Recently TASB HR Services has received questions from districts asking whether their employees can donate leave days to other employees when the district does not have an established sick leave pool or sick leave bank.
Districts should first review their local leave policy to determine whether this benefit is permitted. If authorized in policy, employees can donate their leave days to other employees who have exhausted their paid leave.
However, without an established leave donation program, districts may find this type of ad hoc approach is not equitable or fair to all employees. A common concern with this approach is the wide disparity of donated leave due to favoritism or the circumstance.
To ensure leave donation is applied fairly, consistently, and appropriately, districts should carefully structure this benefit program as follows:
- Authorize a donation program such as a sick leave pool or leave bank in local leave and absence policy.
- Clearly define employee eligibility and participation requirements.
- Clearly define extended catastrophic illnesses or injuries and limit eligibility to these conditions.
- Ensure donated days are not used for routine illness to comply with IRS guidelines and prevent potential tax liability for employees donating leave.
- Develop procedures or regulations for administration of the program and to ensure confidentiality of medical information.
- Provide employees written communication regarding the donated leave program including information in the employee handbook and other benefits documents.
With the right tools and guidance, districts can implement an equitable and compliant leave donation program that provides their employees extended leave benefits due to catastrophic circumstances.
Additional resources for establishing a donated leave program can be found in the Leaves section of the HR Library (member login required), the HR Services publication The Administrator’s Guide to Managing Leaves and Absences—available in the TASB Store, and the HRX article Sick Leave Bank vs. Pool: What’s the Difference?.
Luz Cadena is a senior compensation consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Luz an email at email@example.com.
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