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AGO 1952 No. 375 - August 13, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

SICK LEAVE

(1) The Highway Department, through its administrative head, may grant accrued sick leave to an employee who is a patient in a state mental institution providing his employment has not been previously terminated.

(2) A guardian for the estate of the employee may sign the payroll and receive his check.

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                                                                 August 13, 1952

Honorable W. A. Bugge
Director of Highways
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 375

Dear Sir:

            Your letter of August 6, 1952, requests an opinion as to (1) the granting of sick leave with pay to an employee while he is a patient in a state institution, and (2) if sick leave is allowable in the instant case, could a person legally designated as a guardian sign his payroll form and receive his pay check.  Your letter further states that the employee in question has a credit of thirty-seven days of sick leave and ten days of annual leave.

            Our conclusion may be summarized as follows:

            (1) The Highway Department, through its administrative head, may grant accrued sick leave to an employee who is a patient in a state mental institution providing his employment has not been previously terminated.

            (2) A guardian for the estate of the employee may sign the payroll and receive his check.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Attorney General opinions dated April 27, 1942, directed to the Department of Finance, Budget & Business, and December 14, 1948, directed to the Washington State Personnel Board [[Opinion No. 47-49-485]], make it clear that the problem of leaves and hours of work is a matter which requires the exercise of administrative  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] discretion and regulation.  For the Highway Department, the granting of sick leave with pay is provided for in Executive Bulletin dated April 1, 1951, and as amended by Bulletin dated July 1, 1952, wherein sick leave is cumulative to a total of sixty working days.  Therefore, this is an administrative matter.  One who is mentally sick is entitled to sick leave as in any other form of illness providing his employment has not been terminated.  The fact that one may be temporarily in a state institution for treatment would have no bearing on the right to grant or the right to receive sick leave.

            In your letter you state that this employee has to his credit thirty-seven days of sick leave and ten days of vacation leave.  He could therefore be granted forty-seven days' leave with pay on the combined credit.  Thereafter, the employee could be granted a leave of absence without pay up to one year in the hope of his recovery and rehabilitation.

            It goes without question that the guardian of the employee's estate could sign a payroll for the employee and accept his check.  This could be done at the end of his accrued leave with pay, or, in this case where the period is more than one month, by causing a monthly check to be issued and another after the expiration of his accrued leave.  This is suggested because of your reference in your letter to the fact that his family is entirely dependent on his income.

            We therefore conclude that the matter of which you inquire relates chiefly to the exercise of administrative discretion, and in the instant case you may grant leave with pay to an employee while he is a patient in the state mental institution providing his employment has not been previously terminated.  Further, that the guardian of his estate is entitled to apply for and receive any salary due said employee.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

STEPHEN C. WAY
Assistant Attorney General

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