VALPARAISO | Porter County government employees who come down with a serious medical condition are eligible to receive several months of paid time off by donating as little as one sick day each year to a special benefits program.
The program, known as a sick-leave bank, offers employees up to 90 days of additional time off in the event of a serious medical condition and up to a year off for a terminal diagnosis, said Connie Rudd, director of nursing at the county health department and chairman of the five-member committee charged with managing the program.
In addition to donating at least one of their nine issued sick days each year to be eligible for consideration, employees are required to use all their sick, vacation and personal days and compensatory time, according to the policy.
The request then is considered by the committee, which is appointed by the county commissioners. The 90-day benefit is issued in 30-day increments, and the year benefit must be renewed every 90 days.
The county policy states the committee may consider factors including the type of illness facing the applicant, the prognosis to return to work to perform assigned duties, length of time estimated to be off work and employment history.
The extended time off only can be applied to illness or accidents that are not work-related and/or subject to workers' compensation laws, Rudd said.
Porter County Treasurer Mike Bucko, who serves on the sick leave bank committee, said he is a fan of program even though he is not eligible to take part as an elected official.
"I think it's a great thing," he said.