An employee who is absent from work for more than five consecutive work shifts due to a medical condition must provide his agency head a note from a health care provider that (a) verifies that the absence was due to a medical condition and (b) states when the employee is expected to return to work.
The County may also request a health care provider’s verification when an employee is absent from work for less than one calendar week.
- All medical information received by agency heads and the Department of Human Resources in relation to sick leave will be considered confidential and will be made a part of the employee’s medical records. An employee may view this file by appointment.
- With supervisory approval, an employee may use accrued annual, floating holiday, and/or compensatory leave in lieu of sick leave and, if necessary, may be placed on leave without pay by the agency head. An employee with a serious health condition may also be eligible for leave under FMLA.
- An employee who will be absent from work for a prolonged period due to medical reasons related to child‐birth must provide a certificate from her health care provider verifying the need for leave, the beginning date for such leave, and the expected duration of leave before any leave is authorized. Eligible employees may also choose to apply for FMLA leave (see Section 8.18). Sick leave may continue only until the date the doctor approves for returning to work. Should an employee desire to be away longer than the doctor prescribes, the employee may apply for other paid leave, if available, or leave of absence without pay with approval of her agency head.
- Sick leave is granted at the discretion of the agency head or his designee(s) and may be disapproved if, in the judgment of the agency head, it is not justified. An employee should not assume that sick leave will be approved simply because he has an accumulated sick leave balance. Sick leave is a benefit and not an entitlement.
- Employees are not paid for accumulated sick leave upon termination. However, employees in VRS Plan 1 and 2 are eligible for sick leave payout at retirement in accordance with Section 8.4.11. Sick leave accumulations may be transferred for an employee who transfers from the Henrico County School System to the County’s General Government System and vice versa.
- Light or Modified Duty Assignments: In order for modified work or light duty assignments to be considered for approval, an employee and/or the employee’s supervisor must submit a written request that is recommended by the agency head or designee to the Director of Human Resources. Employees will not be offered modified work or light duty assignments, even if authorized by the attending physician or health care provider, without approval in writing by the Director of Human Resources. Any decision on a request for modified work or light duty shall be made at the sole discretion of the Director of Human Resources. This pertains to both work‐related and non-work‐related illnesses and injuries.
All modified work assignments, including those related to Workers’ Compensation claims shall be in the best interest of the County, shall be temporary, and shall be within the limitations prescribed by the treating Workers’ Compensation physician. If a modified work or light duty assignment is located within another agency, the employee may be returned to his primary agency upon release by the Workers’ Compensation treating physician to his pre‐injury job.
Modified work or light duty assignments may be terminated at any time, at the discretion of the agency head and Director of Human Resources. If the employee is unable to return to his pre‐ injury job or otherwise becomes unemployed, Workers’ Compensation benefits, if applicable, will be paid in accordance with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.
The Department of Human Resources will periodically review the employee’s work status regarding available options for light or modified duty assignments.
- If an employee in VRS Plan 1 or 2 dies while in service or retires from County service and is approved by VRS to receive a VRS benefit, payment will be made for all unused credited sick leave based on $4.00 per hour with the lump sum payment not to exceed $8,000. This benefit payment may not be provided, however, if an employee has 1) been dismissed from County employment, 2) resigned in lieu of dismissal, 3) resigned while on suspension, or 4) resigned (or been dismissed) and later applies for or receives VRS retirement benefits. Retirement, for the purposes of administering these Policies and Procedures, is defined in the Glossary. This subsection K does not apply to employees in the VRS Hybrid Plan.
- Eligible employees with less than five years of continuous service in an authorized position will accrue annual leave at the rate of four hours per payperiod. For certain classifications, holiday leave may be combined with annual leave for purposes of leave accrual.
- Annual leave may be used as vacation or to attend to an employee’s personal or family appointments, errands, or other personal needs which require time away from the employee’s assignment. Such time shall be approved in advance by the agency head or his designee who is responsible for working out a schedule prioritizing the conduct of public business. Annual leave is charged on an hour‐for‐hour basis.
- Upon separation, an employee shall be entitled to payment, within one month of separation, for all unused accrued annual leave based on the employee’s current rate of pay. In the event of the death of an employee, the employee’s estate shall be entitled to payment for the employee’s unused annual leave balance at the time of death. Non‐probationary employees shall also be entitled to payment of any unused floating holiday leave balance at the time of separation. Probationary employees are not entitled to payment of any unused floating holiday leave balance.
- Annual leave accruals vary based on years of service as shown in the following chart. All annual leave balances are reduced to the maximum shown below at the end of the last payperiod in the fiscal year. Exceptions to this policy may be considered in extenuating circumstances, if requested by the agency head to the Director of Human Resources. Also included in the chart is the leave accrual for eligible 56-hour firefighters who have their holiday and annual leave accrual rates combined and multiplied by a 1.4 factor.
Years of Service Accrual Rate Per Payperiod (hours) Maximum Allowance Annual Leave Accrual Balance (Annual accrual X 2) Annual Leave Holiday Leave (for 11 holidays) Combined Annual and Holiday Leave For 56 hour Firefighters: x 1.4 factor Total Leave FOR ELIGIBLE FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES (40 hours per week) Less than 5 years 4 — — — 4 208 hours/(26 days) 5 but less than 10 years 5 — — — 5 260 hours/(32 ½ days) 10 but less than 15 years 6 — — — 6 312 hours/(39 days) 15 but less than 20 7 — — — 7 364 hours/(45 ½ days) 20 but less than 25 8 — — — 8 416 hours/(52 days) 25 or more years 9 — — — 9 468 hours/(58 ½ days) FOR ELIGIBLE FULL-TIME FIRE SUPPRESSION (56 hours per week) Less than 5 years 4 3.38 7.38 X 1.4 10.33 291.20 hours 5 but less than 10 years 5 3.38 8.38 X 1.4 11.73 364.0 hours 10 but less than 15 years 6 3.38 9.38 X 1.4 13.13 436.80 hours 15 but less than 20 years 7 3.38 10.38 X 1.4 14.53 509.60 hours 20 but less than 25 8 3.38 11.38 X 1.4 15.93 582.40 hours 25 or more years 9 3.38 12.38 X 1.4 17.33 655.20 hours See Section 11 for annual leave accruals for eligible part-time employees.
- Any employee who is summoned to serve on jury duty, or, except a defendant in a criminal case, who is summoned or subpoenaed to appear in any court of law or equity when a case is to be heard, or who, having appeared in court, is required in writing by the court to appear at a future hearing, shall be granted civil leave with full pay as a result of his absence from employment due to such jury duty or court appearance, upon giving reasonable notice to his supervisor of such court appearance or summons. The hours of absence must be accounted for by the employee.
- No employee who is summoned and appears for jury duty for four or more hours, including travel time, in one day shall be required to start any work shift that begins on or after 5:00 p.m. on the day of his appearance for jury duty or begins before 3:00 a.m. on the day following the day of his appearance for jury duty.
- Any person who serves as an officer of election as defined in § 24.2-101 of the Code of Virginia shall neither be discharged from employment, nor have any adverse personnel action taken against him, nor shall he be required to use sick leave or vacation time, as a result of his absence from employment due to such service, provided he gave reasonable notice to his employer of such service.
No employee who serves for four or more hours, including travel time, on his day of service shall be required to start any work shift that begins on or after 5:00 p.m. on the day of his service or begins before 3:00 a.m. on the day following the day of his service.
- An employee shall be granted civil leave with full pay for any absence necessary for taking required tests for fitness including required physical exams, recruitment interviews, tests for County‐required certification, and tests associated with promotions, demotions, or transfers within the County (including both Henrico County Government employees and Henrico County Public Schools employees), upon giving reasonable notice to his supervisor of such absence. In addition, employees can use civil leave to participate in the County-sponsored blood drive.
- All supervisors’ questions regarding eligibility for civil leave shall be directed to the Office of the County Attorney. A copy of the summons, hours of absence, work hours of employee, etc., may need to be provided in order to best answer questions.
When an employee is in a nonpaid status for more than five workdays, the agency is required to notify the Department of Human Resources using the LWOP Status Change Form. When an employee is in nonpaid status for five workdays or less, the agency should maintain the appropriate documentation and ensure that the appropriate leave without pay is reported on the employee’s timecard.
- For absences from duty, the agency head or his designee(s) may authorize leave without pay; however, such leave usage is not guaranteed. If absence is for medical reasons, provisions for returning to work under Section 8.4-D should be followed and the employee should be made aware of the provisions of FMLA.
- Employees must exhaust all applicable paid leave balances before using leave without pay. However, this requirement does not apply to employees enrolled in voluntary Short Term Income Protection (STIP) coverage and who are receiving STIP disability benefits. In order to receive STIP disability benefits, an employee must be in an unpaid status. This also does not apply to employees out for military service, as the requirements under USERRA would be followed.
- The leave accrual date of any employee returning from a leave without pay status will not be adjusted based on the number of days absent.
- No annual or sick leave will be accrued by an employee who is in a leave without pay status.
- Health care, dental, short‐term disability, and group life insurance coverage may be continued by the employee paying the total premiums. All other benefits will not accrue during the period of leave without pay but shall be reinstated upon return in accordance with these Policies and Procedures and other applicable policies and regulations. This subsection E does not apply to employees on approved FMLA leave without pay, military leave without pay, or in cases involving violation of policy.
- A performance appraisal date may be extended if the agency head determines that the employee has not worked a sufficient amount of time to adequately evaluate the employee’s performance due to a leave of absence.
- Retention of a position for an employee on leave without pay cannot be guaranteed unless the employee is on approved Family and Medical Leave (Section 8.18) or military leave (Section 8.8).
- The County administers its military leave policy in accordance with applicable law, including the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) and the Code of Virginia. From time to time, the County Manager may authorize leave benefits that are more generous than those afforded by law.
The County grants a military leave of absence to employees who require leave in order to perform duties in the uniformed services, including service as a member of the Armed Forces, the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard when engaged in active duty for training, inactive duty training, or full-time National Guard duty, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and any other category of persons designated by the President in time of war or national emergency.
- Compensation while on leave for military purposes: The County will pay former members of the armed forces or members of the organized reserve forces of any of the above named armed services, the Virginia State Defense Force, or the National Defense Executive Reserve up to 15 workdays (120 hours) of leave (designated Military Leave) per federal fiscal year (October 1 – September 30) or per tour of federally-funded duty while on federally funded military duty. All other periods of leave for military purposes are unpaid, unless otherwise authorized by the County Manager. For unpaid periods of military leave, employees may – but are not required to – use any accrued annual leave or compensatory leave balance.
The County will also pay former members of the armed forces or members of the organized reserve forces of any of the armed services of the United States, National Guard, or naval militia when they are called to serve by the Governor, pursuant to Virginia law.
For employees scheduled to work other than 80 hours per payperiod, military leave will be paid in proportion to their respective work schedule. For example, if the employee’s standard hours in a payperiod are 112 hours, his available military leave equals 168 hours per federal fiscal year (1.4 times the standard 80 hours per payperiod).
Employees returning from reserve duty may take an 8‐hour rest period between their return home and reporting to work. Where such employee returns from federally-funded military duty and the eight‐hour rest period required by USERRA overlaps such employee’s scheduled work shift, the employee shall receive paid military leave to the extent of such overlap, not to exceed eight (8) hours per occurrence.
- To apply for military leave or leave associated with any military activity, the following procedures should be followed:
- The employee requests military leave using an online leave request or in writing to their direct supervisor.
- The employee submits to their direct supervisor and to the Employee Relations Division copies of his orders or applicable official paperwork, once they are available, indicating his active duty status and the duration of such active duty.
- While in a military leave without pay status, the same provisions governing sick and annual leave accrual as set forth in Section 8.7 shall apply. While on military leave, an employee is entitled to continued health benefit coverage and may be eligible to continue other benefits. The employee should make arrangements with the Department of Human Resources to continue applicable benefits before going out on leave. Continuation of benefits requiring payment of premiums must be initiated by the employee.
- Upon completing duties in the uniformed services, the employee must notify the Department of Human Resources as well as his department of his intent to return to work. Generally, if military service was less than 31 days, the employee must report to work no later than the first regularly scheduled workday following completion of service and the expiration of eight hours after a period allowing for the safe transportation of the person from the place of that service to the person’s residence, or as soon as possible after the expiration of the eight-hour period if reporting within the period referred to in such clause is impossible or unreasonable through no fault of the person. Generally, if military service is more than 31 days, but less than 181 days, the employee has 14 days from military discharge to submit an application for re-employment or if submitting such application within such period is impossible or unreasonable through no fault of the person, the next first full calendar day when submission of such application becomes possible. Generally, if service exceeds 180 days, the employee has 90 days to submit an application for re‐employment. A person who is hospitalized for, or convalescing from, an illness or injury incurred in, or aggravated during, the performance of service in the uniformed services shall, at the end of the period that is necessary for the person to recover from such illness or injury, report to the person’s employer. Such period of recovery shall not exceed two years except the period shall be extended by the minimum time required to accommodate the circumstances beyond such person’s control which make reporting within two years impossible or unreasonable.
After release from active duty, if the employee can provide proof of satisfactory completion of duty training by certificate, discharge, or release to inactive reserve status, the employee shall be entitled to reinstatement in the job that he would have attained with reasonable certainty if he had not been absent due to military leave (usually his former, or similar, position), provided the employee is qualified to perform the duties of that position. If the employee’s previous position has been abolished, the employee shall be given first consideration for other vacancies for which the employee is qualified.
- No part of these Policies and Procedures shall supersede applicable state and/or federal law regarding military leave.
- In the event that the employee will be unable to return to his position due to a medical condition caused by his military service, he should contact the Employee Relations Manager of the Department of Human Resources.
The purpose of educational leave is to encourage employees to improve themselves and to enhance their possibilities for career opportunities.
It is the policy of the County to permit educational leave with pay to take a course which will benefit both the employee and the County. The total leave with pay is not to exceed absence from work for more than four hours per workweek, regardless of the number of courses taken. Such leave may be granted only when the employee demonstrates that the course is not available to the employee on off duty time with the County and when the agency head believes that the granting of such leave will be beneficial to the County. Such leave will only be granted for one semester at a time. Emergency conditions may require the agency head or designee to cancel this approval for attendance at a given classroom meeting. The employee must submit a written request for consideration and approval by the agency head prior to course registration. The employee and the agency are responsible for recording these hours on the employee’s timecard as educational leave.
A full‐time employee may be granted up to 24 hours of bereavement leave for the death of a close family member. Bereavement leave may be used consecutively or intermittently. If the employee desires, bereavement leave may be augmented by annual leave or floating holiday leave with the supervisor’s approval. Bereavement leave does not accumulate. Part‐time employees in authorized positions are eligible for bereavement leave on a pro‐rated basis.
All leave in this section, if appropriate, must be coordinated with the Family and Medical Leave Act (see Section 8.18). Workers’ compensation leave (injury leave) is leave occasioned by an on‐the‐job injury or occupational disease that arises out of and in the course of employment. It is the responsibility of the agency head to assess the impact of any employee inactivated by injury or illness on the agency’s operations and to contact the Director of Human Resources as soon as possible.
Until the Workers’ Compensation claim is approved by the Division of Risk Management, the employee’s absence should be recorded on his timecard as injury leave. Once an approval is obtained, the employee will remain on injury leave and the agency will be notified.
If the claim is determined not to be compensable, the employee will be required to use sick and annual leave during his absence. If the employee has appropriate leave balances (for example, annual, sick, or compensatory), an adjustment to his leave balances should be submitted to cover the time charged to injury leave. Should insufficient or no leave balances be available, the agency, after consultation with the Department of Human Resources, should coordinate arrangements with the employee for reimbursement of the amount owed.
Conference leave is leave with pay to attend a meeting, conference, or seminar normally requiring hours in excess of a normal workday (for example, a meeting requiring overnight or extensive travel) that is related to the employee’s job. Such leave must be requested through the online or written paper leave of absence request and approved in advance by the agency head or his designee(s). The Department of Human Resources will assist agency heads in clarifying the differences between conference leave and in‐service training activities on a case‐by‐case basis. For exempt employees, conference leave hours and any related travel time may not be counted as compensatory leave time. For non‐exempt employees, conference leave hours will be counted as hours actually worked for purposes of computing overtime pay. Thus, when approving conference leave for a non‐ exempt employee, the agency head should follow the overtime policy and procedures set forth in Section 4.4 and clearly communicate to the employee any restrictions on the use of overtime hours.
Exempt employees can earn compensatory leave for hours actually worked in excess of their standard work hours, if such work is approved by the agency head or his designee. Compensatory leave is earned on an hour‐for‐hour basis (in 15 minute increments) and must be used within 26 payperiods of being earned. If not used within 26 payperiods, the compensatory leave will be forfeited. Any consideration for reinstatement of previously forfeited compensatory leave balances must be submitted to the Director of Human Resources, who will consult with the County Manager for approval. Compensatory leave is not an entitlement and may be denied at the agency head’s discretion. Employees will not receive compensation for any unused compensatory leave balance at the time of separation.
Exempt employees may not earn compensatory leave for any hours worked for which they receive other forms of paid leave, including conference leave, unless approved by the County Manager. In addition, no compensatory leave is earned for travel time associated with conference leave.
Use of extended leave pool leave for an employee’s own serious health condition or to care for an employee’s spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition must be coordinated with the Family and Medical Leave Act (see Section 8.18). This subsection 8.14 does not apply to employees in the VRS Hybrid Plan, as they have County-paid short- and long-term disability coverage under the Hybrid Disability Program and are not eligible for the County’s extended leave pool.
- A full‐time employee may request to borrow paid leave against the County’s extended leave pool if all applicable leave has been exhausted, an undue financial hardship would result, and conditions listed in Section 8.14-C below are met. Leave may be granted under the following circumstances:
- The employee incurs a non‐service-connected injury or illness.
- The employee incurs a service‐connected injury or illness which is not compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
- The employee or a close family member is faced with a severe or catastrophic medical situation.
- The employee has encountered a severe or catastrophic event that is not medically related.
- The employee may borrow up to a maximum of two hours per payperiod for each payperiod of service in an authorized position. Employees with less than two years of service may borrow up to 13 days against their sick leave.
- Leave may be granted if the following criteria are met:
- The employee submits a written request to the agency head.
- The employee must be away from the job due to an injury or illness for 15 consecutive calendar days, and all other applicable leave must be exhausted before this leave pool may be used, if applicable.
- A health care provider’s certificate must be presented to the employee’s supervisor stating the earliest approximate date of return to work and advising on the ability of the employee to perform his regular duties, if applicable.
- If the leave requested is due to a severe or catastrophic event that is not related to an employee’s illness, the written request submitted to the agency head must include the details supporting the request from the employee.
- A written recommendation by the agency head that includes consideration of the employee’s job performance must be provided to the Director of Human Resources.
- Written approval of the County Manager after review and approval by Director of Human Resources must be obtained. Retroactive requests will not be considered except under extenuating circumstances.
- An employee with a sick leave usage rate at least the same or less than the average usage in the County at the time of the request will be given preference.
- Upon return to work, an employee is required to repay the leave borrowed from the extended leave pool. It is the employee’s responsibility to contact HR upon his return to begin the repayment process. Any leave granted and used is to be repaid in one of the following ways:
- At the rate of two hours per payperiod until all borrowed leave used is repaid in This payback will come from the employee’s accrued sick leave. The employee may also request to expedite the repayment of this leave by using annual leave. In those cases where extended leave is approved due to a qualified close family member’s illness, the employee shall repay the County either by cash or from the employee’s accrued annual leave.
- If the employee terminates employment prior to full restitution of borrowed leave used, a cash payment equal to the employee’s current rate of pay times the remaining balance will be deducted from the final paycheck, if appropriate, or will be repaid by the employee or the employee’s estate, in the event of death. The terms and conditions of repayment shall be determined and communicated by the Director of Human Resources. In the event of undue hardship, the County Manager may consider waiving all or part of the repayment.
In‐service training leave is leave with pay to attend conferences, workshops, or seminars‐ which provide job-related training that occurs within the regular work period. Such training does not require overnight travel (for example, training sponsored by the Department of Human Resources and workshops that are held in the Richmond metropolitan area). If necessary, the Department of Human Resources will assist agency heads in clarifying the difference between conference leave (Section 8.12) and in‐service training activities on a case‐by‐case basis.
The suspension leave category is used to record all time an employee misses due to a suspension, which may or may not be a result of disciplinary action. All suspensions require submission of the HR Action Form to the Department of Human Resources. Suspensions are without pay only, and are at the sole discretion of the Director of Human Resources.
Adoption leave can be coordinated with the Family and Medical Leave Act (Section 8.18). Paid adoption leave is available to a full‐time non‐probationary employee for the purpose of caring for a newly and legally adopted child. A maximum of 20 consecutive workdays or 160 consecutive work hours, whichever comes first, may be granted. If both parents are employees of the County, they may use up to a combined total of 20 consecutive workdays or 160 consecutive work hours between them at the parents’ discretion.
To request adoption leave, an online leave of absence request or written paper request must be submitted to an employee’s direct supervisor in advance of the adoptive placement in the employee’s home by a government or a licensed child placing agency. The request is to include the amount of leave requested, starting and ending dates to the extent known at the time of the request, and evidence of adoptive placement. If approved by the direct supervisor and the department Director, the Director of Human Resources shall review for final approval. Retroactive requests will not be considered without exceptional circumstances as determined by the Director of Human Resources.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which became effective on August 5, 1993, entitles eligible employees to take unpaid job‐protected leave for certain specified family and medical reasons. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) expanded the FMLA to allow eligible employees to take unpaid job‐protected leave (a) for any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a covered service member has been called to active duty; and (b) to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which became effective April 1, 2020, expanded the FMLA to allow eligible employees unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the employee’s child when the school or place of care has been closed, or when the child care provider of such child is unavailable, due to a public health emergency to take partially paid leave. The FFCRA expansions are effective through December 31, 2020.
As described in more detail below, the County’s FMLA policy is more generous than the FMLA and the NDAA in that the County provides up to 13 weeks of leave for specified family and medical reasons and for qualifying exigencies. In all other respects, the County administers its FMLA policy in accordance with the FMLA, the NDAA, and the FFCRA. Questions by employees and/or supervisors shall be directed to the Department of Human Resources’ Employee Relations Division.
The FMLA contains provisions on employer coverage, employee eligibility for benefits, entitlement to leave, maintenance of health benefits during leave, job restoration after leave, notice and certification of the need for FMLA leave, and protection for employees who request to take FMLA leave.
- Except as outlined in paragraph 3 below, in order to receive pay while on FMLA leave, the employee must have an available balance of paid leave (for example, annual, compensatory, floating holiday, or sick, if applicable).
- An employee who has been employed by the County for at least 12 months and has actually worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12‐month period prior to the use of any FMLA leave may be eligible to take up to 13 weeks (or 520 hours) of FMLA job‐protected leave in a 12‐month period for one or more of the following reasons:
- To care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition;
- To care for the employee’s own serious health condition;
- For the birth and care of a newborn child of the employee;
- For placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care; or
- For qualifying exigencies arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on active military duty.
In addition, an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered service member of the Armed Forces (including the National Guard or Reserves) who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness is entitled to up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave during a single 12‐month period to care for the service member.
- During a local, state or federal declared emergency, an employee who has been employed by the County for at least 30 calendar days may be eligible to take up to 12 weeks (or 480 hours) of paid FMLA job protected leave until December 31, 2020 to care for such employee’s child when the school or place of care has been closed, or when the child care provider of such child is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. When taking FMLA leave for this reason, an employee shall be paid, at a minimum, as follows:
- The first 10 days of qualifying leave may be unpaid, paid through the employee’s accrued leave balances, or paid under the Emergency Leave policy.
- After the first 10 days of leave, the employee shall be paid at a rate of 2/3 of their regular rate of pay based on the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work.
- In no event shall paid leave exceed $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate.
- An employee may supplement this pay by using available leave balances in order to reach their full regular pay.
- Except when using FMLA leave to care for a covered service member, an eligible employee is limited to a combined total of 13 weeks of leave for any FMLA-qualifying reason during a single 12-month period. When using FMLA leave to care for a covered service member, an eligible employee is limited to a combined total of 26 weeks of leave for any FMLA‐qualifying reason during a single 12‐month period and only 13 of those 26 weeks may be for an FMLA‐qualifying reason other than to care for a covered service member.
- Spouses employed by the County and/or Henrico County Public Schools are jointly entitled to a combined total of up to 13 weeks of FMLA leave for the birth and care of the newborn child, for placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and to care for a parent who has a serious health condition. Spouses employed by the County and Henrico County Public Schools are jointly entitled to a combined total of up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave if leave is to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness. Spouses employed by the County and/or Henrico County Public Schools are jointly entitled to a combined total of up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave to care for the employee’s child when the school or place of care has been closed, or when the child care provider of such child is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. Leave for birth of and care for a child, or placement for adoption or foster care must conclude within 12 months of the birth or placement.
- Under some circumstances, employees may take leave intermittently (which means taking leave in blocks of time) or by reducing the hours in their regular work schedule.
- If leave is used for the birth and care of a newborn or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, use of intermittent leave is subject to the approval of the Director of Human Resources.
- FMLA leave may be taken intermittently, when medically necessary, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to care for the employee’s own serious health condition, or to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness. FMLA leave may also be taken intermittently for a qualifying exigency arising out of the active duty status or call to active duty of a covered military member.
- When intermittent leave is needed for planned medical treatment for an employee’s own serious health condition or for a covered family member’s serious health condition, the employee must try to schedule treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the County’s operation(s).
- If leave is used for a local, state, or federal declared emergency, the employee and the employee’s supervisor must agree to a schedule for use of the intermittent leave.
- Notice and Certification
For any circumstance covered by FMLA where an employee is (or expects to be) absent from work, the FMLA Eligibility Request Form must be completed and submitted to HR within five days of becoming aware an absence could qualify for FMLA. Leave under this policy should be requested 30 days in advance. Where need for leave is not foreseeable, or in cases where 30‐days advance notice is not possible, the employee must complete the FMLA Eligibility Request Form as soon as practical. If the employee is unable to complete the form, it is the immediate supervisor’s responsibility to complete and submit the form. If the employee takes leave pursuant to FFCRA, the employee shall provide such notice of leave as is practicable.
Absences could qualify for FMLA if the reason for leave meets one or more of the definitions of a serious health condition (related to employee’s own health condition or an approved family member’s health condition). FMLA leave may also apply if the leave is related to expanding your family, or related to an approved military situation. To see a chart defining serious health conditions that may be covered, click here.
In the case of an employee’s own serious health condition, a certification from a health care provider will be required. Employees may also be required to provide:
- Second or third medical opinions (at the employer’s expense) and periodic re-certification;
- Periodic reports during FMLA leave regarding the employee’s status and intent to return to work; and
- A fitness-for-duty certification to show that an employee who took FMLA for his own serious serious health condition is able to resume working.
- Maintenance of Health Care Benefits
When on unpaid FMLA leave, to ensure continuation of health care coverage, the employee must submit payment for the employee’s share of the health care premium to the Department of Human Resources. If the employee fails to return to work after FMLA leave, unless it is for a medical disability, the employee must reimburse the County for its portion of any premiums paid while the employee was on unpaid leave. All other benefits will be treated the same as an employee on approved leave without pay.
Additional information such as definitions, forms, and FAQs on FMLA can be found online.
The County awards full-time employees in authorized positions up to 8 hours of paid volunteer leave at the beginning of each fiscal year. Part-time employees are eligible for volunteer leave on a pro-rated basis. Leave will be charged on an actual usage basis rounded to the nearest quarter hour.
In compliance with Virginia Code § 15.2-953, employees may request volunteer leave to participate in an event sponsored by any charitable institution or association, located within Henrico County or outside Henrico County if such institution or association provides services to residents of Henrico, including the following:
- any charitable institution or nonprofit or other organization providing housing for persons 60 years of age or older or operating a hospital or nursing home;
- any association or other organization furnishing voluntary firefighting services;
- any nonprofit or volunteer emergency medical services agency, within or outside the boundaries of the locality;
- any nonprofit recreational association or organization;
- any nonprofit organization providing recreational or daycare services to persons 65 years of age or older;
- any nonprofit association or organization furnishing services to beautify and maintain communities or to prevent neighborhood deterioration;
- chambers of commerce which are nonprofit and nonsectarian;
- industrial development authorities for the purposes of promoting economic development;
- any public and private nonprofit organizations and agencies engaged in commemorating historical events;
- any nonprofit organization that is exempt from taxation under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is engaged in providing energy efficiency services or promoting energy efficiency within or without the boundaries of the locality;
- any nonprofit organization that is exempt from taxation under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is engaged in providing emergency relief to residents, including providing the repair or replacement of private property damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster;
- a public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth that provides services to Henrico residents; and
- another governmental entity in or outside of the Commonwealth within the United States.
In addition, employees may request volunteer leave to volunteer for nonprofit foundations established to support the Henrico’s public parks, libraries, and law enforcement.
Volunteer leave may not be used to volunteer at an event for any charitable institution or association controlled in whole or in part by any church or sectarian society. The words “sectarian society” shall not be construed to mean a nondenominational Young Men’s Christian Association, a nondenominational Young Women’s Christian Association, Habitat for Humanity, or the Salvation Army.
Volunteer leave must be used in the fiscal year in which it is earned; any unused leave will be forfeited. Employees who separate their employment with the County will not be paid for unused volunteer leave.
Before volunteer leave is used, a request for volunteer leave must be submitted to and approved by the employee’s agency head or designee, who will be responsible for ensuring the leave meets this policy’s criteria. Requests may be denied when, among other things, the requested leave may conflict with the organization’s mission or may negatively affect the employee’s job performance.
Emergency leave is available to support employees who need to stay home from work while sick with a communicable illness, to care for a sick family member with a communicable illness, or to sustain a quarantine. The County offers a minimum of eighty (80) hours of emergency leave for employees only in those circumstances specifically designated by the County Manager. In those circumstances, use of emergency leave will be authorized only when an employee is unable to perform his/her work duties remotely. Unless prohibited by law, an employee will be required to exhaust all other forms of accrued paid sick leave before using emergency leave.
Employees seeking to use emergency leave must submit a written justification to the Director of Human Resources (or his/her designee) through the agency head outlining the need and reason for the use of emergency leave.
Emergency leave is intended to be used during times of significant crisis and concern. Changing circumstances, the need to be flexible and fluid, and the availability of credible information will be considered in the application of this leave type.