UAMS ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDE

NUMBER: 4.6.07
DATE: 09/23/99
REVISION:  01/15/2004  

SECTION: HUMAN RESOURCES
AREA: LEAVE OF ABSENCE
SUBJECT: CATASTROPHIC LEAVE

PURPOSE

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), in compliance with Act 169 of 1991[i], Act 1176 of 1999[ii], and the implementation "Rules and Regulations of the Office of Personnel Management[iii]" for that Act, has established a uniform procedure to administer an approved "Catastrophic Leave Bank Program".  This program will allow UAMS employees to donate sick and/or annual leave for the purpose of assisting other employees, both Classified and Non-Classified, who have exhausted their time-off due to catastrophic accident or illness.  Catastrophic Leave with pay (hereafter "Leave") is a type of "leave of absence" created when time-off hours (sick and annual leave) are donated to the UAMS Leave Bank for purposes of paying an employee when they are incapacitated and unable to perform the duties of their job due to a catastrophic illness or accident.

POLICY

It is the policy of UAMS that no employee shall directly or indirectly intimidate, threaten, or coerce (or attempt to do so) any other employee for the purpose of interfering with an employee's ability to donate, receive or use annual or sick leave, including Catastrophic Leave.  Eligible leave donors shall be full-time, regularly appointed employees (Classified or Non-Classified) who have accumulated combined sick and annual leave in excess of 80 hours.  For purposes of this policy, "full-time" shall be defined as 40 hours per week; 36 hours per week for 12-hour nurses and 24 hours per week for Week-end Option nurses and others who are declared "full-time for benefits" under specific compensation plans.  Leave may be donated in increments of one hour or more.  Once donated, the leave will not be restored to the leave donor under any circumstances.  All donated leave becomes the property of the Leave Bank and may be used for the benefit of an eligible employee specified by the Catastrophic Leave Committee for any employee who meets the criteria for receipt of leave.

“Catastrophic illness’ means a qualifying medical condition of an employee, the spouse or parent of the employee, or of a child of the employee which may be claimed as a dependent under the Arkansas Income Tax Act of 1929 (Section 3. Arkansas Code 6-63-601(1)).

LEAVE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Eligible leave recipients shall meet e)  of the following requirements:

a)  Occupation of a regular (non-temporary), non-faculty or non-resident, "full-time" benefits-eligible position for a minimum of two (2) years cumulative.  "Full-time" is the same as defined above for leave donor, and service need not be continuous.
 
b)  Exhaustion of all accrued annual, sick, holiday, and compensatory time-off, whereby continued absence will cause a substantial loss of income.
 
c)    No disciplinary notices (written warning) for any leave abuse (absenteeism or related) during the past two (2) years.
 
d)   Certification from a physician (or other individual as provided by law) of a  Catastrophic Leave will be granted only as long as the physician certifies that the recipient is unable to work.  Leave may not be awarded retroactively.
 

A "prolonged period" means a continuous period of at least thirty (30) working days or six (6) weeks wherein the employee cannot perform work duties.  Routine disabilities or disabilities resulting from elective surgery do not qualify as catastrophic.

CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION

The leave recipient shall agree, as a voluntary condition of participation, that any sick, annual, or holiday hours accrued while receiving Leave from the program will be assigned to the Leave Bank upon their return to full duty.

The leave recipient shall agree that any unused portion of the Leave, such as created by separation from employment or return to work prior to expiration of all Leave, will be returned to the Leave Bank and that no right of ownership is created by the granting of the Leave.

While on Leave, the leave recipient shall be paid the normal base rate of pay and will continue to receive normal UAMS benefits, including UAMS contributions to insurance and retirement.  The recipient's merit eligibility date will not change. The granting of Catastrophic Leave does not create any expectation or promise of continued employment.

Receipt of Catastrophic Leave shall be limited to the start of Long Term Disability (LTD) payments, or a maximum of six (6) months, unless the recipient can demonstrate that disability (Long Term Disability) or Social Security benefits have been denied.

Catastrophic Leave may be requested and granted in separate instances without regard for cumulative Leave granted.

GRANTING OF LEAVE

The Catastrophic Leave Policy Committee (hereafter "Committee") will review applications from employees for Leave.  The Committee’s decisions are not subject to grievance, arbitration or litigation.  Committee action may be appealed only to the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources.

The Committee shall be comprised of at least five members and the committee shall elect a chairperson from the committee membership.  The Committee will be composed of a representative from the House of Delegates, the Academic Senate, the Office of Human Resources management, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and the Director of Human Relations.  The Committee will review all requests for Leave, determine eligibility, and provide a process for dispute resolution on Leave issues, and will recommend action to the Chancellor or his designee.  The Committee may grant Leave only in one (1) hour increments but may not approve Leave in an amount which would result in a negative balance in the UAMS Leave Bank.  When the amount of Leave in the Bank is at or near exhaustion, applications will be reviewed on a first filed/first considered basis.

PROCEDURE

1. A leave donor may voluntarily donate sick and/or annual leave, reducing accrued leave to a minimum combined balance of 80 hours, by completing a form for this purpose.  This form should be forwarded to the donor's timekeeper, for verification of the donor's leave balance.  Following verification of the donor's eligibility, the timekeeper will forward the form to the Office of Human Resources (OHR).  The donor cannot assign his/her hours to a particular employee.
 
2. Payroll will deduct the leave from the donor's accrued balance(s), OHR will notify the donor of the accepted reduction, and increase the Leave Bank accounts appropriately.  The name of the leave donor, amount of leave donated, the rate of pay and the dollar value of the donated leave shall be recorded.  No deduction made from department’s budget for the value of the leave donated.
 
3. An employee requesting hours from the Leave Bank may apply for Catastrophic Leave by completing a “Recipient Application Form” and sending it to their immediate supervisor or department head, stating a case for eligibility and need.  A fellow employee, the supervisor, or the department head may also initiate the request. The appropriate forms can be printed from the UAMS website, http://www.uams.edu/ohr/Forms.htm.  The required forms for an employee include the Recipient Application Form, Physician’s Certification Form and the Liability Agreement Form.  For an employee to request Catastrophic Leave to provide care for a child, an additional Dependent Child Certification must be submitted and signed by the DFA-Revenue-Individual Income Tax Section.  If the child is a newborn, then a copy of the birth certificate will be required.  If the employee is requesting Catastrophic Leave to provide care for a parent, spouse or child a letter must be submitted from the physician and from the employee stating why constant care is needed from the employee. 
 
4. The department head may support the employee's request by indicating on the application form that the employee meets each of the criteria for receipt of Leave.  The department head may choose not to support the employee's request by indicating which of the criteria the employee fails to meet or any other reason the employee should not be granted Catastrophic Leave.  In either case, the department head will forward the employee's request and the department's opinion to OHR.  The requesting party (employee, colleague, or department representative) must ensure that a "Physician's Statement Form" is completed by the employee's attending physician and forwarded to OHR. 
 
5. Upon receipt of the application form, OHR will verify that the employee meets all applicable criteria, that the department has issued an opinion, and and that all forms t a physician's statement has been have been received.  This information will be forwarded to the Chair of the Leave Policy the Catastrophic Leave Committee.
 
6. The Chair of the Leave Policy Committee will notify all Committee members that a request has been received and will open the case for review.The Committee will meet approximately every two (2) weeks to review applications and make the appropriate decisions based on the information provided.
 
7. When the employee's department is opposed to the granting of the Leave, the Committee will allow that department head and the requesting employee (or their spokesperson) to appear in personprovide a written statement before  to tthe Committee.
 
8.  If the Committee finds that the Leave should not be granted for whatever reason, the Committee will notify the employee in writing and allow the employee (or their spokesperson) to appear before the Committeeappeal the decision to the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, in writing with additional supporting documents.
 
9. When approved, OHR will notify the employee’s department to post hours to “CATLV” for AccuTime electric posting, maximum hours, start date and stop date will be specified. Although paid, the employee will be considered on “Leave of Absence.” Thus the department should place the employee on Leave of Absence with Pay by processing this action in SAP using the PA40 transaction. For instruction on how to run this transaction, refer to the SAP on-line Training Manual, http://intranet.uams.edu/enterprise/Manuals.htm.  As with other types of Leave of Absence (see Section 4.6 of the UAMS Administrative Guide), the department remains primarily responsible for returning the leave recipient to a same or similar position at the conclusion of the Leave of Absence.  Department is responsible for funding the employee’s catastrophic leave.
 
10. The first twelve weeks of Catastrophic Leave will be counted toward the employee’s rights to leave under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).  The notification to the employee will be included on the award letter that will be sent to the employee’s permanent address.
 
11. Any sick and annual leave or holiday leave accrued by the leave recipient will be reduced to zero and assigned to the Leave Bank upon the employee’s return to full duty.  The department should not process sick and vacation time that will accrue once the employee’s vacation and sick amounts have been used and the Catastrophic Leave posting has begun.
 
12. When the approved Leave is exhausted at 1040 hours, or at the conclusion of six months, or when the recipient no longer requires Catastrophic Leave, the department shall cease to post hours and will notify the Committee OHR of the date of the employees returns or the last date of posting.
 
13. At the end of the Leave period, and where appropriate, OHR the department will initiate action to return the leave recipient to the same or similar position.  A Return From LOA action need to be completed by using the PA40 transaction in SAP. For instruction on how to run this transaction, refer to the SAP on-line Training Manual, http://intranet.uams.edu/enterprise/Manuals.htm.
 
14. The Catastrophic Leave Bank will be administered in accordance with the following guidelines:The following records will be kept:
  a)       For the donation process: the amount of leave donated by each employee, the rate of pay and dollar value of such donated leave at the time of donation;
 
  b)        For the award process: the amount of Catastrophic Leave awarded, including the name of the recipient, position number, rate of pay and social security number; and
 
  c) Any other such data as required by the Director of the Department of Finance and Administration or UAMS.

FORMS

UAMS Catastrophic Leave Bank Program Recipient Application Form

UAMS Catastrophic Leave Bank Program Physician Statement Form

UAMS Catastrophic Leave Bank Program Liability Agreement

UAMS Catastrophic Leave Bank Program Dependent Child Certification

 

REFERENCE

[i]  Act 169 of 1991
[ii] Act 1176 of 1999
[iii] ARHMS Policy Manual