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Washington Co. adopts policy to create sick leave bank

May 11, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Washington County Commissioners approved a new policy Tuesday that will allow county employees to contribute their accrued sick leave to a sick leave bank for use by other employees.

"We've had numerous requests when an employee is ill for an extended period or when an employee's family member is ill for an extended period, employees have asked repeatedly, can they donate time to that employee so they can continue to get paid," county human resources director George William Sonnik III said. "The answer's always been no, because we don't have a policy in place."

The request for a new policy came from the Sheriff's Department, where an employee is in a situation to potentially benefit from the new policy, Sonnik said. Privacy policies prevented him from saying more about the situation.

Sonnik said sick leave banks are a fairly common practice and are available for employees of the City of Hagerstown and Washington County Board of Education.

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Under the policy approved Tuesday, employees may donate up to eight hours of sick leave a year for general use and may donate up to eight hours at any time for use by a particular approved employee.

After exhausting his or her own leave, including vacation and personal days, an employee may use days from the bank for an absence resulting from a catastrophic or life-threatening injury or illness affecting the employee or the employee's immediate family member, the policy says.

The maximum number of sick days an employee can use in one fiscal year is 60 work days, it says.

Only employees who have donated to the bank in a given fiscal year will be eligible for days from the general bank, but donation is not a prerequisite for accepting sick days donated specifically to a particular employee.

The commissioners agreed that stepchildren and stepparents should be considered immediate family members along with parents, spouses and children.

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