Policy 5.26 - Voluntary Shared Leave


Policy 5.26: Voluntary Shared Leave

There are occurrences brought about by prolonged medical conditions that may cause employees to exhaust all available leave, thus requiring them to be placed on leave without pay.  As a result, these employees could be without income at the most critical point in their work lives.  It is recognized that fellow employees may wish to voluntarily donate some of their annual leave so as to provide assistance to a fellow college employee.  This policy provides an opportunity for employees to assist another employee on a one to one basis when a medical condition requires absence from duty for a prolonged period of time, resulting in possible loss of income due to lack of accumulated leave.

The purpose of the Voluntary Shared Leave Program is to allow an employee to donate leave, as allowed in this rule, to an employee who has been approved to receive leave through the Voluntary Shared Leave Program because of a medical condition of the employee or of a member of the employee’s immediate family that will require the employee’s absence for a prolonged period of time.

In cases of a prolonged medical condition an employee may apply for or be nominated to become a recipient of leave transferred from the vacation leave account of another employee, from the sick leave or vacation account of an immediate family member as defined in section of this General Guidelines (8) of this Subchapter or from the sick leave account of a non-family member as provided in Donor Guidelines (2) of this Rule. For purposes of this Rule, prolonged medical condition means medical condition that is likely to require an employee’s absence from duty for a period of at least 20 consecutive workdays. If an employee has had previous absences for the same condition that has caused the employee to not have enough leave to cover the new need for leave or if the employee has had a previous, but different, prolonged medical condition within the last 12 months, the college may waive the requirement that the employee be absent from duty for a period of 20 consecutive workdays to participate in the program.

Director of Human Resources, VP Administrative Services, VP Workforce and Community Development

BOT: May 25, 1993, November 15, 1994, July 20, 2010, May 15, 2017

Procedure 5.26.1: Voluntary Shared Leave

General Guidelines

  1. Establishment of a leave bank for use by unnamed employees is expressly prohibited. Leave must be donated on a one-to-one personal basis.
  2. An employee may not directly or indirectly intimidate, threaten, coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other employee for the purpose of interfering with any right which such employee may have with respect to donating, receiving, or using annual leave under this program. Such action by an employee is grounds for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal on the basis of personal conduct.  The donation of leave is confidential, and only those individuals authorized under G.S. 115D-29 to access employee personnel file information may view donation information consistent with G.S. 115D-29. Recipients of voluntary shared leave shall not have access to information about individuals who donated leave. The employee donating leave shall not receive remuneration for the leave donated.
  3. 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.
  4. An employee on workers’ compensation leave who is drawing temporary total disability compensation may be eligible to participate in the voluntary shared leave program. Use of donated leave under the workers’ compensation program is limited to use with the supplemental leave schedule as described in 25 NCAC 01E.0707.
  5. Participation in the voluntary shared leave program shall be limited to 1,040 hours, (prorated for part-time employees), either continuously or, if for the same condition, on a recurring basis. However, management may grant employees continuation in the program, month by month, for a maximum of 2,080 hours, if management would have otherwise granted leave without pay.
  1. The employee shall exhaust all available leave before using donated leave.
  1. Non-qualifying conditions: This leave does not apply to short-term or sporadic conditions or illnesses that are common, expected or anticipated as determined by the college president or the college president’s designee.  This includes such things as sporadic, short-term recurrences of chronic allergies or conditions; short-term absences due to contagious diseases; or short-term, recurring medical or therapeutic treatments.  These examples are illustrative, not all inclusive.  Each case must be examined and decided based on its conformity to the intent of this Rule and must be applied consistently and equitably.
  1. For purposes of this Section, immediate family means:
    1. Spouse: A husband or wife;
    2. Parent:
      • a biological or adoptive parent; or
      • an individual who stood in loco parentis (a person who is in the position or place of a parent) to an employee when the employee was a child; or
      • a step-parent; or
      • in-law relationships
    3. Child: A son or daughter who is:
      • a biological child; or
      • an adopted child; or
      • a foster child (a child for whom the employee performs the duties of a parent as if it were the employee’s child); or
      • step-child (a child of the employee’s spouse from a former marriage); or
      • a legal ward (a minor child placed by the court under the care of a guardian); or
      • a child of an employee standing in loco parentis; or
      • In-law relationships;
    4.  Sister or brother – biological, adoptive (including step-, half- or In-law relationships); Sister or brother – biological, adoptive (including step-, half- or In-law relationships);
    5. Grandparents, great grandparents, grandchildren, great grandchildren (including step relationships); and
    6. Other dependents living in the employee’s household.

Eligibility

  1. To participate in the Voluntary Shared Leave Program, an employee shall meet the following conditions:
    1. The employee must be eligible to earn annual leave (or sick leave, if applicable). Participation in this program is based on the employee’s past compliance with rules.
    2. A donor or recipient shall have a half-time or more permanent, probationary, or time-limited appointment (The limitation and leave balance for permanent part-time employees shall be prorated);
    3. A recipient shall produce medical evidence to support the need for leave beyond the available accumulated leave; and
    4. The parent college shall review the merits of the request and approve or disapprove according to these Rules.

Application Procedure

  1. By letter of application to the intended recipient’s supervisor, a recipient applies or is nominated by a fellow employee to participate in the program.
  2. Application for participation includes name, social security number, and a description of the medical condition and estimated length of time needed to participate in the program. A doctor’s statement must be attached to the application.
  3. The Privacy Act of 1974 makes medical information confidential; therefore, prior to making the employee’s (or family member’s) medical status public for purpose of receiving shared leave, the employee must sign a release to allow the status to be known. Otherwise, only a statement that the recipient (or family member) has a prolonged medical condition may be made.
  4. The supervisor reviews the merits of the request and recommends approval or disapproval. The supervisor’s recommendation is made to the division vice president who, after consultation with the Director of Human Resources, makes a recommendation to the college president.  Final approval or disapproval of the request is made by the president.

Recipient Guidelines

  1. A prospective recipient may make application for voluntary shared leave at such time as medical evidence is available to support the need for leave beyond the employee’s available accumulated leave.
  2. Subject to the maximum of 1,040 hours, the number of hours of leave an employee can receive is equal to the projected recovery or treatment period, less the employee’s combined annual and sick leave balance as of the beginning of the recovery or treatment period.
  3. All leave donated shall be credited to the recipient’s sick leave account and will be charged according to sick leave policy.
  4. At the expiration of the medical condition, as determined by the college, any unused leave in the recipient’s donated leave account is treated as follows:
    1. The annual and sick leave account balance shall not exceed a combined total of 40 hours (prorated for part-time employees).
    2. Any additional unused donated leave is returned to the donor(s) on a pro rata basis and credited to the leave account from which it was donated. Fractions of one hour are not returned to an individual donor.
    3. If a recipient separates due to resignation, death, or retirement from state government, participation in the program ends. Donated leave shall be returned to active donor(s) on a pro rata basis.

Donor Guidelines

  1. An employee of a community college may donate vacation leave, bonus leave or sick leave to an immediate family member in any State agency, public school or community college. An employee of a community college may donate vacation or bonus leave to a coworker’s immediate family member who is an employee in a state agency or public school provided the employee and coworker are at the same college. An employee may donate vacation, bonus or sick leave to another employee at a community college in accordance with the provisions of this Rule.
  2. An employee of a community college may donate up to five days of sick leave to a non-immediate family member employee of a community college. The combined total of sick leave donated to a recipient from non-immediate family member donors shall not exceed 20 days per year as defined by local college policy. 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.
  3. The minimum amount of sick leave or vacation leave to be donated is four hours. An employee family member donating sick leave to a qualified immediate 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.
  4. The maximum amount of annual leave allowed to be donated by one individual is the amount of the individual’s annual accrual rate. However, the amount donated shall not reduce the donor’s vacation leave balance below one-half of the vacation leave accrual rate.
    • Example 1 – Employee with 5 but less than 10 years of state service earns 134 hours of annual leave per year.  Employee may contribute four or more hours but may not reduce annual leave balance below 67 hours.
    • Example 2 –  Employee with more than 20 or more years of state service earns 206 hours of annual leave per year.  Employee may contribute four or more hours but may not reduce annual leave balance below 103 hours.
  5. Bonus leave may be donated without regard to this limitation.

Leave Accounting Procedures

  1. To facilitate the administration of the program, the college may establish a specific time period during which leave can be donated.
  2. The college establishes a system of leave accountability that accurately records leave donations and recipients’ use. Such accounts provide a clear and accurate record for financial and management audit purposes.
  3. All leave donated shall be credited to the recipient’s sick leave account and is available for use on a current basis or may be retroactive for up to 60 calendar days to substitute for advanced vacation or sick leave already granted to the recipient or to substitute for leave without pay. Donated leave shall be applied to advanced leave before applying it to leave without pay.
  4. At the expiration of the medical condition, as determined by the community college, any unused leave in the recipient’s donated leave account shall be treated as follows:
    1. The recipient’s vacation and sick leave account balance shall not exceed a combined total of 40 hours (prorated for part-time employees).
    2. Any additional unused donated leave shall be returned to active (working or on leave without pay) donor(s) on a pro rata basis and credited to the leave account from which it was donated.

Adopted: May 25, 1993

Revised:  July 20, 2010

Reviewed: November 15, 1994