Leaves of absence without pay may be granted by the Sheriff with consent of the Merit Commission following application in writing by deputy personnel for any of the following reasons:
(A) Extended illness of deputy personnel or some person in their immediate family for whom they must care.
(B) Extended military or naval service of the United States during a period of national emergency.
(C) Training in an institution of higher learning.
(D) Other causes acceptable to the Sheriff with consent of the Commission.
All leaves of absence, except for military service, shall be for a period of one (1) year or less. Leaves of absence without pay shall not be granted to deputy personnel in order for them to transfer to some gainful occupation of their choice and still retain county service as a form of “insurance” in the event the new job proves unsatisfactory. When leave of absence without pay is granted because of illness, all sick leave must be exhausted before leave begins. Deputy personnel who have or have on leave of absence accepted a position other than that for which the leave was granted, without prior approval of the Sheriff with consent of the Commission, shall be deemed to have resigned as a Union County Deputy Sheriff. Deputy personnel who fail to return to their position on or before the expiration date of their leave shall be deemed to have resigned. The Sheriff and the Commission are the sole judges of the appropriateness of the reasons and purposes for which the leave is requested and they alone shall establish the conditions for approval of such a request.