Effective Date: September 01, 2022
Expiration Date: September 01, 2027
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5.1.1 Under the VLTP, an employee may donate accrued annual leave to an approved leave recipient during a medical emergency as defined in 5 CFR pt. 630.
5.1.2 VLTP was created to fill a gap for employees during a temporary medical emergency or while awaiting approval for disability retirement. This program is not a replacement for disability retirement. In addition to meeting the eligibility requirements, approval of VLTP participation should balance an employee’s individual needs with the need to ensure organizational work requirements are fulfilled and Agency operations are conducted efficiently and effectively. Accordingly, supervisors should consider the following factors when approving or denying an eligible employee’s request:
a. The mission needs of the organization.
b. Whether there are other options better suited to the situation, such as telework, a change in work schedule, etc.
c. The likelihood the employee will return to work. If the medical documentation is unclear about the employee’s ability to return to work, a disability retirement may be an appropriate course of action for the employee to consider. Supervisors should consult with the servicing HR office and Medical Officer for guidance.
5.1.3 An approved leave recipient, who is a member of the VLBP, shall exhaust donated leave from the VLTP before using donated leave from the leave bank.
5.1.4 VLTP is a discretionary benefit; therefore, management may remove an approved recipient from the programs at any point if it is deemed in the best interest of the Agency. For example, the employee has been an approved recipient for more than one year or there is no expectation that the employee will return to work in the near future.
5.2.1 Employees affected by a personal or a family member’s medical emergency may apply to become a leave recipient by submitting a request in the Agency time and attendance system in accordance with Agency instructions.
5.2.2 If an employee is unable to submit a request, they may request assistance from their supervisor or a personal representative may submit a request and otherwise act on their behalf.
5.2.3 When a medical condition is ongoing, to continue enrollment in the program, the leave recipient or their personal representative shall provide updated medical certification, as requested by the supervisor or the NSSC, to determine the projected date that the medical emergency is expected to terminate. This provision does not apply to employees who have submitted an application for disability retirement to OPM. Information will be safeguarded and maintained separately from other personnel records to ensure the security and confidentiality of medical documentation.
5.3.1 The NSSC determines program eligibility and notifies the employee, the supervisor, and servicing HR office of such determination. Ineligible determinations will include a written explanation. Once an employee is determined eligible, program participation is subject to supervisory approval.
5.3.2 Supervisors shall monitor the medical emergency of their employee and promptly notify the NSSC of any status changes.
5.4.1 Servicing HR Directors shall approve or deny continued enrollment in the leave transfer program for medical emergencies expected to last more than one year. When appropriate, HR Directors should consult with an Agency Medical Officer. Extension decisions will be in writing and provided to the supervisor, employee, and the NSSC.
5.4.2 Approvals are appropriate when there is evidence (i.e., a prognosis) that the medical emergency is expected to terminate, the employee may recover in the foreseeable future and is expected to return to work, or when the employee has applied for disability retirement and is waiting for a decision from OPM.
5.5.1 Employees shall provide notice to their supervisor and to the NSSC via the Agency time and attendance system in accordance with Agency guidance when the medical emergency ends.
5.5.2 An employee may use donated leave up to the date of termination of the medical emergency. If the employee has insufficient leave donations on the date the medical emergency terminates, the NSSC will continue to accept donated leave for up to two pay periods following the end of the medical emergency for the purpose of providing a leave recipient time to receive adequate donations of leave during the medical emergency.
5.5.3 Upon termination of the medical emergency, any unused transferred annual leave will be restored to the leave donor(s).
5.6.1 Employees may donate accrued annual leave, which includes restored annual leave to a specific leave recipient, by submitting an application through the Agency time and attendance system. Employees may not donate leave to their immediate supervisor.
5.6.2 Once a donation has been processed in the Agency’s personnel and payroll system, it cannot be canceled. If an employee submits a request to donate leave and subsequently elects to cancel the donation, the cancellation request can only be honored if the donation has not already been processed in the personnel and payroll system.
5.6.3 Unless a waiver is requested and approved, a leave donor may not donate more than one-half of the amount of annual leave he or she would be entitled to accrue during the leave year in which the donation is made. An employee with “use or lose” annual leave may donate the lesser of one-half of the annual leave they would accrue in a leave year or the number of hours remaining in the leave year (as of the date of the leave transfer) for which the employee is scheduled to work and receive pay. This limit is set by OPM.
5.6.4 Accrual rate/maximum leave donation:
a. 8-hour annual leave category = 104 hours
b. 6-hour annual leave category = 78 hours
c. 4-hour annual leave category = 52 hours
5.7.1 A waiver is required to donate annual leave above the regulatory limitation. This limitation applies regardless of whether the leave is donated consecutively or intermittently during the leave year. The maximum leave donation limits apply to the total amount of annual leave an employee may donate to the VLTP and the VLBP in a leave year.
5.7.2 Supervisors, in consultation with the servicing HR office, have the authority to grant waivers of the annual leave donation limitations for VLTP when the leave donor has sufficient leave to cover the proposed donation, a reasonable amount of annual leave remains for personal use during the leave year, and it is anticipated that there will be insufficient donations to meet the needs of the recipient.
5.7.3 Leave donors shall submit a written request for a waiver to their supervisor with the following information:
a. The reason for the request.
b. The number of hours the donor has already donated to the leave transfer and leave bank programs in the current leave year and the number of hours requested that exceed the leave limitation.
c. Self-certification that the employee has sufficient leave to cover the proposed donation and a reasonable amount of annual leave remaining for personal use during the leave year. Self-certification is not required when the employee is donating leave that would otherwise be forfeited at the end of the current leave year.
5.7.4 HR Directors or their designees should approve waiver requests for donations when leave is considered use or lose or expiring restored annual leave and the recipient needs leave donations.
5.7.5 Donations will not be approved when it would potentially place the donating employee at risk of not having a reasonable amount of available annual leave. HR Directors or their designees may also approve a lower amount of hours than requested.
5.7.6 Decisions will be in writing in accordance with regulatory requirements, will include an explanation for denials, and will be provided to the employee/leave donor and the NSSC.
5.8.1 Once a leave recipient begins using donated leave, the employee continues to accrue annual and sick leave at the same rate as if the employee were in a paid leave status, up to 40 hours in each category in a separate leave account (set-aside). Once 40 hours are accumulated in each leave category, the accumulation stops in the separate leave account, even if the medical emergency still exists. When an employee is in a shared leave status (i.e., using transferred leave), they are not entitled to receive or use advanced annual leave.
5.8.2 After the termination of the medical emergency, if eligible, the employee will be credited with the amount of annual leave expected to accrue during the remainder of the leave year; however, it may not be used to liquidate any indebtedness for advanced sick leave.
5.9.1 For retroactive coverage to the beginning of the medical emergency, employees may apply for the VLTP up to 30 calendar days after the end of the medical emergency. Leave donations can only be received during the 30 calendar days following the end of the medical emergency.
5.9.2 Donated annual leave may be substituted retroactively for periods of LWOP, advanced annual leave, or advanced sick leave that was granted to an approved leave recipient to cover absences during a medical emergency.
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