2.7 Voluntary Shared Leave Program
Scope: Applies to all permanent EPA and SPA employees in leave-earning status (including probationary employees and trainees to permanent appointments). Applies to permanent part-time employees, with limitations and leave balances prorated.
Purpose: To provide for the voluntary sharing of vacation or sick leave among university employees in the event of serious and prolonged medical conditions that cause an employee to exhaust all available leave. It is not the intent of this policy to apply to incidental, normal, short-term medical conditions.
In cases of a prolonged medical condition of the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family, an employee may apply for or be nominated to become a recipient of leave transferred from the vacation leave account of another employee at a covered agency or from the sick leave account or vacation leave account of any immediate family member in any covered agency.
For the purpose of this policy, medical condition means a medical condition of an employee (or a family member of an employee) that is likely to require an employee's absence from duty for a prolonged period of time and to result in a substantial loss of income to the employee due to limited leave in the employee's leave accounts.
With regard to application for participation in the program, each approved medical condition shall stand alone. An employee already approved for the shared leave program for one illness that subsequently develops another illness while under the program would have to reapply to remain eligible for the program.
Limits on Program Participation
- The use of vacation or sick leave on a shared basis for any purpose other than specified by this policy is prohibited.
- The establishment of a "leave bank" for use by unnamed employees is expressly prohibited.
- The employee donating leave cannot receive compensation for the leave donated.
- Participation in this program is strictly voluntary. Any action by an employee to coerce another employee or interfere in any way with the donating, receiving, or using leave under this program shall be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal on the basis of personal conduct.
- Employees may not personally solicit the donation of leave on their own behalf or on behalf of another employee, under the penalties noted above. However, an employee may solicit family members on his or her own behalf.
Eligibility and Participation Requirements for Recipients
- The recipient must be a permanent EPA or SPA employee in a leave-earning status (including probationary employees and trainees to permanent appointments).
- An employee may apply for shared leave when medical evidence is available to support the need for leave beyond 20 days and also beyond the employee's accumulated leave balance. Leave donated under the program may be used to cover any associated absence from work.
- An employee must deplete all the vacation and sick leave in his or her account to become eligible to use donated leave. Accrued leave during the disability period will be deducted prior to shared leave donations.
- Participation in this program is limited to 1,040 hours (prorated for permanent part-time employees) either continuously or, if for the same condition, on a recurring basis. However, management may grant employee continuation in the program, month by month, for a maximum of 2,080 hours if management would otherwise have granted leave without pay.
- The university requires verification from the employee's attending physician (or the employee's family member's attending physician) as to the nature of the medical condition in order to become eligible for participation in the shared leave program.
- An employee on the Disability Income Plan of North Carolina or on workers' compensation leave should contact the Human Resources Department for further information regarding participation in this program.
Participation Requirements for Donors
Donation of Vacation Leave - If the recipient employee has been approved for leave transfer under this program, vacation leave may be donated by any SPA or EPA employee in a leave-earning status. This applies if the employee donating vacation leave does not reduce his or her vacation leave balance below one-half the annual vacation leave accrual rate.
Example: A SPA employee with 5 but less than 10 years of state service earns 134 hours annually. This employee may contribute four or more hours but may not reduce his or her vacation leave balance below 67 hours.
Donation of Sick Leave
Only an immediate family member may donate sick leave. For transfer of sick leave, immediate family member is restricted to spouse, parents, children (including step relationships), and other dependents living in the employee's household. An employee donating sick leave to a qualified family member under this program may not reduce his or her sick leave account below 40 hours.
Amount of Sick or Vacation Leave to be Donated
The minimum amount of sick or vacation leave to be donated is four hours. Additional amounts may be donated in one-hour increments.
Treatment of Unused Donated Leave
Expiration of Medical Condition or Resignation of Recipient - At the expiration of the medical condition (as determined by the agency) or if the recipient employee resigns while participating in the program, the following guidelines apply:
- The sick leave balance of the recipient may not exceed 40 hours. Vacation leave balance will be zero.
- Any additional unused donated leave beyond 40 hours will be returned to the donor(s) on a prorated basis in increments of five minutes. Amounts less than one hour or increments fewer than five minutes shall not be returned to an individual donor, but will be forfeited.
- Donated leave that would have been forfeited by the donor at the end of the calendar year (any amount above the 240 hours maximum allowable carryover) will not be returned to the donor.
Death of Recipient Employee - In case of the death of an employee, unused donated leave will be returned to the donor(s) on a prorated basis.
Recipient Leave Accounting and Usage If Approved
- Recipients will be notified in writing by Human Resources of leave amounts that have been donated to their account.
- Recipients should enter donated leave on the monthly timesheet. Attach a copy of the notification received from Human Resources to the time sheet before submitting to the employee's supervisor for approval at month-end.
- Leave transferred under this program will be available for use on a current basis. Leave may be used to cover the initial 20 days of disability.
- All donated leave (whether sick or vacation leave) will be credited to the recipient's sick leave account.