HR

PURPOSE:  This Policy is intended to describe how the County will conduct benefits administration and related issues.  This Policy will serve to inform employees and guide them in the area of benefits provided to them by the County (reference G).

SCOPE:  This Policy and Procedure applies to all employees of Larimer County, employees of the Office of the District Attorney, Eighth Judicial District, and employees of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office pursuant to Larimer County Policy BCC P# 15A (reference I).

RESPONSIBILITY:  The Human Resources Director administers this Policy.

SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS:

  1. Appropriate use of benefits
  2. Granting of benefits per regulations or policies

REVISION LOCATOR:

  1. Updated terminology fo 'Appointed Authority' to 'Decision Maker' throughout Policy and reference to reflect current practice (especially in Sections II, B; throughout V; and VI, A)
  2. Section VI, A

 

POLICY AND PROCEDURE:

I.   GENERAL POLICY:  Benefits provided by Larimer County are designed to increase the employee’s total compensation package beyond the salary component, to create an attractive employment package and to help achieve a high level of employee satisfaction.

II.  DEFINITIONS:

A.  BENEFITS ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES:  Employees in the following employment categories are currently eligible for benefit coverages and paid leave, except as specifically exempted.  They will be referred to as Benefited Employees for the purposes of this policy.

1.  REGULAR EMPLOYEES:  These employees are eligible for all benefit coverages and all forms of paid leave, except as specifically exempted.

a.   Regular Full Time:  Employees with standard hours of 40 per week.
b.   Regular Part Time:  Employees with standard hours from 20 to 39. Insurance premiums and leave accrual rates are pro-rated

2.  APPOINTED OFFICIALS (reference E)

3.  ELECTED OFFICIALS:  All elected officials who are on the County payroll excluding the Surveyor, who is covered under Section II, B. Temporary Employees.

4.  LIMITED TERM EMPLOYEES (reference A)

5.  REINSTATED EMPLOYEES:  If a Benefited Employee separates employment with the County and is rehired, accrual of benefits starts over as a newly-hired employee and as legally mandated.  The only benefit reinstated is the vesting status in the mandatory retirement plan.  An exception is for employees reinstated after layoff under certain circumstances (reference K).

B.  TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES:  Temporary employees are not eligible for benefits coverages or paid leave except those benefits that are legally mandated.  In certain circumstances, paid leave could be allowed if approved in advance by the Decision Maker.

III.  EFFECTIVE DATE OF BENEFITS:  If an employee’s hire date is between the 1st and the 15th day of the month, benefits will be effective the first of the next month.  If the hire date is the 16th of the month or later, the employee’s benefits will be effective the first of the second following month.  (For example, if employment starts March 1-15, insurance coverage is effective April 1; if employment starts March 16-31, coverage is effective May 1.)

IV.  TYPES OF BENEFITS:

A.  EMPLOYEE GROUP INSURANCE POLICIES:  The County offers a variety of group insurance policies to Benefited Employees.  The terms and conditions of each separate group policy are governed by the specific contract for each policy.

B.  RETIREMENT PLAN:  Terms and conditions of the County’s retirement plan are governed by the Retirement Plan Document, as adopted by the Larimer County Retirement Board and the Board of County Commissioners.

1.  Condition of Employment:  As a condition of employment, all Benefited Employees must participate in the County’s retirement plan upon hire.

2.  Contributions:  The employee contributes a percentage of gross salary through payroll deduction; the County matches that contribution. The contribution increases with years of service.  Once an employee is a participant of the County’s retirement plan, they can also make voluntary after-tax contributions into the plan through payroll deduction.

C.  SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES ENHANCED DEFERRED COMPENSATION PROGRAM:  The County will match income deferrals by eligible Sheriff’s Department employees in accordance with the established provisions.  See the Sheriff’s Office Enhanced Deferred Compensation Program policy (reference F).

D.  WORKERS’ COMPENSATION:  All Larimer County employees are covered by the State Workers’ Compensation Act for injuries or illnesses sustained in the course of employment. See the Workers’ Compensation Policy for details (reference B).

V.  TYPES OF LEAVE:  The County provides various approved leave benefits to all Benefited Employees except as specifically exempted.

The following types of leave are described in this policy:

  • Administrative Leave
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Clinic Leave
  • Emergency Leave
  • Holiday Leave
  • Jury Leave
  • Personal Leave Without Pay
  • Military Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Sick Leave Without Pay
  • Vacation Leave
  • Voting Leave

A.  ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE:  The Decision Maker, as appropriate on an individual basis, may grant a reasonable amount of paid time away from the job for good and sufficient cause.  Examples of “good and sufficient cause” include, but are not limited to, time away for a County-sponsored event, and to recognize an employee for working at an unusually high level and/or working an unusually high number of hours above their normal work schedule.  A Decision Maker may award up to five days per employee per year.  For periods of leave of more than five days, before granting administrative leave, the Decision Maker must obtain approval of the Human Resources Director or designee.  Approved Administrative Leave will be loaded into the payroll system for use by the employee on their timesheet.

B.  CLINIC LEAVE:  Clinic leave with pay is granted to all Benefited Employees who are enrolled in the County’s health insurance program for the purpose of appropriate use of The Wellness Clinic. 

1.  Eligible employees can use Clinic leave for appointments with the Physician Assistant at The Wellness Clinic for instances of their sickness, injury, or other medical and preventative health related matters.  Clinic leave is not available for use by employees to take their spouse or child to appointments at The Wellness Clinic.

2.  For any absence of any length for an appointment at The Wellness Clinic, the Decision Maker or designee may require an employee to provide documentation.

C.  BEREAVEMENT LEAVE:   A supervisor or manager may grant an employee up to three business days of paid emergency leave per occurrence in the event of the death of an employee’s immediate family member or a fellow employee.

Immediate family member is defined as follows:

  • Spouse, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, (including step and in-law relationships).
  • Aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

The employee must request the leave from their supervisor or manager, who may approve or deny the request.  If the employee requests additional time off beyond the initial three-business day allowance, the Decision Maker or designee may authorize additional emergency leave time, provided that such additional time is equitably granted.  If the employee’s request for emergency leave is denied, the employee may use leave without pay or other appropriate forms of paid leave with the approval of the Decision Maker.

D.  EMERGENCY LEAVE:  This policy will not attempt to specifically list all of the reasons for which emergency leave may be authorized by the Decision Maker.  The Decision Maker should be conservative in the granting of emergency leave.  If there is any doubt as to the appropriateness of granting emergency leave, the Decision Maker should consult with the Human Resources Department.

1.  Inclement Weather:

Larimer County will make every effort to maintain normal work hours even during inclement weather. When it is announced that Larimer County offices will be closed for non-essential employees, the Decision Maker or designee may grant employees Emergency Leave accordingly.

2.  Damage to County Facilities Leave:

Employees are eligible for up to three business days of paid leave if damage to County Facilities as a result of an officially declared Disaster or Emergency prohibits the employee from being able to work. Following the three business days of paid emergency leave, the employee may use leave without pay or other appropriate forms of paid leave with the approval of the Decision Maker or designee.

3.  Emergency Response Leave as Part of an Emergency Response Organization:

Employees may be granted leave from work by the Decision Maker or designee in order to participate as an unpaid member of an approved emergency response organization or for training necessary in order to participate in emergency responses as part of such organization.  Time off for emergency responses or training shall be without loss of pay or benefits.  The Decision Maker or designees may authorize such paid absences for up to 10 business days per calendar year.  Examples of this kind of emergency volunteer work include civil air patrol duty, search and rescue duty, participation as a member of a volunteer fire department, dive rescue duty, and other similar activities that are unpaid.  Leave requests over 10 business days require approval by the County Manager or Elected Official, as appropriate.

An employee who is a member of an emergency response organization should notify the Decision Maker or designee that they may need to request time off in order to respond to an emergency situation.  This will allow the Decision Maker or designee sufficient time to determine whether the organization for which the employee will be providing assistance is a legitimate emergency response organization within the intent of this policy.

4.  Victims Protection Leave:

a.  Employees are eligible for up to three days of leave in any 12 month period, if the employee has been the victim of domestic abuse, which includes stalking, sexual assault, or any other crime for which the underlying factual basis has been found by a court to include an act of domestic violence.  This form of leave may be used only for the following purposes which arise from crimes as identified above:

  1. Seeking a civil restraining order to prevent domestic abuse;
  2. Obtaining medical care or mental health counseling or both for the employee or the employee's children to address physical or psychological injuries resulting from the act of domestic abuse, stalking, sexual assault or other crime involving domestic violence;
  3. Making the employee's home secure from the perpetrator of the act of domestic abuse, stalking or sexual assault or other crime involving domestic violence or seeking new housing to escape said perpetrator; or
  4. Seeking legal assistance to address issues arising from the act of domestic abuse, stalking or sexual assault or other crime involving domestic violence; and/or attending and preparing for court-related proceedings arising from the act or crime.

b.  Employees may use up to three days of paid emergency leave first and then make use of other appropriate forms of leave as may be necessary and appropriate.  A supervisor or manager, as appropriate, may limit an employee’s absence to the three days of emergency leave, but may grant more time using other types of leave if it is requested by the employee and, in the judgment of the supervisor or manager, the additional time is reasonable or necessary.

c.  Except in cases of imminent danger to the health or safety of an employee or an employee's children, an employee seeking to leave work for any of the reasons provided for in this policy must provide the supervisor or manager with advance notice of the need to be absent.  The advance notice should be provided as soon as the employee knows or reasonably expects that he or she will need to be absent.

d.  Information related to an employee's use of this type of leave must be kept confidential.

e.  Any County managerial or supervisory employee who receives a request for time off from work for the purpose of engaging in any of the activities described in this section should contact the Human Resources Department immediately.

5.  Other Emergency Leave

The Decision Maker may grant an employee up to three business days of paid emergency leave for other emergencies not identified in this policy.

The employee must request the leave from the Decision Maker, who may approve or deny the request.  If the employee requests additional time off beyond the initial three-business day allowance, the Decision Maker may authorize additional emergency leave time, provided that such additional time is equitably granted.  If the employee’s request for emergency leave is denied, the employee may use other appropriate forms of paid leave with the approval of the Decision Maker.

E.  HOLIDAY LEAVE:  Benefited Employees receive 10 paid holidays per calendar year.   For payroll purposes a holiday is considered an eight hour workday for full time employees, and prorated for Benefited Employees working less than 40 hours as indicated below.

EMPLOYMENT STATUS

HOLIDAY HOURS EARNED
Full-Time 8.00
30 - 39 Hours 7.00
20 - 29 Hours 5.00

1.  Holiday(s) When On Other Paid Leave:  Holiday leave will be received when an employee is in a paid status for at least half of the regularly scheduled work hours in the pay period in which a recognized County holiday occurs, except when the employee is on an approved leave under FMLA (reference D).  Employees on an approved FML leave will receive holiday leave.

2.  Schedule of Holidays:

Most County offices are closed on the designated holidays. When a holiday falls on Saturday, it will be observed on the preceding Friday. When a holiday falls on Sunday, it will be observed on the following Monday. The following 10 days have been designated as County holidays:

HOLIDAY OBSERVED

New Year's Day
Martin Luther King Day
President's Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Veteran's Day
Thanksgiving Day
Day after Thanksgiving
Christmas Day

January 1
3rd Monday in January
3rd Monday in February
Last Monday in May
July 4
1st Monday in September
November 11
4th Thursday in November
Friday after 4th Thursday in November
December 25

3.  Alternate Holiday: 

a.  If a supervisor or manager must continue operations on any of the fixed County holidays, the supervisor or manager must either.

1)   grant an alternate day off (deferred holiday) to observe the holiday to any eligible employee who is required to work on the observed holiday or
2)   pay any eligible employee who is required to work on the holiday for the hours actually worked and the hours of the observed holiday.

b.  An employee may be allowed to defer an observed holiday on which they did not work if the employee has enough physical or actual hours worked to make their scheduled work week whole.

4.  Maximum Carryover Limit:  The maximum carryover limit for holiday leave (accrued and deferred) balances is 32 hours for full time Benefited Employees.  A proportionate maximum carryover will apply to part time Benefited Employees’ equivalent to four (4) workdays at the part time holiday accrual rate they are receiving as of December 31st of each calendar year.  An employee’s holiday leave balance in excess of the maximum carryover limit will be forfeited as of December 31st of each calendar year.

5.  Priority Use of Holiday Leave: Except for employees on an approved FML leave of absence (reference D), or as otherwise approved by a Human Resources Generalist, holiday leave must be used first in any workweek in which an observed holiday falls.

6.  Terminating employees:  Upon termination, Benefited Employees are paid for all unused holiday leave up to the maximum carryover limit. 

F.  JURY LEAVE:

1.  Benefited Employees are entitled to paid jury leave not to exceed 20 business days during a calendar year.  For Jury Leave purposes, a "business day" is defined as the number of hours an employee was or would have been scheduled to work on a day missed due to jury duty.  Employees may use leave accruals or Leave Without Pay following the initial 20 business days of paid jury leave.  Employees may retain all jury duty fees paid by a Court.

2.  Temporary employees who were scheduled to work during the first three (3) days of a period of jury duty will receive the pay they would have earned if they had not been called to jury duty.  After the first three days of jury duty, temporary employees may be granted necessary time off to serve, but such time is unpaid by the County.

3.  The County will not deprive an employee called to jury duty their right to employment or benefits; nor harass, threaten, or coerce an employee because the employee receives a juror summons, responds to, or performs any obligation or election of juror service.  The County will not substantially interfere with the effective performance of juror service.

G.  MILITARY LEAVE:  Larimer County complies with applicable state and federal regulations (reference H) in granting paid military leave to Benefited Employees.

1.  Giving Notice:  Service members are required to provide advance written or verbal notice to their employer for all military duty unless giving notice is impossible, unreasonable, or precluded by military necessity.

2.  Amount of Paid Military Leave:  Any Benefited Employee who is a member of an organized military reserve unit of the United States Government and on active military duty or training will be granted, per calendar year, a maximum of 15 business days of County paid leave, including necessary travel time.  For Military Leave purposes, a "business day" is defined as the number of hours an employee was or would have been scheduled to work on a day missed due to active military duty or training.  The employee may keep their regular County pay and their military pay.

3.  Military Leave Without Pay:  If an employee's period of uniformed service exceeds the period of available County paid Military Leave and/or any accrued leave the employee chooses to use, the employee will be eligible for Military Leave Without Pay during the period of uniformed service.  An employee's eligibility for Military Leave Without Pay will end upon their return to work or the exhaustion of the applicable reporting period.

4.  Benefit Coverages:  Employees performing federal active military duty of more than 30 days may elect to continue County sponsored health plan programs for up to 24 months; however, the employee will be required to pay the full premium after the first 30 calendar days of leave without pay.  Prior to departure for service, the employee should coordinate their coverage under Tri-Care with their military unit.

5.  Retirement Benefits:  Employees are treated as if they had been continuously employed for retirement purposes.  This applies to vesting and also determining the amount of monthly contributions.

6.  Family and Medical Leave Act:  Federal active military duty time counts toward hours worked for eligibility.

7.  Pay:  The returning service member is entitled to their pre-service rate, adjusted by merit increases and/or market adjustments added during their absence.

8.  Vacation/Sick Leave Use and Accrual:  Service members are able, but are not required, to use accrued vacation leave, floating holidays and comp-time while performing military service.  Vacation and sick leave will continue to accrue during the employee’s County-paid leave for uniformed service.  An employee on leave for uniformed service will be entitled to their scheduled vacation accrual rate increase while on active duty.

9.  Probationary Status:  A probationary employee called to military service is eligible for reemployment under County policy.  When a probationary employee is reemployed, he or she will return to the same status as existed prior to the military service. For example, if a six month probationary employee is called to active military service after completing four months of probationary employment, upon return to work status, the employee will be in a probationary status for the remaining two months.

10.  Reemployment Rights:  Returning service members must meet the following conditions or eligibility criteria:

a.  Must hold a County job (jobs held for a brief, nonrecurring period with no reasonable expectation of continuing for a significant period do not qualify).

b.  Must have given written or verbal notice to supervisor prior to leaving the job for military training or service except when precluded by military necessity.

c.  Must not have exceeded the 5-year cumulative limit on periods of service.

d.  Must have been released from active service under conditions other than dishonorable.

e.  Must report back to the County in a timely manner or submit a timely application for reemployment.  Time limits are:

  • Military Service Less Than 31 Days:  Employees must report for reemployment “at the beginning of the first full regularly scheduled working period on the first full calendar day following completion of service and expiration of eight (8) hours after time for safe transportation back to their residence.”
  • Military Service More Than 30 Days but Less Than 181 Days:  Employees must submit an application for reemployment (written or verbal) no later than 14 days after completion of service.
  • Military Service over 180 Days:  Employees must submit an application for reemployment (written or verbal) no later than 90 days after completion of service.

f.  If an employee is hospitalized for, or convalescing from, an illness or injury incurred in, or aggravated during, the performance of service, they must report to or submit an application for reemployment at the end of the period necessary for recovering from the illness or injury.  This period may not exceed two (2) years from the date of the completion of service.  In addition, the two-year period could be further extended by the “minimum time required to accommodate the employee’s disabilities.”

11. Five-Year Limit Defined:  An employee is not entitled to reemployment or other benefits if their cumulative period of absence for military service, from one employer, exceeds five years.  Eight categories of service are exempt from the five-year limitation. These include:

a.  Service required beyond five years to complete an initial period of obligated service;

b.  Service from which the employee, through no fault of the employee, is unable to obtain a release within the five-year limit;

c.  Required training for reservists and National Guard members;

d.  Service under an involuntary order to, or to be retained on, active duty during domestic emergency or national security related situations;

e.  Service under an order to, or to remain on, active duty (other than for training) because of a war or national emergency declared by the President or Congress;

f.  Active duty (other than for training) by volunteers supporting “operational missions” for which Selected Reservists have been ordered to active duty without their consent;

g.  Service by volunteers who are ordered to active duty in support of a “critical mission or requirement” in times other than war or national emergency and when no involuntary call up is in effect;

h.  Federal service by members of the National Guard called into action by the President to suppress an insurrection, repel an invasion, or to execute the laws of the United States.

H.  PERSONAL LEAVE WITHOUT PAY:

 

TEMPORARY CHANGES TO PERSONAL LEAVE WITHOUT PAY POLICY DUE TO COVID-19

 

1.  Personal Leave Without Pay (PLWOP) is unpaid leave that can be approved for absences for which another form of Leave Without Pay is not appropriate.

2.  When requested by a Benefited Employee, the Decision Maker may grant PLWOP as appropriate, such as by the hour or workday.  The County assumes no contractual obligation and the employee has no contractual right to extend leave time beyond that required by applicable law.  The Decision Maker will base any decision to grant or deny PLWOP on staffing needs and other appropriate considerations, including the requesting employee’s duties and responsibilities, the impact on the department or office, etc.

3.  If the employee will be on PLWOP for more than three working days in a pay period, the employee must submit their request for PLWOP in writing to their Decision Maker or designee using the County’s Leave Without Pay Notification form, LCHR-20 (enclosure 1).  The requesting employee must indicate the basis for the leave.  Prior to granting PLWOP, the Decision Maker or designee must consult with the Human Resources Director (enclosure 5) or designee, and provide the completed Leave Without Pay Notification form LCHR-20 (enclosure 1).

4.  If an employee is on PLWOP for more than half of their regularly scheduled work hours in a pay period, the employee will not accrue vacation, sick, or holiday leave.  If an employee is on PLWOP for more than half of their regularly scheduled work hours in a pay period in which a recognized County holiday occurs, the employee will not receive holiday leave pay.  The employee will be required to use enough accrued leave each pay period to cover the cost of any insurance premiums, or other appropriate deductions.

a.  When requested by a Benefited Employee, the Decision Maker or designee may grant PLWOP that extends beyond the requesting employee’s entire pay period.  An initial period of PLWOP may not be approved for longer than three months.  An extension may be approved by the Decision Maker or designee for up to three months per approval, but the leave should not exceed more than twelve continuous months in total.

b.  If an employee is temporarily absent from work due to an approved leave of absence, coverage under the health plans may continue during that leave for up to a maximum of 12 months, if he or she was enrolled prior to taking the leave, as allowed by the insurance policies.  Contact Human Resources/Benefits for restrictions on the continuation of the life insurance and disability plans. The employee will be required to pay both the employer-paid portion and the employee-paid portion of their monthly insurance premiums while on PLWOP.  The employee will be required to use enough accrued leave each pay period to cover the cost of any insurance premiums, or other appropriate deductions.  If premiums are not paid, the coverages will lapse.  After 12 months of an approved leave of absence, coverage is available through COBRA if the coverages have been kept current.

5.  Employees are generally not required to exhaust accrued leave prior to using PLWOP.  The Decision Maker or designee may require employees to exhaust appropriate paid leave prior to using PLWOP based on legitimate business reasons and must consult with the Human Resources Director or designee (enclosure 5).

6.  Any period of PLWOP does not constitute a break in service for determining the employee’s benefit accrual rates or the employee’s vesting in the County’s retirement plan.

I.  SICK LEAVE: Sick leave with pay is granted to all Benefited Employees.


 

TEMPORARY CHANGES TO SICK LEAVE POLICY DUE TO COVID-19

  • Waiver of 331.6 Benefits Policy, Section I.2.a, allowing employees to utilize sick leave for themselves if not sick with COVID-19, but placed in quarantine or isolation due to identified or potential contact with an infected person; and 
     
  • Waiver of 331.6 Benefits Policy, Section I.2.d, allowing employees to utilize sick leave for the care of a family member not sick with COVID-19 but placed in quarantine or isolation due to identified or potential contact with an infected person; and
     
  • Waiver of 331.6 Benefits Policy, Section I.2.d, allowing employees to utilize sick leave to care for a family member resulting from a care facility closure (i.e., childcare, assisted living, etc.); and
    Rescinded effective April 1, 2020 to coincide with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act effective date.
     
  • Waiver of 331.6 Benefits Policy Section I.2.h, allowing employees to enter into a negative sick leave balance, due to COVID-19 qualifying absence(s); and  
    Rescinded effective April 1, 2020 to coincide with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act effective date.
     
  • Waiver of 331.6 Benefits Policy I.2.d, allowing employees to donate sick leave for employees in negative leave accrual status due to COVID-19 qualifying absence(s.
    Rescinded effective April 1, 2020 to coincide with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act effective date.
     
  • Waiver of 331.6 Benefits Policy, Section I.2.d, allowing employees to utilize sick leave to make their compensation whole when used in conjunction with Emergency Sick Leave or Extended Family Medical Leave Act, provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

For clarification on these temporary changes, please contact your Human Resources Generalist.
 

EMERGENCY SICK LEAVE: Temporary Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (available through 12/31/2020)

1.  All Employees, including temporary employees, will be eligible for up to 80 hours (prorated by hours for non-full time employees) of emergency sick leave if:

  • They are subject to a coronavirus quarantine or isolation order;
  • Have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns;
  • Are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and is seeking medical diagnosis;
  • Caring for an individual who has been quarantined or ordered to isolate;
  • Caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons;
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by HHS in consultation with the Treasury and Labor Departments.

2.  Details about emergency sick leave:

  • Immediate use regardless of employee’s tenure;
  • Pro-rated based on their hours worked;
  • Employees granted emergency sick leave for themselves will be paid their hourly rate for the up to 80 hours, not to exceed $511 per day;
  • Employees granted emergency sick leave to care for family members will be paid 2/3 of their hourly rate per hour, not to exceed $200 per day;
  • Employees are not required to use other accrued leave categories prior to receiving emergency sick leave.
  • Employees can use their own sick leave to make their pay whole.
     

1.  Accrual of Sick Leave:

a.  Benefited full-time and part-time employees accrue sick leave on a proportional tier basis.  Employees must be in paid status for at least half of their regularly scheduled work hours in a pay period to accrue sick leave.

b.  Newly hired Benefited Employees will begin accruing sick leave with the first full pay period of employment.

c.  There is no maximum accrual limit placed on sick leave balances.

d.  Employees on FMLA qualifying leave (reference D), either with or without pay, or are absent due to a work-related injury or illness will continue to accrue sick leave during the leave time.

2.  Use of Accrued Sick Leave:

a.  Eligible employees can use sick leave for instances of their sickness, injury, or other medical conditions, including pregnancy and complications thereof, or when an employee has a communicable disease as defined by the County Health Department.  Eligible employees can also use sick leave to attend to their health care related appointments.

b.  A manager or supervisor may require an eligible employee to leave work and be placed on appropriate leave when they reasonably believe that the employee is unable to satisfactorily perform their job duties and/or may endanger the health of other employees or the public due to sickness, injury, and/or a risk of spreading infection.

After complying with any direction under paragraph 2.b, an employee who disagrees with their placement on leave under this subsection may exercise their rights under the Formal Problem Solving Process and submit medical documentation to the Decision Maker in support of that disagreement (reference C).  This is not a grievable action.  In consultation with the Human Resources Director, the Decision Maker will review the employee’s submitted information to determine whether the placement on leave was appropriate.  If the Decision Maker determines the placement was appropriate, the employee will be promptly informed.

If the Decision Maker determines the placement was not appropriate:

  1. if not already, the employee will be promptly returned to work;
  2. any paid leave used will be retroactively credited to the employee’s leave balance(s) and the employee will be retroactively placed on administrative leave for the time off work;
  3. if any leave without pay was used, the employee will be retroactively placed on administrative leave for the time off work; and
  4. the placement on leave may not be considered negatively in any evaluation of the employee.

c.  Before returning to work, the employee may be required to provide documentation from a health care provider of the employee’s ability to satisfactorily perform their job duties without endangering the health or safety of other employees or the public.

d.  Employees may also use sick leave to attend to sick family members.  For purposes of this sick leave policy, family members include the employee’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, (including step relationships), and those who are in the legal guardianship of the employee.  In consultation with the Human Resources Director, the Decision Maker may grant sick leave usage to care for family members not identified in this policy.  The Decision Maker, as appropriate, has the authority to require an employee to submit satisfactory proof of the applicable relationship (i.e. Common Law Marriage Affidavit, LCHR-80, enclosure 3).

e.  Employees may use sick leave to attend the birth of their child, to care for the child after birth (within one year after birth); and for placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care (within one year after placement).

f.  Employees must state the reason for the sick leave request so that the Decision Maker, as appropriate, can determine if the requested leave is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (reference D).

g.  For any sick leave absence of any length, the Decision Maker or designee, as appropriate, may require an employee to provide a healthcare provider's statement confirming the medical necessity of the absence.

h.  Paid sick leave used cannot exceed the employee's accrued sick leave balance as of the end of the current pay period.  Under certain circumstances, an employee may be eligible for Donated Sick Leave to deal with a life threatening medical condition experienced by a person for who the employee could take sick leave for under the sick leave policy, except the employee. To request Donated Sick Leave, complete the Application for Donated Sick Leave, LCHR-125 (enclosure 2).

3.  Sick Leave Without Pay:

a.  An employee who is not eligible for FMLA, who does not wish or is not required to use their paid leave balances and/or has exhausted their paid leave balances needed for a medical absence, may be eligible for Sick Leave Without Pay (SLWOP).

b.  For Sick Leave Without Pay situations involving FMLA qualifying leave, see FMLA policy (reference D).

c.  When requested by a Benefited Employee, the Decision Maker may grant SLWOP as appropriate, such as by the hour or workday.  The Decision Maker will base any decision to grant or deny SLWOP on the nature of the medical condition(s), staffing needs and other appropriate considerations, including the requesting employee’s duties and responsibilities, the impact on the department or office, etc. 

If an employee is on SLWOP for more than half of their regularly scheduled work hours in a pay period, the employee will not accrue vacation, sick, or holiday leave.  If an employee is on SLWOP for more than half of their regularly scheduled work hours in a pay period in which a recognized County holiday occurs, the employee will not receive holiday leave pay.  The employee will be required to use enough accrued leave each pay period to cover the cost of any insurance premiums, or other appropriate deductions. 

  1. When requested by a Benefited Employee, the Decision Maker may grant SLWOP that extends beyond the requesting employee’s entire pay period.  An initial period of SLWOP may not be approved for longer than three months.  An extension may be approved by the Decision Maker for up to three months per approval, but the leave should not exceed more than twelve continuous months in total.  The Decision Maker will base any decision to grant or deny SLWOP on the department/office’s staffing needs and other appropriate considerations, including the requesting employee’s duties and responsibilities, the impact on the department or office, etc.
  2. If an employee is temporarily absent from work due to an approved leave of absence for medical reasons, coverage under the health plans may continue during that leave for up to a maximum of 12 months if he or she was enrolled prior to taking the leave, as allowed by the insurance policies.  Contact Human Resources/Benefits for restrictions on the continuation of the life insurance and disability plans.  The employee will be required to pay the employee-paid portion of their monthly insurance premiums while on SLWOP.  The employee will be required to use enough accrued leave each pay period to cover the cost of any insurance premiums, or other appropriate deductions.  If premiums are not paid, the coverage’s will lapse.  After 12 months of an approved leave of absence, coverage is available through COBRA if the coverages have been kept current.

d.  If leave balances have not been exhausted, an employee must submit their notification for SLWOP in writing to the Decision Maker or designee using the County’s Leave Without Pay Notification form, LCHR-20 (enclosure 1).

e.  If leave balances have been exhausted, an employee must submit their request in writing to the Decision Maker using the County’s Extended Sick Leave Without Pay Request form, LCHR-14 (enclosure 4).  The requesting employee must indicate the medical basis for the leave and present documentation by the appropriate health care provider of the inability to work due to medical reasons.  Subsequently, additional documentation may be required, for example on a monthly basis, but no less than on a quarterly basis.

f.  Employees are generally not required to exhaust accrued leave prior to using SLWOP.  The Decision Maker may require employees to exhaust appropriate paid leave prior to using SLWOP based on legitimate business reasons and must consult with the Human Resources Director or designee.

g.  Any period of SLWOP does not constitute a break in service for determining the employee’s benefits accrual rates or the employee’s vesting in the County’s retirement plan.

h.  If an employee wants to extend their leave of absence beyond what is medically necessary, then the leave period is no longer considered to be Sick Leave Without Pay.  In this case, any request for continued leave approval would then be covered under the provisions of the Personal Leave Without Pay policy (see Section V, H).

4.  Disbursement of Accrued Sick Leave at Separation:  Upon separation with less than five years of continuous service as measured from the employee’s current service date, an employee’s accrued sick leave balance is lost.  Upon separation with five or more years of continuous service as measured from the employee’s current service date, employees receive the monetary value of a certain portion of their accrued Sick Leave as follows:

With the exceptions noted below, employees with five or more years of continuous service as measured from the employee’s current service date, will have the monetary value of 35% of the number of hours remaining in their accrued sick leave balance deposited into a post-employment health reimbursement account (HRA).  With the exceptions noted below, employees with 10 or more years of continuous service will have the monetary value of 50% of the number of hours remaining in their accrued sick leave balance deposited into a post-employment health reimbursement account (HRA).

The monetary value will be calculated using the employee’s current pay rate at the time of separation.

a.  Exception:  if the monetary value of the applicable percentage of the number of hours remaining in the accrued sick leave balance is $1000 or less, the employee will receive a cash payout.

b.  Exception:  if an employee is a 50% or greater disabled veteran at the time of separation, the employee will receive a cash payout for the monetary value of the applicable percentage as noted above of the number of hours remaining in their accrued sick leave balance.

c.  Exception:  upon death of an employee (while still employed), the employee’s estate will receive a cash payout for the monetary value of the applicable percentage as noted above of the number of hours remaining in their accrued sick leave balance.

5.  Exceptions to Sick Leave Accrual:  In accordance with State Statute, Elected Officials cannot receive compensation in addition to salaries and do not accrue sick leave balances.

J.  VACATION LEAVE:  All Benefited Employees receive paid vacation.

1.  Accrual of Vacation Leave:

a.   Benefited Employees and Appointed Officials accrue vacation leave with pay on the basis of continuous accumulative service in accordance with the following schedules. See references E and J.

# Hours Worked Weekly

Regular & Limited-Term Employees
# Vacation Hours Accrued per Biweekly Pay Period

Appointed Officials
# Vacation Hours Accrued per Biweekly Pay Period
0-<5 Years 5-<10 Years 10-<15 Years 15+ Years 0-<5 Years 5-<10 Years 10-<15 Years 15+ Years
20 - 29 3.00 3.25 4.00 4.50 3.25 4.00 4.50 5.00
30 - 39 4.00 4.50 5.50 6.25 4.50 5.50 6.25 7.00
40 4.50 5.25 6.25 7.25 5.25 6.25 7.25 8.25

b.  Newly hired eligible employees will begin accruing vacation leave with the first full pay period of employment.  As a recruiting aid, the Decision Maker may authorize up to 15 days of vacation leave to be granted to the eligible employee upon hire.  For periods of leave up to ten days, before granting the vacation leave, the Decision Maker must obtain approval of the Human Resources Director or designee (enclosure 5).  For periods of leave of more than ten days, before granting the vacation leave, the Decision Maker must obtain approval of the County Manager or designee.

c.  Eligible employees must be in a paid status for at least half of their regularly scheduled work hours in a pay period to accrue vacation leave. However, employees on FML qualifying leave (either with or without pay) or are absent due to a work-related injury or illness will continue to accrue vacation leave during the leave time.

2.  Maximum Carryover Limit:  The maximum carryover limit for vacation leave balances is one and one-half times (1 ½) the employee’s annualized vacation accrual rate (39 payrolls).  The Board of County Commissioners may authorize a maximum carryover limit up to two (2) times the Appointed Official’s vacation accrual.  Any vacation leave balances in excess of the maximum carryover limit will be forfeited each year on December 31 of each calendar year. 

  • Requests to retain forfeited vacation leave must be submitted in writing by the Decision Maker to the Human Resources Director or designee (enclosure 5).  The Human Resources Director will review and, if supported, will submit to the County Manager or designee for approval.
# Hours Worked Weekly

Regular & Limited-Term Employees
Vacation Maximum Carryover Limit

Appointed Officials
Vacation Maximum Carryover Limit
0-<5 Years 5-<10 Years 10-<15 Years 15+ Years 0-<5 Years 5-<10 Years 10-<15 Years 15+ Years
20 - 29 117 126.75 156 175.50 126.75 156 175.50 195
30 - 39 156 175.50 214.50 243.75 175.50 214.50 243.75 273
40 175.50 204.75 243.75 282.75 204.75 243.75 282.75 321.75

3.  Use of Accrued Vacation Leave:

a.  Employees typically can use vacation leave on dates of their choice with approval of their supervisor or manager.

b.  Vacation leave used cannot exceed the employee’s accrued vacation leave balance, as of the end of the current pay period.

c.  The employee may use their accrued vacation leave balances concurrently with any designated “non-Workers Compensation” FML Leave; see the FML policy (reference D).

d.  Vacation leave can be used during a medical absence if an employee’s accrued sick leave has been exhausted.  Requests to use vacation leave for a medical absence when the employee’s sick leave has not been exhausted, must be reviewed and supported in writing by the Human Resources Director or designee, and approved in writing by the County Manager or designee).

e.  If an employee is on vacation and becomes sick or injured, the vacation leave cannot be changed to sick leave.

4.  Payment of Accrued Vacation Leave at Separation:  Upon separation, employees are paid for all accrued vacation leave.  Employees will be paid using their current pay rate at the time of separation.

5.  Exceptions to Vacation Leave Accrual:  In accordance with State Statute, Elected Officials cannot receive compensation in addition to salaries and do not accrue vacation leave balances.

K.  VOTING LEAVE:  This policy applies to all County employees who are registered to vote.

1.  General Elections:  Larimer County offers paid voting leave for general elections only, as follows:

a.  The only employees who are eligible for paid voting leave are those employees who do not have at least three hours of non-work time available during which the polls are open.  To determine if an employee is eligible for paid voting leave, the Decision Maker or designee must add together those non-work hours occurring before and after the employee’s work shift only.

b.  If an employee requests paid voting leave for a general election, the Decision Maker or designee must grant up to a maximum of two hours of paid voting leave.  An employee must give the Decision Maker or designee a written request for paid voting leave at least one day prior to the general election.

c.  If approved, the Decision Maker or designee may specify the time of day when the employee must use the paid voting leave.  However, if an eligible employee requests the paid voting leave at the beginning or end of their shift, this request must be granted.

2.  Elections Other Than General Elections:  Larimer County cannot offer paid voting leave to employees for any election other than a general election. Employees who want time off to vote during working hours in a non-general election may take vacation leave or other appropriate forms of accrued paid leave, if any, upon approval by the Decision Maker or designee.

VI.  LEAVE ADMINISTRATION:

A.  Notice/Request: Employees requesting any leave, paid or without pay, must provide the Decision Maker or designee with as much advance notice as possible and must follow all County and departmental policies and practices regarding the requesting of leave. 

B.  Recording:  Employees must record the use of any and all leave time, paid or without pay, on their timesheet.  The supervisor is required to review all timesheets for accuracy.

C.  Misuse:  Abuse or inappropriate use of any leave is cause for corrective or adverse action (reference C).  Supervisors are responsible for reasonably monitoring their employees’ leave usage and leave recording to ensure appropriate use.

D.  Limitation on Use:  Unless precluded or restricted by law, a manager or supervisor may limit or deny the ability of an employee to take certain types of leave, including accrued Vacation and Sick leave, in cases of emergency or in situations where the absence of the employee would result in a halt of service or production or impose a business hardship.

E.  Failure to Return from Leave:  If an employee does not return at the end of an approved leave, it may be cause for disciplinary action up to and including separation.  See the Corrective and Adverse Actions; Grievance Procedure; and Problem Solving Process Policy for details (reference C).

F.  Workers Compensation and Leave Use:

1.  An employee who is off work and receiving workers’ compensation (reference B) in place of regular pay may not use their accrued leave (vacation, sick, holiday, floating holidays, or comp time) for the same hours for which they are receiving wage continuation payments.

2.  An employee whose Statutory Workers' Compensation payment is at the maximum weekly benefit, as established every July 1st by the Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, may use their accrued vacation leave, sick leave, holiday, floating holidays or comp time to make up the difference between the maximum weekly benefit and 66 and two-thirds of their average weekly rate of pay (reference B).

3.  No vacation time will be lost if an employee is unable to use vacation during an authorized work related injury or illness.

VII.  FULL-TIME EMPLOYEE DETERMINATIONS UNDER THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

The County sponsors and maintains, or participates in, one or more group medical insurance programs for the benefit of eligible Employees and their eligible dependents.  One or more of such programs may condition eligibility of the Employee upon the Employee’s status as a “Full-Time Employee” under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, as amended (“the ACA”) and Section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code (“the Code”), and regulations and other guidance issued thereunder (collectively “4980H”).

This policy is adopted by the County to establish general standards and procedures for identifying Full-Time Employees pursuant to 4980H, either for purposes of qualifying the Employee as eligible for an offer of medical insurance coverage, for reporting and disclosure purposes, and/or for other purposes relevant to 4980H.  This policy is also adopted to reflect the County’s intent, and establish practices and procedures consistent with such intent, to comply generally with certain requirements of 4980H with respect to certain Employees identified by the County in relevant documents, including benefit plan documents and/or one or more appendices attached to this Policy. 

This Policy is first effective, with respect to determinations relating to reporting under Sections 6055 and 6056 of the Code, as of January 1, 2015 or, if later, the first day with respect to which the County is an Applicable Large Employer or Applicable Large Employer Member subject to the reporting obligations under those sections.  This Policy is first effective with respect to other determinations related to the County’s effort to comply with 4980H, as applicable, as of the date the health insurance coverage offer provisions of 4980H apply to the County.  Some of these determinations might involve calculations based on Hours of Service credited to an Employee for periods prior to the effective date of this Policy.  This Policy may be amended from time to time, and the effective date of any such amendment will be specified therein.

A.  DESIGNATION OF EMPLOYEES:  The County may designate newly hired employees (and employees the County may treat as newly-hired employees under 4980H, such as employees again accruing Hours of Service following certain Breaks in Service) as either:

  1. Full-Time Employees,
  2. Part-Time Employees,
  3. Variable Hour Employees, or
  4. Seasonal Employees,

as of their respective Start Dates (or may apply other designations effectively accomplishing the same distinctions), applying factors specified in 4980H.  The County may re-designate or re-classify an employee as appropriate based on re-assignment of duties, change in anticipated average Hours of Service, and/or on the basis of actual average Hours of Service over specific measurement periods.

B.  TRACKING OF HOURS OF SERVICE:  The County must determine an hourly employee’s Hours of Service on the basis of actual hours worked and hours for which payment is made or due.  For non-hourly employees, the County may determine the employee’s Hours of Service on the basis of either:  (i) actual hours worked and hours for which payment is due, or (ii) one or more equivalencies for determining Hours of Service, as permitted by 4980H, provided no such equivalency has the effect, in practice, of understating Employees’ Hours of Service.  To the extent required by 4980H, employees will also be credited with Hours of Service for periods of time for which no actual service for the County is performed but for which payment is due (e.g., paid time off, vacation, and sick leave).

C.  APPLICATION OF MONTHLY OR LOOK-BACK MEASUREMENT METHODS; DETERMINATION OF MEASUREMENT, ADMINISTRATIVE AND STABILITY PERIODS; AND ADMINISTRATION: 

For purposes of determining an employee’s status as a Full-Time Employee for purposes of 4980H, the County may track the employee’s Hours of Service using the Monthly Measurement Method or the Look-Back Measurement Method, as described in 4980H.  To the extent permitted by 4980H, the County may apply one method with respect to certain Employees, and another method with respect to other Employees, and may change the method from time to time, at the County’s discretion.

Where the County utilizes the Look-Back Measurement Method, it may (consistent with 4980H) designate one or more Initial Measurement Periods, Initial Administrative Periods and Initial Stability Periods, and may designate one or more Standard Measurement Periods, Standard Administrative Periods and Standard Stability Periods.  To the extent permitted by 4980H, the County may apply different measurement, administrative and stability periods with respect to different Employees, and may change the measurement, administrative and stability periods from time to time, at the County’s discretion.

The County will administer application of the Monthly Measurement Method and/or, as applicable, the Look-Back Measurement Method, in accordance with 4980H.  Thus, for example, the County may (or will, where such administration is required) do the following as provided by 4980H:

  1. Commence and terminate measurement periods slightly before, or after, the designated measurement period commencement and termination dates so as to incorporate full payroll periods into the measurement periods.
  2. Transition Employees from status as new Part-Time Employees, Variable Hour Employees or Seasonal Employees to “Ongoing Employees” after the Employees are employed through an entire Standard Measurement Period.
  3. Apply the rule of parity and/or 13-week (or as applicable, 26-week) Break in Service rule to an Employee’s Breaks in Service during a measurement period.
  4. Apply rules related to Special Unpaid Leave and, as applicable, Employment Break Periods.
  5. Continue an Employee’s status as a Full-Time Employee (or non-Full-Time Employee) for the period between the end of their Initial Stability Period and the first day of their first Standard Stability Period.
  6. Address changes in employment status during an Initial Measurement Period, or during a Stability Period.
  7. Treat an Employee as having terminated employment upon certain transfers to a position where substantially all of the compensation will constitute non-U.S. source income, consistent with the rules related to COBRA payments.
  8. Administer processes related to nonpayment, late payment or partial payment of premiums.

D.  DETERMINATIONS OF MINIMUM VALUE AND AFFORDABILITY: 

Where the County intends to supply coverage satisfying 4980H(b) of the Code (i.e., Minimum Value and Affordable coverage), it may determine the actuarial value of a health coverage offering in any manner permissible under 4980H.

For purposes of determining the affordability of such coverage offering, with respect to Full-Time Employees, the County may utilize one or more “affordability safe harbors” as provided under, and to the extent permitted by, 4980H, and shall otherwise comply with 4980H when including wellness incentives and/or the value of reimbursement programs (such as a health reimbursement arrangement) in determinations of minimum value and affordability.

E.  OFFERS OF COVERAGE: 

To the extent the County intends to treat an employee as eligible for at least Minimum Essential Coverage on account of the employee’s status as a Full-Time Employee under 4980H, the County intends to make to such an employee an “offer of coverage,” and where appropriate renew an offer of coverage to the employee (e.g., upon a Full-Time Employee’s return from a Break in Service under circumstances where the employee may not be treated as a newly hired employee under 4980H) at the time(s), and in a manner, consistent with 4980H.

F.  MODIFICATIONS AND INTERPRETATION:

This policy may be modified or amended at any time in the sole discretion of the County. The provisions of this policy reflect merely general operating rules for the administration of the eligibility provisions of the County’s group medical insurance program, and the County may construe and apply this policy, or any portion of this policy, in such a manner as to mitigate or avoid potential penalties under 4980H.  Nothing in this policy shall limit the County’s ability to treat employees more favorably than how they would be treated under the minimum requirements of 4980H.

G.  DEFINITIONS:

Terms that appear as capitalized terms in this Policy and, as applicable, in any Appendix hereto, have the meanings ascribed to such terms under 4980H.

 

 

_______________________________________

Steve Johnson
Chair, Board of County Commissioners
(Approved by BCC – Consent Agenda – 06/09/2020)
(Signature on original filed in Records Management)

 

Distribution:
All County Department and Elected Officials
Records Management SOP Manual (original)

 

CK/vl

 

DATE:  June 9, 2020

EFFECTIVE PERIOD:  Until Superseded

REVIEW SCHEDULE:  Annual; or as needed

CANCELLATION:  Human Resources Policy and Procedure 331.6N; May 21, 2019

ENCLOSURES: 

  1. Leave Without Pay Notification Form
  2. Application for Donated Sick Leave
  3. Common Law Marriage Affidavit
  4. Extended Sick Leave Without Pay Request Form
  5. Request Written Approval from Director of Human Resources (12/18)

REFERENCES:

A.   Human Resources Policy and Procedure, 331.2, Recruitment, Applications, and Hiring
B.   Administrative Policy and Procedure, 390.2, Workers' Compensation
C.   Human Resources Policy and Procedure, 331.8 Corrective and Adverse Actions; Grievance Procedure; and Problem Solving Process
D.   Human Resources Policy and Procedure, 331.6, Family and Medical Leave
E.   Human Resources Policy and Procedure
F.   Sheriff’s Deputies Enhanced Deferred Compensation Program
G.   Governing Policies Manual, 3.8, Compensation and Benefits
H.   Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
I.    Larimer County Policy BCC P# 15A, Sheriff’s Department Personnel Policies
J.    Appointed Officials,  Appendix A
K.   Human Resources Policy and Procedure, 331.7.03, Reductions In Force