Emergency Sick Leave Donation Program for University General Employees
In the event of a federal major disaster or emergency, as declared by the President of the United States, which results in severe adverse effects for a substantial number of employees, the University of South Alabama may establish an Emergency Sick Leave Donation Program (ESDP). Under an ESDP, an eligible employee may donate accrued but unused sick leave, retro sick leave (applicable faculty) or Non-TRS sick leave for transfer to a sick leave bank for co-employees who are adversely affected by the same declared major disaster or emergency. This program applies to faculty, administrators, and staff employees.
- Major Disaster or Emergency - A major disaster or emergency, as declared by the President of the United States, that results in severe adverse effects for a substantial number of employees.
- Eligible Employee to Donate Sick Leave – Must be in an active employment status, and must retain ninety-six (96) hours of accrued Sick Leave (based on FTE),or the amount an employee normally accrues each year for their own use; must donate voluntarily and in increments of eight (8) hours. TRS Tier I employees must understand that donations made to the ESDP program will reduce the sick leave eligible for conversion to service credit for retirement purposes. The election to donate sick leave is irrevocable. TRS Tier II employees are not currently eligible to convert sick leave for service credit for retirement purposes. However, elections to donate sick leave are irrevocable.
- Accrued Sick Leave – regular employees who are appointed to work 20 hours or more per week (.50 FTE of greater) accrue sick leave benefits from the day of employment. There is no limit on the amount of sick leave an employee may accrue. As indicated above, employees may receive credit for sick leave in the Retirement Systems of Alabama for additional service credit upon retirement.
- Retro Sick Leave – Faculty employed prior to October 1, 1999, may retain an individual retroactive sick leave balance. This balance is not eligible for conversion to service credit with the Retirement Systems of Alabama but will be exhausted prior to using any accrued sick leave earned after October 1, 1999.
- Non-TRS Sick Leave – Employees that transfer from the USA Health Paid Time Off (PTO) program to the University General Traditional Time Off (vacation/sick)program have a portion of their PTO balance converted to sick leave which is referred to as Non-TRS Sick Leave. This balance is not eligible for conversion to service credit with the Retirement Systems of Alabama but will be exhausted prior to using any accrued sick leave.
- Eligible Employee to be a Sick Leave recipient – Must be in an active employment status, must have 6 months of service, be employed in a regular benefits-eligible position, work twenty (20) or more hours per week (.50 FTE or greater) and must have exhausted all personal accrued sick leave, or within 8 hours prorated based on FTE, before they are eligible to receive donated sick leave.
- Full Time Equivalency (FTE) - An FTE is the hours worked by an employee on a full-time basis. On an annual basis, an FTE is considered 2,080 hours, which is calculated as 8 hours per day
Application to Become a Sick Leave Donation Recipient
In order to be approved to receive donated sick leave, an eligible employee must make electronic application to the dedicated link to become an emergency sick leave donation recipient. An employee is considered to be adversely affected if the federal disaster or emergency has caused severe hardship to the employee to such a degree that his or her absence from work is required.
Approval or Disapproval of Application to Become an Emergency Sick Leave Donation Recipient
USA Human Resources must review the employee’s application and notify the employee at the employee’s University issued email address, of the approval or disapproval of the application within 10 business days after the date the application is received. USA Human Resources has the discretion to approve or disapprove any amount of hours requested up to the maximum allowed. There are no appeals for this decision.
Sick Leave Donations from Employees
An employee may voluntarily submit an electronic request, on the applicable Sick Leave Donation dedicated link, to USA Human Resources that a specified number of hours of his or her accrued sick leave hours, retro sick leave hours (applicable faculty) and/or Non-TRS sick leave be transferred from his or her balance to the ESDP. Sick leave donors may not donate to a specific employee. Leave donations will be accepted until the termination of the ESDP.
Limitation on Amount of Sick Leave Hours an Employee May Donate
A sick leave donor may not donate less than eight (8) hours to the ESDP. The donating employee must retain a balance of ninety-six (96) hours of accrued sick leave hours (based on FTE) or the amount an employee normally accrues each year.
Limitation on Amount of Sick Leave Hours an Employee May Receive
A sick leave recipient may receive a maximum of 80 hours (prorated based on FTE) of donated sick leave from the ESDP. The sick leave available in the ESDP is limited to the total volume of donated leave in the program at the time of application.
Use of Donated Sick Leave
An approved sick leave donation recipient is required to exhaust his or her accrued sick leave balance before receiving donated sick leave under the ESDP (or within 8 hours, prorated based on FTE). Any donated sick leave a recipient receives from the ESDP may be used only for purposes related to the federal disaster or emergency for which the emergency leave recipient was approved.
Accrued Sick Leave, Retro Sick Leave and/or Non-TRS Sick Leave donated under the ESDP to a leave recipient will be:
- Paid at the recipient employee’s normal rate of pay;
- Used to substitute leave without pay because of the federal emergency or disaster
- Used only for purposes related to the federal emergency or disaster
Accrued Sick Leave, Retro Sick Leave and/or Non-TRS Sick Leave donated to the ESDP for a leave recipient may not be:
- Paid as a lump-sum payment
- Converted into cash in lieu of using the donated leave
- Used to supplement OJI pay
- Used when on military leave, sabbatical, educational or personal leave of absence
Income Tax Considerations for Participation in the ESDP
Accrued Sick Leave, Retro Sick Leave and Non-TRS Sick Leave donated to the ESDP will not be included in taxable income of the donor and will not be tax deductible to the donor. The amounts paid to recipient employees under the program are includable in gross income of the recipient and subject to payroll and with holding taxes.
Accrual of Sick Leave While Using Donated Sick Leave
A federal disaster or emergency sick leave recipient using donated sick leave will continue to accrue sick leave at the same rate as if the employee were in a paid leave status. Sick leave accrued while using emergency donated sick leave will be paid first each pay period and will then be supplemented by donated leave.
Termination of the Emergency Sick Leave Donation Program
The federal disaster or emergency affecting the emergency sick leave recipient terminates at the earliest occurrence of one of the following conditions:
- When the University determines that the federal disaster or emergency has terminated.
- The ESDP will terminate for new application requests effective December 31, 2020, unless extended.
- When the employee terminates employment.
- At the end of the pay period in which Human Resources receives notification that the employee/recipient has been approved for long-term disability benefits.
Restoration of Unused Donated Sick Leave
Upon termination of the federal disaster or emergency (on December 31, 2020, unless extended):
- Any unused Accrued Sick Leave, Retro Sick Leave or Non-TRS Sick Leave donated to the ESDP must be returned to the sick leave donors.
- USA Human Resources must determine the amount of Accrued Sick Leave, Retro Sick Leave or Non-TRS Sick Leave to be restored to sick leave donors who, on the date sick leave restoration is made, are in an active employment status.
- The amount of unused Accrued Sick Leave, Retro Sick Leave or Non-TRS Sick Leave to be restored to each sick leave donor must be proportional to the amount of accrued sick leave,retro sick leave or non-TRS sick leave donated by the donor to the ESDP for the federal disaster or emergency.
- Any unused sick leave remaining after the distribution/restoration will be subject to forfeiture.
- Sick leave donated to the ESDP for a specific federal disaster or emergency may not be transferred to another ESDP established for a different federal disaster or emergency.