PERSONNEL

Manual

SANTA CRUZ COE POLICIES and ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS:

INTRODUCTION

Welcome


Mission, Vision, Core Values

Our Vision

We envision a community with engaged learners and leaders who have the social, emotional, academic, and technical skills to thrive in a changing world.

Our Mission

To lead an equitable and innovative learner-centered educational system.

Our Values

Equity – We create or improve programs, practices and policies to ensure that every learner has opportunities, experiences, and support systems that address their educational goals and needs.

Innovation – We foster communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking to generate new ideas and solutions.

Partnership – We listen to the needs of our learners, families, educators, and the community, and work with our partners to create networks of support and opportunities so all our learners can achieve and thrive.

Excellence – We hold ourselves to high standards of quality and professionalism and aim to exceed the expectations of our learners, community, partners, and staff.

Read the 2019-24 Strategic Plan.

Purpose of Personnel Manual

Our employees are our greatest assets and each employee is necessary and valued. This manual provides you important resources that you will need to be successful and to introduce you to the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. This manual applies to all permanent employees of the Santa Cruz COE. Employees subject to a collective bargaining unit agreement are covered by this manual. Beyond this manual are many additional resources you can turn to for information, help and guidance.

While this manual is intended to provide you with a general overview of our employment policies, it does not present a complete description of your employment relationship and should not be read or treated as an employment contract. Where possible, the manual guides you to the document, person, or department where you can get more detailed information on specified subjects. Over time, changing circumstances will require that the policies and benefits outlined in this manual be updated, revised or altered. As you consult the manual for information in the months ahead, remember that it may be necessary for you to verify that all applicable information is still current.

Code of Ethics—The maintenance of high ethical and moral standards in public business is the basis of effective government. Public confidence is endangered when ethical standards falter. Officers and employees must act with unwavering integrity, absolute impartiality and devotion to the public interest.

Following are principles which must be observed by all employees: 1. Public employees have a special duty to uphold the public’s trust. Employees should avoid any expense that creates the appearance of impropriety; 2. Misuse of public funds will result in disciplinary action and possible criminal sanctions; 3. There shall be no discrimination in any Santa Cruz COE activity because of race, color, national origin, age, religion, political affiliation, gender, mental or physical disability, sex orientation, genetics, or any other basis protected by federal, state or local law, ordinance or regulation; 4. No officer or employee shall accept any fee, compensation, gift, payment of expenses, or any other thing of monetary value in circumstances in which acceptance may result in, or create the appearance of: “Use of Public Office for private gain, preferential treatment of any person, impeding governmental efficiency or economy, any loss of complete independence or impartiality or any adverse effect on the confidence of the public in the integrity of Santa Cruz COE.” (Reference: California Education Code 35220 and Govt. Code sections 87100 et seq.); and 5. Persons in the public service shall not disclose confidential information acquired by or available to them in the course of their employment with Santa Cruz COE or use such information for speculation or personal gain.

EMPLOYMENT

Types of Employees

Classified employees are covered under the Classified School Employee Association (CSEA), Chapter 484 Collective Bargaining Unit Agreement unless specifically exempted in the recognition clause. A classified employee in a position not requiring certification under the California Education Code, and performing duties designated as classified duties by the employer, is considered a classified employee. Classified employees, upon initial employment, shall serve a six-month probationary period. During this probationary period, a classified employee serves at the pleasure of the Superintendent and may be dismissed at any time by the Superintendent or by a designee. Upon successful completion of the probationary period, a classified employee shall gain permanent status in the position and shall be entitled to all the rights of a permanent classified employee. (Reference: California Education Code 45105)

Certificated employees are covered under the Santa Cruz COE Certificated Collective Bargaining Unit Agreement (CTA/NEA) unless specifically excluded under the recognition clause. An employee in a position requiring certification under the California Education Code, and performing duties designated as certificated duties by the employer, is considered a certificated employee. Certificated classroom teachers having been employed by Santa Cruz COE for two complete consecutive school years in a probationary position with a full credential shall be classified as a permanent employee, provided they served more than 75% of each school year. All other certificated non-management employees shall be classified at the time of initial employment and annually thereafter as either substitute, temporary or probationary based on the circumstances under which the employee has been hired. (References: California Education Code 44006 and 44929)

Certificated Management employees of the Santa Cruz COE serve at the pleasure of the Superintendent and achieve no permanency in their position. Appointments to certificated management positions are for one year.

Classified Management are positions that: 1. do not require certification qualifications, and 2. are listed in the Classified Management Salary Schedule. Classified Managers are part of the Merit System.

Confidential employee means any employee who is required to develop or present management positions with respect to employer/employee relations or whose duties normally require access to confidential information that is used to contribute significantly to the development of management positions.

Merit System for Classified Employees

California’s Education Code outlines a process of personnel administration for classified employees. This personnel process, called the Merit System, ensures that all classified personnel are selected, promoted, and retained without favoritism or prejudice, on the basis of merit and fitness. The Merit System is designed to provide an employment process that is focused on political neutrality, equal opportunity, and competitive merit.

The Santa Cruz COE has adopted a Merit System for classified employees as set forth in the Education Code. A nonpartisan Personnel Commission oversees our Merit System and establishes the rules that govern the terms and conditions of classified employment. The Commission approves job classifications and salary schedules, reviews eligibility lists for employment, hears appeals on discipline, and serves as a forum for the concerns of classified employees. The director for the Human Resources department is responsible for implementing classified employment procedures that conform to the regulations of the Merit System and the rules established by the Personnel Commission.

The Personnel Commission provides written documentation of the Merit System rules and regulations and encourages classified staff to become familiar with the contents of this document. The Merit System works in concert with the collective bargaining unit agreements that apply to classified staff.

You can access a copy of the Merit System Rules at: https://santacruzcoe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/merit_rules.pdf

Probationary Period

The initial period of employment, often called a probationary period, provides an opportunity for you and the Santa Cruz COE to get acquainted with each other and assess the ongoing viability of the employment relationship. During this initial period of employment, your supervisor will meet with you to discuss your performance and to provide you with written evaluations. In turn, you are encouraged to provide your supervisor with your views about your assigned position.

As specified in collective bargaining unit agreements and Merit System Rules (for classified employees), employees of the Santa Cruz COE serve in a probationary status upon initial employment; upon transferring to a related classification in which the employee has not previously completed a probationary period; and upon promotion to any position, which is at a higher classification than previous positions. Probationary periods vary in length depending on the type of position and/or the terms specified in collective bargaining unit agreements.

Certificated management staff and Career Technical Education teachers that are employed on an annual contract basis, do not have a formal probationary period and serve “at will.”

If you are a member of a collective bargaining unit, please consult the Human Resources department for specific information about the length of your probationary period. Unrepresented employees may contact their supervisor or the Human Resources department.

Performance Evaluation

Performance evaluations are a necessary aspect of job satisfaction. In order for someone to be successful, they must know what is expected. It is important that you be recognized for good performance and that you receive appropriate suggestions for improvement when necessary. Consistent with this goal, your performance will be evaluated by your supervisor on an ongoing basis and you will receive periodic written evaluations.

All written evaluations will be based on your overall performance in relation to your job responsibilities and will also take into account your professionalism, interpersonal skills and record of attendance/observation of work hours. Our performance evaluation is designed as a two-way communication process: you have an opportunity to discuss your major accomplishments and your supervisor can offer suggestions and direction for desired performance and professional growth. The Santa Cruz COE encourages you to work with your supervisor to develop an individualized performance plan and to mutually establish performance goals for the future. To learn the specific date and frequency of your performance appraisal, contact the Human Resources department. You may obtain a copy of the form that will be used in your evaluation from the Human Resources department.

In addition to the regular performance reviews described above, your supervisor may at any time issue to an employee a Notice of Commendation; a Notice of Unsatisfactory Service; or a Notice of Satisfactory Service. All written evaluations become part of your employee file maintained by the Human Resources department.

Disciplinary Action Procedure

Every employee is expected to meet the standards as established by their job description and Santa Cruz COE policies and procedures. Disciplinary action includes any action in which an employee is subject to dismissal, suspension, disciplinary reassignment, or demotion. Employees are subject to the disciplinary provisions set forth in the Education Code, Superintendent Policies, the respective collective bargaining unit agreements and Merit Rules applicable to the subject employee.

The disciplinary action varies with each case depending on the seriousness and frequency of the wrongful action, situations, or inaction. In the course of an investigation, an employee may be placed on administrative leave with pay. This system sets out a general practice, not an expectation or contractual right. No employee shall be suspended, demoted, dismissed or in any way discriminated against because of their real or perceived ancestry, race, color, ethnicity, religion, creed, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, genetic information, or medical condition, or association to someone in any of these protected classes, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state or local laws.

Resignation Procedures

Any employee who voluntarily resigns from a position shall complete the Resignation/Separation Notice form. If you wish, you may also attach a Resignation/Separation letter to the form. Resignation dates are subject to approval by the Santa Cruz COE. The form shall be processed through the department head and forwarded to the Human Resources department. Rights to retirement benefits, continuation of insurance coverage, and unemployment insurance benefits may be discussed with the Payroll department. The employee shall be required to turn in all Santa Cruz COE property such as: cell phones, mobile devices, and keys to any premise or vehicle, identification badges, computer equipment, and other school or office property.

Classified employees shall be paid for all time worked, plus accrued vacation (if applicable), approved compensatory time and approved overtime.

Certificated employees shall be paid for time worked. Certificated employees do not earn vacation, overtime or compensatory time off.

Final pay for all employees shall be reduced by the amount of any unaccrued sick leave that may have been used. Final payments are made within 30 days of employee’s last workday in accordance with Education Code. (Reference: Education Code 45165 [c])

Non-Reemployment

Non-reelection/Release: Certificated—Probationary certificated employees: Non-reelection of probationary certificated employees occurs within the two-year probationary period. The supervisor shall notify a probationary certificated employee of the decision not to renew their contract no later than March 15th of the second full consecutive year. This paragraph does not apply to classified staff. (References: Education Code sections 44932 and 44933)

Substitute and temporary certificated employees may be released upon written notice. For substitute certificated employees, written or verbal notice of release may be given at any time for any reason or without any reason. For temporary certificated employees, written notice of release may be given at any time prior to the temporary employee serving 75% of the days schools are operated by Santa Cruz COE. After a temporary employee has served at least 75% of the days schools are operated by Santa Cruz, written notice may be given but shall not be effective until the end of the school year. (References: Education Code sections 44917, 44918, and 44954)

Release During Probationary Period: Classified Employees—Classified employees may be released at any time during their probationary period. This paragraph does not apply to certificated employees.

Layoffs: Certificated Employees—Layoffs of certificated employees may be due to a reduction or elimination of a program or a decline in average daily attendance. The procedures used are dictated by the Education Code and the collective bargaining unit agreement. (References: Education Code sections 44955 and following)

Layoffs: Classified Employees—Layoffs of classified employees may be due to lack of work or lack of funds. If a reduction in force becomes necessary, reductions will be determined in accordance with the program needs of Santa Cruz COE and the procedures specified in the CSEA collective bargaining unit agreement and Merit Rules. The County Superintendent will make the final determination which programs or positions may be reduced or eliminated based upon the recommendations of division heads.

Exit Interview

An exit interview is a meeting between the separating employee and the Human Resources Administrator or designee. The exit interview provides the Santa Cruz COE with the opportunity to obtain frank, honest feedback from the employee who is separating in order to improve aspects of the Santa Cruz COE. Human Resources may schedule, or the employee may request, an exit interview with the departing employee during the last week of employment. The Human Resources Administrator or designee conducting the exit interview may discuss the following:

a. Reasons for employment separation

b. Notes employee’s opinion about aspects of the Santa Cruz COE and the job

c. Verifies the status of work projects, reports, IEPs, etc.

EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS

Equal Employment Opportunity

The Santa Cruz COE is an equal opportunity employer. This means that employment decisions are based on demonstrated knowledge, skills, and competence and not on gender, color, race, ancestry, creed, religion, national origin, age, handicap or disability, medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, citizenship status, or any other factor rendered unlawful by federal, state, or local law. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leave of absence, compensation, and training.

Further, it is the expectation of the Santa Cruz COE that employees not discriminate against each other or non-employees based on the above-mentioned factors.

The Santa Cruz COE also supports the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in hiring, accommodating, promoting, and retaining qualified employees with disabilities. All employees are expected to help implement the goals of the ADA. (Reference: Non Discrimination in Employment Policy and Administrative Regulation 4030)

Reasonable Accommodation

The Santa Cruz COE will make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or an employee unless the employee is unable to perform the essential duties of the position. In order to determine whether an employee or applicant is a qualified individual with a disability, the employee or applicant is required to participate in the interactive process, which includes responding to requests for information. An applicant or employee that fails to respond to requests for information or participate in the interactive process may waive their right to a reasonable accommodation. A request for a reasonable accommodation should be made to the employee’s supervisor that they need a change at work for a reason related to a medical condition. The supervisor shall inform the Human Resources department (Reasonable Accommodation AR 4032)

Required Annual Training of Child Abuse Mandated Reporters

On September 29, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1432 (Chapter 797, Statutes of 2014). This law went into effect on January 1, 2015, and requires California school districts to annually train mandated reporters on their child abuse reporting obligations under the law.

Mandated reporters include, but are not limited to, teachers; instructional aides; teacher's aides or assistants; classified employees; certificated pupil personnel employees; administrative officers or supervisors of child attendance; administrators and employees of a licensed day care facility; Head Start teachers; district police or security officers; licensed nurses or health care providers; and administrators, presenters, counselors of a child abuse prevention program, and any employee of Santa Cruz COE whose duties bring the employee in contact with children on a regular basis. (Reference: Penal Code 11165.7)

AB 1432 imposed the mandated reporter training obligation on all school districts, county offices of education (COEs), state special schools and diagnostic centers operated by the California Department of Education (CDE), and charter schools and their school personnel in California. Those agencies are required to do all of the following:

1. Annually train employees and persons working on their behalf who are mandated reporters under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) on their abuse and neglect reporting requirements.

2. Train new employees and persons working on their behalf who are mandated reporters within six (6) weeks of each person’s employment.

3. Develop a process for all persons required to receive training under the law to provide proof of completing this training within the first six (6) weeks of each school year or within six (6) weeks of that person’s employment.

Professional Credentials

Credential renewals are the responsibility of the employee. If your position requires a specific credential and you do not have the appropriate credential on file, no payment of salary can be given. The credential must be on file with the Santa Cruz COE in order to receive compensation. The Human Resources department is available to give credential information and assistance when necessary.

There are two ways to submit your application for renewal:

1. Renew Your Credential Online - Qualifying credentials must be renewed online at www.ctc.ca.gov. Credentials renewed online are processed in 10 working days. All clear, professional and professional clear credentials MUST be renewed online. The Commission no longer accepts paper applications for clear, professional, and professional clear credential types.

2. Submit Your Application by Mail - Credentials that do not meet online renewal criterion must be applied for via postal mail. Application forms are available for download at www.ctc.ca.gov. Some credentials and permits may require you to file your renewal application through your employing agency or institution of higher education.

Tuberculin Testing

To prevent the spread of tuberculosis in the education environment, each employee of the Santa Cruz COE must submit evidence of freedom from active tuberculin infection prior to employment. Tuberculin tests include intradermal skin tests and chest x-rays (when necessary). Evidence of freedom from active tuberculin infection must be submitted every four years thereafter. The Adult Tuberculosis (TB) Risk Assessment Questionnaire is acceptable in lieu of the skin test, but not for chest x-rays (Health Examinations AR 4112.4). (Reference: California Education Code, Section 49406)

Employment Eligibility Verification Document

Verification of the right to work in the United States is required by the Federal Government. During the new employment orientation, the employee must show evidence of identity and employment eligibility when completing the I-9 Document (e.g. driver’s license or identification issued by a state, school identification card with a photo, passport, etc.). (Reference: Superintendent Policy and Administrative Regulation Legal Status Requirement 4111.2)

Fingerprints

All employees, volunteers, contractors, etc., shall be electronically fingerprinted in conformance with Education Code Section 45125 and as a condition of employment. Fingerprints are forwarded to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for screening to assure that no employee has been convicted of a controlled substance, sex crime or other crime that would preclude employment by Santa Cruz COE. Employees may not report to their assignments for duty prior to acceptance of their fingerprint clearance by the Human Resources department. (Reference: Administrative Regulation Criminal Record Check 4112.4)

Oath or Affirmation

All county office employees are declared by law to be disaster service workers and thus shall take the oath or affirmation required for disaster service workers before beginning employment with the Santa Cruz COE. In the event of natural, manmade or war-caused emergencies which result in conditions of disaster or extreme peril to life, property and resources, all Santa Cruz COE employees are subject to disaster service activities as assigned to them by their supervisors or by law. (References: Government Code 3100-3102)

Sexual Harassment Prevention

Every two years, the County Superintendent or designee shall ensure that supervisory employees receive at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment. All such newly hired or promoted employees shall receive training within six months of their assumption of the new position. (Reference: Government Code 12950.1)

The new law SB 1343 expands the existing harassment training requirements to mandate one hour of Sexual Harassment Prevention training for non-supervisory employees. Districts and County Offices must now provide one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to non-supervisory employees. In order to comply with the January 1, 2020 deadline, all employees must be trained during the calendar year 2019. Training must take place within six months of hire or promotion and every two years thereafter.

Sexual harassment is any unwanted, unwelcome, or unsolicited sexual conduct imposed on a person who regards it as offensive or undesirable. If the employee or student states that they find the behavior offensive, the actions are unwelcome. When a person finds the conduct is unwelcome, it becomes illegal. Often victims will seek to avoid confrontation or may fear reprisals and consequently do not clearly state their objection. Therefore, all employees must learn to be sensitive to how their actions may be perceived by others, no matter what they personally may believe or intend.

Employees who believe they are being sexually harassed, or observe inappropriate behavior in the work area or at any Santa Cruz COE activity should contact the Human Resources department. It is an employee’s right to file a complaint under the Complaint Procedure and the duty of a management employee to report and investigate, as directed, allegations and incidents of sexual harassment.

Verification of Social Security Card

The Santa Cruz COE requires a copy of your social security card be on file with the Human Resources department before any payroll checks will be processed. Per federal regulations, the Santa Cruz COE must pay you exactly as your name is listed on your social security card. This regulation is in place to protect both the employee and employer. By using the exact information printed on your social security card, earnings reported to state and federal agencies will be posted accurately to insure proper credit to you.

SALARY AND BENEFITS

Salary Schedules and Placement

To attract and retain qualified staff, the Santa Cruz COE endeavors to pay salaries that are competitive with those of similar educational employers and the labor market here in Santa Cruz County. With this in mind, general salary ranges have been established for each Santa Cruz COE position through a careful analysis of the work required and the responsibilities of each job. Periodically, the COE reviews job specifications and salary schedules to ensure that they are rated appropriately. Salary schedules for positions covered by collective bargaining units are negotiated and clearly specified in each collective bargaining unit agreement.

Remember that your total compensation at the Santa Cruz COE consists not only of the salary you are paid, but also of the various benefits you are offered, such as group health and life insurance and your retirement plan, as described in a later section of this manual.

Questions regarding salary schedules or your individual salary should be directed to your supervisor or the Human Resources department. Collective bargaining unit agreements also provide specific information about negotiated salary schedules and placement.

Workdays

Each classification has a designated number of contract days, hours, and work year. Employees working less than the number of days or hours listed on the salary schedule and/or the job description will receive a prorated salary and service credit.

Work Hours

The maximum number of hours of regular employment of an employee is eight hours a day and forty hours a week. However, the County Superintendent may employ persons for lesser periods of time and may, through authorized administrators, order and authorize employees to work in excess of eight hours in one day or forty hours in one week.

1. The length of the workday shall be designated for each assignment at the time of employment.

2. Each employee shall be assigned a fixed, regular minimum number of hours.

3. A workweek will be defined from Monday to Sunday.

Employees working six hours or more shall be granted two fifteen-minute rest periods, one in the morning and one the afternoon of each work day. Employees not wishing to take their rest periods may not take longer lunch periods and may not leave their places of employment thirty minutes early as a result.

All employees whose regular workday is six hours or more shall be entitled to an uninterrupted unpaid lunch period. The length of time for such lunch period shall be a period of no longer than one hour and no less than one-half hour, normally taken about the mid-point of each work shift.

Pay Procedures and Payroll Deductions

Santa Cruz COE employees are paid on a monthly basis, normally on the last working day of the month. There are several options available to you with regard to how you receive your monthly paycheck. You may:

  • Obtain your pay via direct deposit to your bank or credit union;
  • Obtain your paycheck sent to you via the U.S. mail.

During your orientation session, the Human Resources department staff will discuss your options for receiving your check and provide any necessary forms.

Please review your paycheck for errors when it is received. If you find a mistake, report it to the Payroll department as soon as possible. You should also immediately report to the Payroll department any misplaced or lost payroll warrants. The Payroll department can verify that your warrant has not been cashed and issue a replacement warrant.

Upon separation from employment, you will be paid all amounts due to you in accordance with applicable law. Your final paycheck will normally be issued on the last day of the month in which your final day of Santa Cruz COE employment occurs. If payment on the last day of the month is not possible, payment will be made on the next available payroll following separation.

Payroll deductions—The Santa Cruz COE is required by law to make various deductions from your paycheck. These may include amounts for federal and state income tax, Medicare, social security, and retirement. If you have questions about these deductions, consult the Payroll department.

In addition to the mandatory deductions, a variety of voluntary deductions can be made from your paycheck at your request, including contributions for health and life insurance, union dues, tax-sheltered annuities, savings bonds, credit union payments, and others. Contact the Payroll department to arrange for voluntary deductions and to obtain the necessary authorization forms (note that deductions for tax-sheltered annuities require that an account be established with an approved vendor prior to submitting any Santa Cruz COE paperwork).

Salary Overpayment

On occasion, employees may be erroneously or improperly paid more than is owed to them. The Santa Cruz COE will pursue recovery in full, regardless of how the overpayment occurred. Employees are strongly encouraged to contact the Payroll department in Business Services immediately if they believe they have received an overpayment. If the Payroll department becomes aware of salary overpayments, they must report it to the employee affected. The Payroll department is responsible for working with the employee to correct the overpayment. The employee must repay all amounts paid in excess, regardless of how the overpayment occurred. Most often, repayment is achieved through payroll deduction, with the amount and schedule of repayments mutually agreed upon between the employee and the Payroll department and must be approved by the Senior Director of Fiscal Services. If the employee ends employment with Santa Cruz COE with a repayment still outstanding, the repayment balance will be deducted from their final paycheck.

Overtime

If you are classified as a nonexempt employee, you will be compensated for approved overtime work. Overtime is authorized work time and is defined as time required, suffered, or permitted to be worked in excess of eight hours in one day or forty hours in any calendar week. If you work overtime, you will be compensated by overtime pay or compensatory time-off, equal to one and a half times your normal pay rate. Your immediate supervisor must preapprove any overtime work. Employees who are requested to provide services and attend meetings outside their regular working hours shall be given reasonable notice; however, advance notice may not always be possible. Employees who are classified as exempt do not receive overtime compensation as the rate of pay for these positions is considered full compensation for all time required to fulfill assigned duties.

Overtime pay, if granted, is issued separate from your regular payroll warrant. The pay period for overtime pay ends on the 15th of each month and payment is issued on the 10th of the following month. You must submit a Supplemental Timesheet, with proper authorizations, by the 16th of the month to receive overtime pay.

Certificated employees are not entitled to overtime but may be entitled to extra pay for duties that are described in the collective bargaining unit agreement between Santa Cruz COE and SCCEA/CTA/NEA.

Compensatory (COMP) Time Off

Classified employees may elect to take compensatory time off in lieu of cash compensation for overtime duties assigned on a non-voluntary basis. As in overtime, compensatory work is authorized work time and is defined as time required, suffered, or permitted to be worked in excess of eight hours in one day or forty hours in any calendar week.

Compensatory time off shall be earned at a rate of one and one-half times the regular rate. Those overtime hours exceeding twelve (12) in one day shall be compensated at a rate of pay equal to two times the regular pay of the employee.

The employee may request compensatory time off in lieu of overtime payment and may be granted such time off with the approval of the employee’s supervisor. Compensatory time off shall not hinder the services rendered by the County Office of Education.

Employees assigned to classrooms shall take their compensatory time off when students are not present except that such time off may be taken in one-half (1/2) day increments when students are present, if the arrangements are agreed to by the employee and the site supervisor and in a manner that is consistent with an applicable collective bargaining unit agreement. Notice of the intent to take such time off shall be submitted to the site/program supervisor five (5) working days prior to the intended day of compensatory time off.

Part time employees whose regular assignment is less than seven (7) hours a day; 35 hours a week may elect to take comp time off in lieu of cash for extra time worked up to eight (8) hours a day; 40 hours a week.

Compensatory time off which is not taken shall be paid for in cash at the appropriate overtime rate, and at the employee’s rate of pay at the time payment is made. Any unused compensatory time as of October 31 will be paid in December. Any unused compensatory time as of May 31 will be paid in July. At no time shall compensatory time be accrued in excess of ninety (90) hours. Any compensatory time in excess of ninety hours shall be paid to the employee during the next pay period after it was earned.

Certificated employees are not entitled to compensatory time off.

Flex Time

Flex time is defined as an alternative work arrangement wherein employees may choose their arrival and departure time and vary the length of their lunch break (lunch break shall be no less than one-half (1/2) hour). The employer recognizes and accepts the concept of flex time for implementation as appropriate within those job classifications represented by the Union. Supervisors are encouraged to make flex time available to employees to both meet the employee's needs, as well as addressing the issue of traffic congestion.

Flex time will not be available if the hours chosen adversely affect the operation of the Santa Cruz COE. If it is determined that a flex time arrangement interferes with the operation of a program, the employer shall modify or terminate the arrangement with fifteen (15) working days of written notification to the employee.

Employee Assistance Program

Through its Employee Assistance Program (EAP), the Santa Cruz COE provides employees and their family members with the opportunity to receive free confidential assistance in addressing personal and/or work-related concerns. This program is provided by SISC through Anthem. The agency’s professional counselors can help you and your family deal with issues such as stress, balancing work and family needs, drug or alcohol problems, marital issues, depression, parent/child tensions, work-related problems, coping with death or chronic illness, physical abuse, etc.

To encourage candid discussion with the professional counselors, EAP services are completely confidential. No information is provided to the County Office; the agency does not release the names of employees utilizing their services.

For more information about the Employee Assistance Program or to schedule a confidential appointment, call 800-999-7222 or visit anthemeap.com and enter SISC. The Human Resources department can also provide you with general information about this program.

Health, Dental and Vision Insurance

Santa Cruz COE employees who qualify for benefits are covered according to their Collective Bargaining Unit Agreements or by Superintendent/Board Policy. For a Plan Benefits Summary, you may click on the appropriate classification below.

(The benefits summaries are pdf files that require Adobe Acrobat for viewing.)

Specific contact information for our insurance carriers is as follows

Anthem Blue Cross Member Services for HMO: See back of ID card -or- https://www13.anthem.com/cp/web/sisc/

Anthem HMOs – Benefits Plan Information:

Premier ($20 office/$200 hospital – Classified/Mgmt/CTA/ROP)

Classic ($20 office/$40 specialist/$250 hospital – Classified/Mgmt/CTA/ROP)

Value ($30 office/$40 specialist/$500 hospital – Classified/Mgmt/CTA/ROP)

Affordable Care Act Plan (2 Tier Anchor Bronze)

Anthem Blue Cross Employee Assistance Program:

EAP Brochure

EAP Highlights

Anthem Blue Cross Member Services for PPO: See back of ID card -or- https://www13.anthem.com/cp/web/sisc/

Anthem PPOs – Benefits Plan Information:

90E ($300/$600 deductible 90/10 coinsurance – Classified/Mgmt)

90E ($300/$600 deductible 90/10 coinsurance – CTA/ROP)

80G ($500/$1000 deductible 80/20 coinsurance – Classified/Mgmt/CTA/ROP)

Prescription Coverage: Navitus Customer Care

Kaiser Permanente: Traditional Plan

Delta Dental: 1-888-335-8227 -or- https://www.deltadentalins.com

Vision Service Plan: 1-800-877-7195 -or- https://www.vsp.com

American Fidelity: 1-800-662-1113 -or- https://americanfidelity.com/home.aspx

Standard Disability: 1-800-368-1135 -or- https://www.standard.com

Behavioral Health coverage: https://www13.anthem.com/cp/web/sisc/

Chiropractic/Acupuncture coverage HMO through American Specialties Health.

Chiro/Acu Rider

Chiro/Acu Summary of benefits

Open Enrollment is generally held during the months of August and September. Due to Health Insurance Privacy Act (HIPAA) requirements, if you have claims issues, please contact the insurance carrier first to try and resolve your particular issue. If you need further assistance, please call the Senior Account Specialist, Benefits in the Payroll Department.

LEAVES OF ABSENCE

Attendance and Absences

The Santa Cruz COE expects all employees to assume diligent responsibility for their attendance and promptness. Regular attendance at work is as important to you as it is to the COE. Your ability to be at work as scheduled will assure you of a full paycheck each payday and will influence your opportunities for advancement. Unnecessary absences place an unfair burden on other employees and negatively affect the performance and productivity of the COE.

The COE recognizes that, due to illness and other compelling reasons, it may be necessary for you to be absent from work on occasion. During orientation, new employees are instructed on how to sign in and use an automated attendance system called Absence Management to record absences and request substitute coverage if needed. Should you be unable to report to work as scheduled, you should notify the Santa Cruz COE as described below.

  • If your absence does not require substitute coverage—Notify your supervisor, department director, or other designated department employee as soon as possible on the day of your absence. If it is impossible for you to notify the Santa Cruz COE of your absence, a family member or friend may do so for you. Your supervisor should be notified daily if your absence continues unless you are granted an authorized leave. In addition, you must enter your absence in the Absence Management system at https://www.frontlineeducation.com/Solutions/Absence_Time or by calling (800) 942-3767.
  • If your absence requires substitute coverage—Contact Absence Management by phone at (800) 942-3767 or via the Internet at https://www.frontlineeducation.com/Solutions/Absence_Time at least two hours before the start time of your absence. If you are unable to report your absence two hours before it begins, please call your supervisor or the Human Resource department (831-466-5736) to ensure substitute coverage.

Absenteeism or tardiness that is not reported or is excessive in the judgment of the COE is grounds for disciplinary action. Please note that if you are absent and fail to notify the Santa Cruz COE, we may assume that you have abandoned your job.

Requesting leave or vacation time—The Santa Cruz COE has developed a formal system for employees to request and report time away from work. This system provides an explanation for employee absences and allows for accurate record keeping of leave usage. Please report all absences via Absence Management.

Anticipated absences require prior approval. In such instances, reporting the absence via Absence Management functions as both the means by which approvals are obtained and the documentation via which leave accounting takes place. Please submit absences to your supervisor as far in advance as possible when the need for leave time is anticipated. Minimum notice of five working days is required except in special or emergency situations, but advance planning is requested whenever possible.

The Superintendent’s Policies and Operating Procedures contain detailed information about requesting leave and vacation time. Your supervisor and/or the administrative assistant in your department can instruct you on how to use Absence Management to request and/or report absences. If you have questions about the amount of leave or vacation time available to you, consult your collective bargaining unit agreement or contact Human Resources at 831-466-5736.

Please note that falsification of records is grounds for disciplinary action. If an employee has not reported their absence via Absence Management, the supervisor’s information will serve as official record.

Recording attendance for certificated management staff—Because they work an individually-negotiated and nonstandard work schedule, certificated management employees may be required to complete additional record-keeping documents to account for work and non-work days. Information about these record-keeping requirements will be provided to employees, as applicable, by the Human Resources department.

Vacations

The Santa Cruz COE recognizes the importance of time away from the job and wishes employees to have opportunities for rest, recreation, and other personal activities.

If you are a certificated employee, your time away from work—your vacation—is realized through the scheduling of work and non-work days. As the activities of certificated employees are typically tied to student attendance, extended periods of non-work days are generally scheduled during the summer months. Work schedules for certificated employees are determined by collective bargaining unit agreements and/or individually negotiated employment contracts. As work schedules vary significantly from employee to employee, you may wish to consult these documents for additional information about your work schedule. Please note that non-work days for certificated employees are unpaid days off from work.

If you are a classified employee, annual vacations provide you with time away from your job. The amount of vacation you are entitled to depends upon your status as exempt or nonexempt, the number of hours in your workweek, and your length of service with the Santa Cruz COE. Classified employees accumulate paid vacation at rates established by Merit System Rules, Superintendent Policies, and collective bargaining unit agreements. For ten-month classified employees, vacation is a in annual pay and the employees do not take vacation days off. Consult these documents for information about vacation allowances or contact the Human Resources department.

If you are entitled to take vacation as time off, your vacation must be scheduled and approved by your supervisor in advance of being taken. Although vacation days begin accruing from the date of hire, no vacation may be taken until six months of continuous employment. Vacation days may be carried over into successive fiscal years up to certain maximums as specified in collective bargaining unit agreements, Superintendent Policies, and Merit System rules.

Vacations may be taken as weekly periods, as individual days, or in half-hour increments as long as the period chosen meets with departmental approval. In the event that a holiday observed by the Santa Cruz COE falls within a scheduled vacation period, you will not be charged a vacation day for the holiday. Upon termination of employment, classified employees will be compensated for all accrued but unused vacation, if you have completed six (6) months of continuous service to the Santa Cruz COE.

Questions regarding vacation and scheduled non-work days may be directed to your supervisor or to the Payroll Department department. The Payroll Department maintains ongoing records of the number of vacation days accrued by classified staff and how many days are available for use. Leave balances are also included on your monthly pay stub. Classified employees should also refer to the discussion of Attendance and Absences presented in this manual for information about scheduling vacations, obtaining supervisor approval, and recording days away from work.

Holidays

Santa Cruz Office of Education facilities observe the following holidays:

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Day

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Day

Lincoln’s Birthday

Washington’s Birthday

Spring Break Holiday

Memorial Day

Independence Day

Labor Day

Veteran’s Day

Board Designated Holidays

Thanksgiving Day

Day after Thanksgiving

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day

In addition, each classified employee shall be entitled to two and one-half (2-1/2) additional holidays at their choosing provided they notify their immediate supervisor ten (10) days in advance. Ten-month, “Instructional Support” unit members covered under this section and assigned to classroom and/or instructional duties shall be paid for the two and one-half (2-1/2) days as part of their annual compensation in lieu of this holiday.

Sick Leave

The Santa Cruz COE recognizes that inability to work because of illness or injury may cause economic hardship. For this reason, we provide paid sick days to employees. Employees accrue sick days at the rate of one day per month for each month of full-time employment. Part-time employees earn sick leave on a prorated basis.

Eligible employees may carry over an unlimited number of unused sick days from year to year to ensure that such days are available in the event of a long-term illness. However, no employee is paid for accrued unused sick days at the time of termination. Unused sick leave of retiring employees may be applied as service credits as allowed by the applicable retirement plan.

The procedure to follow when you are absent due to illness or injury is set forth in the discussion of Attendance and Absences presented earlier in this manual. If you are off work for five or more days due to illness or injury, you may be required to provide a doctor’s release to return to work before returning to your worksite. The doctor’s release is submitted to the Human Resources department. The Human Resources staff will notify your department when you are cleared to return to work.

The Santa Cruz COE may require additional documentation from an employee’s doctor or medical practitioner to verify sick leave absences. This documentation may be required when an employee’s record shows extended chronic absenteeism, a pattern of absences, or exhaustion of earned sick leave, or in other instances deemed appropriate by the Santa Cruz COE.

Sick leave may be transferred from a prior employing school district or COE within California if it has been less than one year since that employment ended. During your orientation session with the Human Resources department, you can complete the necessary paperwork for this transaction.

Employees who have used all of their sick leave and are still absent due to illness or injury should contact the Human Resources department for information about long-term differential leave, long-term disability insurance, and other options available to ease the economic hardship caused by inability to work.

Other Leaves of Absence

In addition to sick leave, the Santa Cruz COE provides employees with other types of leave to meet the wide variety of circumstances, which cause individuals to be absent from their place of employment. Types of leaves recognized by the Santa Cruz COE include:

  • Bereavement leave
  • Family care leave
  • Industrial injury or accident leave
  • Jury duty/witness leave
  • Leave without pay
  • Long-term, unpaid leave of absence (including sabbaticals)
  • Medical leave of absence
  • Military leave
  • Parental leave
  • Personal necessity leave (This type of leave is not in addition to sick leave, but provides greater flexibility in using sick leave for emergency situations)
  • Pregnancy disability leave (PDL)

The types of leaves granted to employees, leave duration, and specifications as to salary continuance, accrual of benefits, and eligibility are issues that are negotiated with collective bargaining units. Employees who are members of collective bargaining units should consult their current agreement for detailed information about allowable leaves; non-union employees can obtain information from their supervisor, the Human Resources department, Merit System Rules, and/or the Superintendent’s Policies and Operating Procedures.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Tobacco Free Environment

Tobacco use is prohibited in all facilities owned and/or operated by Santa Cruz COE, including indoors, outdoors and in all Santa Cruz COE vehicles, whether located on or off the premises. Included in the prohibition is tobacco use in privately owned vehicles located on property owned and/or operated by Santa Cruz COE. This policy applies to employees, students, and the general public. (Reference: Board Policy 3513.3)

Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace

The Santa Cruz COE is fully committed to maintaining a drug and alcohol-free environment for its students and employees. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispersing, possession or use of a controlled substance or alcohol is prohibited in all Santa Cruz COE work places.

Employees who think they may have a drug/alcohol problem are required to seek assistance and get help immediately. You may refer to your Employee Assistance Plan. The Santa Cruz COE will be supportive of those who seek help voluntarily, and equally firm in identifying and disciplining those who continue to be substance abusers and do not seek help. To this end, Santa Cruz COE will act to eliminate any substance abuse (illegal drugs, prescription drugs or any other substance which could impair an employee's safety and ability to effectively perform the functions of the assigned job), which increases the potential for accidents, absenteeism, substandard performance, poor employee morale or damage to the reputation of Santa Cruz COE. All employees should be aware that Santa Cruz COE reserves the right to search all property owned or operated by Santa Cruz COE and all property located in or at any work location. Violations of the Drug Free Workplace Policy will result in discipline, up to and including termination.

Employees adhering to the policies of a drug free workplace will not:

  • Perform job duties while impaired as a result of the use of illegal drugs or prescription drugs not prescribed by a doctor.
  • Report to work or be subject to duty while impaired by or under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription drugs, with or without a prescription.
  • Possess illegal drugs or prescription drugs obtained without a prescription during working hours or while subject to duty, on breaks, during meal periods or at any time while on Santa Cruz COE property.
  • Directly or through a third party sell or provide drugs to any person, including any employee, while on duty or subject to being called to duty.

As a condition of being employed to work under any federal grant received by the Santa Cruz COE, employees are required to abide by the terms of this policy. (Reference: Superintendent Policy 4020)

Industrial Accidents/Illnesses

All employees are responsible for their own safety, as well as that of others in the workplace. To help us maintain a safe workplace, all employees must be safety-conscious at all times. Report work-related injuries or illnesses immediately to your supervisor. In compliance with California law, and to promote the concept of a safe workplace, Santa Cruz COE maintains an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). (References: Administrative Regulation 4157 and 4257)

The Santa Cruz COE, in accordance with state law, provides insurance coverage for employees in cases of work-related illness or injury. It is imperative that the following guidelines be followed when an industrial injury or illness occurs:

1. Injuries on the job, regardless of how minor, should be reported to the supervisor immediately and cared for by first aid or, if necessary, by a doctor. It is the employee’s responsibility to immediately report any accident/illness.

Minor injuries (scratches, cuts, puncture wounds and contusions) should immediately be treated with appropriate first aid procedures on site. Reasonable precautions to prevent further complications are the responsibility of every employee.

Employees should not seek medical treatment without authorization from a supervisor and the Human Resources department. Proper procedure must be followed in order for Santa Cruz COE to accept responsibility for an injury and related medical bills. Treatment at a hospital emergency room is only authorized when an actual emergency exists.

2. After 30 days from the date of injury, employees have the right to be treated by a physician of their choice, within a reasonable geographic location and within the medical provider network. Employees may contact Human Resources if they wish to change medical facilities during the course of treatment. A change in physicians must be authorized by Santa Cruz COE’s workers' compensation administrator prior to receipt of services provided by the newly designated physician.

3. Following treatment by a designated medical facility, employees are required to submit Work Status Report/s to the Human Resources department. If modified work or time off is recommended by the designated medical provider, the work restriction/s will be reviewed and discussed with the Human Resources department.

4. Questions regarding injury, status during time off, medical bills, etc., may be taken to the Human Resources department. If necessary, the Human Resources department may refer employees to Santa Cruz COE’s workers’ compensation administrator.

Violence Free Workplace

The Santa Cruz COE does not tolerate workplace violence. The Santa Cruz COE recognizes that workplace violence is a growing nationwide problem, which needs to be addressed by all employers. Consistent with this policy, acts or threats of physical violence, including intimidation, harassment, bullying and/or coercion, which involve or affect COE employees or which occur on Santa Cruz COE property will not be tolerated.

Acts or threats of violence include conduct which is sufficiently severe, offensive or intimidating to alter the employment conditions or to create a hostile, abusive, or intimidating work environment for one or several Santa Cruz COE employees. Examples of workplace violence include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • All threats or acts of violence, occurring on Santa Cruz COE premises, regardless of the relationship between the County Schools and the parties involved in the accident.
  • All threats or acts of violence occurring off Santa Cruz COE premises involving someone who is acting in the capacity of a representative of COE.
  • All threats or acts of violence occurring off Santa Cruz COE property involving a COE employee if the threats or acts affect the legitimate interests of Santa Cruz COE.
  • Any acts or threats resulting in the conviction of an employee or of an individual performing services for the Santa Cruz COE on a contract or temporary basis, under any criminal code provision relating to violence or threats of violence which adversely affect the legitimate interests and goals of the COE.

Specific examples of conduct, which may be considered threats or acts of violence, include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Hitting or shoving an individual.
  • Threatening an individual or their family, friends, associates, or property with harm.
  • The intentional destruction or threat of destruction of Santa Cruz COE property.
  • Harassing or threatening phone calls or emails.
  • Harassing surveillance or stalking.
  • The suggestion or intimation that violence is appropriate.
  • Unauthorized possession or inappropriate use of firearms or weapons.

The Santa Cruz COE's prohibition against threats and acts of violence applies to all persons involved in Santa Cruz COE's operation, including but not limited to COE personnel, contract, and temporary employees and anyone else on Santa Cruz COE property, or acting as a representative off of Santa Cruz COE property. Violations of this policy will lead to disciplinary action (up to and including termination) in accordance with the collective bargaining unit agreements and/or legal action as appropriate.

Every employee and every person on Santa Cruz COE property is encouraged to report incidents of threats or acts of physical violence of which they are aware. Reports should be made to the Human Resources department, the reporting individual's immediate supervisor, or another management employee if the immediate supervisor is not available. Nothing in this policy alters any other reporting obligation established in policies or in state, federal, or other applicable law.

Minimizing Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens

It is the policy of the Santa Cruz COE to meet federal and state standards for minimizing the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials in the workplace. Employees who may be at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens primarily include those individuals who provide direct care to students.

During your orientation briefing, the Human Resources department will tell you if your job classification is one that is considered to be at risk of exposure. Upon employment at the Santa Cruz COE, all employees are provided with information about bloodborne pathogens exposure control and required to view a training video.

Hepatitis B vaccinations are provided at no cost to employees who are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens and to other employees who request the vaccination. Information about obtaining the Hepatitis B vaccinations is available from the Human Resources department.