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Human Resources

Human Resources Administrative Practice Manual:
Time Away from Work

Print friendly Modified November 25, 2013

Shared Sick Leave Program

Citation Reference  
Official Title Policy on Shared Sick Leave
Abbreviated Title Shared Sick Leave
Volume Human Resources
Responsible Office Human Resources
Originally issued
Revised January 2008

Policy Statement

Institutions in the University System of Georgia are authorized to establish policies through which employees may contribute on a voluntary basis unused sick leave to a pool for possible use by another institutional employee who is experiencing a catastrophic illness or injury and who has used all accumulated paid leave.

Reason for Policy

The purpose of the Shared Sick Leave Program is to provide a means for University System of Georgia employees to donate paid sick leave to a leave pool to be used by fellow employees who are eligible for and require leave while experiencing a life-threatening or emergency medical condition as defined, and which has caused, or is likely to cause, the employee to take leave without pay.

Entities Affected By This Policy

All units of the University System of Georgia are covered by this policy.

Who Should Read This Policy

All Human Resources personnel within the University System of Georgia should be aware of this policy along with all employees eligible for said policy.

Contacts

Contact Phone Email/URL
Office of Human Resources 404-962-3235 usg-hr@usg.edu
Institution Chief Human Resources Officers See University System HR Officer Listing at http://www.usg.edu/hr/officers/

Website Address for This Policy

None.

Related Documents/Resources

Definitions

These definitions apply to the terms as they are used in this policy:

  • Employee means any employee of the System who earns or accrues annual or sick leave as a benefit of his/her employment by the System, including part-time employees, whose leave transfer amounts will be pro-rated based on their percent time worked within the USG during either the past twelve months or their entire time in service within the University System of Georgia, whichever term is shorter.

  • Physician means a physician licensed by his/her respective state.

  • Leave donor is an employee that makes a voluntary, written request for the irrevocable transfer of sick leave to the leave pool. Once leave has been transferred to the leave pool, it may not be used by the donor for any other benefit purposes.

  • Leave recipient Means a current employee who has completed the employment provisional period and for whom the institutions Shared Leave Certification Committee has approved an application to receive leave from the leave pool. The recipient may use Shared Leave for any purpose authorized under the Board of Regents Program Manual Section 802.07.02 which meets the definition of life- threatening or emergency medical condition as described below.

  • Life-threatening or emergency medical condition means a health condition involving a serious, extreme, or life-threatening illness, injury, impairment, or condition that is likely to require an employee’s absence from duty for a period of time longer than the amount of sick and annual leave available to the employee, and the health condition is such that it is not medically appropriate for the employee to delay the absence in order to accrue additional sick or annual leave prior to the absence. Some examples of such conditions include: advanced or rapidly growing cancers, acute life-threatening illnesses, chronic life-threatening conditions in need of immediate care, life-threatening infections, severe injuries arising from automobile or other serious accidents and severe or life-threatening conditions involving failure of bodily organs or systems (e.g., heart attack). The absence may be continuous, as in hospitalization following surgery or an accident, or intermittent, as in periodic absences for chemotherapy or other procedures.

  • Catastrophic personal injury or illness is a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of an employee and has had a major impact on life functions.

  • Leave pool is accumulated sick leave donated by employees to be used in accordance with this program. A minimum donation of eight (8) hours leave per calendar year is required to become a member of the leave pool. A member may contribute leave but must maintain a minimum of forty (40) hours of personal sick leave. Should the Shared Leave pool reserve drop to less than 120 hours, the pool will be considered depleted. All donors will, in this situation only, and upon notification of the depleted status of the pool, automatically are charged eight (8) hours per donor, unless the donor wishes to withdraw from the program. Leave requests will be honored in the order in which they were placed when the pool is replenished. The automatic charge to replenish the pool may occur only one time per calendar year. Should the pool be depleted a second time in a given calendar year, no further requests for Shared Leave will be accepted.

  • Pandemic An epidemic over a wide geographical area.

Overview

Employees will be given the opportunity to donate a specified number of hours of sick leave from their sick leave accounts to an institutional leave pool during the annual open enrollment period for other benefits.

If an institution chooses to adopt such a program, it shall be known as the “Shared Sick Leave Program” and the following provisions shall apply:

  • Only regular benefits eligible employees who have been employed in a benefits eligible position and has completed the BOR provisional period upon enrollment shall be eligible to participate as either a contributor or recipient.
  • To contribute or receive leave under this program, an employee shall be required to enroll in the pool during the annual open enrollment period established by the Board of Regents.
  • Any unused shared sick leave not used by a recipient for the catastrophic illness or injury will be forfeited to the Shared Leave pool.
  • Each institution must designate a Shared Leave Administrator and is encouraged to appoint a committee to review and respond to requests for use of leave from the pool.
  • A recipient cannot receive shared sick leave with other benefits. (SSI, Disability, Workers Compensation, etc.)
  • Eligibility for participation shall end upon termination of employment.
  • Funding limitations may impact eligibility and participation.
  • Participation in shared leave is voluntary.
  • Institutions should consider flexibility in this policy in rare and exceptional circumstances involving pandemic emergencies.

If adopted, the program shall be subject to an annual review and confirmation of continuation. This policy establishes the method by which University System of Georgia institutions can implement a Donated Leave pool.

Donation of Leave

Employees will be given the opportunity to donate a specified number of hours of sick leave (in eight (8) hour increments) from their sick leave accounts to the Shared Leave pool during the annual open enrollment period for other benefits by completing a Donor Transfer Certification form. The Shared Leave will be transferred to the Shared Leave pool at the same time other benefit elections are effective (normally January 1). An employee who donates leave must retain a combined total of forty (40) hours of leave in his/her own annual and sick leave accounts (pro-rated for part-time employees).

Enrollment in the sick leave pool shall only be allowed during the open enrollment periods conducted during the months of October and November of each year.

No employee shall be denied membership in the sick leave pool if the membership criteria are met.

A participating employee shall not be allowed to donate to the pool any unused or unpaid sick leave from the employee’s personal account at the time of separation from the University System of Georgia , including retirement.

The employee will continue to accrue sick leave during their absence as long as they are paid at least one half of a monthly salary.

Eligibility for Benefit:

In order to be eligible to receive Shared Leave, the employee must:

  • be a member of the leave pool, and
  • have completed the initial provisional period of employment, and
  • provide certification from a licensed physician of a life-threatening or emergency medical condition, and
  • have exhausted all sick and annual leave (or provide credible medical evidence that he or she will have exhausted all sick and annual leave before the medical condition is resolved).

Termination of Membership

An employee may withdraw from the pool at any time by sending a written request for withdrawal to the Human Resources Officer. Any leave contributed to the pool prior to withdrawal shall be forfeited.

When a participating employee withdraws the maximum number of hours for which he/she is eligible, his/her membership in the pool will automatically terminate. The maximum withdrawal amount during a calendar year is 480 hours (12 weeks). To re-enroll, the employee will be subject to the initial enrollment requirements for membership. When a sick leave pool member is eligible for workers’ compensation, unemployment, disability or retirement benefits, etc., he/she shall not be granted sick leave pool credits.

Suggested Leave Committee:

If possible, institutions should encourage the formation of a leave committee to assist in the implementation of the Donated Leave Policy. The committee may consist of one staff member from Human Resources, one faculty member, and one staff member from a work unit other than Human Resources.

Application of Benefits:

An eligible employee may request donated leave by completing the Donated Leave Request Form, obtaining a completed Physician’s Certification Form and submitting these documents to the Donated Leave Certification Committee in care of Human Resources. If the employee is not capable of making application on his or her own behalf, a personal representative, having documented power of attorney for the employee, may make written application on behalf of the employee by completing the Donated Leave Request Form, obtaining a completed Physician’s Certification Form and submitting these documents to the Donated Leave Certification Committee in care of Human Resources.

A potential leave recipient may request up to 160 hours of Shared Leave at one time, and may make up to two additional requests for Shared Leave within a calendar year, for a maximum total of 480 hours per year within a five (5) year period. The requests may be consecutive.

Confidentiality

Any medical information provided to the Shared Leave Certification Committee, will remain confidential and will not be shared except with employees in Human Resources on a need-to-know basis. Potential leave recipients, their representatives and Shared leave committee members must refrain from using institutional e-mail to solicit leave by revealing a medical condition, as e-mailing of medical information may violate HIPAA privacy guidelines. (Added from UGA)

Approval Process

Each request will be reviewed by the Shared Leave Certification Committee. The Chief Human Resources Officer, or his or her designee, will appoint these committee members for a renewable term of one (1) year. The committee member from Human Resources or his or her designee will carry out the administrative functions of the committee.

If any member of the Shared Leave Certification Committee is from the potential leave recipient’s department, that committee member will be replaced by an alternate, designated by the Chief Human Resources Officer.

If any committee member(s) is unavailable to perform the functions of the committee due to illness, vacation, or other reason, or is unable provide a timely decision for any given applicant, the Chief Human Resources Officer, or his or her designee(s), will serve as substitute ad hoc member(s) of the committee.

The committee’s decision to approve or disapprove a request for Shared Leave will be by simple majority vote and may be the result of communication by email, telephone, or other means in lieu of meeting together in one location.

If the request is approved, the Shared Leave Committee will notify the Shared Leave Coordinator (a designated employee within the Human Resources Department). The Shared Leave Coordinator will notify the applicant (or the personal representative who applied on behalf of the employee) within five (5) working days after the date the completed request for Shared Leave is received by the committee (or the date that the institution makes changes to these policies or procedures, if that date is later) that:

  • the request has been approved; and
  • the employee may begin drawing leave from the pool, and
  • if the employee has entered the status of leave without pay, the approved Shared Leave may be substituted retroactively to cover the period of leave without pay.
  • Or the request has been denied; and the reason for the denial

Appeal

Requests which have been denied may be appealed in writing to the institution’s Human Resources office.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities each party has in connection with the Policy on Donated Leave are:

Party Responsibility
Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, USG Provide guidance to institution human resources officers on appropriate application of the donated leave policy, monitor campus practices for compliance.
Institution Chief Human Resources Officers Ensure appropriate utilization of the USG donated leave policy, including program enrollment and ethical application of the policy, ensure compliance with applicable laws.

Forms

Appendices

Frequently Asked Question’s

Who is eligible to request Shared Leave?
Employee who has completed the Board program provisional period, is eligible to donate, and has a life-threatening or emergency medical condition and has exhausted, or will exhaust his/her personal leave time
How will I know that I have received Shared Leave?
You will be notified by Human Resources via written documentation.
What happens to any Shared Leave I don’t use?
All unused leave will go back to the pool.
Will an affected employee continue to accrue sick and annual during the time missed from work?
Yes, the employee will accrue leave based on their current status. Accrued leave will be applied to the absence before Shared Leave is applied.
How much leave may be requested?
You may request up to 160 hours of leave per application (pro-rated for part-time employees) up to three (3) times in a calendar year for a maximum of 480 for a five (5) year period.
Who is eligible to donate leave?
Any benefit eligible employee that has participated in the pool and has completed their six (6) month provisional period.
How much leave may I donate?
You may donate leave in eight hour (8, 16, 24, etc) increments but must maintain at least forty (40) hours of personal sick leave. Participants will donate a minimum of eight (8) hours of leave at Open Enrollment.
What if I change my mind about donating leave?
Donations are irrevocable but donators may give written notice to terminate membership.
Can I donate leave upon my leaving the institution or University System of Georgia?
Leave cannot be donated upon termination.
How can I donate leave?
During Open Enrollment, simply complete the Leave Donation form and send it to Human Resources for processing.