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Taking leave

Taking leave

Several types of leave are available to eligible King County employees. Consult with your supervisor or your agency Human Resources representative to confirm what types of leaves apply to you and what forms and documentation may be necessary to process your request for leave.

For detailed information, go to the Employee Leave Guide. If you are a represented employee, see your specific union contract for additional benefits information.

Many benefits are available to you and your eligible family members while you are on a leave of absence. For a summary of your options and the necessary paperwork, see Continuing Your County Benefits.

For information about King County holidays, vacation time, and sick leave, please contact your department Human Resources representative.

Leave types

Employees eligible for comprehensive leave benefits may use up to five days of bereavement leave per qualifying death of an immediate family member (40 hours maximum; prorated for part-time employees). Employees who are not eligible for paid leaves may be granted leave without pay, or may be allowed to use compensatory time, if available, for bereavement leave. Any additional paid leave may be approved by mutual agreement between King County and the employee.

Immediate family member is defined as:

  • Employees spouse or domestic partner
  • The employees legal guardian, ward, or any person whom the employee has legal custody of
  • The following family members of the employee, the employee’s spouse, or the employee’s domestic partner: a child (including a miscarriage or stillbirth); a parent; a grandparent; a son or daughter-in-law; a grandchild; or a sibling

If you are the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, you can take Domestic Violence Leave to receive medical treatment, attend legal proceedings, or address safety concerns. You can also take leave to provide assistance to a family member who is a victim of domestic violence.

You may use leave with pay (sick leave, vacation leave, compensatory time, or other accrued leave) or without pay. For details, see the Domestic Violence in the Workplace policy.

King County offers two programs that allow employees to donate a portion of their accrued vacation or sick leave to other employees in need. Comprehensive leave-eligible employees may donate and receive donations under these programs (Short-Term Temporary employees and interns are not eligible). Both programs use the following rules to comply with IRS tax laws:

  • Donated leave can only be used for FMLA/KCFML qualifying conditions, such as the serious health condition of the employee or eligible family member or to bond with a new child. (The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and King County Family Medical Leave (KCFML) laws provide certain rights and benefits when employees need to take time off for qualifying family or medical reasons.)
  • Donations must first be used for a prolonged absence (a minimum of three consecutive days) and can be used intermittently thereafter.
  • An employee cannot use donated leave until they have fully exhausted all of their own accrued leaves (i.e., vacation leave, sick leave, benefit time leave, holiday banked leave, comp time, executive leave, etc).

For additional information, see the Donated Leave FAQ.

Emergency Medical Leave Fund

Through this program, you can donate your accrued leave to a central fund. You can donate up to 25 hours of sick leave and up to 80 hours of vacation per year.

To donate leave to this fund, use the Emergency Medical Leave Donation Form. To request leave from this fund, use the Emergency Medical Leave Request Form.

Employee-to-Employee Medical Leave Donation Program

Through this program, you can donate your accrued leave directly to another comprehensive leave-eligible employee. You can donate up to 25 hours of sick leave and any amount of your accrued vacation balance per year. There is no maximum limit on the number of donated hours an employee can receive as a donation.

To donate leave to another employee, use the Employee-to-Employee Medical Leave Donation Form. To request donated leave from this program, follow your agency policies.

Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees may take leave for a serious health condition; to care for a child after birth, adoption, or placement for foster care; or to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition. Leave is limited to 12 weeks in a rolling 12-month period.

Under King County Family Medical Leave (KCFML), eligible employees may take leave for the same reasons under FMLA as well as to care for a domestic partner with a serious health condition or for a spouse or domestic partner’s child or parent with a serious health condition. Leave is limited to 18 weeks in a rolling 12-month period. For additional information, see Employee Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act or view the poster in your break room.

Washington Family Care Act (WFCA): Employees in Washington State are entitled to use their choice of sick leave or other paid time off to care for a child with a health condition that requires treatment or supervision, or to care for a spouse, parent, parent-in-law, or grandparent who has a serious health condition or an emergency, and to care for children 18 years and older with disabilities. Grandparents-in-law, grandchildren, and siblings are not included.

Communicate your need for family and medical leave with your supervisor and agency human resources professional as soon as possible. You will be required to submit a Protected Leave Request Form to your agency human resources professional, along with other required documentation. Follow your department’s request for time off procedure and enter the appropriate leave of absence payroll codes into the payroll system. HR staff: Use the Protected Leave Response Form to respond.

Certifications

The following forms are used to obtain a certification by a health care provider to support your request for family and medical leave:

 

If you are eligible for leave and ordered to serve on a jury, you receive your regular King County pay. You must decline any jury duty pay—except for mileage—from the court system if you are receiving King County pay.

Communicate your jury duty information and provide a copy of your jury duty summons to your supervisor. Follow your department’s request for time off procedure and enter the appropriate leave of absence payroll codes into the payroll system.

Employees may be eligible for leave for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Pregnancy-related Conditions (PCPRC) during the time they are sick or temporarily disabled due to being pregnant, during childbirth, or for other, pregnancy-related reasons. This leave may be in addition to family and medical leaves.

Communicate your need for pregnancy, childbirth and pregnancy-related leave with your supervisor as soon as possible and use the Protected Leave Request Form and the Employee Medical Certification Form. Follow your department’s request for time off procedure and enter the appropriate leave of absence payroll codes into the payroll system.

If you are eligible for leave, you may take a leave of absence without pay for up to 30 calendar days, if you obtain written authorization from your supervisor. For a leave of absence of up to one year, additional authorization may be required (see request form for details). Please refer to King County Code 3.12.250, Personnel Guidelines 14.11, and applicable collective bargaining agreements for more detailed information.

Communicate your need for leave with your supervisor as soon as possible and use the Leave of Absence Without Pay Request Form. Follow your department’s request for time off procedure and enter the appropriate leave of absence payroll codes into the payroll system.

King County employees (both male and female) can receive up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave following the birth, adoption, or foster-to-adopt placement of a child. The leave will run concurrent with federal, state, and county family or medical leave to the fullest extent possible.

Communicate your need for paid parental leave with your supervisor as soon as possible. Use the Protected Leave Request Formand submit required documentation. If adopting a foster child, use the Foster-to Adopt Form as well. Follow your department’s request for time off procedure and enter the appropriate leave of absence payroll codes into the payroll system.

For more information, see the Paid Parental Leave FAQ.

Eligible employees may use up to three days of sick leave each year to perform volunteer services at any local school, including your child’s school, or at any nonprofit organization participating in the King County Employee Giving Program.

Prior to the leave, request the time off by submitting the Sick Leave for Volunteer Service Formform to your supervisor. The name of the organization and the volunteer service you are performing must be included. Follow your department’s procedure for requesting time off, and enter the appropriate leave of absence payroll codes into the payroll system.

See additional information below:

King County provides the following benefits for employees taking a leave of absence for military deployment or training/drills:

  • Up to 21-days of paid military leave per military fiscal year (Oct. 1 -- Sept. 30)
  • Differential pay while on active duty
  • Medical, dental, vision, and basic life insurance for a military leave beyond 30-calendar days
  • Vacation and sick leave accruals while on military leave

To receive these benefits, submit a Uniformed Services Leave Form, a copy of your military orders, and your training/drill schedules prior to beginning your leave. To use your own accrued leave (except sick leave) or take leave without pay, you do not need to submit your orders or training/drill schedule unless the military leave period exceeds 30-calendar days.

For additional information, refer to the Uniformed Services Leave FAQ and the Guide to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

 

The state of Washington began offering Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) to eligible employees on Jan. 1, 2020. PFML is a statewide insurance program administered by the Employment Security Department. PFML is funded by mandatory employer contributions and employee payroll deductions.

To be eligible for PFML, you must have worked at least 820 hours (approximately 16 hours per week) for a Washington employer during the previous year.

Under PFML, eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave to:

  • Welcome a child into your family (through birth, adoption, or foster placement)
  • Recover from a serious illness or injury
  • Care for a seriously ill or injured family member
  • Prepare for a family member’s pre- and post- military deployment, or manage childcare issues related to a family member’s military deployment

If you face multiple events in a year, you may be eligible to receive up to 16 weeks, and up to 18 weeks if you experience a serious health condition during pregnancy that results in incapacity.

PFML benefit is calculated and paid by the Employment Security Department (state of Washington).

All represented and non-represented employees are eligible for PFML if they meet the criteria. 

To learn more about the basics of this program, see Frequently Asked Questions. For more complete and current information about PFML and to apply, go to Paid Family and Medical Leave or contact them by email paidleave@esd.wa.gov or by phone at 833-717-2273.

Benefits and retirement
 

Phone 206-684-1556
Fax: 206-296-7700

Phone hours:
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays
Payroll

Fax: 206-296-7678

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