5.14.8 Voluntary Shared Leave

Revised: May 25, 2017, October 1, 2017

Sandhills Community College participates in the shared leave policy as per guidelines from the N.C. Community College System. This policy, permitting anonymous donations of leave, is designed to assist employees with serious medical problems whose sick and vacation leave is exhausted before they are either ready to return to work or eligible to receive North Carolina Disability Income. In such cases, employees are eligible to receive leave donated from the sick and vacation leave accounts of other employees to carry them only through FMLA and not beyond. Requests for exceptions to this policy are to be made to the President. The leave to be donated can include vacation leave.

An employee who receives benefits from the Disability Income Plan of North Carolina (DIPNC) is not eligible to participate in the shared leave program. Shared leave, however, may be used during the required waiting period and following the waiting period provided DIPNC benefits have not begun.

Due to HIPPA Privacy guidelines, the identity of the employee requesting leave will be kept anonymous.  Additionally, the recipient will not be informed as to the identity of the leave donors.  The College is prohibited from maintaining a leave bank.

Application to Become a Shared Leave Recipient
An employee may make written application to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, to become a leave recipient, using the Shared Sick/Vacation Request Leave Form. If an employee is not capable of making application on his or her own behalf, a personal representative, having documented power of attorney for the potential leave recipient, may make written application on behalf of the employee.

In order for a request to receive donated leave to be approved, the employee must:

  1. Have completed the initial probationary period, and
  2. Provide certification from a licensed physician of medical evidence to support the need for leave beyond the available accumulated leave, and
  3. 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)

A potential leave recipient may request up to 176 hours of leave transfer at one time, and is limited to 1,040 hours, either continuously or, if for the same condition, on a recurring basis.  However, The combined total of sick leave donated to a recipient from a nonfamily member donor shall not exceed 20 days per year (160 hours).

Each application must include a completed Shared Sick/Vacation Leave Request Form and Physician’s Certification of Medical Condition Form.

Approval of Application to Become a Leave Recipient
Each application will be reviewed by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources. If the application is approved, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources will notify the leave recipient (or the personal representative who made application on behalf of the leave recipient) that:

  1. The application has been approved; and
  2. Human Resources will send out an email request to all full time employees for leave donations.  Due to HIPPA Privacy guidelines, the recipient will not be identified in the email request.

If the application is not approved, the committee will notify the applicant (or the personal representative who made application on behalf of the potential leave recipient) that:

  1. The application has not been approved; and
  2. The reasons for its disapproval.

Requests not approved may be appealed in writing to the Executive Vice President.

Donation of Leave

An employee may submit a Shared Sick/Vacation Leave Donation Form to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources requesting that a specified number of hours of leave be transferred from his or her annual or sick/vacation leave account to the sick leave account of a specified leave recipient.

An employee of a community college may donate up to five days of sick leave to a nonfamily member employee of a community college. The combined total of sick leave donated to a recipient from a nonfamily member donor shall not exceed 20 days per year. Donated sick leave shall not be used for retirement purposes. Employees who donate sick leave shall be notified in writing of the State retirement credit consequences of donating sick leave. An employee family member donating sick leave to a qualified family member under the Voluntary Shared Leave program may donate up to a maximum of 1040 hours but may not reduce the sick leave account below 40 hours.

Requests for leave transfers must be in 4-hour increments. A leave donor must retain a combined total of 120 hours of leave in his or her own annual and sick leave accounts, unless the donation is to the leave account of his or her own spouse, child, or parent. Additionally, an employee may not donate more than five days of sick leave per year to any one non-family community college employee. The combined total of sick leave donated to a community college employee from non-family community college employee donors shall not exceed 20 days per year.

Individuals who donate sick leave must leave a balance of at least 40 hours in their own account. Individuals who donate vacation leave must leave a balance of one-half their yearly accrual in their own account. Employees with medical problems who need additional leave should meet with the Associate Vice President of Human Resources to begin the process of receiving donated leave. This leave must be approved by the President.

Employees who accept donated leave but return to work prior to having exhausted that shared leave are expected to return the unused leave to the college. Questions about this policy should be directed to the College Associate Vice President of Human Resources.

Effective April 10, 2003, the N.C. General Assembly amended the North Carolina G.S. 115D-25.3 to allow any employee of a community college to share leave voluntarily with an immediate family member who is employed at a community college, public school, or State agency. An immediate family member is defined as “spouse, parent (including biological, adoptive, step or legal ward), child (including biological, adopted, foster, step or legal ward), brother or sister (including step, half or in-law relationships), grandparent or grandchild (including step relationships), and other dependents living in the employees household. The term includes the step, half, and in-law relationships.”  To donate voluntary shared leave to a colleague or an immediate family member, use the Shared Sick/Vacation Leave Request form located in the forms section of the SCC Intranet.

Leave transferred under this section may be substituted retroactively for a period of leave without pay.

Shared Sick/Vacation Leave Donation Forms will be accepted until the total amount donated is equal to the amount approved by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources. Subsequent Shared/Vacation Leave Donation Forms will be returned to prospective donors.

If the leave recipient does not use all the donated leave, unused leave will be returned to donors on a first-donated, first-returned basis, based on the date and time the Shared Sick/Vacation Leave Donation Form was processed by the Office of Human Resources.

Who is eligible to donate shared leave?
Any full-time College employee who has completed the probationary period may donate leave.

How much leave may I donate?
Employees may donate sick, vacation, or bonus leave in 4-hour increments only (4, 8,12) and you must reserve a minimum of 120 hours of combined sick and annual leave in your leave balance; however, there is a 40 hours minimum reserve required when employees donate leave to their own spouses, parents, or children.  An employee may not donate more than five days of sick leave per year to any one non-family community College employee. The combined total of sick leave donated to a community college employee from non-family community college employee donors shall not exceed 20 days per year.

What’s the first step?
Employees who wish to donate leave should complete the Shared Sick/Vacation Leave Request Form and follow instructions to submit the form. If approved by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, the employee will receive a confirmation of the donation.

What happens if I change my mind and need the leave I previously donated?
Donations are irrevocable, although any donated leave not used by the leave recipient will be returned to the donor(s) on a first-donated, first-returned basis (see next question).

What happens to my donated leave if the recipient doesn’t use it; for example, if the medical emergency doesn’t last as long as anticipated or the recipient leaves the College before using all donated leave?
Unused donated hours will be returned to the donor(s) on a first-donated, first-returned basis.

Who is eligible to request donated leave?
If you are a full-time College employee who:

  1. Has completed your probationary period and
  2. Has a life-threatening or emergency medical condition and does not have sufficient leave to cover his or her anticipated absence and
  3. Has exhausted or will soon exhaust all sick and annual leave due to his or her own life-threatening or emergency medical condition and
  4. During the resulting absence, will not receive any other monetary benefits based on employment at the College (e.g., workers’ compensation lost wage benefits, unemployment, disability, retirement, etc.).
  5. An employee may submit a request for donated shared leave up to ten working days prior to the time the employee will exhaust all leave.

How much leave may I request?
The employee may request up to 176 hours of leave per application. The employee may apply up to three times per calendar year.

What’s the first step?
The employee will ask his or her physician to complete a Physician’s Certification of Emergency or Life-Threatening Medical Condition Form. The employee should then complete a Shared Sick/Vacation Leave Request form and deliver both the Physician’s Certification form and the Shared Leave Request form to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources. If an employee is unable to complete this process, a representative having the employee’s documented power of attorney may complete the process on his or her behalf.

How will I know I have received donated leave?
The Human Resources Office will send the employee a leave receipt confirmation with a copy to his or her department.

Does an employee who is using donated leave continue to accrue sick or annual leave during the time he or she is missing work and using donated leave?
If the employee is using donated leave, he or she will continue to accrue sick and annual leave at the same rate he or she would have accrued leave had he or she been using his or her own, original leave during an absence from work. The employee’s own accrued leave will be applied to his or her absence before any donated leave is applied to the absence.

What happens to any transferred leave I don’t use, for example, if the medical emergency doesn’t last as long as I anticipated or I leave the College before using all donated leave?
Unused hours will be returned to the leave donor(s) on a first-donated, first-returned basis. The Office of Human Resources will send a notification of returned leave to the donor and a copy to the donor’s department.

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