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County simplifies donating leave time

St. Croix County's Finance Committee has agreed that requests to use the county's paid-time-off donation program can be approved or denied by the personnel director rather than the committee itself.

The policy, adopted nearly two years ago, allows county employees to voluntarily donate PTO to other permanent employees who have used all their paid-leave benefits due to serious illness or injury of the worker, his or her spouse or a dependent child.

Since the policy was adopted in March 2007, four employees have benefited, said Human Resources Administrator Tammy Funk. Two applications to use the program were approved last month, and her office has already gotten quite a few offers from workers wanting to donate time to those employees, said Funk.

The unions are concerned about having just one person review applications, but Funk said eligibility standards are clear and she thinks the unions' concerns can be resolved.

"It doesn't seem arbitrary to me," agreed Finance Committee Chairman Daryl Standafer. "(Applicants) either fit the requirements or they don't."

Eligible recipients must be in permanent county jobs, must be on unpaid leave due to their own serious illness or injury or that of their spouse or child, must anticipate unpaid leave for at least 160 hours, must provide medical certification of life-threatening illness or injury, must have exhausted all other available leave time and must not be receiving workers' compensation benefits.

Once donated, PTO hours are transferred on an hour-for-hour basis, irrespective of the hourly pay rates of the donor and the recipient. Donated hours are used as the recipient needs them in the order in which they were donated. Hours not needed won't be deducted from the donor's PTO balance.