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Personnel Rules and Regulations

Leave

For the purpose of all leave policies other than Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an immediate family member is defined as wife, husband, domestic partner, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, son, daughter, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandson, granddaughter, stepmother, stepfather, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, step sister, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandmother-in-law and grandfather-in-law.  This includes extended family members for domestic partners. (added Nov. 12, 2010) 

A  domestic partner is defined as an individual of the same or opposite gender as the employee, who is 18 years of age or older, who has lived in the same household as the employee for at least six months and shares resources of life in a close, personal intimate relationship with the City employee, neither of whom is married or related by blood, if, under Texas law, the individual would not be prevented from marrying  the employee on account of consanguinity or prior undissolved marriage to another. (added Nov. 12, 2010) 

Blood Bank Donation Leave Accrual (New Policy Effective 2-10-06)

Employees may earn up to six (6) (Revised 02/23/2009) hours of vacation leave in a payroll year by donating blood to the Carter Blood Center during City sponsored blood drives or by presenting proof that a donation has occurred at an external site. One (1) hour of leave will be accrued for each pint of blood donated by an employee. Proof of donation at external sites should be sent to the Wellness Division (Revised 02/23/2009) of the Human Resources Department for credit to be given. The Wellness Division will request the HRIS/Records to (Revised 02/23/2009) credit donations given during City sponsored blood drives to the employee upon receipt of the list of donors from the Carter Blood Center.

Business Leave

Business Leave is used when an employee is required to leave the city limits of Fort Worth to conduct approved city business. Attendance at seminars and/or training courses whose primary purpose is education/training and which are outside the city limits is recorded on T&A sheets as "T" for training; otherwise, business meetings/functions are (Revised October 1999) recorded as "B" for business. The amount of time recorded should be the employee's normal work hours. Travel time may or may not count as time worked, depending upon the FLSA status of the employee. Consult the Human resources Department for guidance. Days off with pay associated with pending disciplinary actions and customer service awards are also recorded as “B” days. (Revised January 26, 2001)(Revised 2-10-2006).

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Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and 2008 Amendments (Revised 2-15-2009)

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. The Support for Injured Service Members Act of 2007 (Military Family Leave) provides eligible employees up to 26 weeks of leave in any 12-month period in compliance with the expansion of FMLA. (Revised 2-15-2009) This policy is intended to provide an overview and is not a substitute for the Federal Regulation that is linked. If there is a conflict, the Federal Law and Regulations take precedence.

To qualify to take family or medical leave under this policy, the employee must meet the following conditions:(Revised 2-15-2009)

  1. The employee must have worked for the City for 12 months or 52 weeks. The 12 months or 52 weeks need not have been consecutive; and
  2. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately before the date when the leave is requested to commence. Time spent on paid or unpaid leave during the previous 12 months does not count as hours worked. Consequently, these hours of leave should not be counted in determining the 1,250 hours eligibility test for an employee under FMLA.  This includes temporary and S01 employees who meet the eligibility requirements.
  3. The employee must be an active employee. If the employee’s employment with the City is interrupted (such as with a layoff), the employee must be re-employed by the City before being eligible for FMLA leave.

To qualify as FMLA leave under this policy, the employee must be taking leave for one of the six reasons listed below and complete a family medical leave request form and the appropriate certification (Revised 2-15-2009):

  1. The birth of a child or to care for that child.
  2. The placement of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child.
  3. The employee is needed to care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition. 
  4. The serious health condition of the employee. This serious health condition makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job.
  5. Due to a qualified exigency from a covered family member’s call to active duty in the Armed Forces from the National Guard, Reserves, retired Reserves or retired Regular Armed Forces. Employees whose family member is a member of the Regular Armed Forces are eligible to take leave because of a qualifying exigency. (Revised 6-18-2010) The rules define qualifying exigency as one involving: (a) short-notice deployment (seven or less calendar days prior to deployment) (Revised 6-18-2010); (b) military events and related activities; (c) child care and school activities; (d) financial and legal arrangements; (e) counseling; (f) rest and recuperation; (g) post-deployment activities; and (h) additional activities in which the City and the employee agree to the leave.
  6. To care for an injured or ill service member on active duty in Regular, Reserve, National Guard Military Service, or a Veteran (who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness and who was a member of the Armed Forces including National Guard or Reserves at any time during the 5 year period preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes that medical treatment, recuperation or therapy) if the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (nearest relative) of the service member. (Revised 6-18-2010)  

A serious health condition under the FMLA includes:

  1. Any period of incapacity or treatment in connection with or consequent to inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical facility (inpatient care is defined as an overnight stay); or
  2. Any period of incapacity requiring absence from work, of more than three consecutive calendar days that also involves: 1) treatments 2 or more times within 30 days of the first day of incapacity (Revised 2-15-2009) by a health care provider; or 2) treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion in-person which results in a regimen of continuous treatment, such as prescription medication or therapy requiring special equipment. The first treatment visit must take place within seven days of the first day of incapacity.  Whether additional treatment visits are necessary within the 30-day period shall be determined by the health care provider (Revised 2-15-2009). Common colds, flu, ear aches, headaches, etc. are not serious health conditions; or
  3. Continuing treatment by a health care provider for a chronic or long-term health condition that is incurable or so serious that, if not treated, would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three calendar days; or
  4. Chronic or long-term health condition, which, if left untreated, would result in a period of incapacity of more than three days. It also requires periodic visits to a health care provider at least two times a year as determined by the health care provider (Revised 2-15-2009); or
  5. Any period of incapacity due to prenatal care or pregnancy (Revised 2-15-2009); or
  6. Treatment for substance abuse when, inpatient treatment is required.  Absences due to an employee’s use of a substance, without treatment, do not qualify for leave. (Revised 2-15-2009)

Voluntary or cosmetic treatments which are not medically necessary are not serious health conditions and are not covered by the Act, unless complications from the treatment develop. (Revised 2-15-2009).

Immediate Family Members are limited to an employee’s spouse, children, and parents.

Spouse: A husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage or a common-law spouse as recognized by the State of Texas. Unmarried domestic partners do not qualify.

Son or Daughter: A biological, adopted or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in place of a parent, who is under 18 years of age or is 18 years or older and is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

Parent: The biological parent of an employee or an individual who stands or stood in place of a parent to the employee when the employee was a child. This does not include “parents-in-law”. (Revised 2-15-2009) 

Covered Service Member:  A member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.

Next of Kin: the nearest blood relative other than the covered service member’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter. This may include brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins under Military Family Leave.

Family Leave includes leave taken for the birth of a child and to care for such child; for placement of a child for adoption or foster care program; or leave taken for the care of a seriously ill spouse, child or parent. Care includes psychological comfort, making arrangements for third-party care or to provide the necessary care personally.

Serious Injury or Illness (for military caregiver provision): An injury or illness incurred by the member in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating.  This includes pre-existing conditions that were aggravated by service in the line of duty while on active duty and those incurred in the line of duty while on active duty. (New 6-21-2010)

Serious Injury or Illness for Veterans: An injury or illness incurred by the member in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces and that manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran.  This includes pre-existing conditions that were aggravated by service in the line of duty while on active duty and those incurred in the line of duty while on active duty. (New 6-21-2010)

The 12-month period begins with the first day of approved FMLA leave. The 12-month period is not based on the calendar year. The City will measure the 12-month period as a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any leave under this policy. Each time an employee takes leave, the City will compute the amount of leave the employee has taken under this policy in the last 12 months and subtract it from the 12 weeks (or 26 weeks for the care of an injured or ill service member) of available leave, with the balance remaining being the amount the employee is entitled to take at that time. The leave may be paid, unpaid or a combination of paid and unpaid leaves (Revised 2-15-2009).

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City Leave Benefits and the FMLA

Employees who request FMLA leave are required to use accrued City leave benefits (Vacation, Vacation Leave (Revised 2-10-06), Short Term Sick Leave/Family Leave (Revised December 16, 2000), Major Medical  Sick, Sick and Family Illness Leave, Compensatory Leave) which are applicable to the leave request. Therefore, FMLA leave will be used concurrently with appropriate, accrued city leave.

Employees approved for FMLA leave who do not have accrued City leave benefits will be carried in a without pay status. Employees must use all appropriate, accrued city leave before they will be permitted to be off on FML without pay, with the exception of employees who are eligible for Major Medical Sick Leave.(Revised 02/23/2009) 

Employees who are off work for more than three (3) consecutive calendar days must be notified that their time off is being designated as FMLA leave. A Notification of Family and Medical Leave form should be completed and sent to the employee.

Intermittent or Reduced Leave Schedule

Intermittent leave is leave taken in separate periods of time due to a single illness or injury, rather than for one continuous period of time, and may include leave of periods from an hour or more to several weeks. Examples of intermittent leave would include leave taken on an occasional basis for medical appointments, or leave taken several days at a time spread over a period of six months, such as for chemotherapy. Employees taking intermittent leave are required to comply with their department’s call-in procedures before taking unscheduled intermittent leave, except in certain emergency cases. (Revised 2-15-2009)

Reduced leave is a leave schedule that reduces the usual number of hours per work week, or hours per work day, of an employee. (Revised 2-15-2009)

The employee may take FMLA leave in 12 consecutive weeks, may use the leave intermittently or, under certain circumstances, may use the leave to reduce the work week or work day, resulting in a reduced hour schedule. In all cases, the leave may not exceed a total of 12 work weeks (or 26 work weeks to care for an injured or ill service member over a 12-month period). (Revised 2-15-2009)

Employees scheduling FMLA leave on an intermittent or on a reduced leave schedule are expected to consult with their department prior to the scheduling of treatment in order to work out a treatment schedule which best suits the needs of both the department and the employee. If this is not possible, then the employee must prove that the use of the leave is medically necessary. If the intermittent leave or reduced leave schedule occurs after the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, the leave must be agreed upon by the Department Director. (Revised 2-15-2009)

Only the time actually taken as FMLA leave may be charged against the employee’s entitlement when leave is taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule. Leave charges shall be in hours. The hours charged should be cumulative until such time as the total is equivalent to 12 normal workweeks. (Revised 2-10-06)

The City may temporarily transfer an employee to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits if the alternative position would better accommodate the intermittent or reduced schedule. The temporary transfer may occur in instances when leave for the employee or employee’s family member is foreseeable and for planned medical treatment, including recovery from a serious health condition or to care for a child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care (Revised 2-15-2009).

Recording FMLA Leave

The leave code “Z” is assigned to FML. This code should be used in conjunction with other appropriate T&A codes for recording time. (Revised 2-10-06)

If an employee’s work schedule varies from week to week, the average weekly hours worked during the twelve (12) weeks prior to the start of the leave shall be used to calculate the employee’s "normal" work schedule. The department HR Coordinator will enter the start date and the end date for the employee’s FMLA leave into Genesys. (Revised 2-10-06)

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FMLA Leave Designation

Employees must submit a completed Family Medical Leave Request form to the department’s Medical Records Custodian (MRC).  The MRC will provide to each employee a Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibility and a certification form (if applicable) within five business days.  For employees on intermittent or recurring leave for the same incident, this notice will be provided every six months.  Once the certification or supporting information is received, the MRC will provide the employee with a Designation Notice.  This notice shall inform employees if their leave is designated as FMLA protected.  The notification should be given within five business days from the time it is determined that the employee’s absence would qualify under FMLA.  If the certification or supporting information submitted by the employee is incomplete or insufficient, the MRC will use the Designation Notice to state in writing what additional information is necessary to make the certification complete and sufficient.  Failure to submit adequate certification may result in a denial of leave. (Revised 2-15-2009)

The MRC’s responsibilities regarding the protection of medical information are outlined in Administrative Regulation D-10. (Revised 2-15-2009)

FMLA leave may (revised June 1, 2004) be charged retroactively, that is, if an employee has been off for a FMLA-qualifying event and the department fails to send a notification, when the oversight is realized, a notice needs to be sent, and the time off charged to FMLA leave begins on the date the employee's absence began.(revised June 1, 2004)

Notice

If the FMLA-qualifying event is foreseeable, the employee must give at least 30 calendar days notice before the leave is to begin. If it is not possible to give 30 days’ notice, the employee must give as much notice as is practicable. An employee who is to undergo planned medical treatment is required to make a reasonable effort to schedule the treatment in order to minimize disruptions to the City’s operations.(Revised 2-15-2009) 

If an employee fails to provide 30 days’ notice for foreseeable leave with no reasonable excuse for the delay, the leave request may be denied until at least 30 days from the date the City receives notice. While on leave, employees are requested to report periodically to the City regarding the status of the medical condition and their intent to return to work. (Revised 2-15-2009)

If the FMLA-qualifying event is not foreseeable, the employee must give notice as soon as practicable.

The initial request may be verbal, by phone or in person, to the person within the employee’s department who is designated to maintain medical information (revised June 1, 2004). Such requests shall satisfy the notification requirements. The employee must explain the reasons for the requested leave in order for the City to determine if the leave qualifies under the FMLA. Written certification, as designated below, must be received by the person within the employee’s department who is designated to maintain medical information (revised June 1, 2004).

In many instances, employees will not refer to FMLA leave per se. It is the supervisor's responsibility to ensure proper notification is made once it is determined that an absence is a FMLA-qualifying event.

Certification (Revised 2-15-2009)

In order to determine whether the leave qualifies under FMLA, an employee’s request for leave shall be supported by certification or supporting information. The request for a medical certificate or supporting information must be made in writing as part of the City’s response to the employee’s request for leave.  The employee must respond to such a request within 15 days of the request or provide a reasonable explanation for the delay.  Failure to provide certification may result in a denial of continuation of leave.

Family Leave: Formal certification in the case of the birth, adoption or placement of a foster child shall be by memo or letter notification from the employee to the person within the employee’s department who is designated to maintain medical information (Revised June 1, 2004).

If the employee is needed to care for a child, spouse or parent a certification of condition issued by the health care provider of the child, spouse or parent must be provided. The Medical Leave Request form may be used for this purpose. The notification documents shall be retained in the employee’s departmental file.

Notification is required thirty (30) days prior to the event if possible.

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Medical Leave: A certification of a serious health condition issued by the health care provider of the eligible employee is required. If the City does not receive the required certification, the leave may not be approved under FMLA. If the City receives an incomplete or unclear certification, the employee shall be given 7 additional calendar days after being notified to provide more complete information. If the certification is still insufficient, the department’s Medical Records Custodian may contact the employee’s health care provider for clarification and/or authentication of the employee’s medical certification. The Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition or Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition (Revised 2-15-2009) form shall be used for this purpose.

The certification shall be considered sufficient if it states:

  1. The date the condition commenced.
  2. The probable duration of the condition.
  3. A brief statement of treatment. (Revised 2-15-2009)
  4. If applicable, a statement that the employee is unable to perform the essential functions of their position due to a medical condition.
  5. As appropriate, a statement that the employee is needed to care for the child, spouse or parent and an estimate of the time such care is needed. And that the patient, the family member, requires assistance and that the employee’s presence would be beneficial or desirable. (Revised 2-15-2009)
  6. As appropriate, a statement of the medical necessity for intermittent leave, or reduced work schedule.  The statement should also include dates and duration of treatment. (Revised 2-15-2009) The City may elect to have a second physician’s opinion at the City’s expense. The physician shall be chosen by the City, but shall not be employed by the City.

If the second opinion differs from the original certification provider’s opinion, the City may require the employee, at the City’s expense, to obtain the opinion of a third health care provider approved jointly by the City and the employee. This physician’s opinion shall be final and binding on both the City and the employee.

The City shall require employees to obtain subsequent re-certification on a reasonable basis and continue communications with the City regarding their status and intention to return to work.

The City shall not request re-certification more often than every 30 days unless the employee requests an extension of leave; a change in circumstances has occurred regarding a serious health condition; or the City receives information which casts doubt upon the validity of the most recent certification.  Instances involving workers' compensation are not subject to this 30-day provision. The state workers' compensation statutes supersede the FMLA provisions.

All employee medical records must be kept in a locked file separate from the employee’s personnel files. Supervisors shall not have access to employee medical information. (Revised June 1, 2004)

Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave (Added 2-15-2009)

A qualifying exigency arises out of the fact that the spouse, or son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation or deployment to a foreign country. (Revised 6-18-2010)

Exigency leave applies to service members called to active duty in the National Guard, Reserves, retired Reserves or retired Regular Armed Forces. Employees whose family member is a member of the Regular Armed Forces are eligible to take leave because of a qualifying exigency. (Revised 6-18-2010) Leave includes emergencies such as a service member’s short notice deployment, attending official military events, arranging urgent childcare and school activities for a deployed service member’s children, financial and legal arrangements for the deployed service member, attending counseling sessions for the service member and/or children, a service member’s rest and recuperation leave, and post deployment activities such as arrival ceremonies and funeral arrangements.

Employees requesting this type of Military Family leave under FMLA must provide proof of the qualifying family member’s call-up to active military service. This documentation may be a copy of the military orders or other official Armed Forces documentation. (Revised 6-18-2010)

Certification of Serious Injury or Illness of Service Member for Military Family Leave (link). (Added 2-15-2009)

An employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of a covered service member shall be entitled to a total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of leave during a 12-month period of care for the service member.

Employees requesting this type of Military Family leave under FMLA must provide documentation of the family member’s or next-of-kin’s injury, recovery or need for care. This documentation may be a copy of the military medical information, orders for treatment, or other official Armed Forces communication pertaining to the service member’s injury or illness incurred on active military duty that renders the member medically unfit to perform his or her military duties. This is also the only type of FMLA leave that may extend an employee’s leave entitlement beyond 12 weeks to 26 weeks in a 12-month period. This leave is available to an eligible employee whose spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next-of-kin is in the Regular Armed Forces, Reserve Armed Forces, or National Guard.

Employment Restoration

An employee who takes leave under this policy will be able to return to the same position or a position with equivalent status, pay, benefits and other employment terms. The position will be the same or virtually identical in terms of pay, benefits and working conditions. (Revised 2-15-2009)

An employee’s time off approved under FMLA may not be considered when evaluating an employee’s attendance pursuant to a performance appraisal or when considering disciplinary action pursuant to a department attendance policy.(Revised 2-15-2009)

Employees who exhaust all appropriate leave and FMLA benefits and are unable to return to full duty status work may be terminated.  (Revised January 26, 2001) In those instances where an employee fails to report to work, and management has no knowledge of his/her whereabouts, the department may initiate a pre-termination meeting after consulting with the Employee Relations Division in Human Resources.(Revised 2-15-2009)

Any salary increases or benefit changes which are not dependent on accrued service time shall be made effective on the date which the employee returns to work.

Light-Duty Assignments (Revised 2-15-2009)

Employees eligible for both FMLA and workers compensation may be offered a light duty assignment. Employees may elect to stay out on full-time FMLA leave until they are fit for full duty as long as they do not exceed their FMLA protected time. However, they may lose their workers compensation disability payments for failure to accept a suitable light duty assignment. Any time an employee spends performing light-duty work does not count towards their 12 weeks of FMLA entitlement.

Accrual of Leave Benefits

An employee taking family or medical leave without pay shall not accrue hours toward short term sick leave/family leave, vacation, sick, major medical or holiday leave during the period which he/she is on leave without pay (Revised December 16, 2000).

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Spouses Employed by the City

If both spouses are employed by the City, and each wishes to take leave(Revised 2-15-2009), the combined total amount of leave they can take for the birth or adoption of a child, placement of a child in foster care, or to care for a parent (but not a parent in-law) with a serious health condition, may be limited to 12 weeks.

This limitation does not apply to leave for either the husband’s or wife’s own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a child.

If a husband and wife both work for the City and each wishes to take leave to care for a covered injured or ill service member, the husband and wife may only take a combined total of 26 weeks of leave. (Revised 2-15-2009)

Health Care Benefit Continuation

The City shall maintain coverage under any City paid group health plan for the duration of an FMLA eligible leave at the level and under the conditions coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued in employment for the duration of the leave. The City and the employee shall continue their same contribution responsibilities as when the employee began the leave period.

If an employee is on leave under the terms of this policy, the employee is expected to remain current with the required contributions to keep group medical coverage in effect for the employee and covered family members. Employees should make arrangements with the Benefits Division of the Human Resources Department (revised June 1, 2004) for the required payment. Failure to make required contributions to keep coverage in effect will result in cancellation of the employee's and dependent's (if any) coverage.

The employee is also solely responsible for making payment arrangements directly with any other entity (dental coverage, optional life insurance, employee association dues, Credit Union, etc.) for which payroll deductions are in place.

If the employee fails to return from FMLA leave, the City may recover the balance of all costs paid for maintaining health care coverage during the period of absence from the employee’s final payroll or termination check or by direct mail billing if the employee fails to return to work for a reason other than the continuation, recurrence or onset of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the control of the employee.

Circumstances not addressed by this regulation should be referred to the Human Resources Department's Employee Relations (Revised 2-10-06) Division.

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Family Illness Leave

Family Illness Leave benefits are accrued by Civil Service personnel in the Police and Fire Departments.

Family Illness Leave is provided to allow employees time off with pay when their presence is required to assist an immediate family member due to an illness and/or injury, doctor’s, dentist’s or other medical appointments, or for a death in the immediate family.

After one (1) year of continuous service employees are eligible to use Family Illness Leave.

The leave is non-accruable. At the beginning of each payroll year, any unused leave from the previous payroll year is deleted from the records new Family Leave is allotted to each eligible employee in accordance with the table below.

Supervisors may require proof of the need to use leave. Misuse or misrepresentation of the need to use leave may result in disciplinary action.

  Maximum per Year (hours)
(Revised 2-10-2006) 
1 year service 56
5 years service 40
10 years service 32
15 years service 16
20 years service 0

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Furlough Policy (Revised March 29, 2010) 

Employee furloughs may be declared by the City Manager when necessary for financial issues or other reasons that may require a monetary reduction in the City’s expenses.  A furlough may be declared for all employees or for specific groups of employees.  Furloughs can be declared by the day or partial days.
 
When a mandatory furlough is implemented, all furloughed employees shall be paid on an hourly basis during that workweek.  Subject to the exceptions described below, furloughed employees shall neither be required nor allowed to work more than the number of allowable work hours in that workweek. If an employee works more than the number of allowable hours during a furlough week, the number of hours worked over the allowable hours, up to 40 hours, must be taken as a furlough during another workweek.

Employees whose regular day off falls on a furlough day will be furloughed on a different day during that workweek.  If an employee’s wages are reduced in lieu of a furlough day, those wages shall not fall below the federal minimum wage. 

Definition – A furlough is a temporary layoff from work, during which an employee is without duties or pay because of a lack of work or funds or for other non-disciplinary reasons.  For the purpose of calculating deadlines under the Personnel Rules and Regulations, a day that has been declared by the City Manager as a mandatory furlough day shall not be considered a working day.  Allowable work hours are determined by reducing a 40 hour workweek by the number of mandated furlough hours for that week. 

Non-exempt Employees – During the week in which a furlough is mandated, non-exempt employees shall have their normal workweek reduced to the allowable number of hours in the workweek. 

Exempt Employees – When a furlough is mandated, exempt employees will be considered non-exempt during the week in which a furlough has been ordered and shall work only the allowable hours in that workweek.  A mandatory furlough and the resulting deductions from pay shall not disqualify an exempt employee from being paid on a salary basis except in the workweek during which the furlough occurs and for which the employee’s pay is accordingly reduced.

Exceptions – Situations may arise which will require exceptions to the furlough policy.  Department directors are authorized to use their discretionary authority to require employees to work more than the allowable work hours during a furlough week.  In addition, certain departments may need to modify an individual employee’s furlough schedule because of operational needs.

If a situation occurs that requires an employee to work more hours than the allowable work hours in a workweek in which a furlough has been mandated, the additional hours will be compensated at straight time for hours worked up to 40 and at time and one-half for hours over 40. 

During a furlough week, an employee who is called back to work on an emergency basis after regular working hours and after having left the job site, or to work a double shift, shall earn callback pay at 1½ times for a minimum of 2 hours.  The employee must limit total hours worked during the furlough week, including emergency callback hours, to the maximum allowable work hours if at all possible.  If the emergency callback causes the employee’s total hours worked to exceed the allowable hours, the number of hours worked over the allowable hours and up to 40 must be furloughed in another workweek. 

Supervisors and managers need to closely monitor and approve emergency callback to control unnecessary overtime costs.

Leave Benefits – Benefit leave accruals shall be reduced during the pay period in which a furlough is taken in proportion to the reduction in the number of hours worked.  If an employee’s wages are reduced in lieu of a furlough day, the employee’s leave accruals shall similarly be reduced in proportion to the reduction in pay.  Accrued leave benefits, such as vacation or compensatory time, cannot be taken or used in lieu of a furlough.

Major Medical Sick Leave – Furlough days can be used to access Major Medical Sick Leave and shall not be considered a break in service for employees who are on Major Medical Sick Leave. 

Worker’s Compensation Benefits – Worker’s compensation weekly benefits (temporary income benefits) will not be affected by furlough days. Worker’s compensation supplements will not be paid on furlough days.

Violations of Policy – Intentional violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including a prospective reduction in pay, days off without pay, and discharge.

Cancellation of Furlough Days – The City Manager or designee has the right to cancel a scheduled furlough day and reschedule it for another day as necessary.

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Inclement Weather/Disaster Policy (New Policy 2/10/06)

Most city services are provided to citizens on a 24-hour, 7-day basis.  Sometimes it is in the best interest of employees and citizens to limit the services provided by the City due to inclement weather/disaster.  In these situations the ACM responsible for Emergency Management will make the declaration.  If an official declaration isn’t made, employees should use their discretion when bad weather or disaster strikes and consider their own safety and the safety of others when deciding whether to report to work or not. If it is not possible or advisable for the employee to report to work, their departmental absentee procedures should be followed.

If inclement weather, natural or man-made disasters prevents an employee from reporting to work or requires the employee to leave work, appropriate leave (vacation, comp time, Personal Holiday, accrued holiday, wellness leave) must be used.  The employee may, with supervisory approval, work additional hours within the same work week to make up for the lost time.  If a probationary employee is affected, time may be deducted from the employee’s current leave accrual. When the options noted above are not possible, leave without pay may be used. However, before placing an exempt employee in a without pay status the Human Resources’ Compensation Division must be contacted.

Employees will only be paid for actual hours worked or leave used during periods of inclement weather or disaster.

Jury Duty And Court Duty

Regular full-time, part-time, temporary (S01) (Revised 2-10-06) and probationary employees (revised Nov. 15, 2004) called to jury duty shall receive regular pay ("C" Court time on T&A's).  Employees must verify their time spent on jury duty.

Employees who initiate legal action against the City and (Revised January 26, 2001) who are subpoenaed or required to participate in a City-related legal matter will be compensated for their time ("C" Court time on T&A’s). Employees will not be compensated to conduct personal or private legal business.

Leave Of Absence Without Pay

A leave of absence without pay may be granted by a Department Director (Revised 2-10-06) for reasons that will benefit both the City and the employee. EX: An employee takes a leave of absence for a year to achieve an advanced degree that is of benefit to the City. (Revised 2-10-06) Written requests for leaves of absence without pay must be submitted to the Department Director or designee outlining the reasons for the request and the amount of time off requested. In the event of extenuating circumstances, emergency leaves of absence may be requested verbally.

The Department Director or designee shall either approve or disapprove the request and explain the reason for the decision in writing.

Departments must be mindful that the Family and Medical Leave Act provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for circumstances covered by the Act (e.g., child birth, adoption or foster care, elder care, personal or family illness). The availability of FMLA must be considered when reviewing requests for leaves of absence without pay.

Revocation of Leave of Absence may occur if the reason for requesting the leave was misrepresented.

Employees are encouraged to keep their supervisors informed of their status and should discuss any changes in their circumstances with their supervisors to make adjustments to their leave of absence.

Failure to Return to Work at the expiration of a leave of absence without pay shall result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Employee Requests for "time off without pay" status - employee requests to be off on "W" time, time off without pay (other than a request for a leave of absence without pay that is granted by a Department Director for the mutual benefit of the employee and the City) (Revised 2-10-06), will be denied if the employee has accrued leave or compensatory time on the books. (This provision does not apply to employees who are off on Military Leave in a without pay status.) (Revised 2-10-06)

Supervisors must deny an employee's request to be off on "W" time if the employee has accrued leave or compensatory time on the books. If the supervisor wants to approve time off work, the employee must use his/her accrued leave to do so. In such cases, the employee must decide whether to use accrued leave or come to work.

If the supervisor denies the request and the employee does not come to work, the employee's time off will be coded "D" time, disciplinary time off without pay.

Without Pay for Absences of Less Than One Day. Both exempt and non-exempt employees may be carried in a without pay status for less than one day due to personal reasons or illness or injury when accrued leave is not used for one or more of the following reasons:

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Leave For Representative Of Fort Worth Police Officers Association

The President of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association (the Association) shall be eligible to take leave, without loss of pay or benefits, to perform work related to business of the Association. Such leave shall be known as Association Leave. It shall not be mandatory that the President of the Association take such leave.

When released on Association Leave, the President must use 2080 hours of such leave per calendar year unless otherwise approved by the Chief of Police. Any vacation, sick leave or family leave that the President takes while on Association Leave shall be included in the 2080 hours.

Before the President is eligible for Association Leave, the Association must sign an agreement to reimburse the City for 2080 hours for the President's hourly step rate of pay (Revised July 1, 2003) while the President is on Association Leave. The City shall remain responsible for and shall pay all benefits and additional pay that the Association President is entitled to receive as an active duty member of the Fort Worth Police Department. The City shall also be responsible for payment of the City's share of his or her retirement fund contributions.

While on Association Leave, the President will continue to accrue his or her usual vacation, sick leave and family leave. Likewise, the vacation, sick leave or family leave that he or she uses shall be charged against his or her available leave balances. The President shall be placed on special assignment at the discretion of the Chief of Police for the purpose of maintaining the time and attendance report. The President shall continue to file time and attendance reports with the Police Department.

The Chief of Police retains the right to recall the Association President to duty during an emergency or special event involving overriding need for the protection of the citizens of Fort Worth. No overtime or compensatory time shall be accrued while the President is on Association Leave except in the event the President is recalled to duty by the Chief of Police and required to labor in excess of the normal 40 hour week. If the President is recalled to such duty, the City shall deduct, credit or offset hours worked by the President from the 2080 hours reimbursement of the hourly step rate of pay (Revised July 1, 2003).

The President shall not use Association Leave for political activities that are prohibited by Section 143.086 of the Texas Local Government Code. Association Leave shall not be paid if the President is under a suspension without pay.

This policy shall not be considered as a limitation upon the Chief of Police's discretion to allow other employees of the Police Department time off without pay to attend to Association business.

Association Leave shall not be treated as a break in service and the President shall not lose seniority, promotional opportunity, sick leave, vacation, retirement or any other benefits, including mandatory T.C.L.E.O.S.E. training, while on such leave. While on Association Leave, the President will retain the privileges of his or her employment and shall be maintained by the Police Department as a Commissioned Peace Officer in the State and a classified Civil Service Employee of the City of Fort Worth (Effective 4-13-99).

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Major Medical Sick Leave (Revised December 16, 2000)

The City of Fort Worth provides Major Medical Sick Leave (MMSL) to any non-civil service employee who occupies a full-time or part-time non-elected position, is a member of the Retirement fund, and has completed their initial probationary period (Revised December 16, 2000) to recuperate from serious medical conditions (Revised July 1, 2003) (Revised June 1, 2004) keep medical appointments, and to attend funerals. MMSL cannot be used to take care of family members. (Revised 2-10-06) These benefits are available to employees after they successfully complete their initial six (6) month probation period.  (Revised October 9, 1999) (Actual accrual of leave time begins at the end of the first full pay period of employment.)

Major Medical Sick Leave is provided for these situations where an employee must be off work for more than 56 consecutive work hours due to a medical condition which prohibits the employee from returning to work. (Revised October 9, 1999) To access accrued MMSL, employees must use 56 work consecutive hours of Vacation (Revised December 16, 2000) accrued leave time (vacation, short term sick/family, old sick, personal holiday, compensatory time, etc.) and/or time off without pay (Revised July 1, 2003), then MMSL may be used.  A Medical Leave Request form must be completed before MMSL can be used. (Revised October 9, 1999)

An employee who is out on Major Medical may be required by the supervisor or department to contact the Medical Records Custodian  (MRC) for his or her department on a regular basis to update the MRC on his or her condition and expected return date. The frequency of this notification will be determined by the business needs of the department in terms of planning schedules, work assignments and staffing levels (Revised 2-10-06). The MRC will in turn notify the employee’s supervisor of the employee’s status. (Revised November 15, 2004)

(Paragraph deleted on 5-8-07)

Employees who return to work after being on MMSL and then must be off work within the next 12 month period for continuation of care that is directly related to the initial medical condition have immediate access to MMSL. An example where immediate access to MMSL is allowed includes therapy sessions(physical, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc.) directly related to the initial medical event; follow-up corrective surgery; complications from the initial medical event; etc. An example where immediate access would not be allowed includes chronic health condition episodes such as seizures, asthmatic and diabetic episodes, etc. (Revised 5-8-07)

Accrual of MMSL is not limited.

Employees will not be paid for unused MMSL at the time of retirement, resignation or termination. However, if an employee retires, accrued MMSL will be added to the formula to calculate an employee’s length of service.

Funeral Leave – Up to twenty-four (24) hours (Revised 2-10-06) of accrued MMSL per payroll calendar (revised Nov. 15, 2004) year may be used for funeral leave. Funeral time will be coded "G" on the T&A sheets. Funeral leave may only be used in the event of the death of an immediate family member.

Department Directors may approve initial probationary period employees to access funeral leave and (Revised January 26, 2001) employee requests to use additional "G" time in the same year if multiple deaths occur.

Independent Medical Examinations

A physician of the City's choice may be consulted to verify an employee's need and eligibility to use MMSL.  The City may require an employee to undergo an independent medical examination (IME) by a physician selected by the City when deemed warranted (e.g., an inexplicable recovery from an injury or illness). Refusal to undergo an IME is grounds for termination.  If the IME results and the employee's physician's assessment are significantly different, another mandatory IME may be required.  In such instances, the City and the employee must agree upon a physician to do the final IME.  The results of this IME will be the final status of the employee's condition.  Employees who fail to cooperate in the selection of a physician may be terminated for insubordinate behavior.  (Revised January 26, 2001)

The City will pay for all IMEs. The requesting department will be charged for all IME costs. (Revised January 26, 2001)

Accrual rates for MMSL for general employees are as follows:

Major Medical Sick Leave

*Tenure w/City (Years) Accrual Rate Per Pay Period (Hours) Accrual Rate Per Year **(Days)
0-15 4.62 15
16-25 3.70 12
26+ 2.16 7

*An Employee's Major Medical Sick Leave accrual rate will change at the beginning of the 16th and 26th year of service with the City.
**Based on 8 hour work days.

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Old Sick Leave

Prior to the implementation of Personal Leave and Major Medical Sick Leave in 1983, employees accrued sick leave, now referred to as "old sick leave", which can be used for illness or injuries off the job. At the time of retirement employees can be paid for up to 720 hours of old sick leave. Any accrued old sick leave above 720 hours will be added to an employee’s length of service for purposes of pension calculation. Employees who resign or terminate are not paid for old sick leave.

MMSL Accrual Rates

Part-time employees accrue MMSL in the proportion that their work time compares to a regular 40 hour workweek. (Revised December 16, 2000)

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

If an employee is off on leave (Revised 2-10-06) for an FMLA qualifying event (revised June 1, 2004), all of the time an employee is off (including the 56 hours off prior to accessing MMSL (Revised_2-10-06) due to illness for more than 3 consecutive working days will count toward the 12 weeks of unpaid leave provided for by the FMLA, no matter what type of leave the employee uses (Revised 2-10-06). Employees must be given notice by their departments that their time off is FML time (Revised 2-10-06).

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Military Leave

The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA) became effective on October 13, 1994. The Act is designed to encourage non-career military service by minimizing employment problems resulting from military service, to minimize disruption of the lives of service members, and to prohibit discrimination against service members.

EMPLOYERS HAVE NO RIGHT TO DENY ABSENCES UNDER USERRA
Persons protected under the Act include persons absent from work serving in the uniformed services including all military branches and respective reserve affiliates; Army and National Guard personnel; commissioned members of the Public Health Service; and, any other category of persons designed by the President.

Paid Military Leave

Regular full-time, part-time, temporary (S01) (revised June 1, 2004) and probationary employees will be given paid leave for military duty covered by USERRA.  A maximum of 120 or 180 hours (180 hours for Fire Civil Service Operations Employees) during the  City’s payroll year (Revised 2-10-06) will be paid military leave. Employees absent for more than 120 or 180 hours Revised January 21, 2002) shall be considered on leave of absence without pay for all days in excess of those 120 or 180 hours (Revised January 21, 2002). An employee may use accumulated vacation (Revised December 16, 2000) or compensatory time, if eligible. If an employee has no available leave time and is placed on approved leave without pay the employee will not accrue any leave benefits during this time period.

Military duties covered by the Act include any and all service and training conducted under the auspices of Armed Forces Reserves and the National Guard. This includes active duty, active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty training, full-time National Guard duty and absence from work for a physical fitness examination to determine fitness for duty.

Both voluntary and involuntary duty is covered.

State service performed by National Guard personnel is not covered.

Re-employment Entitlements

  1. Prompt re-employment of service members.
    1. If absence is less than 90 days, the service member is entitled to placement into the exact job held prior to absence.
    2. If absence is 91 days or more, the service member is entitled to placement into the exact job previously held or another job of "like seniority, status, and pay."
  2. Continuation of seniority benefits as if service member had been continuously employed (no break in service).
  3. Train or re-train service member (if necessary) to permit re-entry into the workplace.
  4. Reinstate personal and family health insurance coverage.
  5. Make reasonable efforts to accommodate service members disabled during duty.

Re-Employment Rights Eligibility Criteria

Service personnel seeking re-employment under the Act must meet the following criteria:

  1. Held a civilian job when commenced military duty covered by the Act.
  2. Give notice to civilian employer regarding absence for military training or service.
    • All requests for leave under the Act must be verified by presenting a copy of the order, directive, notice or other document(s) requiring the employee's absence from work.
    • The amount of advance notice is not specified by the Act. Advance written or verbal notice to the employer is required, unless precluded by military necessity or is otherwise impossible or unreasonable. As much advance notice as possible is preferred.
  3. Must not exceed the 5-year cumulative limit (per employer) on service. Military service or training excluded from the 5-year cumulative limit includes:
    1. unable to obtain release from service/training before expiration of 5-year period;
    2. determined and certified by the Secretary of the service to be necessary for professional development or for completion of skills training or retraining.
    3. involuntary active duty in wartime, national emergency, critical persons during time of crisis, operational mission, and involuntary duty of retired and reserve Coast Guard personnel;
    4. active duty service during a war or a national emergency;
    5. active duty service in support of a critical mission or requirement of the uniformed services; and
    6. service performed when called in Federal service as a member of the National Guard.
  4. Must be released from service under honorable conditions.
  5. Must report back to civilian job in a timely manner or make timely application for re-employment.
    1. If training/service is up to 30 consecutive days, the deadline is completion of training/service plus travel time to residence plus 8 hours.
    2. If training/service is 31 to 180 days, the deadline is 14 days after completion of training/service.
    3. If training/service is 181 days or more, the deadline is 90 days after completion of training/service.

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Pregnancy Leave

The City does not provide pregnancy leave per se. Employees affected by pregnancy or related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other employees who are similarly able or unable to perform the essential functions of their job (per the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978). Pregnancy is considered a temporary disability and is treated as such. The attending physician determines an employee's ability to perform the essential functions of her position.

Pregnancy-related absences are governed by the particular leave policies which are applicable; these policies could include: Major Medical Sick Leave; Sick Leave; Vacation (Revised 2-10-06); Vacation Leave; Family and Medical Leave; Voluntary Leave Bank; and, Leave Without Pay

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Lactation (New policy effective June 1, 2004)

Lactation is the expression of breast milk to store for a baby’s later use.

Employees who plan to perform lactation during work hours need to let their supervisor know in advance of their space and scheduling needs. Employees who need to perform lactation should be permitted flexibility in the scheduling of breaks and lunch periods, dependent upon the individual needs of the worksite. Supervisors should work with employees to provide a regular place where they can perform lactation in a secure and private location. The needs of each employee as to lactation will differ and there is no one schedule for lactation that will fit every employee. Specific guidelines for setting up a temporary lactation center can be obtained from the Wellness Program or Public Health Department.

Employees performing lactation shall not use City time for this activity, but should use the amount of time normally allotted for breaks and lunch periods. There may occasionally be times when employees need more than the allotted amount of time to perform their lactation. On such occasions supervisors may, dependent upon the needs of the individual worksite, allow some flexibility as to the time allowed for lactation; however, employees who regularly require more than the allotted amount of time should plan to either make up the additional time used or use Vacation or Compensatory time to make up the difference. If issues regarding lactation scheduling arise, contact the Wellness Program Coordinator at 817-392-8556.

Short Term Sick Leave/Family Leave (New Policy, December 16, 2000)

Short Term Sick Leave/Family Leave (STS/F) is a benefit which is available to any non-civil service employee who occupies a full-time or part-time non-elected position, is a member of the Retirement fund, and has completed their initial probationary period.

STS/F is leave time which can be used by an employee: 1) who is not able to perform assigned duties because of an illness or injury; 2) who has a medical, dental, ocular, or other health care provider appointment; 3) who needs to access major medical sick leave or workers' compensation benefits; or 4) who needs to provide care for an immediate family member who has a serious health condition requiring the assistance or care of the employee.

STS/F leave accrual is unlimited.

Supervisors may or may not require documentation to verify the need to use STS/F leave.  If documentation is requested, failure to provide documentation could result in the denial of leave and disciplinary action up to and including termination.  Whenever possible, completion of City forms is preferred.  If the documentation provided is determined to be inadequate, the employee will be given a reasonable amount of time to provide adequate documentation.  Failure to do so will result in the denial of leave and disciplinary action.

Employees who retire, resign or are terminated (after completion of their initial 6-month probation) shall be paid for all unused STS/F Leave.  Employees who terminate at or before the end of a pay period will not accrue STS/F Leave for that pay period.

Accrual rates for Short Term Sick Leave/Family Leave, for general employees are as follows:

Short Term Sick Leave/Family Leave

*Tenure w/City (Years) Accrual Rate Per Pay Period (Hours) Accrual Rate Per Year **(Days)
I. General Employees (Excluding "F" key code classification and City Manager, City Auditor, City Attorney, and City Secretary) (Revised January 26, 2001)
0-5 0.62 2
6-7 0.00 0
8-10 1.54 5
11-15 1.23 4
16-20 1.54 5
21-25 0.62 2
26+ 2.15 7
II. General Employees in "F" key code classification and City Manager, City Auditor, City Attorney, and City Secretary) (Revised January 26, 2001)
0-5 2.15 7
6-10 1.54 5
11-15 1.23 4
16-20 1.54 5
21-25 0.62 2
26+ 2.15 7

*An employee's STS/F Leave accrual rate will change at the beginning of the 6th, 8th year (excluding "F" key code classification), and the 11th 16th, 21st, and 26th year of service with the City.
**Based on 8 hour work days

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Sick Leave

Sick Leave benefits are accrued by Civil Service personnel in the Police and Fire Departments, and some employees of the Library who were hired before July 1, 1975.  

The sick leave benefit is available to employees who successfully completed their initial probationary period with the City. Employees who must miss work due to a personal illness or injury or to keep a medical, dental or ocular appointment may use accrued sick leave to cover their absence.

All regular, eligible full-time employees will accrue 4.62 hours of sick leave per pay period. Sick leave accrual is unlimited. Employees off without pay, regardless of the reason, will not accrue leave for the percentage of time off without pay.

Employees may be required to submit a signed statement from a physician to verify their need to use sick leave. Employees who misrepresent their need to use sick leave will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. A pattern of sick leave usage which suggests misuse or abuse of the benefit is grounds for disciplinary action.

FMLA – Employees who miss more than 3 consecutive working days due to personal illness/injury must be notified within two business days (revised June 1, 2004) that the time off will be charged under FMLA.

Employees who retire from the City service will be paid for up to 720 hours of accrued sick leave. If an employee dies, the beneficiary will be paid for up to 720 hours of accrued sick leave.

Civil Service personnel in the Police and Fire Departments who leave the City service will be paid for unused accrued sick leave in accordance with state statutes.

(Deleted Paragraph effective 2-10-06)

Sick Leave Usage (Revised 2-10-06)

After six month’s continuous service, employees are eligible to use accrued sick leave. Sick leave may be used for an employee’s medical, dental or ocular appointments and personal illness or injury. Sick leave shall not be used due to medical, dental or ocular appointments or injury or illness of an employee’s spouse or children.

Employee Group Maximum Accrual per Year Hours Accrual Per Pay Period Hours Maximum Accumulation Maximum Payment on Termination Days
Police Civil Service Employees 120 4.62 Unlimited 90
Fire Civil Service Employees – 80 hrs. Per Pay Period 120 4.62 Unlimited 90
Fire Civil Service Employees – 112 hrs. Per Pay Period 180 6.93 Unlimited 90

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Vacation Leave (New Policy, December 16, 2000)

The City of Fort Worth provides Vacation Leave to any non- civil service (Revised 2-10-06) employee who occupies a full-time or part-time non-elected position, is a member of the Retirement Fund and has completed their initial probationary period so they may be off work with pay to take vacations and to take care of personal and family business.  These benefits are available to employees after they successfully complete their initial six (6) month probation period. (Revised October 9, 1999) (Actual accrual of leave time begins at the end of the first full pay period of employment.)

Vacation Leave is leave time used by an employee to take care of personal matters and/or to relax and enjoy time off from work.  Vacation Leave may also be used to access major medical sick leave or workers' compensation leave in those instances where no Short term Sick Leave/Family Leave is available.

Supervisors may require documentation to verify the need to use Vacation Leave (due to work issues). If documentation is requested, failure to provide documentation could result in the denial of leave and disciplinary action up to and including termination. Likewise, supervisors may rescind previously approved Vacation Leave due to work issues. (Revised 2-10-06)

Employees who misuse or abuse this benefit will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Employees who have accrued 400 or more hours of Vacation Leave as of the first pay period of each payroll year, must use at least 80 hours of Vacation and/or Short Term Sick Leave/Family Leave before the end of pay period 26. Failure to use at least 80 hours will result in the loss of accrued Vacation Leave to equal 80 hours used that payroll year. Sell back of accrued vacation leave and donation of leave (revised June 1, 2004) will not count toward this vacation leave usage requirement. (Revised January 26, 2001)

Department Directors may request a waiver of this "use it or lose it" provision for employees by contacting the HR Director (Waivers, PRRs, p.13) (Revised 2-10-06). Requests should identify specific business reasons why an employee was not able to be off work to avoid losing accrued leave.  Special assignments, critical projects, serving in a higher or unfamiliar capacity are representative of the kinds of situations that may be acceptable business reasons to approve a waiver.  Time off work, regardless of the reason, is not an acceptable basis for a waiver. (Revised January 26, 2001)

Vacation Leave Sell Back is available the first pay day of December, subject to the budget approved by City Council (revised June 1, 2004). Employees may sell back up to 40 hours of Vacation Leave each year if they will have at least 120 hours left after their sellback.

Employees may accrue additional vacation leave by donating one pint of blood during a City sponsored blood drive. They will earn one (1) hour of Vacation Leave. A maximum of four (4) hours may be accrued in a calendar year.

Employees who retire, resign or are terminated (after completion of their initial 6-month probation) shall be paid for all unused Vacation Leave. (Revised October 9, 1999) Employees who terminate at or before the end of a pay period will not accrue Vacation Leave for that pay period.

Accrual rates for vacation leave for general employees are as follows:

Vacation Leave

*Tenure w/City (Years) Accrual Rate Per Pay Period (Hours) Accrual Rate Per Year **(Days)
0-5 4.62 15
6-10 5.23 17
11-15 5.54 18
16-20 6.15 20
21+ 7.08 23

* An Employee’s Vacation Leave accrual rate will change at the beginning of the 6th, 11th, 16th, and 21st year of service with the City.
**Based on 8 hour work days

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Vacation Leave Donations

Employees (civil service and non-civil service) (Revised July 1, 2003) may transfer accrued Vacation Leave (Revised December 16, 2000) (no other type of leave or time may be transferred) into a non-civil service employee's Short Term Sick Leave/Family Leave account or into a civil service employee’s Sick or Family Illness Leave Revised July 1, 2003) (Revised December 16, 2000) account in order to ensure continuing income for an employee who must be absent from work due to a major personal illness or injury or due to an immediate family member's major illness or injury which requires the presence of the employee.

Eligibility to have Vacation (Revised December 16, 2000) Leave transferred into one's account includes: 1) major illness or injury as defined in this policy; 2) exhaustion or impending exhaustion of all accrued time which can be used; 3) approval of employee's Department Director to solicit Vacation (Revised December 16, 2000) Leave (consideration should be given to employee's record of absenteeism, discipline, work performance, tenure, etc.); and, 4) non-probationary status (initial and disciplinary probation).

A major illness or injury includes any medical condition which qualifies under the Short Term Sick Leave/Family Leave, Family Illness Leave, and (Revised July 1, 2003) Major Medical Sick Leave policy. Appropriate medical certification must be provided such as a Medical Leave Request form (employees) or equivalent documentation for immediate family members.

Eligibility to donate Vacation Leave (Revised 2-10-06) includes non-probationary status (initial probation) and retention of at least 80 hours of accrued Vacation Leave. (Revised December 16, 2000)

Employees who need Leave must submit a request to their Department Director for approval to solicit Leave from other employees. The request must include: 1) an explanation of the need to be off (with required documentation to verify the need); 2) the anticipated length of absence from work; 3) the amount of accrued time on the books; and, 4) the amount of Vacation Leave needed to avoid an absence without pay.

The Department Director will respond to the employee's request in writing as soon as practicable. If the request is denied, there is no appeal. The director's decision is final. If the director approves the request, employees who want to donate Vacation Leave must complete a Vacation Leave Donation form and return it to the director or designee within two (2) weeks after approval of the request. Donated leave will be transferred into the recipient’s account in the order it is received (first donated, first transferred) and at the time the person receiving the leave needs it.(Revised July 1, 2003)

All donations submitted after the amount of time needed has been met or after the response deadline will be returned to the donors and their time will not be transferred. Unused donated leave will not be transferred. In such instances the donor will retain the leave he/she planned to donate. (Revised July 1, 2003)

Donated leave will not count toward any “use or lose” provisions in other leave policies.(Revised July 1, 2003)

Leave benefits do not accrue while on donated leave. (Revised December 16, 2000)

All Leave Donation forms will be sent to the Human Resources Department's HRIS/Records (revised June 1, 2004) Division to complete the transfer of leave time. The Leave Donation forms will be filed in each donor's personnel files. (Revised December 16, 2000)

If the donor's rate of pay is equal to or greater than the recipient's rate of pay, the leave time will be transferred hour for hour. If the donor's rate of pay is less than the recipient's rate of pay, the leave time will be prorated.

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Vacations

Vacation leave benefits are accrued by Civil Service personnel in the Police and Fire Departments, and some employees of the Library who were hired before July 1, 1975.

The City encourages its employees to take time off from work to relax and enjoy a period of refreshing. Vacation Leave is provided so employees can enjoy the benefits of paid time away from work.

Library employees with this benefit accrue 6.16 vacation hours per pay period (160 hours per year).

Civil Service personnel in Police and Fire accrue vacation leave according to the charts at the end of this regulation and may use this benefit upon completion of their probationary period.  (Revised October 9, 1999)

Employees off without pay, regardless of the reason, will not accrue leave for the percentage of time off without pay.

Employees normally can use no more than fifteen (15) consecutive work days of vacation, but with written approval from their Department Director may take more than fifteen (15) consecutive work days off.

Police Civil Service and Library employees may accumulate a maximum of four (4) years accrued vacation leave. At the beginning of each payroll year, accumulated vacation leave hours in excess of three (3) years accrual will be deleted.

Fire Civil Service employees have unlimited vacation accumulation.

Employees may earn up to four (4) hours of vacation leave in a payroll year by donating blood to the Carter Blood Center during City sponsored blood drives.

Official holidays occurring while an employee is on approved leave are considered as paid holidays and do not affect leave balances.

Employees with adjusted service dates (which will be considered a new date of employment) will be regarded as having continuous service and will accrue vacation leave accordingly. However, a service break of more than one year will cancel previous service credit toward vacation eligibility.

Employees who terminate from the City service during their initial probationary period will not be paid for accrued vacation time. Library and Police Civil Service employees who have completed their initial probationary period will be paid for unused accrued vacation leave up to a maximum of two (2) years accrual.

Fire Civil Service employees who have completed their initial probationary period will be paid for all unused accrued vacation leave (there is no limitation). Employees who terminate before the end of a pay period will not earn vacation leave for that pay period.

After one (1) year as a commissioned officer, Fire Civil Service employees are required to use two (2) weeks (120 hours for 56-hour personnel and 80 hours for 40-hour personnel) accrued holiday time and/or vacation time per payroll year. Failure to use the minimum required leave will result in the difference between the amount used and the minimum required leave usage being deducted from accumulated vacation leave at the beginning of the next payroll year.

The Library Director, Police Chief or Fire Chief may request a waiver of this "use it or lose it" provision for employees (Revised 2-10-06) by contacting the HR Director (Waivers, PRRs, p. 13(Revised 2-10-06). Requests should identify specific business reasons why an employee was not able to be off work to avoid losing accrued leave.  Special assignments, critical projects, serving in a higher or unfamiliar capacity are representative of the kinds of situations that may be accepted business reasons to approve a waiver.  Time off work, regardless of the reason, is not an acceptable basis for a waiver.  (Revised January 26, 2001)

Fire Civil Service employees may sell back a portion of their accrued vacation leave once a year. See the "Fire Civil Service Vacation Sell Back" policy. Police Civil Service employees and Library employees do not have a vacation sell back provision.

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Vacation Leave Chart

For Library employees employed prior to June 1, 1975.

The following chart provides information concerning vacation accrual and accumulation rates. Refer to the vacation regulation for additional information.

Employee Group Maximum Accrual per Year (hours) Accrual Rate per Pay Period (hours) Maximum Accumulation (hours) Limit at the Beginning of Each Payroll Year (hours) Maximum Payment on Termination (hours)
Library employees eligible for 4 weeks vacation 160 6.16 640 480 320

Vacation Leave Chart — Sworn Police

The following chart provides information concerning vacation accrual and accumulation rates. Refer to the vacation regulation for additional information.

Employee Group Maximum Accrual Per Year (Hours) Accrual Rate Per Pay Period (Hours) Maximum Accumulation (Hours) 4X Limit At The Beginning Of Each Payroll Year (Hours) 3X Maximum Payment At Termination (Hours) 2x
Sworn Police with 1 year service (14.6) 117 4.50 468 351 234
Sworn Police with 5 years service (16.6) 133 5.12 532 399 266
Sworn Police with 10 years service (17.6) 141 5.42 564 423 282
Sworn Police with 15 years service (19.6) 157 6.04 628 471 314
Sworn Police with 20 years service (22.6) 181 6.96 724 543 362

Vacation Leave Chart — Sworn Fire — 8-Hour Days

The following chart provides information concerning vacation accrual and accumulation rates. Refer to the vacation regulation for additional information.

Employee Group Maximum Accrual per Year (hours) Accrual Rate per Pay Period (hours) Maximum Accumulation Maximum Payment on Termination
Sworn Fire with 1 year service (15) 120 4.62 NO LIMIT NO LIMIT
Sworn Fire with 5 years service (17) 136 5.23 NO LIMIT NO LIMIT
Sworn Fire with 10 years service (18) 144 5.54 NO LIMIT NO LIMIT
Sworn Fire with 15 years service (20) 160 6.15 NO LIMIT NO LIMIT
Sworn Fire with 20 years service (23) 184 7.08 NO LIMIT NO LIMIT

Vacation Leave Chart — Sworn Fire —12-Hour Days

The following chart provides information concerning vacation accrual and accumulation rates. Refer to the vacation regulation for additional information.

Employee Group Maximum Accrual per Year (hours) Accrual Rate per Pay Period (hours) Maximum Accumulation Maximum Payment on Termination
Sworn Fire with 1 year service (15) 180 6.93 NO LIMIT NO LIMIT
Sworn Fire with 5 years service (17) 204 7.85 NO LIMIT NO LIMIT
Sworn Fire with 10 years service (18) 216 8.31 NO LIMIT NO LIMIT
Sworn Fire with 15 years service (20) 240 9.23 NO LIMIT NO LIMIT
Sworn Fire with 20 years service (23) 276 10.62 NO LIMIT NO LIMIT

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Voluntary Leave Bank (policy revised Feb. 28, 2005)

The Voluntary Leave Bank program provides for the continuation of income for those employees who have exhausted all of their accrued leave and need to be off due to a personal medical emergency or to care for an immediate family member who has had a medical emergency.

This program is established by employees for the benefit of other employees. Assets of the Program (donated leave hours) belong specifically to the members (who donated) and not to any other organization, group or entity. (Revised January 21, 2002)

Definitions:

Eligibility:

Employees who are eligible to participate include any full-time and part-time non-elected person who is on the payroll of the City, is a member of the Retirement Fund, and has completed the initial probationary period.

Enrollment:

Each potential member must complete a Voluntary Leave Bank form verifying his or her willingness to join the program on a voluntary basis. Membership will continue until a member 1) terminates employment, 2) retires or 3) fails to re-contribute hours as needed.

New Hire:

New hires can enroll in the program within the first 30 days of employment. The initial contribution of four (4) hours of vacation leave time will be deducted from leave accrual upon completion of the initial probationary period from the effective enrollment date. An additional one (1)-hour deduction occurs each year in the second pay check in January.

Current Employees:

Current employees can enroll during an enrollment period held in the month of October for an effective date of January 1st. The initial contribution of four (4) hours of vacation leave will be deducted from the leave accrual the second pay period in January with access to the leave bank hours effective in May. An additional one (1) hour deduction subsequently occurs each year in the second pay check in January.

Donated Leave hours below minimum levels:

Each member may also be required to donate an additional 4 hours when the Voluntary Leave Bank falls below a minimum level. Human Resources Department records will be used to monitor leave donation and usage. The Leave Bank committee will determine when the Leave Bank has reached a minimum level based on average monthly usage. Participating employees will be notified of the need for additional contribution and must authorize the transfer of additional leave hours.

An employee who fails to become a member during an enrollment period may become a member during the next enrollment period.

Applying for Voluntary Leave Bank Hours:

Members may be eligible to draw from the leave bank after exhaustion of all accrued leave, including Major Medical. Members drawing leave from the Bank will have a limit of 240 hours in any 12-month period. In no case shall an employee draw more than 240 hours from the bank for any single occurrence.

To apply for leave bank hours, an employee must complete a Medical Leave Request (MLR) form. The form must express reason for need and anticipated date of return to work. In order for the Leave Bank Committee to make a determination of need, the employee must share the minimum amount necessary of their personal information. The committee holds this information within the strictest confidence. By applying to access voluntary leave, an employee is giving the committee access to his or her personal health information directly related to the need for leave.

In addition to the MLR form, employees will have to submit the departmental checklist to their department. This form allows the employee’s supervisor to know that the employee will be requesting leave. The supervisor is responsible for informing the Leave Bank Committee of any attendance or disciplinary problems that may preclude the employee from accessing the Leave Bank. At no time will any medical information be required to be shared with the supervisor.

The employee is responsible for ensuring that the MLR form, the departmental checklist and all supporting documentation are turned in to the Human Resources Benefits Office fifteen (15) days prior to the need for leave, if possible. The Benefit Office will forward the necessary paperwork to the Voluntary Leave Bank Committee for review.

If an employee is unable to make application on his/her behalf, a personal representative of the employee may make written application on the employee’s behalf.

Administration:

Employees off on Leave Bank hours will not accrue leave benefits (Short Term Sick Leave/Family Leave, Major Medical, Vacation, Sick) while using Leave Bank hours.

Members drawing leave from the Leave Bank shall not work at any other job.

Access to the Leave Bank:

Access to the program is not guaranteed by membership; rather, access is based on need of the member and determined by the Voluntary Leave Bank Committee. No one is guaranteed 240 hours; rather, the Committee will review each application on an individual basis.

The Voluntary Leave Bank Committee is selected by members of the Employee Relations Committee to act as stewards of the Leave Bank whose sole intent is to authorize access only to employees who have a proven medical/family medical need and who (also) have a history of prudent use of leave time.  To that end, each committee member shall have access to the official leave records and may interview the current supervisor and (any) prior supervisor(s) in order to determine prudent use of leave time by the member. Members of the Leave Bank Committee shall sign confidentiality agreements to affirm their commitment to protecting the privacy of all medical information received through administration of the program.

The Committee will have the responsibility for reviewing employee requests to access the Leave Bank by obtaining the necessary documents to verify the basis of the request and investigating any circumstances which may preclude approval of the request.

Use of leave time on an intermittent basis may be granted only if the City Voluntary Leave Bank Committee approves intermittent usage. The committee may recommend/approve a lesser number of hours than requested by the member. The member whose access has been approved will, upon return to work and after accrual of a minimum of eight (8) hours leave, donate those eight (8) hours to the Leave Bank Program. Members who do not donate the required eight (8) hours will be dropped from the program. Future enrollment will be restricted until the eight (8) hours has been donated to the leave Bank Program.

The Leave Bank Committee will approve or disapprove the request within 10 working days. The member has five (5) business days to respond to any request for information. If disapproved, the Leave Bank Committee will notify the requestor of their decision by memo. A disapproval decision by the Leave Bank Committee is final.

Decision Criteria:

Each decision will be reviewed individually. In general, an employee must not be able to attend work due to a medical emergency as defined within this document. Following are examples of medical emergencies that may be acceptable reasons for accessing the Leave Bank:

Common requests that do not meet the criteria are:

Review and Continuance of the Leave Bank Program: The Committee shall determine from personnel reports when additional contributions of leave are necessary to keep the Bank at a sufficient level to support the program. Should the Committee determine that this program is not working as planned, the Committee may recommend that the City Manager revise or dissolve the program.

The City Manager may terminate the program if it is determined that it is not in the best interests of the City of Fort Worth. Should this program be found to be in violation of any laws the program will be terminated. If the Leave Bank Program is terminated, the remaining leave in the bank will be used until depleted.

Special Events Policy

Added Nov. 12, 2010

Attending and/or participating in special events during an employee's regular work hours may be permitted if approved in advance by the Department Director. The time is not paid by the City and employees must use personal leave in order to be compensated. If an employee is assigned by their department to attend/participate in a special event then the time is paid by the City. Examples of special events include celebrations, charitable functions, humanitarian efforts, and non-job related committees associated with special events.

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