Q. What is the Floating Holiday transition policy?
A. We are transitioning from giving floating holidays based on fiscal year that runs from July 1 to June 30 to giving floating holidays based on calendar year. This will put floating holidays on the same schedule of calendar year as other types of leave such as annual, sick and military leaves. To accomplish this change all current benefit eligible employees will receive one floating holiday to use from July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. Then on January 1, 2011, benefit eligible employees will receive two floating holidays to use from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. Check out the Floating Holiday Policy - Transition Year and Floating Holiday Policy for specific details.



Q. When is the last paycheck for calendar year 2008?
A. The final paycheck for income tax purposes in 2008 will be the check issued December 19, 2008.



Q. Who is eligible for the Return Day Holiday?
A. Benefit eligible employees, whose primary residence or work location on their record in PHRST is Sussex County, are eligible for the Return Day Holiday (which is the second day after the General Election). Return's Day starts at noon. Those on a 37.5 hour pay schedule receive 3.75 hours of holiday leave while employees on a 40 hour pay schedule receive 4 hours.



Q. Who can I contact regarding workplace issues?
A. In order to better serve employees on a statewide basis, the Office of Management and Budget, Human Resource Management has established a toll free number for employees to call with questions or concerns regarding workplace issues. The toll free number is 1-866-462-8411. Employees who are calling from Kent County can call 672-5195. This new service is completely confidential and the toll free line includes a confidential mailbox for callers to leave messages. Every effort will be made to quickly return these calls.



Q. Did you know the State has leave for bone marrow donation?
A. The State allows up to 7 calendar days of paid leave each calendar year for eligible employees to donate bone marrow.



Q. Did you know the State has leave for organ donation?
A. The State allows up to 30 calendar days of paid leave each calendar year for eligible employees to donate a human organ.



Q. How can I participate in DelaWELL events without impacting my pay?
A. Many of the events DelaWELL offers occur during lunch hours and on weekends. If you find that your lunch hour is not sufficient time you may request to flex your hours or to use annual leave or accrued compensatory time. DelaWELL also has great information available which you can access from your home computer or through computers in any public library.



Q. Would a state employee be able to receive leave donated from the Dover Police Department?
A. No, the Donated Leave Program does not include city workers or county workers and we cannot accept leave from other employers.



Q. How can I learn more about the Governor's Mentoring Initiative pursuant to Executive Order 75?
A. Stop by an informational session in Kent Count on February 14, 2008 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. being held in the Office of Management and Budget Training Conference Room on the 1st floor of the Barratt Building, 821 Silver Lake Boulevard, Dover, DE or go to or call 302-831-0520.



Q. What happens when I exhaust paid military leave?
A. Employees may take an unpaid leave of absence or request to use accrued annual leave. Annual and sick leave do not accrue during leaves without pay of greater than 30 days.



Q. Must an employee be a Full-time Merit Employee to be entitled to FMLA?
A. No, all employees of the State regardless of their employment status (e.g. classified, non-classified, merit, probationary, casual/seasonal, limited term, etc…) are entitled to FMLA provided they meet the following criteria:

   1. One year of aggregate State service
   2. Have been paid for at least 1,250 hours during the prior 12 months.



Q. I gave my supervisor my doctor's note and they still required me to turn in a FMLA Medical Certificate. Can they do that?
A. Yes, your Human Resources office will require the completion of the FMLA Medical Certificate as the document requires answers to the specific information permitted and/or required by the FMLA which will facilitate determining a qualifying event. FMLA Medical Certification Form



Q. I was just reinstated after a seven month break in Merit State employment can I have my sick leave balance reinstated?
A. No, when an employee leaves Merit State employment for reasons other than retirement, accrued annual leave is paid off at the point of separation and the sick leave balance is forfeit. Upon reinstatement the annual and sick leave balances start at zero. However, the annual leave accrual rate will be based on aggregate service.



Q. Can an employee use accrued leave rather than FMLA?
A. No, the employer is required to designate FMLA-qualifying events. In all circumstances, it is the employer’s responsibility to designate leave, paid or unpaid, as FMLA-qualifying, and to give notice of the designation to the employee. In the case of intermittent leave or leave on a reduced schedule, only one such notice is required unless the circumstances regarding the leave have changed. The employer’s designation decision must be based only on information received from the employee or the employee’s spokesperson (e.g., if the employee is incapacitated, the employee’s spouse, adult child, parent, doctor, etc., may provide notice to the employer of the need to take FMLA leave). In any circumstance where the employer does not have sufficient information about the reason for an employee’s use of paid leave, the employer should inquire further of the employee or the spokesperson to ascertain whether the paid leave is potentially FMLA-qualifying. (Ref. in US Code Title 29 C.F.R. Part 825--825.208)



Q. When will my leave be designated FMLA?
A. FMLA requires one of the following Qualifying Events: to care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care; to care for the employee's spouse, son or daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition; or for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee's job. The serious health condition described above means one of the following things must happened: inpatient hospital care; absence from work or school for more than 3 consecutive calendar days that involves continuing care by a health care provider; continuing treatment* for a chronic serious health condition; continuing treatment* for a serious health condition that if not treated would result in incapacity for more than 3 days; and any period of incapacity prenatal care. It is important to remember the following. The 3 day waiting period does not apply for pregnancy, chronic serious health conditions, or for multiple treatments. Common maladies like colds, flu, earaches, headaches other than migraine, etc., are not considered to be serious health conditions. Plastic surgery after injury or removal of a cancerous growth would be considered a serious health condition. Mental illness may be a serious health condition. Cosmetic surgery is not considered a serious health conditions unless in-patient hospital care is required. *Continuing treatment means treatment two or more times, or one treatment resulting in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of a health care provider, or continuing supervision but not necessarily being actively treated for a severe long-term or chronic condition.



Q. Can a permanent part-time employee who accrues annual and sick leave receive donated leave?
A. Yes, for the time missed from their permanent part-time schedule, provided they meet the six month State service eligibility rule and their absence meets the Donate Leave criteria of greater than five weeks absence or the equivalent in increments of not less than 7 calendar-days for the same illness.



Q. Do employees get paid time off to donate blood at the blood bank?
A. Employees may request to take annual leave, schedule during non-work hours or request to take leave without pay. In the case of a special call for an emergency donation, as occurred for the 9/11 disaster, and when an employee is donating blood for personal use during a scheduled surgery, sick leave may be approved.



Q. Who is eligible for the Return Day Holiday?
A. Benefit eligible employees whose primary residence on record in PHRST is located in Sussex County or whose primary work location is in Sussex County are eligible for the Return Day Holiday. Compensation for Return Day (the second day after the General Election after 12 noon) is 3.75 hours for 37.5 hours work week schedule or 4 hours for 40 hour work week schedule.



Q. Are in-laws considered immediate family for the purpose of Compassionate Leave?
A. The parents of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner are immediate family for the purpose of Compassionate Leave. And in accordance with Merit Rule 5.4.1 employees should be given 22.5 hours (for a 37.5 hour weekly schedule) or 24.0 hours (for a 40.0 hour weekly schedule) off for the death of a parent in-law.

However for the purpose of Compassionate Leave brother/sister-in-laws are not immediate family. And in accordance with Merit Rule 5.4.2 employees should receive 7.5 hours (for a 37.5 hour weekly schedule) or 8.0 hours (for a 40.0 hour weekly schedule) off to attend memorial services or related activity if they conflict with work hours.



Q. If an employee goes out on leave due to a catastrophic illness/injury before 6 months of employment with the State are they eligible for Donated Leave once the 6 month anniversary date has been reached?
A. No. To be eligible for Donated Leave an employee must have completed at least 6 months of employment before the start of the absence.



Q. If I apply for an open position with one state agency does my application get sent to every agency with the same?
A. No, your application will only go to the specific state agency to which you applied. You must apply for each individual job opening posted.



Q. Do I have to be out for greater than five weeks before I request Donated Leave?
A. No, you may request donated leave as soon as the physician completes the appropriate form and certifies it will be medically necessary for you to be absent for greater than five weeks. The DL-1 Form needs to be completed by you and your physician.



Q. Will my period of military leave be considered a break in service with the State and impact my eligibility to participate in the pension plan?
A. No. An employee's period of military leave will be counted as covered service with the State for eligibility, vesting and benefit accrual purposes. Returning service members are treated as if they had been continuously employed.



Q. I was just reinstated after a seven month break in Merit State employment can I have my sick leave balance reinstated?
A. No, when an employee leaves Merit State employment for reasons other than retirement, accrued annual leave is paid off at the point of separation and the sick leave balance is forfeit. Upon reinstatement the annual and sick leave balances start at zero. However, the annual leave accrual rate will be based on aggregate service.



Q. Since the governor declared December 24th a holiday when will the 2008 Holiday list be updated?
A. The governor declared December 24th a holiday for this year only. The holiday list currently on Human Resource Management web site continues to be correct for 2008.



Q. How much annual leave can I carryover into the New Year?
A. Merit and Merit comparable employees may carryover 318 hours (37.5 hours schedule) or 336 hours (40 hour schedule) into the new year.



Q. Can I take intermittent FMLA following the birth of my child?
A. FMLA does not require the employer to grant intermittent FMLA leave following the birth of a child.



Q. Who can I contact regarding workplace issues?
A. In order to better serve employees on a statewide basis, the Office of Management and Budget, Human Resource Management has established a toll free number for employees to call with questions or concerns regarding workplace issues. The toll free number is 1-866-462-8411. Employees who are calling from Kent County can call 672-5195. This new service is completely confidential and the toll free line includes a confidential mailbox for callers to leave messages. Every effort will be made to quickly return these calls.



Q. What are the eligibility rules for Donated Leave?
A. For Merit and Merit comparable employees the rules are the employee must be in a benefit eligible position, must have six months aggregate service with the State and the absence must exceed five (5) weeks either consecutive or in cumulative periods of at least 5 consecutive days.



Q. What if I'm not currently in the National Guard or a member of the reserves but I want to join the military now do I have to ask my agency for permission?
A. No, you do not need to request permission from your agency. See the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994.



Q. Can you tell me why I have to take a 1/2 hour lunch break during my workday instead of being scheduled to leave 1/2 hour early?
A. Because Delaware Code Title 19, Chapter 7 §707 requires employers to give employees who are scheduled to work 7.5 or greater hours per day, a ½ hour break no earlier than 2 hours into the shift and no later than 2 hours prior to the end of the shift.



Q. Can my supervisor deny my sick leave request and not allow me to take annual leave spread out in 1 hour increments every workweek?
A. Yes, your supervisor may deny granting sick leave and annual leave for various reasons. For example, a request for paid sick leave may be denied because you made the request after returning from a scheduled doctor's appointment instead of making the request before taking off from work. Or the time chosen to take annual leave may have an adverse affect on being able to provide service. Though paid leave may be denied your supervisor may not do so unreasonably.



Q. Can I have Donated Leave to care for a sibling?
A. No. Del Code Title 29 §5956 (c) defines family member as:

“an employee's spouse, son, daughter or parent who resides with the employee and who requires the personal attendance of the employee during the family member's catastrophic illness.



Q. I am in a merit position can I apply for an In-House posting?
A. Applicants may only apply if they are current employees of the recruiting Department in a position covered by the Merit System who have completed their initial probationary period or have return-to-Merit rights from that agency.



Q. Must I sign my performance review if I am in disagreement?
A. Your signature on your performance review merely means you have received the review, it does not mean you agree with the review. Every employee is encouraged to be an active participant in the review process. If you are in disagreement with any statement on the review you are welcome to write your comments stating your disagreement and the reason for such disagreement directly on the review form.



Q. I heard I can use up to 12 weeks accrued sick leave during the first year following the birth of my child even when neither myself nor my child are ill, is that true?
A. Yes, in accordance with Delaware Code Title 29, '5120 eligible employees may use up to twelve weeks accumulated sick leave upon the birth of a child of the employee or the employee's spouse, or adoption by the employee of a pre-kindergarten age child. Leave for these purposes shall be used during the year immediately following the birth or adoption and be scheduled in advance whenever possible. You must use such leave in accordance with Merit Rule 5.7 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Please note Donated Leave does not apply. (Ref. Merit Rule 5.3.6.7)



Q. I was a merit employee for 5 years but left for a job in private industry. Now I have returned to State employment do I still have my merit status?
A. No, once you leave State employment you lose your merit status. If you do return to State employment you must serve a new initial probationary period of one year. (NOTE: Probationary period may vary if the position is covered by a union agreement.)



Q. Do I get credit toward a state pension for my military service time?
A. If you were hired before July 1, 1976, you may receive service credit for up to five years, for full-time active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States. However, you must have become an employee within five years after completion of your tour of duty or within five years after completion of a course of professional or vocational training (if such course was begun within five years of completion of your tour of duty.) The course of professional or vocational training is defined as one leading to a certificate, diploma or degree and offered by a public or private non-profit or proprietary institution approved by the Department of Education. You must have enrolled on a continuous, full-time basis and completed the course of instruction.

If you are called into active service or volunteer for active service in the Armed Forces or the National Guard of the State while you are a member of the State Employee Pension Plan and you return to your covered employment with the State within 90 days of the discharge, you will receive full creditable service for such full-time continuous active military service.

If you do not qualify for the above, you may purchase up to five years of credit for full-time active duty in the Armed Forces by paying into the Plan an amount equal to the actuarial value of the credits purchased as determined by the Board of Pension Trustees. The credits so purchased cannot be used to determine eligibility for a pension; however, it will be used in the calculation of the benefit.



Q. Am I required to use my sick and annual leave when I go out on Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)?
A. Employees must use all but one week sick and one week vacation of available leave when out on FMLA.



Q. Is the Health Care FSA maximum of $3,000 for an individual or for a family?
A. The Health Care FSA maximum is $3,000 per individual for State of Delaware employees. Therefore if both husband and wife are benefit eligible State employees, they could each have an annual election of $3,000 for the Health Care FSA for 2008.



Q. Why should I contribute to the State Employees’ Charitable Campaign (SECC?)
A. The SECC provides you with a single, combined annual campaign for giving through payroll deductions that can be made over the course of a year. The SECC also allows you to contribute to the charity of your choice.



Q. What is the SECC?
A. SECC stands for the State Employees' Charitable Campaign an annual fund-raising drive approved by the State of Delaware. This year the entire month of October is dedicated to the SECC. Each year state employees raise thousands of dollars through the SECC that benefits many local non-profit charitable organizations. These charities fight disease, make life more meaningful for the young and old, help the impoverished, and train people to become self-sufficient. By promoting and supporting fund raising through the employee focused, cost-efficient SECC, state employees provide the opportunity to improve the quality of life of all Delawareans.



Q. Whose responsibility is it to notify me how much leave I have on the books?
A. It is employees' responsibility to keep track of their own leave balances. Most agencies periodically request employees to sign off on their leave balances. If you are not sure of your leave balance you should contact your timekeeper. If you do not know who your timekeeper is check with your supervisor and/or your agency Human Resource Office.



Q. If I leave state employment, withdraw my contributions and subsequently return to state employment, can I have my previous pension credit restored?
A. Yes, but you must repay the contributions and interest withdrawn, plus applicable penalty interest, and, if not vested, you must work for five consecutive years.



Q. If I use annual leave when I am tardy can they still discipline me for my tardy?
A. Yes, using annual leave to make up pay for missed work due to a tardy does not make the tardy go away. Employees are expected to be at work as scheduled. Every employee is required to report to work on time each day.



Q. Do employees get paid time off to participate in the current blood bank donation contest?
A. No, The current blood bank donation contest is not considered an emergency. Employees may request to take annual leave or compensatory time or to flex their schedule. They may also schedule during non-work hours or request to take leave without pay. In the case of a special call for an emergency donation, as occurred for the 9/11 disaster, and when an employee is donating blood for personal use for a scheduled surgery, sick leave may be approved.



Q. I am a Merit Employee and I went for an interview with a Delaware School District and I was told I needed to take leave to attend the interview. I thought Merit Employees were allowed to go on work time to interview for other State positions?
A. The Merit Rules allow Merit Employees to interview for Classified (Merit) positions on work time. If you wish to interview for a non-classified position you must do so on your own time and may request annual leave, available comp time or to flex your schedule.



Q. Can a Merit Employee donate leave to a School District Employee?
A. No, the Donated Leave Program for School Districts, which fall under Delaware Code Title 14, have different parameters than the Donated Leave Program for Merit and Merit Comparable System employees, which fall under Delaware Code Title 29.



Q. Can I take a day of Compassionate Leave to go to my husband’s aunt’s funeral?
A. No. However, you may request to take available annual leave or compensatory time or to flex your schedule.



Q. Is it true that the time I take off for prenatal doctor visits counts as part of my 12 week Family Medical Leave (FMLA)?
A. It is true. Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or prenatal care is considered a “serious health condition” for the purposes of FMLA, and the time should be applied against the 12 week allotted period.



Q. If I have questions about my benefits who should I contact?
A. It is always best to start by contacting your agency Human Resource Representative. If that individual cannot answer your question, you will be referred to the appropriate person or office.



Q. I am thinking of taking a promotion but will have the additional expense of paying for parking. How can I find out how much the Commuter Pre-Tax Dollar would help?
A. You may contact the vendor for the Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit, ASI at 1-800-659-3035. They have a calculator which can estimate how much you can save on your parking expense by enrolling in this benefit.



Q. If I leave State merit employment, but return at some future date, will I immediately be a State merit employee?
A. No, you will need to serve a new initial probationary period of one year. (Ref. MR 9.5)



Q. Can employees use Donated Leave for the same relatives that they can use for sick leave as defined in the Merit Rules?
A. No, per Delaware Code Title 29, §5956 (c) Donated Leave is available to use for an employee, employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent who resides with the employee…”



Q. Do I have a right to see my personnel file?
A. Yes, every employee in the State of Delaware has a right to examine their own personnel file provided they are currently employed, on laid off status with reemployment rights or on leave of absence. However, employees are required to make an appointment



Q. Must an employee attend memorial services or related activities to get paid Compassionate Leave?
A. For an immediate family member the answer is NO. The employee may choose to take the leave at a date other than when the memorial services or related activities occur. However the days are normally to be taken consecutive. For a near relative (defined in Merit Rule 5.4.2) the answer is YES. The employee must use the 7.5 hours (for a 37.5 hour schedule) or 8.0 hours (for a 40.0 hour schedule) to attend memorial services or related activities. And the employee receives pay if the hours to attend are during regular work hours.



Q. Now that jobs are posted for just seven days what can I do to avoid missing potential employment opportunities?
A. You can create a Job Search Agent profile. Just go to Delaware Employment Link and click the large DEL logo. You will be in DEL. Click on the "Notify Me of New Jobs" button at the top of the page. This will give you a list of occupational groups to choose from. Check all occupational groups you wish to include in your Job Search. You can enter multiple job categories. The Job Search Agent will then give you an alpha listing of all the job classes available in the occupational groups you chose. Make your selections by checking the box next to the job titles that interest you. Please note: if you do not check any boxes, you will not receive any notifications. You must choose the job classes that interest you. Make sure you have your pop-up blockers off. Click on "Add all checked classes to my job search agent". A new window will open and list those classes that you selected. If they are correct, click "Finish". Another window will open where you will enter your e-mail address. Click on "Next" and then Click "Subscribe" to receive notifications of the job classes you selected for one year. After one year you must subscribe again to continue receiving notifications.



Q. I requested an alternate work schedule, compressing my bi-weekly schedule so I work 5 days one week and 3 days the next. My supervisor denied my request based on my schedule creating overtime. I do not understand as I was only working 75 hours in a two week pay period can you explain?
A. If you are eligible for overtime pay at time and a half (covered by FLSA) and wish to request an alternate work schedule you may not exceed 40 hours work during any given pay week which starts Sunday and ends Saturday. Additionally your requested schedule must comply with the Alternate Work Schedule Policy.



Q. If I have already provided a FMLA Medical Certification and am now requesting Donated Leave do I need to have my physician complete pages 4, 5, and 6 of the Donated Leave DL-1 form?
A. Yes, the FMLA Medical Certification form requests different information than is required on the Donate Leave DL-1 and the criteria for approval may differ.



Q. I am a current merit employee and am considering accepting an exempt position. Is my merit status protected?
A. Only certain budgeted positions have return to merit protection. Be sure to check with your agency Human Resource office as to the status of the position. Make accepting the offer pending confirmation of the protected status of the position.



Q. I am thinking of joining a State van pool. What do I have to do to receive the Commuter Pre-Tax Dollar benefit?
A. When you join the State Van Pool, you will be required to sign a contract with Fleet Link. Part of this contract is an automatic enrollment into the Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit. Your monthly fee for the Van Pool will be divided equally between the first two paychecks of the month and taken on a pre-tax basis (up to $110 per month) . Your deductions will begin the month prior to your participation in the van pool. ASI, the vendor for the Pre-Tax Commuter benefit will pay Fleet Link directly for your monthly charge. Your savings will depend on your tax bracket but can range from 25% to 40%.



Q. Do I have to come back to work following the birth of my baby when the physician indicates I am physically able even if I have more FMLA time available?
A. No, you are entitled to a total of 12 weeks during a rolling calendar year to care for your child after birth. This also applies to individuals adopting a child or obtaining a foster child. However the FMLA leave entitlement for birth, adoption or placement for foster care expires one year following the date of birth, adoption or placement. Check with your Human Resource staff to ensure you complete the appropriate leave documentation indicating you wish to take the entire 12 week period allowed under FMLA. This will also give you the opportunity to add your child to your health insurance or other benefits.



Q. If I return to State merit employment after a break in service of less than two years and initially accept a different classification than the one I left and then, ,within the two year requirement, I take a job in my former classification, am I entitled to my reconstructed salary (the wages I used to earn when I left plus any increases I may have missed while gone)?
A. No, for Merit Rule 4.8 to apply you need to return to State merit employment within two years into the same classification as when you left. If your initial position upon rehire is not in the same classification, then the reinstatement rule no longer app



Q. My husband's uncle passed away and my agency told me I hand to request annual leave. Is that true? I thought I was permitted to take 7.5 hours to attend the memorial services of aunts and, uncles?
A. Your agency is correct. Per Merit Rule 5.4.2, you are permitted to take 7.5 hours (37.5 hour weekly schedule) or 8 hours (40 hour weekly schedule) leave with pay, to attend memorial services or related activity for your own aunt or uncle. For your spouse's aunt or uncle, you need to take annual leave or compensatory time or request leave without pay. If you work a permanent part-time schedule, your leave would be pro-rated accordingly.



Q. What if an employee loses more than one immediate family member in the same event?
A. The employee is to be given 22.5 hours (for a 37.5 hour schedule) or 24.0 hours (for a 40.0 hour schedule) Compassionate Leave per immediate family member. For example if both parents pass away on the same day an employee on a 37.5 hour schedule would be



Q. What happens if the Donated Leave received is more than the amount needed by the recipient?
A. Any unused donation is to be returned to the donor provided the donor continues to be in a benefit eligible position with the State. If the donor has: left State employ; retired; or is no longer in a benefit eligible position, the unused leave is to be sent to the Leave Bank.



Q. What if an employee experiences a loss of someone close that does not fall under the categories specified in the Merit Rules, can they receive Compassionate Leave?
A. Employees may make a request to their agency to approve Compassionate Leave for a person not specified as immediate family. It is at agency discretion to grant or deny the request.



Q. How will I be compensated for Tuesday, January 2, 2007, the National Day of mourning for former President Gerald Ford?
A. If you are a Merit Employee in the Executive Branch the day will be treated and paid as if it were a Holiday, 7.5 hours for a 37.5 hour work schedule and 8.0 hours for a 40.0 work schedule. If an employee was on scheduled leave on Tuesday, the 7.5 or 8.0 hours should be returned to the employee's leave accrual. Employees who work alternate work schedules of greater than the 7.5 or 8.0 hour day are required to request annual leave if they wish to be compensated for the hours in excess of a regular schedule. For example: A 37.5 hour/week employee who is scheduled to work 8.5 hours every Tuesday would be compensated 7.5 hours holiday and need to request 1.0 hour annual leave or be docked the hour pay.