Leave Programs

A leave of absence is any authorized absence from work for medical, military or personal reasons. It is the County’s policy to comply with all applicable laws that afford protection rights to employees who need family, medical and military leave, including the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).


Administrative Code | Personnel

Compassionate Leave is a means to offset the financial challenges employees could experience in the event they exhaust their own leave balances. Approval for this type of leave is solely within the purview of the County Administrator subsequent to the recommendations from the appropriate Department/Division Director and the Human Resources Department and is not appealable to the Board of County Commissioners. If such leave is approved, the employee taking the leave may receive donated vacation hours for pay, as provided for in this policy. The leave must be necessary in order to care for oneself or to serve as the primary caregiver to a family member (as defined in the FMLA) in situations that are based on medical necessity as documented by a certified medical care provider. Employees shall exhaust their Family Medical Leave prior to requesting a leave of absence. The combination of FMLA leave and any other type of leave may not exceed six (6) calendar months in a twelve (12) month period. Every effort will be made to restore the recipient of this leave type to the same or equivalent position upon return to work.


  1. Participation shall be voluntary.
  2. Shall not be solicited, coerced, threatened or intimidated into donating hours to any employee.
  3. Employees may participate as a donor after completing their initial six (6) month probationary period.
  4. Donated vacation hours shall only be available to the qualified recipient identified on the donation form.
  5. May donate any number of hours from their accrued vacation leave account (not to exceed 240 hours) but must do so in eight (8) hour increments.
  6. Must have a minimum of forty (40) vacation hours remaining in their own vacation leave account after donating hours to an employee under this policy.
  7. Shall not donate hours from their accrued sick leave account.
  8. Un-used donated vacation leave shall not be returned to the donor.
  9. Shall complete a Donor Form and submit to the Human Resources Department to be used as a source document to transfer their vacation hours to the recipient’s sick leave account. 


  1. Must complete a Compassionate Leave Request Form  (if not on Family Medical Leave at the time of the request) and be approved for such leave prior to using (or continuing to use) donated vacation leave hours.
  2. Must show proof of leave necessity at the time a leave of absence is requested. Documentation from the treating physician which states the absence is medically necessary shall be forwarded to the Human Resources Department. Employees receiving donated leave must provide medical documentation every thirty (30) days to substantiate the continued need for leave donations.
  3. Shall not directly or indirectly solicit, intimidate, threaten or coerce any employee into donating hours.
  4. May not accrue sick or vacation hours while in a leave of absence status under this policy (Family Medical Leave is excluded).
  5. Shall not be entitled to merit salary increases or any other type of pay increase while in a leave of absence status under this policy (Family Medical Leave is excluded).
  6. Must have exhausted all of their accrued sick and vacation leave and sick leave pool hours (if applicable) prior to using donated hours.
  7. May only use a maximum of 1040 donated hours (if available) in any twelve (12) month period commencing the day a leave of absence was approved (the twelve (12) month period included Family Medical Leave time taken before the additional approved leave period). Extensions may be authorized by the County Administrator if donated hours are available and the recipient remains in an approved leave of absence status.
  8. Un-used donated leave shall be removed from the recipient’s sick leave account on the day the employee returns to work.
  9. Must notify the Human Resources Department at least seven (7) calendar days prior to their return date.
  10. Failure to return to work at the expiration of the leave of absence will be considered voluntary separation from the County.

Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Rights and Responsibilities (FMLA)

FMLA requires the County as a covered employer to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave with continuation of insurance coverage during leave to eligible employees for specified family and medical reasons. Eligible employees may also care for a service member while they suffer from a serious injury or illness for up to 26 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave.


Military Leave

Florida Statutes and USERRA requires the County as a covered employer to afford protection rights to employees serving duty with the military, the Reserve and National Guard. Employees who require time off work to fulfill military obligations shall be entitled to eligible pay with continuation of insurance coverage during the period in which the employee is engaged in annual field training, coast defense exercise, or other active duty or training exercises or who is ordered by the Selective Service Board to appear for an examination for induction into the military service.

sick leave pool

Administrative Code | Personnel

Full time County employees who have completed one (1) continuous year of employment with the Board of County Commissioners may elect to participate in a Sick Leave Pool to have access to a source of additional sick leave (up to a maximum of twenty five (25) days – days are in eight (8) hour increments) when their accrued sick and vacation leave hours are exhausted. Sick Leave Pool hours may only be used in cases of illness, accident, or injury to self.


The County Administrator shall be responsible for the administration of the Sick Leave Pool and may delegate general administration to the Human Resources Department. Human Resources will verify requests to use hours form the Pool and/or to inquire into alleged abuse of the use of the Sick Leave Pool. Additionally, Human Resources will ensure that all employees eligible for participation in the Sick Leave Pool are treated consistently and equitably according to policy.


  1. Participation in the Sick Leave Pool shall be voluntary.
  2. Participating employees shall sign a Sick Leave Pool Agreement as part of membership. Participating firefighters shall sign a Firefighter Sick Leave Pool Agreement as part of membership.
  3. Only eligible employees may join the Sick Leave Pool (see scope).
  4. Employees must have accrued a minimum of eighty (80) hours of sick and/or vacation leave to the Sick Leave Pool to become active members.
  5. Employees must donate a minimum of forty (40) hours of sick and/or vacation leave to the Sick Leave Pool to become active members. Firefighters must donate a minimum of forty-eight (48) hours of sick and/or vacation leave to the Sick Leave Pool to become active members.
  6. Leave hours contributed by a member to join or remain active in the Pool are forever forfeited.
  7. Members who use two hundred (200) Pool hours must contribute another forty (40) hours of sick and/or vacation to the Pool to renew membership.
  8. Former members may re-join the Pool at any time by meeting the membership criteria.
  9. Members may be required to donate additional hours to the Pool on an annual basis to maintain their membership.

Use of Pool Hours

  1. Members may be entitled to use Sick Leave Pool hours only after depleting all accrued sick leave and vacation leave.
  2. Members requesting Pool hours must not have worked for a minimum of five (5) continuous workdays due to illness, accident, or injury.
  3. Prior to authorizing the use of Pool hours, members, or someone on their behalf, must submit a licensed practitioner’s statement of the illness, accident, or injury to the Human Resources Department. Human Resources shall review the request and determine if the request shall be granted. HIPAA information shall be protected and not released to committee members.
  4. The maximum number of hours allowed to be used by each eligible member is 200 in a calendar year.
  5. Members shall not be approved to use Pool hours for anyone but self.
  6. Sick Leave Pool hours may not be used for absences related to Workers’ Compensation.
  7. Un-used Pool hours shall not be transferred or converted to cash upon the member’s transfer to a position not eligible for such benefit, transferred to another Constitutional office, upon retirement, separation (under any condition), or upon the members request to no longer participate in the Pool.
  8. Sick Leave Pool hours may not be used for intermittent leave.
  9. Substantiated abuse of the use of the Sick Leave Pool may result in the revocation of membership and repayment of hours withdrawn.