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Highline College Human Resources:  Administrative Handbook

Benefits: Family Emergency Care


Family Care Emergency permits state employees to care for the employee's spouse, household member or the employee's/spouse's child, parent or grandparent. The following qualifies as a family care emergency:

  1. Minor/dependent child care emergencies such as unexpected absence of regular care provider, unexpected closure of child's school, or unexpected need to pick up child at school earlier than normal.
  2. Elder care emergencies such as the unexpected absence of a regular care provider or unexpected closure of an assisted living facility.
  3. Elder care emergencies such as a disastrous fire or any other unexpected situations authorized by the department head in consultation with Human Resources.
  4. In consultation with Human Resources, the department head or manager may authorize the use of family care emergency for other unexpected situations.

What type of leave may employees use for family care emergencies?

After an employee has used all accrued compensatory time, the employee may choose which any of following leave categories to use to account for time away from work for family care emergencies:

  1. Vacation leave.
  2. Sick leave in accordance with WAC 357-31-130.
  3. Leave without pay.
  4. Personal holiday.
  5. Use of any of these leave categories is dependent on the employee's eligibility to use that leave.

Is there a limit to how much leave can be used for a family care emergency?

  1. For purposes of family care emergencies, each calendar year an employee must be allowed to use up to three (3) work days of:
    1. Vacation leave
    2. Sick leave
    3. Leave without pay
  1. At the employer's discretion, additional leave in excess of three (3) days for each category of leave may be granted.

Is advance approval required for an employee to take time off for a family care emergency?

No advance approval is required for an employee to take time off for a family care emergency; however, the employee must notify his/her supervisor at the beginning of the absence. The employee may be required to provide verification of the need to take leave and that the situation was such that advance notice was not possible.


Household Member: A person who resides in the same home and who provides reciprocal personal and financial support to the employee.

Family member: A spouse, child, stepchild, grandchild, foster child, legal ward, parent, or grandparent.

WAC 357-31 sections 285 to 305