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Sick Leave Monitoring
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What is my responsibility in the area of monitoring an employee’s
use of sick leave?
Back to sick leave monitoring; the supervisor has every right to expect employees to come to work. Absences can slow down the work of others, or stop the work altogether. The idea behind sick leave monitoring is to minimize the loss of productivity due to absences - even legitimate absences for illness, family illness, or preventive treatment.
An employee needs to know that absences will be monitored, that verification of absences (doctor’s notes) may be required, and that even approved (verified) absences can lead to corrective (disciplinary) action.
Is sick leave monitoring intended to address only "abuse" of sick
In the next question, we talk about excessive use of sick leave.
a. Any combination of sick leave that would total more than 96 hours in
one year, and
For example, an employee on sick leave from Wednesday to the following Wednesday would be considered as accumulating 45 hours (5 days) of sick leave, but only one occasion or incident.
c. Or, twelve (12) occasions in one year, regardless of the number of hours.
I don’t follow. Is an employee who uses sick leave more than 12 times
in a year, or more than 96 hours and 6 times guilty of sick leave abuse
or excessive use of sick leave?
Once employees who meet the guideline are identified, the supervisor makes a determination on whether or not corrective action needs to be taken. If the absences are all due to maternity and complications, it would be wrong to take ANY corrective action. However, if the absences are due to a variety of illnesses, or a medical condition that can be treated (and reduce the amount of absences), corrective action may be appropriate.
What do you mean by "appropriate corrective action," a suspension
or discharge? What options for corrective action do I have?
If, after counseling and requiring a "Doctor’s Certificate," absences continue at a rate greater than the numbers above, you should consider issuing a "Notice to Correct Deficiencies" or requesting formal discipline through your division manager to Personnel Services. Formal discipline means suspension without pay or discharge.
Beyond counseling and requiring a doctor’s note, what can I do if
an employee continues to miss work?
Do we count only sick leave in adding up the hours and occasions?
Sometimes we also count "emergency vacation" time off in computing the sick leave hours - if the emergency vacation was requested to avoid discipline for excessive sick leave.
Must I wait a whole year before I can take corrective action for
excessive sick leave?
We definitely do not want to take the first corrective action after an employee has been sick for over 300 hours, 20 different occasions, in the last twelve months.
What is the first thing I should do if I observe a pattern of sick
leave (absences) that would be greater than the yearly standard?
If the absences continue, you may require the employee to bring a doctor’s note for each occasion of absence. Be sure to put this instruction in writing. If the absences continue, you need to counsel the employee that his attendance must improve.
Note: If the employee is on probation, you should not be so understanding. If, during the probationary period an employee demonstrates poor attendance, you should discuss probationary termination with your division management and your Liaison Personnel Analyst.
Must I approve all sick leave requests? Or, put another way, can
I disapprove an employee’s request for sick leave compensation for an absence?
If you have concerns about the doctor’s notes or pattern of absences of an employee, you can call your liaison personnel analyst to talk about it and decide if any action can be taken.
Can I consider time off due to a work related injury (Workers’ Compensation)
in calculating overall sick leave usage or absences?
Can an employee be disciplined for excessive use of "emergency vacation?"
Some divisions have well-established policies on what emergency vacation is, when it will be approved, and tracking systems on the use of emergency vacation (apart from regular vacation). If this is the case in your division, you should include information on use of emergency vacation with any request for discipline for excessive absences.
Should I approve sick leave for an employee taken off duty by the
City Medical Director as a result of a positive drug or alcohol test?
Do we do anything nice for employees who hardly ever take sick leave?
If you and your division manager want to commend an employee for exceptional attendance, you can issue a Notice of Commendation or contact our Training Officer in Personnel Services for assistance in preparing a Special Commendation.
As you know, employees who accrue the maximum of 800 hours of 100% sick leave are paid for ½ of the hours added each year that takes the employee over 800 hours. Since an employee cannot accrue more than 800 hours of sick leave, he gets paid 50% for the amount of hours that would have exceeded the 800-hour limit.
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