Last Revised: 12 May 2020

Refer Questions to: Executive Director, Human Resources

Scope

This policy applies to regular and extended temporary staff and teachers in all offices and divisions of Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center, unless specifically covered by collective bargaining agreements made between Gallaudet University and certified bargaining agents.

Policy

The University values all employees’ well-being. When an employee faces a need to take extended time off due to a medical emergency or major disaster, paid time off may run out quickly resulting in financial hardship. The Leave-Sharing Program enables eligible employees to donate accrued, unused Annual Leave (defined below) for use by co-workers for whom a medical emergency or major disaster requires them to be absent from work. The Program allows an eligible employee much needed time to recover from a medical emergency or major disaster while receiving paid leave.

The Leave-Sharing Program recognizes our shared responsibility to support one another in times of need. It is also intended to build employee morale, enhance camaraderie, reduce turnover and absenteeism, positively affect overall productivity and improve the recruitment and retention of talented employees. Employee participation in the Leave-Sharing Program is strictly voluntary. Nothing in this Policy will be construed to limit or extend the maximum allowable absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Eligibility for Leave Recipients

Regular and extended temporary employees must:

  • Be employed with Gallaudet for a minimum of six months to be eligible to receive donated annual leave;
  • Have exhausted all other available paid leave; and
  • Have a situation that meets the following criteria:
    • Medical emergency, defined as a medical condition of the employee or an immediate family member that will require the prolonged/extended absence of the employee from duty and will result in a substantial loss of income to the employee due to the exhaustion of all paid leave available. An immediate family member is defined as any family member under the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act (see A&O 4.19); or
    • Major disaster, defined as a disaster declared by the President of the United States under §401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act), or as a major disaster or emergency declared by the President pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §6391 for federal government agencies. An employee is considered to be adversely affected by a major disaster if the disaster has caused severe hardship to the employee and/or to a family member of the employee that requires the employee to be absent from work.

Approved by: Gallaudet University Administration

Procedures

The following definitions apply to this Policy.

Annual Leave: Leave earned under A&O Policy 4.11.

Donated Leave: Annual leave hours donated pursuant to the Leave-Sharing Program.

Family Member: Any individual defined as a family member under the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act (see A&O 4.19).

Leave Donor: A current employee of Gallaudet eligible to participate in the Leave-Sharing Program whose voluntary written request to deposit leave in the Program is approved by the University.

Leave Recipient: A current employee of Gallaudet eligible to participate in the Leave-Sharing Program for whom Gallaudet has approved an application to receive Donated Leave.

Leave Without Pay: Leave taken under A&O 4.19.

Leave-Sharing Bank: The leave bank to which Leave Donors donate leave, and from which Leave Recipients receive leave under the Leave-Sharing Program.

How Do Employees Donate Leave?

  • Employees wishing to donate their accrued, unused Annual Leave will be required to complete a Leave-Sharing Donation Form and submit it to Human Resources.
  • Donated Leave will go into the Leave-Sharing Bank for use by eligible employees.
  • Leave Recipient identity will not be disclosed to Leave Donors.
  • Annual Leave is donated in hourly increments.
  • An eligible employee may not donate more than the maximum amount of Annual Leave hours that the employee will accrue in a fiscal year.
  • Leave may not be donated before it is accrued.
  • Eligible employees must retain a personal balance of at least 80 hours of Annual Leave (prorated for staff under 1.0 FTE).
  • Leave Donors will not be taxed on leave donated to the Leave-Sharing Program.
  • Leave Donors may not claim any expenses, tax deductions, or charitable contributions for any leave donated to the Leave-Sharing Program.
  • Leave Donations to the Leave-Sharing Program are irrevocable.

How Do Employees Request and Use Donated Leave?

  • Eligible employees who would like to request Donated Leave are required to complete a Leave-Sharing Request Form and submit it to Human Resources.
  • Donated Leave may be requested only in the case of a medical emergency or major disaster that requires the employee to be absent from work, as defined above.
  • Proof of appropriate use may be requested prior to the granting of Donated Leave.
  • Eligible employees wishing to receive Donated Leave must have exhausted all other available leave balances, including sick leave.
  • Donated Leave is received in the form of hours, regardless of the dollar value of the leave donated.
  • Eligible employees who receive Donated Leave may receive no more than 160 hours (4 weeks) within a rolling 12-month period.
  • Donated Leave must be used beginning within 1 month of approval of the leave request.
  • Leave Recipients may use Donated Leave to eliminate a negative leave balance that arose from leave that was advanced to the Leave Recipient because of the effects of the COVID-10 pandemic (but Donated Leave may not be converted into cash).
  • Leave Recipients will not accrue paid leave while using Donated Leave.
  • Unused Donated Leave is not paid out upon separation from employment.
  • Payments of Donated Leave are considered wages paid to the Leave Recipient and are subject to appropriate tax withholdings.

How Are Donated Leave Requests Approved?

  • There is no guarantee that Donated Leave will be available when a request is made because the Leave-Sharing Program is voluntary.
  • Requests for Donated Leave generally will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis, although Gallaudet reserves discretion to make determinations on the basis of need in the case of multiple simultaneous requests.
  • Requests for Donated Leave will be evaluated by a committee consisting of a Human Resources Manager, Director of Equal Opportunity Programs, and a representative from Gallaudet Staff Council or Clerc Center Employee Relations Council.
  • Requests for leave will be received by a Human Resources team member, who will remove all personally-identifying information from the request form prior to committee review, in order to ensure employee privacy and the fairness of leave determinations.
  • The committee will present their recommendations to the Executive Director of Human Resources, or the designee, who will make the final determination.
  • The decision will be communicated to the employee, supervisor, and unit administrator (if not the supervisor).

How Does Donated Leave Coordinate With Other Leave Rights?

  • If the Leave Recipient is eligible for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or the DC Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA), Donated Leave will run concurrently with such unpaid leave, which means that use of Donated Leave does not extend an employee’s available leave under the FMLA or DCFMLA.
  • Leave Recipients may not use Donated Leave until they have exhausted all other forms of available paid leave applicable to their absence (for example, Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Long-Term Disability, or DC Paid Family Leave [1]). In no circumstances may an employee receive Donated Leave concurrently with other paid benefits programs, such as paid leave through the DC Paid Family Leave program.
  • Employees are required to apply for all other sources of paid leave that may be applicable to their absence (for example, Worker’s Compensation, Long Term Disability, DC Paid Family Leave) as a condition of receiving Donated Leave from the Leave-Sharing Program. Employees are required to work with Human Resources to coordinate leave benefits to the fullest extent permitted by law.

[1]    DC Paid Family Leave benefits will be available from the DC Government starting July 1, 2020. More information is available here.