POLICIES GOVERNING LEAVE

Below are all leave policies covered in the Texas Government Code, Chapter 661. All of the policies listed below can be found in the TDA Employee Handbook – Human Resources Policies, located on the TDA Intranet.  

Administrative Leave Policy

The Deputy Commissioner may grant administrative leave as a reward to employees for outstanding performance, as documented on employee performance appraisals.

To be eligible for administrative leave, the receiving employee must have a current performance appraisal on file in the Human Resources Department. The employee’s current overall performance rating must be in the “met expectations, sometimes more” range or above.

Supporting comments should be recorded in the current Performance Appraisal form.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.911

Amateur Radio Operator Leave Policy

Under certain circumstances, TDA employees who hold FCC-issued amateur radio station licenses are entitled to leave, without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit, or state compensatory time to participate in specialized disaster relief services.

The number of amateur radio operators eligible for this leave may not exceed 350 state employees at any one time. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) shall coordinate the establishment and maintenance of the list of eligible employees. An employee requesting amateur radio operator leave must provide documentation of eligibility to receive such leave by demonstrating that his/her name appears on the current list of eligible employees and that the Governor has issued a state disaster declaration.

The employee may be granted paid leave not to exceed ten (10) working days in a fiscal year. 

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.911

Assistance Dog Training Leave Policy

An employee who is a “person with a disability,” as defined by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code, is entitled to a leave of absence without deduction in salary for the purpose of attending a training program to acquaint the employee with an assistance dog to be used by the employee.

The employee may be granted a leave of absence without deduction in salary not to exceed ten (10) working days in a fiscal year.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.910; Texas Human Resources Code, Section 121.002.

Blood Donation Leave Policy

Employees are entitled to sufficient time off, without a deduction in salary or accrued leave, to donate blood. 

An employee may receive time off, under this policy, no more than four (4) times in a fiscal year.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.917.

Bone Marrow and Organ Donation

Employees are entitled to a leave of absence without a deduction in salary for the time necessary to permit the employee to serve as a bone marrow or organ donor. 

The employee may be granted a leave of absence that does not exceed five (5) working days in a fiscal year to serve as a bone marrow donor; or thirty (30) working days in a fiscal year to serve as an organ donor.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.916

Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Leave Policy

Employees are entitled to leave without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation leave, sick leave, earned overtime credit, or state compensatory time to participate in mandatory training or perform volunteer services for Court-Appointed Special Advocates.

The employee may be granted paid leave not to exceed five (5) hours each month.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.921.

Emergency Leave Policy

Employees are entitled to be granted paid emergency leave for bereavement leave and for certain other emergencies including:

·         A death in the employee’s family, as defined below;

·         Life threatening disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, bomb threats;

·         Observance of a holiday; or

·         Any reason, other than a death in the employee’s family, determined to be “good cause” by the Deputy Commissioner.

A “death in the employee’s familyis defined as follows:

·         The death of an employee's spouse; or

·         the death of a parent, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, or child of the employee or of the employee's spouse.

                                                                                                                     

“Good cause” is determined by the Deputy Commissioner after considering the following:

·         The nature and severity of the event or condition;

·         The effect of the event or condition on the employee; and

·         Reasonable time to resolve the situation.

A “good cause” determination must also be supported by the Deputy Commissioner’s good faith belief that the employee intends to return to his/her position with the agency when the time period for which emergency leave was granted expires.

Reference: Texas Government Code, 661.902

Extended Sick Leave Policy

TDA employees may be granted extended sick leave hours in addition to the amount of sick leave earned monthly after a review of the individual’s particular circumstances. Employees may be granted extended sick leave to use for their own medical needs or for the medical needs of members of the employee’s immediate family, as well as for the care and assistance of other family members.

Employees are eligible to apply for extended sick leave after earning six (6) months of continuous agency service if their particular circumstances fall within one of the following three permitted categories for use:

·          An illness or injury prevents the employee from working and requires the care of a healthcare provider;

·          An illness or injury affects a member of the employee’s immediate family requiring the care of a healthcare provider and the employee will serve as the primary caretaker for that family member; or

·          A documented medical condition affects a child, spouse, or parent not residing in the employee’s household and for whom the employee provides related care and assistance.  Note:  This leave is strictly limited to the time necessary to provide care and assistance for this family member as a direct result of the documented medical condition. Supporting medical documentation must be submitted via confidential fax to the Coordinator for Benefits prior to use of extended sick leave for this purpose.

The employee will initiate the request for extended sick leave by submitting a written request for extended sick leave hours to his/her supervisor and Assistant Commissioner. The supervisor and Assistant Commissioner will forward the request to the Coordinator for Benefits in Human Resources to request the extended sick leave hours for the employee.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.202(e), (i), and (j).

Family and Medical Leave Policy

Family and Medical Leave Eligibility

Eligible employees are those employees who have the following:

·       Been employed by the State of Texas for at least twelve (12)

 months (need not  be consecutive); and

·       Physically worked at least 1,250 hours for the state during

 the twelve (12) months preceding the beginning of the leave.

Leave Requirements

FMLA guarantees that an employee will return to his/her current position or an equivalent position with equivalent pay and benefits.  Eligible employees are entitled to:

  • Twelve (12) workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

·         The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;

·         The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;

·         To care for the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition;

·         A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her job;

·         Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty”; or

·         Twenty-six (26) workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

Reference: The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 USC Section 2601 et. seq.; Texas Government Code, Section 661.912.

Foster Parent Leave Policy

An employee who is a foster parent to a child under the conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is entitled to a leave of absence without a deduction in salary for the purpose of attending meetings held by DFPS related to the child under the foster care of the employee or an admission, review, or dismissal meeting held by a school district related to the child under the foster care of the employee. 

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.906.

General Leave Policy (Leave Without Pay & Leaves of Absence)

TDA may grant employees leave without pay (LWOP), including a leave of absence without pay, subject to the following conditions:

·         The duration of the leave may not exceed twelve (12) months;

·         Except for disciplinary suspensions, active military duty, and leave covered by workers' compensation benefits, all accumulated paid leave entitlements must be used before going on leave without pay status.  Sick leave must first be used only if the employee is taking leave for a reason for which the employee is eligible to take sick leave under Subchapter G; and

·         Subject to fiscal constraints, approval of the leave constitutes a guarantee of employment at the conclusion of the specified leave period.

The Deputy Commissioner may grant exceptions to the limitations of this section if the employee is taking the leave for one of the following reasons:

1)       to work for another state governmental entity under an interagency agreement;  or

2)      educational purposes.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.909.

Leave During an Agency Investigation

The Deputy Commissioner may grant leave without a deduction in salary to an employee who is the subject of an internal TDA investigation, or a victim of, or witness to, an act or event that is the subject of an internal TDA investigation.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.923.

Military Service & Leave Policy

Annual Military Leave

An employee is eligible for fifteen (15) workdays in each federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) without loss of pay or benefits to accommodate military leave. The fifteen (15) days of paid leave need not be consecutive. These days are considered business days, not calendar days. If a holiday occurs while an employee is on such military leave, the employee receives holiday pay and the holiday is not counted against the fifteen (15) days.

National Guard Emergency

An employee who is called to state active duty as a member of the Texas military forces by the governor because of an emergency is entitled to a leave of absence without a deduction in salary. This time is not limited and does not count against the fifteen (15) days of military leave per federal fiscal year. An employee who falls under this category of military service will remain on the payroll and receive monthly leave accruals for the duration of the call- up.

Military Leave during National Emergency

An employee called to active duty during a national emergency to serve in a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States under Title 10 or 32, United States Code, is entitled to an unpaid leave of absence.

The employee on an unpaid leave of absence during military duty continues to accrue state service credit for purposes of longevity pay, vacation leave and sick leave.

This leave will be accrued but not posted until the employee returns to state employment. In addition, the employee retains his or her leave balances unless the employee chooses to use any accrued annual/vacation leave, compensatory time or overtime leave to maintain benefits for the employee or the employee’s dependents while on military duty.

Additionally, the employee may continue to accrue service credit with State of Texas ERS by receiving at least one hour of state pay during each month of active military service. The employee may use any combination of paid leave to qualify for state pay.

Urban Search and Rescue Leave

An employee who is a member of the state military forces, a reserve component of the Armed Forces, or a member of a state or federally authorized Urban Search and Rescue Team who is ordered by the proper authority to engage in authorized training or duty, is entitled to paid leave up to fifteen (15) working days in a federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). If a holiday occurs while an employee is on Urban Search and Rescue Leave, the employee receives holiday pay and the holiday pay is not counted against the fifteen (15) days. Employees should furnish a copy of their military orders or a written statement from the appropriate military official as evidence of such duty.

Active Military Duty (Other than a State Emergency)

State law allows an employee called to active military duty to use fifteen (15) days of military leave. If active duty continues past the fifteen (15) days, TDA may grant an appropriate amount of leave to make up any pay difference between the employee’s gross state pay and their gross military pay. If there is no negative financial impact to an employee, a minimum amount of leave will be granted to ensure retirement credit will continue during the period of active military duty. This will also ensure that vacation and sick leave accruals can be credited for the time spent in active military service when the employee returns to work at TDA.

Reference: Texas Government Code, §, 661.903-9041, Texas Government Code, §437.202, §437.212, Title 38 U.S. Code, Ch. 43

Parental Leave Policy

Employees who are not eligible for Family and Medical Leave (FML) may be allowed to take a parental leave of absence from work for the birth of a natural child, or the adoption by or foster care placement with the employee of a child younger than three (3) years of age.

Parental leave shall be used within the first twelve (12) weeks of the birth, or adoption or foster care placement of a child younger than three (3) years of age. When using parental leave, an employee must first use all available annual leave, and sick leave, with the remainder of the employee’s parental leave being unpaid.  The employee will be placed on leave without pay (LWOP) status. All paid leave must be exhausted before going into an LWOP status.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.913.

Red Cross Disaster Service Volunteer Policy

Under certain circumstances, a TDA employee who is a certified disaster service volunteer of the American Red Cross or who is in training to become such a volunteer may be entitled to leave without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit or state compensatory time to participate in specialized disaster relief services or in related volunteer training.   The employee may be granted paid leave not to exceed ten (10) working days in a fiscal year.

The number of certified disaster service volunteers who are eligible for leave under this section may not exceed 350 state employees at any one time during a fiscal year. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) shall coordinate the establishment and maintenance of the list of eligible employees.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Chapter 661.907.

Reserve Law Enforcement Officer Training Leave Policy

An employee who is a reserve law enforcement officer, as defined by Texas Occupations Code, Section 1701.001, is entitled to a leave of absence, without a deduction in salary or accrued leave, to attend training required under Texas Occupations Code, Section 1701.351.

The employee may be granted paid leave of absence not to exceed five (5) working days every fiscal biennium.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.922; Texas Occupations Code, Sections 1701.001, .351.

Sick Leave Policy

Employees are entitled to sick leave without deduction in salary for purposes of “sickness, injury, or pregnancy and confinement” of the employee, or “when the employee is needed to care for and assist a member of the employee’s immediate family who is sick.” An employee who is a parent of a child who is a student attending a grade between prekindergarten through 12th grade is also entitled to use a limited amount of sick leave to attend educational activities of the employee’s child.

An employee begins accruing sick leave on the first day of employment, continues accruing sick leave on the first calendar day of each following month of paid employment and stops accruing sick leave on the employee’s last physical day on the job.

Full-time employees accrue sick leave at a rate of eight (8) hours for each month or fraction of a month worked. Part-time employees accrue sick leave on a proportional basis. 

Sick leave accumulates with the unused amount carried forward each month. There is no limitation on the amount carried forward from one fiscal year to the next fiscal year.

An employee who begins employment during any part of a calendar month accrues sick leave for the entire calendar month.

An employee who is on leave on the first day of a month may not use the sick leave that the employee accrues for that month until after the employee returns to duty.

Employees who are on LWOP for an entire month will not accrue that month’s sick leave. See the Military Service and Leave Policy for guidance regarding sick leave under this policy. Example: An employee is on LWOP for the entire month of April and returns to work on May 7th.  The employee will not accrue sick leave for April, but will be credited the May accrual on May 7th, the day he/she physically returns to work.

Sick Leave and Employee Separations

Unused Sick Leave Balance

Upon separation from employment, employees are not entitled to payment for the unused sick leave balance.  If the employee remains on the payroll to use accrued vacation/annual leave prior to his/her separation date, he/she will not be eligible to use earned sick leave during that time.

Restoration of Unused Sick Leave

Employees separated from employment with the state will have his/her sick leave balance restored if re-employed by the state within twelve (12) months of his/her termination, provided that there has been at least a 30-day break in employment if an individual is re-employed by the same agency. 

Transfer of Sick Leave

A state employee who transfers directly from one state agency to another is entitled to credit by the receiving agency for the unused balance of accumulated sick leave, provided the employment with the state is uninterrupted.

Sick Leave Retirement Credit

Eligible employees who retire from the state are entitled to service credit in the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) for their sick leave that has accumulated and is unused on the last day of employment. Sick leave is creditable in the retirement system at the rate of one (1) month of service credit for each one hundred sixty (160) hours of accumulated sick leave or fraction thereof.

Educational Activities

An employee who is a parent to a student attending a grade between prekindergarten through 12th grade may use up to eight (8) total hours of sick leave each fiscal year to attend educational activities of the employee's children.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Sec. 661.202, .204-206, .904, & .913.

Sick Leave Donation Policy

Employees are allowed to voluntarily donate any amount of accrued sick leave to another TDA employee who has exhausted all of his/her accrued sick leave. Donated time may also include any time the individual may be eligible to withdraw from the Sick Leave Pool and Extended Sick Leave Pool, at the time of the donation. 

An employee may donate any amount of his/her accrued sick leave to another state employee who:

·         is employed in the same state agency as the donor employee;

·         has exhausted his/her sick leave, including any time they may be eligible to withdraw from sick leave pool and extended sick leave pool. 

Employees may not provide or receive remuneration or a gift in exchange for a sick leave donation.

Employees receiving donated sick leave may only use donated sick leave hours as permitted in Texas Government Code, Section 661.202(d) and (e). Those uses include the following:

·         For an employee’s sickness, injury, or pregnancy and confinement prevent the employee's performance of duty (Texas Government Code, Section 661.202(d));

·         When the employee is needed to care for and assist a member of the employee's immediate family who is sick (Texas Government Code, Section 661.202(d)); and

·         When an employee is needed to care for and assist members of the employee's family who are not “immediate family,” strictly limited to the time necessary to provide care and assistance to a spouse, child, or parent of the employee who needs the care and assistance as a direct result of a documented medical condition (Texas Government Code, Section 661.202(e)).

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.207.

Sick Leave Pool Policy

The agency has established a Sick Leave Pool (SLP) program to allow TDA employees to voluntarily transfer earned sick leave hours to pool sick leave hours.  The pool helps TDA employees and their families should a catastrophic illness or injury force them to exhaust all of their accrued sick leave, vacation leave, available extended sick leave, and compensatory time.  Employees have access to this additional source of paid sick leave through agency grants from the pool. 

The Coordinator for Benefits in the Human Resources Department (HR) has been designated to serve as the agency’s pool administrator for TDA’s Sick Leave Pool.

The requesting employee will initiate a request for sick leave pool hours by submitting a written request specifying the amount of SLP hours he/she is seeking to his/her supervisor and Assistant Commissioner.  Upon receipt, the employee’s supervisor and Assistant Commissioner will forward the request to the Coordinator for Benefits in HR.

An employee may also apply directly to the Coordinator for Benefits in HR by submitting a written request to withdraw a specified amount of time from TDA’s sick leave pool.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Chapter 661, Subchapter A (Sections 661.001 – 661.008);

Board of Trustees Meeting, Employment Retirement System of Texas, October 24, 1989.

Vacation/Annual Leave Policy

Employees are eligible to take vacation/annual leave with pay.

Employees may use vacation/annual leave after meeting the specified requirements:

·         An employee with no previous state employment may take vacation/annual leave after completing six (6) full months of continuous state employment;

·         An employee who is a direct transfer from another state agency and has completed six (6) full months or more of continuous state employment may take vacation/annual leave once the Human Resources Department receives verification of the balance from the transferring agency; or

·         An employee with previous state employment who has a break in service and has completed six (6) months or more of continuous state employment may take vacation/annual leave as it is earned upon re-employment.

The six-month continuous state employment requirement must be met only once during the employee’s career with the state.

An employee who is on leave on the first day of the month is not eligible to use leave accrued for that month until the employee returns to duty.

The schedule below shows rates of vacation/annual leave for various lengths of state employment and the maximum number of hours an employee may carry forward each fiscal year beginning on September 1st.  The schedule is based on full-time employment.

Length Of State Service

Hours Accrued Per Month

Allowable Carry Forward

0 but less than 2 years

8

180

2 but less than 5 years

9

244

5 but less than 10 years

10

268

10 but less than 15 years

11

292

15 but less than 20 years

13

340

20 but less than 25 years

15

388

25 but less than 30 years

17

436

30 but less than 35 years

19

484

35 years and over

21

532

Annual Leave and Employee Separations

Separation from Employment 

A separating employee will receive a lump sum payment for any unused vacation/annual leave accrued after separation from state employment, provided that the individual is not re-employed by a state agency within a 30-day period following separation.

The lump sum vacation/annual leave payment will be paid within 30-45 days from the date of separation.

Transfer of Vacation/Annual Leave

If an employee is a direct transfer to another state agency, vacation/annual leave balances will transfer to the receiving agency.

Exhausting Vacation/Annual Leave upon Separation

An employee may remain on the payroll and exhaust his/her vacation/annual leave providing:

·         The leave is not carried into the next month;

·         The leave is approved by the Assistant Commissioner; and

·         In the case of a direct transfer, the leave may not exceed the starting date with the receiving agency.

Leave taken under this scenario must be entered in PATHS and must be submitted to the supervisor.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Sections 661.152 – 661.153, 661.065, 661.091, and 661.909

Veteran Medical and Mental Healthcare Leave Policy

An employee who is a veteran, as defined by Texas Government Code, Section 434,023(a), and is eligible for health benefits under a program administered by the Veterans Health Administration of the United States Department of Veteran Affairs may be granted leave, without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit or state compensatory time to obtain medical or mental health care, including physical rehabilitation.

The employee may be granted a paid leave of absence not to exceed (15) working days in a fiscal year. Upon written request by the employee to his/her supervisor, the Deputy Commissioner may grant additional days of leave if such leave is determined to be appropriate for the employee.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.924; Texas Government Code, Sections 434.023, 431.001.

Volunteer Firefighters/Emergency Medical Services Volunteers Policy

Volunteer firefighters and “emergency medical services volunteers,” as defined by Section 773.003,  Health and Safety Code, are entitled to leave of absence without a deduction in salary to attend fire service or emergency medical services training conducted by a state agency or an institution of higher education.  A leave of absence without a deduction in salary may also be granted for the purpose of responding to emergency fire or medical situations.

The employee may be granted paid leave of absence not to exceed five (5) working days each fiscal year.

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.905; Texas Health & Safety Code, Section 773.003.

Voting Policy

Employees are entitled to sufficient time off, without a deduction in salary or accrued leave to vote in each national, state or local election.

The employee will be granted sufficient time off necessary to vote, not to exceed two (2) hours of leave on Election Day. 

Reference: Texas Government Code, Section 661.914; Election Code, Section 276.004.