Page 37 Section 6b. Voluntary Shared Leave Program Purpose There are occurrences brought about by serious and prolonged medical conditions that cause employees to exhaust all available leave and therefore be placed on leave without pay. This policy provides a safety net against salary interruption for employees who have such a catastrophic health condition (or that of an immediate family member) causing them to be unable to perform their assigned job duties. Since these employees could be without income at the most critical point in their work life, this policy is intended to provide an opportunity for employees to assist another affected by a medical condition or that of an immediate family member that requires absence from duty for a period of time resulting in possible loss of income due to lack of accumulated leave. The purpose is not to provide unlimited sick leave for any medical reason and it does not permit “banking” of leave. Donated Leave An employee donating leave may elect to donate a minimum of four hours of vacation leave, or compensatory time. Those working in Emergency Services, Sheriff’s Department or EMS (or other similar shift environments that accrue holiday leave) may donate any accumulated holiday leave time. Vacation leave of the donor must not drop below 80 hours of leave after any donation. Sick leave may not be donated due to its eligibility for retirement credit. Leave donated shall be kept confidential. Only individual employees may reveal their donation or receipt of leave. Eligibility Any full-time employee with one year of Haywood County service is eligible to donate or request leave. An employee requesting leave through the Shared Leave program must first exhaust all earned, unused sick and vacation leave. An employee who is unable to work due to an accident, chronic illness or major medical condition (or due to the FMLA eligible illness of an immediate family member) is eligible to request participation in the Shared Leave program upon documentation of the need for leave by a physician. An employee may receive an unlimited number of hours of donated leave throughout a calendar year through the Shared Leave program, however, Shared Leave may not be used to extend an employee’s time in leave status beyond one year from the last date worked unless approved through the Human Resources Director and the County Manager. The following situations are not eligible for Shared Leave: a) Elective surgery; b) An employee receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits; c) Any employee’s donation of leave to a participant in the Shared Leave program is voluntary. Direct solicitation of employees for Shared Leave donations is not permitted. An employee may not 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 leave under this program. Such action shall be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal on the basis of personal conduct. Process In order to receive voluntary shared leave, an employee must have complied with existing leave rules and: have a prolonged medical condition (or a member of the employee’s immediate family has a medical condition that requires the employee’s absence for a prolonged period of time), Complete the application form to become a recipient, Produce a physician’s statement to support the need for leave beyond the available accumulated leave, and; Have the request for Shared Leave reviewed by the Human Resources Director for eligibility, and be approved by the department head and the County Manager. An employee who wishes to donate Leave to an employee requesting Shared Leave must complete a “Shared Leave Donation” form and submit this to the Human Resources Director within the time period specified for the request. Once a Shared Leave request is approved, the Human Resources Director may advise all County employees regarding the request for shared leave, releasing only the information authorized in writing by the employee. The Human Resources Director may elect to release the request first to employees in the requesting employee’s department before communicating the request to all County employees. Non-exempt employees may make donations of leave which must be a minimum of four hours. Exempt employees must donate a full day (eight hours). Donated leave hours are transferred from the employee(s) donating leave to the employee receiving the Shared Leave. Once leave is donated and transferred to the employee receiving the leave, it may not be returned to the donating employee. During the period an employee is using Shared Leave, the employee continues to be in a leave earning capacity, and is entitled to holidays, receive any salary increase for which otherwise eligible, and may receive benefits offered under the County’s group insurance policies. If a recipient separates due to resignation, death, or retirement, participation in the program ends. Unused leave shall be returned to the donor(s) on a prorata basis and credited to the same account from which it originally came.