LEAVE POLICIES FOR STATE SECURITIES BOARD EMPLOYEES

Division Directors are responsible for ensuring that the taking of leave does not interfere with the ability of the Division to perform its normal functions. Before leave will be granted, employees should coordinate their taking of leave with their supervisor or Division Director. Division Directors must coordinate their taking of leave with the Securities Commissioner.

Annual Leave
An employee is entitled to a paid vacation as determined by his or her length of service. Annual and sick leave does not accrue each month until the employee reports to work for that month. Credit will be given for each month or fraction of a month of employment and will be posted to the employee’s leave record on the first day worked of each month of employment.

Annual leave may not be taken until an employee has been continuously employed with the state for six months. An employee who separates from state employment is entitled to be paid for accrued and unused vacation time as long as the employee has had continuous employment for at least six months. Before leave will be granted, employees must follow the request procedure established for their Division by the Division Director. An employee should provide as much advance notice to the Division Director as possible.

The following table reflects the annual leave accrual rates and maximum allowable carryover from one fiscal year to the next for full-time employees.

Schedule of Annual Leave Accruals for Full-Time Employees

hedule of Annual Leave Accruals for Full-Time Employees

Hours Accrued Length of State Service

Allowable per month

Carry-over

Less than 2 years 8 180
At least 2 but less than 5 years 9 244
At least 5 but less than 10 years 10 268
At least 10 but less than 15 years 11 292
At least 15 but less than 20 years 13 340
At least 20 but less than 25 years 15 388
At least 25 but less than 30 years 17 436
At least 30 but less than 35 years 19 484
At least 35 years or more 21 532

Overtime and Compensatory Leave
Employees may claim on their time sheets and thus accrue overtime for time worked, including travel, which is in excess of their normal work week. Such time may not be claimed in less than one-quarter hour increments.

Overtime earned by employees may be taken as compensatory leave. Before leave will be granted, employees must follow the request procedure established for their Division by the Division Director. An employee should provide as much advance notice to the Division Director as possible.

Overtime not taken as compensatory leave lapses automatically on the last day of the twelfth month following the month in which it was accrued.

Support personnel may not accumulate overtime without the prior express permission of a Division Director. Such an employee accrues compensatory leave at the rate of 1.5 hours for each overtime hour worked. If the Securities Commissioner determines in a particular case that it is impractical for such an employee to take all overtime earned by the employee, the employee will receive compensation at one and one-half times the regular rate of pay as calculated on an hourly basis.

Sick Leave
Employees begin earning entitlement for paid sick leave on the first day of employment. Credit for each month or each fraction of a month will be given and posted on the employee’s leave record on the first day worked of each month of employment. 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 accrue sick leave at the rate of eight hours per month of full-time employment. Part-time employees accumulate sick leave on a basis proportionate to time worked.  Sick leave accumulates each month and there is no limit to the amount which may be accrued.

Sick leave with pay may be taken when sickness, injury, or pregnancy and confinement prevent the employee’s performance of duty or when the employee is needed to care and assist a member of his or her immediate family who is actually ill. For purposes relating to regular sick leave, immediate family is defined as those individuals who reside in the same household and are related by kinship, adoption or marriage, as well as foster children certified by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Minor children of the employee, whether or not living in the same household, will be considered immediate family for purposes of regular sick leave.

An employee’s use of sick leave for family members not residing in that employee’s household is strictly limited to the time necessary to provide care and assistance to a spouse, child or parent of the employee who needs such care and assistance as a direct result of a documented medical condition.

An employee who is absent because of illness must notify his or her Division Director at the earliest opportunity.

To be eligible for sick leave with pay for a continuous period of more than three working days, an employee must deliver to their Division Director an acceptable written statement of facts or a doctor’s certification explaining the nature of the illness. The Division Director shall forward the statement or certificate to Staff Services.

An employee may donate any amount of the employee’s accrued sick leave to another employee who has exhausted his or her sick leave, including any time the individual may be eligible to withdraw from the sick leave pool. An employee may not provide or receive remuneration or a gift in exchange for a sick leave donation. Any sick leave donated to an employee that is unused on the last day of his or her employment will not count toward state service credit.

Sick Leave Pool
A sick leave pool has been established by the Agency for the benefit of employees who suffer a catastrophic injury or illness. A catastrophic injury or illness is defined to be a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of the employee or the employee’s immediate family that requires the services of a licensed practitioner for a prolonged period of time and forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned by that employee and lose compensation from the State.

“Licensed practitioner” means a practitioner, as defined in the Texas Insurance Code, who is practicing within the scope of his/her license. “Immediate family” is defined as those individuals related by kinship, adoption, or marriage, or foster children who are living in the same household or, if not in the same household, who are dependent upon the  employee for personal care or services on a continuing basis.

The sick leave pool is established for the benefit of employees who have a catastrophic illness or injury. It is supported by the generous donation of hours by employees who accrue sick leave that they never use. It is a “gift” from individual employees for the benefit of their co-workers who are faced with significant and usually unforeseen medical  needs. It is not intended to be a source of leave for employees who routinely exhaust their accrued leave, then come upon a need for significant time off.

To the extent possible, requests to use time available in the Sick Leave Pool should be made at least six days prior to commencement of the absence or the exhaustion of other leave. However, an inability to make a request within such a time frame will not be grounds for denial. Neither the full nor partial approval/denial of a request for use of time from  the Sick Leave Pool would preclude an eligible employee from requesting emergency leave and/or leave without pay for the same injury or illness.

The Securities Commissioner is the Pool Administrator.

General Provisions

  1. With the exception of the Commissioner, all employees, including those on probationary, provisional, temporary, emergency, hourly or other types of appointments, may apply to use sick leave from the sick leave pool.
  2. Employees may use pool leave for their own catastrophic illness or injury or for one in their immediate family, as defined above.
  3. Employees may also request the use of pool sick leave if they contributed sick leave to the pool and then exhausted their sick leave balance in the same fiscal year. Subject to the availability of leave remaining in the pool, such employees may receive only the number of hours they contributed to the pool that fiscal year unless they suffer a catastrophic illness or injury.
  4. Employees must exhaust all accrued leave before they are eligible to use leave from the pool. Exception: employees who are off work due to an on-the-job injury or illness are not required to exhaust their annual or compensatory leave.
  5. Employees with catastrophic illnesses or injuries are not required to contribute to the pool before they can use pool leave.
  6. Employees who use pool leave are not required to pay back pool leave.

Contributing Sick Leave to the Pool

  1. Contributions to the pool are strictly voluntary. The Employee Time Sheet is the form to be used for donating time to the Sick Leave Pool and for returning granted but unused hours to the pool.
  2. On approval by the Pool Administrator, an employee may contribute one or more days of the employee’s accrued sick leave.
  3. Employees who make contributions to the pool may not stipulate who is to receive their contributions.
  4. Employees will be encouraged to contribute to the pool at the time of their separation from state employment. A retiring employee may designate the number of accrued sick leave hours to be used for retirement credit and the number of hours to be donated to the sick leave pool.
  5. Employees who contribute leave to the pool cannot get it back unless they are eligible to use it.

Requesting to Use Leave from the Pool

  1. Requests for pool leave will be forwarded to the Pool Administrator through appropriate supervisory channels, and will be considered by the Pool Administrator on a first-come, first-served basis.
  2. The request must be accompanied by a written statement from the practitioner treating the employee or the employee’s immediate family. The statement must Texas Securities provide sufficient information regarding the injury or illness to enable the Pool Administrator to evaluate the employee’s eligibility.
  3. The Pool Administrator will have five work days from the date request is received in which to approve all or part of the request, or deny the request.
  4. The amount of pool leave granted for each catastrophic illness or injury will be determined by the Pool Administrator. The amount cannot exceed one-third of the balance of hours in the pool, or 90 days, whichever is less.
  5. Any unused balance of pool leave granted to an employee returns to the pool. The estate of a deceased employee is not entitled to payment for unused pool leave.

Extended Sick Leave
Relief under the Extended Sick Leave policy is to be sought as a last resort. In the event of a catastrophic illness or injury as defined in the Sick Leave Pool Policy, employees should first seek relief through the pool.

Recognizing that a serious injury or a major illness may constitute a justifiable need for extended sick leave after all accrued leave (sick, vacation, compensatory) has been exhausted, the Securities Commissioner will make a determination on whether to grant extended sick leave. Such a determination will be based on the following criteria:

  1. The employee must have been employed by the Agency for at least 6 months.
  2. The employee must have exhausted all accrued leave (sick, vacation, compensatory).
  3. The employee’s job performance must be satisfactory as certified by the employee’s Division Director.
  4. The employee’s request must include the attending physician’s statement (a) outlining the injury or illness, anticipated treatment, expected duration and anticipated date of the employee’s return to work, and (b) expressing the opinion that the employee’s illness or injury will not prevent the employee from returning to work on a full-time basis for more than 6 months after the exhaustion of all other leave by the employee.
  5. The employee must affirm in writing an intention to return to work at the Agency when advised by the attending physician that he or she may do so.

Procedure
An employee requesting extended sick leave will make a written request to his or her Division Director. The request shall include the circumstances, the amount of extended sick leave requested, the attending physician’s statement and a statement of intention to return to the job when released by the physician. The employee’s Division Director will review the request for completeness and prepare a written statement covering items 3 and 4 above. The Division Director may also make general comments on the employee’s request. The Division Director’s statement and employee’s request will be forwarded without delay to the Securities Commissioner.

The employee will be notified of the Securities Commissioner’s decision, and if extended sick leave is approved, the Director of Staff Services will be notified and a copy of the approval placed in the personnel file.

Extended sick leave will not be granted for minor illness or injury. In no event will the amount of extended sick leave to be granted exceed the greater of one-half of the balance of the employee’s sick leave immediately prior to the absence created by the illness or injury in question or 20 work days.

This policy does not apply to an employee injured on the job and thus eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

A statement reflecting the amount of extended sick leave granted and the reasons for such leave will be attached to the Agency’s payroll documentation for the applicable payroll period.

Parental Leave
Employees are entitled to a parental leave of absence, not to exceed 12 weeks, for the birth of a natural child or the adoption of a child under three years of age. Employees may elect to use any combination of available sick leave, vacation leave, compensatory time off or leave without pay for this period. The use of sick leave for this purpose is limited to situations falling within the requirements of the Appropriations Act.

Foster Parent Leave
An employee who is a foster parent to a child under the protection of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is entitled to a paid leave of absence to attend staff meetings held by DFPS regarding the foster child. In addition, the employee may use this leave to attend the Admission, Review and Dismissal meetings held by a school district regarding the foster child.

Educational Activities
An employee may use up to eight hours of sick leave per year to attend educational activities for any child who is a student attending a grade from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Educational activities are school-sponsored activities such as parent-teacher conferences, tutoring, volunteer programs, field trips, classroom programs, school committee meetings, academic competitions, and athletic, music, or theater programs. An employee must provide advance notice to his or her supervisor before taking such leave.

Family and Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides qualified employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. For the birth and care of a newborn child;
  2. For the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
  3. To care for the employee’s spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition;
  4. 4. Because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job.

A “qualified employee” is one who has been employed by the state for at least 12 months and who has worked at least 1,250 hours during the preceding 12 months.

A “serious health condition” is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility or continuing treatment by a licensed health care provider.

An employee must use all available and applicable paid vacation and sick leave while taking leave under FMLA. Compensatory time and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime are not required to be used for a FMLA covered event and, if used, compensatory time and FLSA overtime are not counted as part of an employee’s 12 week leave entitlement. Also, an employee who is receiving temporary disability benefits or workers’ compensation benefits is not required to first use applicable paid vacation or sick leave while receiving those benefits.

After all paid leave is used, the balance of the leave taken under FMLA will be unpaid. During this time the state will continue to pay for the state paid portion of the employee’s coverage under the group health plan.

Upon returning to work, an employee who has taken leave under FMLA will be returned to the same job or to a job with equivalent status and pay. Failure of the employee to  report back to work at the end of the prescribed period without prior written approval from his or her Division Director will be considered abandonment of the employee’s position and may result in termination of employment.

An employee is not entitled to state service credit for any full calendar month of leave without pay taken while on leave under FMLA. Further, any full calendar month of leave without pay shall not be included in the calculation of the 12 continuous months of employment required for eligibility for a merit salary increase.

Written notice of intent to take leave under FMLA must be provided to the Director of the Staff Services Division. The notice should include the date on which leave will commence. A medical certification issued by the employee’s health care provider is also required. Forms WH-380-E, FMLA Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition, and WH-380-F, FMLA Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition, issued by the U.S. Department of Labor are suggested for the medical certification.

Emergency Leave
A state employee is entitled to emergency leave without a deduction in salary because of a death in the employee’s family. The death of the employee’s spouse or of a parent, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, or child of the employee or of the employee’s spouse is considered to be a death in the employee’s family. The Securities Commissioner may determine that another reason, such as out-of-state travel related to a death in the employee’s family, is sufficient for granting emergency leave to an employee who has shown good cause for taking emergency leave.

Ordinarily, an employee may be granted up to 80 hours of emergency leave for the death of a spouse, parent or child, and up to 24 hours for the death of a brother, sister, grandparent or grandchild. Comparable leave may be granted for a death in the family of an employee’s spouse. The amount of emergency leave for part-time employees will be calculated on a proportional basis.

If possible, a request for emergency leave should be submitted prior to leave being taken. Once an employee returns to work, an emergency leave grant will terminate unless  reapproved by the Commissioner on the basis of unusual and extenuating circumstances.

The Commissioner may determine that other reasons are sufficient for granting emergency leave and may grant emergency leave when the Commissioner determines there is good
cause for such leave. However, emergency leave will not be granted to an employee unless the Commissioner believes the employee intends to return to the employee’s position when the emergency leave is exhausted.

Weather Closures
When emergency leave is granted by the Securities Commissioner and the office is closed for all or part of a business day (closure date), the amount of emergency leave granted is based on the normal office hours of the Agency -- 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday -- regardless of an individual employee's work schedule.

Essential personnel may be required to work all or part of a closure date. An employee who works on a closure date may take the unused emergency leave within 10 business days of the closure date. In such cases, advance notice must be given to the employee’s supervisor before the unused leave is taken.

Emergency leave for a part-time employee is proportionally reduced to account for the fewer hours the employee normally works.

An employee who had previously scheduled time off (e.g., annual, compensatory, administrative leave) on a closure date may claim emergency leave in lieu of the type of leave originally intended. The amount of emergency leave authorized is calculated as if the employee had been scheduled to work on the closure date.

The Commissioner may grant emergency leave to employees operating out of a particular designated headquarters of the Agency, rather than Agency-wide.

Fitness Leave
Employees may earn fitness leave as an incentive or award for fulfilling the requirements of an Agency-wide wellness activity or contest. Fitness Leave is a subcategory of Emergency Leave and must be approved by the Securities Commissioner prior to the beginning of the activity or contest.

Employees are permitted to earn up to 16 hours of Fitness Leave per fiscal year. Fitness Leave earned does not expire, but will not be paid to an employee upon separation from employment.

Fitness Leave earned should be coded as “Other” on the employee’s time sheet and verification of the time awarded should be attached when Fitness Leave is taken.

Leave Without Pay
Full-time employees are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours per week, subject to the proper use of available leave. Part-time employees are expected to work the number of hours designated by their Division Director. An employee who is absent from work and has exhausted all available leave will be placed on “Leave Without Pay” status. If it appears that leave balances are likely to be exhausted, the employee must discuss the matter with his or her Division Director as soon as possible. The Director will notify the Director of Staff Services to ensure proper payroll processing.

Jury and Witness Duty
An employee who has received notification of jury service shall promptly notify his or her Division Director. An employee is entitled to serve on a jury without any deduction from wages. Any compensation received for jury service need not be accounted for by the employee.

A copy of the jury summons or witness subpoena should be submitted to the employee’s Division Director providing as much advance notice as possible.

An employee called to appear in an official capacity in any judicial action or legislative proceeding may not accept any witness fee for such an appearance. Employees may receive per diem, expense reimbursements, and mileage allowances for serving as a witness in an official governmental capacity.

An employee is prohibited from being a witness in any private civil action or arbitration proceeding involving a matter subject to the jurisdiction of the Agency without the prior authorization from the Securities Commissioner or a court order compelling the testimony, unless the employee is a party to the action or proceeding. If an employee is  subpoenaed to testify in a private civil action or arbitration proceeding involving a matter subject to the jurisdiction of the Agency, the employee must promptly advise his or her Division Director so that a determination can be made whether the Agency should seek a protective order.

Voting
On days in which there is a local, state or national election, an employee will be allowed sufficient time off to vote without deduction from pay or leave time accrued. An employee must coordinate such time off in advance with his or her supervisor or Division Director.

Administrative Leave for Outstanding Performance
An employee in a non-exempt position may be granted administrative leave with pay by the Securities Commissioner as a reward for outstanding job performance. The outstanding performance must be documented by employee performance appraisals and in a memorandum from the employee’s Division Director submitted to the Securities Commissioner before such leave will be considered. Paid administrative leave for outstanding job performance may not exceed 32 hours in any fiscal year.

Other Miscellaneous Types of Leave
Leave During Agency Investigation
The Securities Commissioner may grant leave without a deduction in salary to an employee who is the subject of an investigation being conducted by the Agency; or a victim of, or witness to, an act or event that is the subject of an investigation being conducted by the Agency. An employee who is the subject of an investigation being conducted by Agency is ineligible to receive leave for that reason under any other category of leave.

Military, Veterans and Law Enforcement Related Leave
Military Leave. An employee called to federal active duty in the National Guard is entitled to 22 days of paid emergency leave when providing assistance to civil authorities in a declared emergency or training for that purpose.

Up to 15 days of military leave may be taken in a fiscal year for military service for authorized training or duty for members of the state military forces and members of reserve components of the U.S. armed forces, call to National Guard active duty by the Governor and for national emergency active duty for a member of a reserve branch of the U.S. armed forces. Up to 45 days of unused military leave may be carried forward from one fiscal year to the next. An employee may request from the Staff Services Division a statement containing the number of days for which the employee claimed paid military leave in that fiscal year, the net balance of unused accumulated military leave for that fiscal year that can be carried forward to the next, and the net balance of all unused accumulated military leave to which the employee is entitled.

A copy of the military orders should be submitted to the employee’s Division Director providing as much advance notice as possible.

Medical and Mental Health Care Leave for Certain Veterans. Certain employees who are veterans and are eligible for health benefits under a program administered by the Veterans Health Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VHA”) may be granted up to 15 days each fiscal year of leave without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit, or compensatory time to obtain medical or mental health care administered by the VHA, including physical rehabilitation. The Securities Commissioner may annually grant additional days of leave for this purpose as the Commissioner determines appropriate for the employee.

Reserve Law Enforcement Officers. An employee who is a reserve law enforcement officer is entitled to a leave of absence not to exceed five working days every fiscal biennium without a deduction in salary to attend continuing education training required under Section 1701.351, Occupations Code.

Leave for Volunteer Activities

Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services Volunteers. An employee who is a volunteer firefighter or an emergency medical services volunteer is entitled to a leave of absence for up to five working days in a fiscal year without a deduction in salary to attend fire service or emergency medical services training conducted by a state agency or institution of higher education.

Court Appointed Special Advocates Volunteer. An employee may be granted leave not to exceed five hours each month to participate in mandatory training or perform volunteer services for Court Appointed Special Advocates without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit or compensatory leave.

Red Cross Disaster Service Volunteer. An 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 granted leave not to exceed 10 days each fiscal year to participate in specialized disaster relief services for the American Red Cross without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit, or state compensatory time if the leave is taken:
• on the request of the American Red Cross;
• with the authorization of the employee’s supervisor; and
• with the approval of the Governor.

Assistance Dog Training for Employees with a Disability
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 for up to 10 working days in a fiscal year without a 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.

Leave for Organ or Bone Marrow Donors or Donation of Blood
An employee is 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 leave of absence may not exceed five working days in a fiscal year to serve as a bone marrow donor; or 30 working days in a fiscal year to serve as an organ donor.

Agency employees will be allowed sufficient time off to donate blood not more than four times in a fiscal year without deduction from pay or leave accrued, provided that upon returning to work, the employee must provide his or her supervisor or Division Director with proof that the employee donated blood during the time off. An employee must coordinate such time off in advance with his or her supervisor or Division Director.

Amateur Radio Operators
An employee who holds an amateur radio station license issued by the Federal Communications Commission may be granted leave not to exceed 10 days each fiscal year to participate in specialized disaster relief services without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit or compensatory time if the leave is taken with the authorization of the employee’s supervisor and with the approval of the Governor.