On April 16, the Ohio Attorney General (AG) released 2019 Ohio Atty.Gen.Ops. No. 2019-014, which addresses establishment of sick leave donation programs for non-teacher, non-collective bargaining unit member employees. In its opinion, AG focused on Ohio Revised Code (RC) 3319.141, which provides a list of purposes for which an employee may use sick leave benefits. Those purposes include “absence due to personal illness, injury…and for absence due to illness, injury or death in the employee’s immediate family.”
Because the statute specifies that sick leave is permitted for an employee’s personal illness or injury or an illness or injury to a member of the employee’s immediate family, AG found an employee's donation of sick leave to a bank for use by other employees who are not members of the earning employee’s immediate family impermissible. In constructing the opinion, AG noted that in order to establish a leave donation program that permits donation of sick leave for purposes beyond the statutory definition, the appointing authority would need express statutory authority. As a result, AG confirmed that sick leave donation programs cannot be established outside of the collective bargaining agreement, and therefore cannot extend to non-teaching employees who are not members of a collective bargaining unit.
Policy Development Quarterly (PDQ) subscribers can learn more about this opinion and how it impacts district policies and procedures in the May 2019 PDQ.