The County Administrative Officer has authorized the option for unpaid time off through the Voluntary Time Off Program. The purpose of the program is to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce salary costs by allowing eligible employees to take up to 120 hours off from work without pay and without affecting certain benefits. We will refer to it as Pandemic Voluntary Time Off Program (PVTO).
If you choose to take advantage of the unpaid Pandemic Voluntary Time Off Program (PVTO) your department head’s approval will be required. Non-exempt employees may schedule any number of hours off (from 1 to 120) and exempt employees schedule time off in eight hour increments. You may choose to work shorter days, a shorter work week, take intermittent days off, or take a number of consecutive days off (similar to a leave of absence without pay) while retaining “in pay” status for certain benefit purposes. Naturally, in exchange for fewer work hours or days, you would receive proportionately less pay. But, unlike an unpaid leave of absence, PVTO would allow many employee benefits to remain in affect. You would retain seniority, continue eligibility for promotional opportunities and would see no change in your anniversary date. If you have elected to receive County health benefits, you would continue to do so while on PVTO.
Below are the guidelines and disclosures for the program:
- The employee must be in a pay status for at least one full day in each pay period for benefit calculations and to provide earnings from which normal employee deductions can be made. Additional paid time in each pay period may be required in order to generate sufficient earnings to cover salary deductions (health premiums, association/union dues, credit union, deferred compensations and court ordered garnishments.)
- PVTO Leave may be taken in increments of one hour for non-exempt employees and in increments of one full workday for exempt employees. The maximum number of hours an employee may take off under this program is 120 per fiscal year unless a prior request has been approved and granted by Human Resources.
- The department head may exercise reasonable discretion and approve or deny a request for PVTO based upon his/her determination of feasibility, including but not limited to, workload, fiscal impact and operational concerns. The decision of the department head is final and as such shall not be appealable.
- Credits toward sick leave and vacation shall accrue as though the employee were in a paid status.
- The employee shall be paid for regular holidays occurring during an approved voluntary time off as if he/she were in a paid status.
- For CalPERS CLASSIC employees, credit towards retirement benefits shall accrue as though the employee were in a paid status. for CalPERS PEPRA employees, retirement benefits/service credits shall be reduced by the number of PVTO hours taken.
- Credit toward County contribution for any prorated benefit shall accrue as though the employee were in a paid status.
- Credit shall apply toward time in service for step advancement. PVTO shall not count as a break in service and shall not affect seniority. Your probationary period shall not be affected unless the PVTO exceeds 80 hours.
- Regardless of how many PVTO hours are requested and approved, the employee shall make his/her same contribution to all employee benefits such as retirement and health premiums, as if he/she were in a paid status. It is important that the employee consider how much paid time in each pay period is required to generate sufficient earnings to cover benefit contributions and voluntary deduction (association/union dues, credit union, deferred compensation, etc.). Earnings during each two-week pay period must cover mandatory deductions and negative earnings. If the employees earnings are insufficient, PVTO will be charged to vacation or other paid leaves (excluding sick leave).
- Employees in other leaves without pay during a pay period shall not be eligible for the PVTO program.
- PVTO is available only to employees who are in paid status the scheduled workday before and the scheduled workday after the Pandemic Voluntary Time Off.
- This program cannot be used to extend your date of retirement or your date of resignation.
- Please complete the PVTO form and submit to your department head for approval.
Please review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below.