(a)    Unpaid personal leaves of absence for a period of up to six (6) months may be requested by employees; generally, only employees who have completed five (5) years or more of continuous service will be granted unpaid personal leave. Employees must request personal leave in writing to the Fire Chief at least two (2) weeks prior to the time you wish such leave to commence. If the personal leave request is necessitated by an emergency, the employee or a member of the employee’s immediate family must notify the Fire Chief as soon as practicable; this should be followed up with a written explanation of the nature of the leave and the expected length of absence. In such emergency situations, the written explanation must normally be submitted within three (3) days of the beginning of your leave.
   (b)    Personal leave may be granted for justifiable reasons (e.g., childcare or to care for an ill family member) at the Fire Chief’s discretion, provided the leave does not seriously disrupt Department operations. Full-time personal leave is generally not granted until all accrued unused
vacation and sick days have been exhausted.
   (c)    Seniority does not continue to grow and vacation and sick leave accrual stops during an unpaid personal leave of absence. All City group health benefits (e.g., hospitalization and major medical insurance) will cease ten (10) working days after the commencement of the personal leave of absence. At the end of this ten (10) day period, you may elect (under the provisions of COBRA) to continue your medical coverage for an additional period by paying one hundred percent (100%) of the City’s group rate premium yourself.
   (d)    Reinstatement cannot be guaranteed to employees returning from personal leave. However, the City endeavors to place employees returning from personal leave in their former positions or positions comparable in status and pay, subject to budgetary restrictions, the City’s need to fill vacancies, and the ability of the City to find qualified temporary replacements.
   (e)    If an employee does not return to work by the expiration date of leave or does not obtain permission in advance through the Fire Chief to extend the leave, the City will consider him/her to have resigned.
(Ord. 12-2023. Passed 5-9-23.)