Chapter 24 - Hours, Leaves and Absences
It is recognized that maximum efficiency on the job can be obtained only by permitting employees to have time off with pay for purposes of rest, recreation, and to meet personal and family needs. It is also considered essential to the maintenance of a stable, satisfied, and productive workforce for employees to be compensated to a reasonable extent during periods of involuntary absence from duty due to physical incapacity. Deserving employees, whose retention is of demonstrated value, should be guaranteed job security when it is necessary for them to be in a nonduty status, based on legitimate reasons, for periods longer than permitted under rules governing authorized absence with pay. ASPA's leave policies are in accordance with 7.12 ASCA (see Appendix I).
(a) The department of administrative services of the American Samoa Government is responsible for the maintenance of employee leave records and furnishing advance relative to all leave records matters.
(b) The Executive Director is responsible for all policy matters pertaining to leave and absence from duty.
(c) Agency department heads and supervisors are responsible for day-to-day administration of the leave policy.
(a) The following public holidays are designated by statute and are paid holidays for agency employees:
(1) New Year's Day, January 1;
(2) Washington's Birthday, the third Monday in February;
(3) Good Friday, the Friday before Easter;
(4) Flag Day, April 17;
(5) Memorial Day, last Monday in May;
(6) Independence Day, July 4;
(7) Manu 'a Islands Cession Day, July 16;
(8) Labor Day, the first Monday in September;
(9) Columbus Day, the second Monday in October; (10) Veteran 's Day, the fourth Monday in October; (11) Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November; (12) Christmas Day, December 25.
(b) Other holidays may be established by Governor's proclamation.
Holidays shall be observed as provided below:
(a) For employees with workdays on Monday through Friday, if a holiday falls on:
(1) Saturday, it is observed on the Friday preceding the holiday;
(2) Sunday, it is observed on the Monday following the holiday:
(3) Workday, it is observed on that workday.
(b) For employees with workdays other than Monday through Friday, if a holiday falls on a:
(1) Day off, it is observed on the first work- day after the day off;
(2) Workday, it is observed on that workday.
(a) Accrual. To earn leave an employee must be employed during a full biweekly pay period. He or she is considered to have been employed for a full pay period if he or she is in a pay status of an agency on all days falling within the pay period exclusive of holidays and non- workdays.
(b) Earning Rates.
(1) Full-time employees:
(A) Employees with less than 3 years of creditable service earn 4 hours or Y2 workday of annual leave for each biweekly pay period.
(B) Employees with 3 but less than 15 years of creditable service earn 6 hours or 3/4 workday of annual leave for each full biweekly pay period except for the last full pay period of the calendar year, for which they earn 10 hours of annual leave.
(C) Employees with 15 or more years of service earn 8 hours or one workday of annual leave for each full biweekly pay period.
(2) Part-time employees:
(A) Employees with less than 3 years of creditable service earn one hour of annual leave for each 20 hours in a pay status.
(B) Employees with 3 but less than 15 years of creditable service earn one hour of annual leave for each 13 hours in a pay status.
(3) Fractional pay periods: If employment is continuous, leave is credited on a pro rata basis for those days during a fractional pay period for which an employee is being paid. The following table may be used to determine the amount of pro rated leave credit:
PRO RATA TABLE
Biweekly Pay period Workdays Category 4* Category 6 Category 8
1 1 1 1
2 1 1 2
3 1 2 2
4 2 2 3
5 2 3 4
6 2 4 5
7 3 4 6
8 3 5 6
9 3 5 7
10 4 6 8
*This column may be applied for sick leave purposes.
(c) Maximum Accumulation. Accumulation of unused accrued annual leave may not exceed a total of 60 days at the beginning of the first complete pay period of each leave year. Excess leave beyond the 60 days is forfeited except as follows:
(1) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the taking or require the forfeiture of any annual leave which is validly granted and the taking of which begins on or before the last working day of the current leave year, notwithstanding that the recording of the current accrued annual leave for the current leave year on the last day thereof might result in an accumulation of more than 60 days including the working days of the annual leave so granted and then being taken. The period of such annual leave shall be regarded as if it had been entirely taken prior to the last day of such leave year.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the forfeiture of any annual leave when an employee terminates on or before the last working day of the leave year, notwithstanding the fact that the recording of current accrued annual leave for such year on the last day may result in an accumulation of more than 60 days.
(d) Leave Charges.
(1) Leave Days. Both annual and sick leave are charged to an employee's account only for absence on regular workdays; i.e., days on which he or she would otherwise work and receive pay during his or her regular tour of duty. Leave is not charged for absence on holidays or other nonwork days.
(2) Minimum Charge. One hour is the minimum charge for either annual or sick leave. After one hour, additional charges may be made in multiples of Y2 hour. Absence on separate days are not combined.
(e) When Taken.
(1) Annual leave is provided and used for two general purposes, which are:
(A) To allow every employee an annual vacation period of extended leave for rest and recreation; and
(B) To provide periods of time off for personal and emergency purposes. These absences involve such matters as death in a family, religious observances, attendance at conferences or conventions, securing a driver's permit, or other personal business which can be disposed of only during the time in which the employee would ordinarily be working.
(2) Annual leave provided by law is a benefit and accrues automatically. ASPA is responsible for administering the annual leave system and issues instructions concerning the granting of annual leave. Guidelines are as follows:
(A) The approval of short periods of leave should generally be the responsibility of immediate supervisors, who best know whether the leave requested is compatible with the workload.
(B) Requests for extensive periods of annual leave may be recommended for approval by the immediate supervisors but require approval at a higher organization level.
(C) Decisions as to the granting of leave will generally be made in the light of the needs of the agency rather than solely the desires of the employee.
(D) Supervisors should ensure that annual leave is scheduled for use so as to prevent any unintended loss of leave at the end of the leave year.
(E) Annual leave must be requested and approved prior to its taking. Failure to secure prior approval may result in a charge to leave without pay and may result in disciplinary action against the offending employee. The ASG form for application for leave must be completed and submitted 3 days before an employee may take leave.
(F) In Lieu of Sick Leave. Approved absence, otherwise chargeable to sick leave, may be charged to annual leave when sickness exceeds accumulated sick leave hours.
(G) Advances. It is not permissible for an employee to be granted annual leave in advance of its having been earned.
(H) Lump-sum Payments.
(1) Entitlement. An employee who has annual leave to his or her credit and who is separated from employment with ASPA is entitled to payment of accumulated, accrued annual leave in a lump sum.
(2) Computation of Payment. Lump-sum leave payments are equal to the compensation that he or she would have received had he or she remained in the employ of ASPA until the expiration of the period of annual leave paid. Included is pay for holidays falling within that period to which the employee would have been entitled. The employee does not, however, earn leave during the period represented by the lump-sum payment. Except for purposes of taxation, the lump sum is not regarded as salary or compensation.
Sick leave is for use when an employee is physically incapacitated to do his or her job, or for such related reasons as exposure to a contagious disease that would endanger the health of co-workers, presence of contagious disease in an employee's immediate family which requires his or her personal care, or for dental, optical, or medical examination or treatment.
(a) Earning Rates.
(1) Full-time Employee. Employees earn sick leave at the rate of 4 hours or Y2 workday for each full biweekly pay period. Sick leave is earned from the first pay period of employment.
(2) Part-time Employees. These employees earn sick leave at the rate described under the category 4 column of the pro rata table in this chapter.
(b) Maximum Accumulation. Unused sick leave is accumulated without limit.
(c) Granting. Sick leave is a right, provided the requirements of this subsection are met. ASPA officials have the authority and responsibility to determine that the nature of the employee's illness was such as to incapacitate him or her for his or her job and that other reasons for which sick leave is granted are valid. It is mandatory that an employee ttlrnish documentary evidence in the form of a medical certificate for periods of sick leave in excess of 3 consecutive workdays. However, management may require that the employee furnish such certificate for sick leave involving any length of time. The employee who becomes ill is responsible for notifying his or her supervisor as soon as possible. Required medical certificates shall be submitted together with leave request forms and time sheets as specified by the above reference.
(d) Advances. An employee may draw upon anticipated sick leave credits if current credits become exhausted. The request shall be made to the Executive Director within these requirements and limitations:
(1) The advance will be made based upon anticipated accrual of credits up to 30 leave days. If the employee has a planned termination date which will affect the accrual, the number of days which can be advanced will be reduced accordingly.
(2) The advance will not be authorized automatically. The following factors will be considered prior to approval:
(A) Has the employee been wise and careful in the use of leave in the past?
(B) Does the doctor show the employee will be able to return to work in a reasonable time?
(C) Are the best interests of the agency and the employee served through this action?
(D) What are these special circumstances which warrant continuing this person's pay on the chance he or she will return to work and earn the sick leave credit? Length of service, performance record, essential nature of services, and circumstances beyond their control should be cited (pregnancy cases do not generally qualify).
Leave without pay is a temporary absence from duty in nonpay status granted upon the employee's request and at the discretion of management. The permissive nature of leave without pay distinguishes it from absence without leave (AWOL), which is a nonpay status resulting from a period of absence for which the employee did not obtain advance authorization or for which his or her request for leave has been denied. It shall be the practice of ASPA to grant leave without pay only when it will be of mutual benefit and interest to the agency and to the employee. Leave without pay shall not be granted for the purpose of an employee participating in private employment.
(a) Administrative Discretion. The granting of leave without pay is a matter of administrative discretion. Employees cannot demand that they be granted leave without pay as a matter of right.
(1) ASPA departments must assure that each request is of such value to the agency or the serious needs of the employee as to offset costs and administrative inconveniences of the position of the employee being frozen and remaining vacant while the employee is on leave without pay.
(2) Extended leave without pay beyond 30 days may not be approved unless there is assurance that the employee will return to duty and that at least one of the following benefits will result:
(A) Improved work performance and ability;
(B) Protection or improvement of employee's health;
(C) Retention of a desirable employee; and
(D) Furtherance of a program of interest to the agency.
(b) Extended Leave Without Pay. Extended leave without pay requires the prior approval of the Executive Director when properly justified by the department submitting such request. Extended leave without pay will be granted in the following circumstances:
(1) Attendance at a recognized institution of higher learning or a technical school, pursuing a course of instruction which is related to the employee's field of work;
(2) Travel and/or research which will impart knowledge, skills, and/or abilities required in the employee's work;
(3) Extended illness with a positive prognosis, or family or personal problems, an end of which can reasonably be predicted;
(4) To work for another agency of ASG or another government on a loan basis, where there is no agreement under the Inter-governmental Personnel Act. The request for the services of the employee must be made through the Governor's office, in writing.
(5) To serve a required period of military service beyond the 15 days which are authorized for pay purposes. The military duty must be for periods of time not to exceed one year and must be categorically mandated, as in the basic training period required for a recruit in the Armed Forces reserves. Leave cannot be granted for voluntary extensions or reenlistments;
(6) To protect employee status and benefits when an employee is injured and his or her case is being adjudicated or he or she is receiving benefits under worker's compensation.
Leave without pay shall be freely granted to any government employee for the purpose of campaigning as a candidate for public office in American Samoa for a period beginning 30 days before and ending 10 days after the date set for election.
Maternity leave, a period of approved absence for incapacitation related to pregnancy and confinement, is chargeable to sick leave or any combination of sick leave, annual leave, and leave without pay, in the order given.
(a) Employees are required to request maternity leave substantially in advance of their intended absence so that staffing adjustments may be made.
(b) Periods of maternity leave shall be based on individual medical determination. A medical certification must be submitted showing expected date of confinement. Maternity leave may be granted for a period of 6 weeks prior and 6 weeks subsequent to birth.
(a) General Provisions. A full-time employee who serves under an appointment without time limitation and who is a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States, the U.S. Public Health Service, or the National Guard is entitled to leave of absence for annual military training without charge to annual leave, or loss of payor service credit, for not more than 15 workdays in any calendar year. The reserve components of the Armed Forces include the reserves of the Army, Navy. Air Force, Coast Guard, an Marine Corps, etc. The National Guard includes the National Guard of the Army and of the Air Force. Application for military leave shall be accompanied by appropriate military orders.
(b) Maximum. Military leave is limited to a maximum of 15 workdays during each year, regardless of number of training periods in a year, and whether taken intermittently, a day at a time, or all at one time.
(c) Use of Annual Leave. Absence which is not chargeable to military leave can be charged to annual leave. Therefore, employees who are called to duty for a period longer than the 15 day period chargeable to military leave can use annual leave for the additional absence.
(d) Contract Employees. Contract employees who are members of the Armed Forces reserve components shall be granted military leave in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(a) Excused absence is absence from duty duly authorized by the Executive Director, without charge to annual leave or loss of payor service credit, under the circumstances described below:
(1) To take an employment examination for a position currently occupied or one to which the employee may be promoted or reassigned, not to exceed 3 hours;
(2) To take a physical examination required to determine continued employability;
(3) To obtain treatment for an injury sustained in the performance of duty. The employee may be excused for the balance of the day on which the injury occurred;
(4) To be unavoidably or necessarily absent from duty for less than one hour or for being tardy;
(5) To donate blood to the American Red Cross in American Samoa or in emergencies to individuals from the time necessary for such donations, not to exceed 4 hours, provided that the employee does not receive pay for blood;
(6) To participate in emergency rescue or protective work at the request of local or territorial officials;
(7) To participate in federally recognized civil defense programs for a reasonable length of time up to 40 hours in a calendar year;
(8) To vote and register. An employee who desires to vote or register in an election or in a referendum on a civic matter in his or her community may be granted time off without loss in payor service credit or charge to leave as follows:
(A) The employee may be allowed 2 hours of excused absence at the beginning or end of the workday.
(B) An employee may be excused for such additional time as may be needed to enable him or her to vote, depending upon the circumstances in the individual case, but not to exceed a full day. Time off in excess of one day shall be charged to annual leave or. if annual leave is exhausted, to leave without pay.
(C) An employee who votes in a jurisdiction which requires registration in person may be granted time off to register substantially on the same basis as for voting except that no such time shall be granted if registration can be accomplished on a nonworkday and the place of registration is within a reasonable one-day, round trip travel distance of the employee's place of residence;
(9) To serve as witness or juror when summoned involuntarily by the court, provided he or she returns to duty immediately upon release by the court. However, if the employee's appearance in court is in his or her own interest, either as appellant, defendant, or witness, leave of absence with pay, without pay, or compensatory time off must be documented. An employee called as a court witness in his or, her official capacity, whether on behalf of the government or of a private party, is in an official-duty status.
(10) When working conditions or extenuating circumstances exist beyond the control of management, not to exceed a maximum grant of 4 hours. Excused absence in this category should normally not exceed 4 hours. However, it may be extended for the duration the conditions or circumstances such as when inclement weather prevents reporting to work.
Unauthorized absence shall be treated as be grounds for absence without pay and may disciplinary action.
(a) Earning of Credits. An officer or employee who is absent from work because of injuries/illnesses incurred within the scope of his or her employment and who is receiving workers' compensation wage loss replacement benefits, such as temporary total disability and temporary partial disability payments, shall continue to earn vacation and sick leave credits as though he or she was not absent but performing the duties of his or her regular employment.
(b) Use of Credits.
(1) An employee with accrued sick leave credits who is absent from work and who is receiving workers' compensation wage loss replacement benefits shall be entitled to receive an additional amount, charged to sick leave, which would bring his or her total payment to a sum equal to the employee's regular salary.
(2) In the event the employee does not have any accrued sick leave credits, he or she may elect to use accrued annual leave credits to bring his or her total payment to a sum equal to the employee's regular salary.
(3) An employee is entitled to use the sick and annual leave credits earned during the period of absence from work.