Chapter Two: Personnel
 
Procedure Title: Catastrophic Leave Bank Program
Based On: Board Policy 3
Procedure Number: 2.23c
Date Adopted/Revised: June 25, 2001; May 15, 2007; December 1, 2014

General Information

South Arkansas Community College’s (SACC) Catastrophic Leave Bank Program is established for its permanent employees similar to that in Arkansas Code 21-4-214; 21-4-217; 21-4-203; 6-63-601; 6-63-602. The South Arkansas Community College Catastrophic Leave Bank creates no expectation or promise of continued employment with a participating employee, and is intended simply to assist eligible employees during medical emergencies.

The Catastrophic Leave Bank is administered by the Human Resources Office. The Vice President for Finance and Administration serves as Chairman of the Catastrophic Leave Committee.

Definition of Terms

Catastrophic Illness means a medical condition of an employee or the spouse or parent of the employee, or a child of the employee who may be claimed as a dependent under Arkansas Income Tax Act of 1929, as certified by a physician (or other individual as provided in Arkansas Code Annotated 21-4-201 et seq.), which requires an employee's absence from duty for a prolonged period of time and which results in a substantial loss of income to the employee because of the exhaustion of all earned sick, annual, holiday, and compensatory leave time.

Catastrophic Leave means paid leave which is transferred to a leave recipient from the College's Catastrophic Leave Bank. Catastrophic Leave may be granted only in eight-hour increments. While a leave recipient is on Catastrophic Leave, he or she will receive normal benefits such as College contributions to insurance and retirement.

Catastrophic Leave Bank means a pool of accrued annual and sick leave voluntarily donated by employees which may be approved by the College for use by other employees who meet catastrophic illness eligibility requirements.

Catastrophic Leave Committee means a committee comprised of eight members who represent a relative demographic cross section of the College's work force and who review applications from employees for Catastrophic Leave and make recommendations to the President relating to such leave.

Certified Donor means a regular, benefits-eligible, full time employee or faculty member who has donated a minimum of eight (8) hours to the Catastrophic Leave Bank.

Eligible Recipients who are covered by the Uniform Attendance and Leave Policy Act (Ark. Code Ann. 21-4-201 through 214) must have a minimum leave balance of eighty (80) hours at the on-set of the catastrophic illness.

Employee means a person who is regularly appointed or employed in a regular position by the College who is compensated on a full-time basis. [A person who works less than full-time (40 hours per week) is excluded from this definition, and as such, is not eligible to participate as a donor or recipient in the Catastrophic Leave Bank Program.]

Leave Donated Period is the period from November 15 to December 31 of each year in which leave hours may be donated to the Catastrophic Leave Bank. Eligible leave donors can elect to donate during this period. At the recommendation of the Catastrophic Leave Committee and with the approval of the President, an additional donor period may be declared between program Anniversary Dates. Terminating or retiring employees may donate upon separation.

Leave Donor means an employee whose voluntary written request to donate accrued annual or sick leave to the South Arkansas Community College's Catastrophic Leave Bank has been approved. No employee shall be allowed to be a leave donor if such donation will reduce that employee's accrued sick and annual leave to less than 80 hours. (Exception: an employee who is terminating employment may donate all accrued leave time and is not required to maintain the 80-hour leave balance.)

Medical Condition means a personal emergency limited to catastrophic and debilitating medical situations, severely complicated disabilities and severe accident cases of the employee or a qualifying family member, which causes the employee or qualifying family member to be incapacitated and requires a prolonged period of recuperation and which requires the employee's absence from duty as documented by a physician (or other individual as provided in AA.C.A. 21-4-201 et seq.) Routine disabilities or disabilities resulting from elective surgery do not qualify for catastrophic leave.

Prolonged Period of Time means a continuous period of time whereby a medical condition prevents the employee from performing the employee's duties. A prolonged period of time is interpreted to be a minimum of 30 working days.

Program Anniversary Date will be January 1 of each year.

Qualifying Family Member is a spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee as defined in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

Substantial Loss of Income means a continuous period of time where the employee will not have otherwise been compensated by SACC due to a medical condition and the exhaustion of all earned sick, annual, holiday, and compensatory leave.

  1. Catastrophic Leave Policy

    SACC's Catastrophic Leave Policy Committee will be comprised of appointed departmental representatives as follows :

    Faculty (2) (Academic)
    Student Affairs (2) (one classified and one non-classified)
    Finance and Administration (2) (VP for Finance and Administration and one classified)
    All Other Areas (2) (one classified and one non-classified) (Included are Information Technology, Institutional Effectiveness, and Federal Programs)

  2. Record Keeping

    The records for the Catastrophic Leave Program will be maintained in the Human Resources Office. Records will reflect the amount of leave donated by each employee, the rate of pay and dollar value of such donated leave at the time of donation, date, amount of Catastrophic Leave awarded, including the rate of pay and SSN, date of donation, and name of each recipient, and any other such data as required by the Director of the State of Arkansas’ Department of Finance and Administration.

  3. Implementation

    Meetings will be conducted to explain SACC's Catastrophic Leave Bank Program. The meetings will be conducted by the Vice President for Finance and Administration and Human Resources Office staff. Each employee eligible to participate in the Catastrophic Leave Bank Program may request an approved donor form from the Human Resources office. To voluntarily donate annual or sick leave to the program, eligible employees should complete the form, sign, and return to the Human Resources Office.

  4. Prohibition of Coercion

    It is the policy of SACC not to intimidate, threaten or coerce any employee for the purpose of interfering with any employee's decision to donate, receive, or use annual or sick leave. Any report of such described instances shall be reported in writing to the President. All written reports of such described instances shall be investigated thoroughly and appropriate disciplinary action may be taken for any substantiated violation.

  5. General Policies

    1. Accrued annual leave and/or sick leave may be donated to the Catastrophic Leave Bank.

    2. Catastrophic Leave with pay may be granted to an employee when such employee is incapacitated for the performance of the employee's duties due to a catastrophic illness or injury.

    3. Eligibility Qualifications:

      The applicant must be a regular, benefits-eligible, full-time faculty member, non-classified, or classified employee of the college. Adjunct faculty are excluded from this definition and as such are ineligible to participate as a recipient in the SACC Catastrophic Leave Bank Program. An employee who works less than full-time (forty hours per week) is excluded from this definition and as such is ineligible to participate as a recipient in the SACC Catastrophic Leave Bank.

      The employee has been employed by SACC for more than two consecutive years based on date of hire.

      The employee must be a “certified donor” as of the Program Anniversary Date of the current year and be an eligible recipient.

      Employees, who are certified as eligible leave donors and elect not to participate during the initial Catastrophic Leave Bank donation period, will not be allowed to enter until the next program anniversary date.

      The employee, at the onset of the illness or injury, had to his or her credit at least eighty (80) hours of combined sick and annual leave and has exhausted all such leave unless an exceptional circumstance waiver is granted by the President. Onset of illness means the initial beginning or start, as certified by a physician.

      An acceptable medical certificate from a physician supporting the continued absence is on file.

      The employee has not been disciplined for any leave abuse during the past two years.

    4. Any employee on Catastrophic Leave will continue to accrue leave in accordance with existing state leave policies and will receive normal benefits such as SACC contributions to insurance and retirement. Employees on catastrophic leave will also continue to receive their normal rate of pay. Catastrophic Leave will not change an employee's salary increase eligibility date; however, the award of the next merit salary increase will be delayed beyond the anniversary date for the same number of work days that the employee was on leave without pay and/or catastrophic leave. Any leave earned while an employee is on Catastrophic Leave must, as a condition of voluntary participation in the program, be assigned to the Catastrophic Leave Bank, and any restrictions concerning the maintenance of minimum leave balances shall not apply to such assignment.

    5. Any unused Catastrophic Leave will be returned to the program in the event the employee is terminated, retires, or returns to work prior to the expiration of the previously approved Catastrophic Leave period. Annual and/or sick leave which has been donated to the SACC Catastrophic Leave Bank may not be restored to the employee who donated the leave time. An employee may be dismissed if such employee fails to report to work promptly at the expiration of the period of approved catastrophic leave. Nothing, however, shall prevent SACC from accepting satisfactory reasons provided by the employee in advance of the date the employee is scheduled to return to work, and from granting leave without pay status to an employee prior to and after the expiration of such Catastrophic Leave if such action is warranted.

    6. Accrued leave may only be donated to the Catastrophic Leave Program in eight-hour increments. Catastrophic Leave may be granted only in eight-hour increments. Unused hours of awarded Catastrophic Leave will be returned to SACC Catastrophic Leave Bank. No employee shall be allowed to donate leave to SACC's program if such donation will reduce that employee's combined accrued sick leave and annual leave balance to less than 80 hours.

    7. The Catastrophic Leave Bank Program does not create any expectation or promise of continued employment.

  6. Committee Guidelines and Catastrophic Leave Bank Administration

    The Catastrophic Leave Committee shall meet as needed to review all catastrophic leave requests. The Human Resources Office staff will be responsible for submitting to the Committee only those requests that meet minimum qualifications. The Committee shall utilize the following guidelines to review catastrophic leave requests:

    1. Catastrophic Leave shall be granted in increments of no more than 30 working days (240 hours). As necessary, additional requests may be made and reviewed. No employee shall be eligible for approved Catastrophic Leave in excess of the current FMLA status of twelve (12) workweeks for eligible employees or twenty-six (26) workweeks for FMLA covered military service members or military caregivers. Only eligible employees of the college may participate in the SACC Catastrophic Leave Bank Program. Catastrophic leave shall not be awarded retroactively. Faculty members shall not be paid for catastrophic leave time which falls between their appointment/contract dates. No employee shall be approved for catastrophic leave unless that employee is, or is reasonably expected to be, on leave-without-pay status as a result of the catastrophic illness.

    2. If the illness or injury is that of an employee and is covered by worker's compensation, the compensation based on catastrophic leave when combined with the weekly worker's compensation benefit received by the employee shall not exceed the compensation being received by the employee at the onset of the illness or injury.

    3. No employee shall be approved for Catastrophic Leave unless the employee has provided an acceptable medical certificate from a physician supporting the continued absence, and setting forth that the employee or a qualified family member is and will continue to be incapacitated from performing the employee's duties due to a catastrophic illness. Information relative to the employee's assigned duties such as functional job descriptions should be made available to the physician and to the Catastrophic Leave Committee.

    4. In no case shall Catastrophic Leave be granted beyond the date the physician certifies that the employee is able to return to work because the health of either the employee or the qualifying family member has sufficiently improved.

    5. Catastrophic Leave which would result in negative balance in SACC's Catastrophic Leave Bank shall not be approved.

    6. Determinations by the Catastrophic Leave Committee shall be reviewed by the President of SACC.

    7. The decision of the President shall be final and binding. Nothing shall prevent the President from taking into account the impact on the College's operation in granting or denying Catastrophic Leave or in modifying previously approved Catastrophic Leave if, in the judgment of the President, such approved leave would seriously impact the College's operation. In exceptional circumstances, the President may allow catastrophic leave that does not conform to all applicable policies.

    8. Applications for Catastrophic Leave shall be reviewed on a first-filed, first-considered basis. Approval does not guarantee that a catastrophic leave applicant will receive leave should there be a zero balance in the SACC Catastrophic Leave Bank.