Board Policy 5.44 Employee Leave Donation Approved

Board Policy 5.44 Employee Leave Donation Approved August 22, 2017
Posted on 09/12/2017

5.44. Employee Leave Donation

The Employee Leave Donation Policy permits temporary salary and benefits continuation for eligible employees who have exhausted all paid leave when an employee experiences a catastrophic illness or serious injury, or an eligible employee is needed to care for an immediate family member who experiences a catastrophic illness or serious injury.

This Policy also provides an opportunity for qualifying employees to voluntarily donate leave to another qualifying employee.  This option is required by N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-7-22 (2014).

The Board of Education, by adopting this Policy, expressly reserves unto itself the right to change, modify or terminate any or all provisions of this Policy at any time it deems necessary.

The Board of Education does not intend for this Policy to create a trust relationship among the participating employees and/or employees and the Board, nor does the Board intend to create a contract right which may not be modified or extinguished in the future.  Rather, the Board intends to create a means of collectively, protecting, to some limited extent, individual participating employees from the detrimental effect of absences from the job, without pay, due to those reasons outlined in this Policy.

I.          DEFINITIONS

A.  Catastrophic Illness

An illness not consistent with ordinary illness, i.e., cancer, heart

attack, stroke, major surgery, and requiring absence from employment equal to or in excess of seven (7) consecutive working days.  Normal pregnancy is not a qualifying condition.  However, pregnancies involving extraordinary complications requiring hospitalization and/or home confinement equal to or in excess of seven (7) consecutive working days may be considered by the Personnel Department.  Substance abuse and related treatment, elective surgeries and co-dependency treatment are not qualifying conditions. 

B.   Serious Injury

Injury as the result of an accident requiring extensive and intensive hospitalization or home care, and requiring absence from employment equal to or in excess of seven (7) consecutive working days.  Self-inflicted injuries or injuries incurred in the commission of crime or as part of a criminal act such as driving while intoxicated are not qualifying conditions.

Injuries for which the employee is receiving workers’ compensation benefits are not qualifying conditions.

C.  Immediate Family Member

Immediate family members shall be:  spouse, life-partner, father, mother, step-son, son, daughter, step-daughter, or adopted children of a qualified School District employee or any relative who resides in the same domicile as the employee.

D.  Eligible Employee

An “Eligible Employee” is:

  1. A full time employee who has been employed for, at minimum, twelve (12) months by the School District without a break in service prior to submission of a request for Employee Donation of Leave and
  2. not receiving any other supplemental payments (e.g., Workers' Compensation or Long Term Disability), and

3.  one who has exhausted all accrued paid leave (sick, personal and vacation) because of a catastrophic illness or serious injury, and

4.  not subject to investigation for disciplinary matters or for employee misconduct, and

5.  not on other long-term unpaid leave which was approved prior to the date of the qualifying sickness or injury and which does not qualify as FMLA leave, and

6.  one whose condition meets the definition of catastrophic illness or serious injury as set forth in this Policy.

7.  Employees are required to have long-term disability insurance to be eligible to receive donated leave under this Policy

E.  Eligible Donor

An “Eligible Donor” is:

1.   A full or part time employee who has accrued no less than 400 hours unused sick leave, and

2.  has not solicited or accepted anything of value in exchange for the donation and voluntarily chooses to donate accrued and unused sick leave to an Eligible Employee; and

3.   has completed the Employee Donation Leave Form.

F.  Termination

“Termination” as used in this Policy means the voluntary or involuntary separation of employment with the School District and includes retirement.

II.  LIMITATIONS; CONSEQUENCES

  1. Accrued sick leave shall be transferred in whole hour increments with a required one full (7 or 8 hours) work day based on the requestor’s work day.

B. An Eligible Donor must maintain a minimum balance of 320 hours of accrued sick leave after donation.

C.  Eligible employees must have long-term disability insurance at the time of the catastrophic illness or serious injury.  Sick Leave days shall not exceed 20 full work days. 

D. An Eligible Donor shall sign a form acknowledging that the donation is voluntary, and is donated for a particular school employee under the Policy. Any, and all, unused donated leave, at the end of a catastrophic illness or serious injury or when no longer needed by the employee receiving the donation, shall revert to the Eligible Donor (s) who donated leave to the employee on a prorated basis.   The Eligible Donor will not receive any compensation if the donated leave has not been used by the date of termination of the Eligible Donor’s employment with the School District.

E.  The total leave donations received by an Eligible Employee shall not exceed the amount necessary to cover the long-term disability-waiting period.

F.   Donation of accrued leave, including donation to a spouse who is an Eligible Employee, is prohibited in the case of work-related illnesses or injuries covered by workers’ compensation, long-term disability, or disability retirement benefits.

G. Elective or cosmetic surgery and other elective procedures are not included within the meaning of catastrophic illness or serious injury.

H. Routine pregnancy with normal delivery with no pre and/or post-natal complications is not a qualifying condition under this Policy.

  1. Unusual and catastrophic personal illness or serious injury may be defined to exclude recurring or congenital conditions, which would lead to an employee’s inability to fulfill his/her contractual obligations on a continual basis.

J.   Substance abuse and related treatment, elective surgeries, elective treatment and co-dependency treatment are not qualifying conditions under this Policy.

K. Self-inflicted injuries are not qualifying conditions under this Policy.

L. Injuries incurred in the commission of a crime or as part of a criminal act such as driving while intoxicated are not qualifying conditions under this Policy.

M. Leave awarded under this Policy may not be taken intermittently and must be used in full-day increments.

N. Treatment not requiring immediate attention which could have been obtained during the employee’s normal non-working period (i.e. winter break, spring break, summer break, etc.) does not qualify for donated leave.

O. Any fraudulent claim may result in: 1) forfeiture and/or repayment of donated benefits, and 2) disciplinary action, up to and including termination or discharge from employment.

P.  In the event the Eligible Employee does not exhaust all donated leave prior to return to work, termination or transfer to long term disability status, the balance of any unused Donated Leave shall be forfeited.

Q. An employee may not draw leave days under this Policy before reporting to work at the beginning of a contract school year unless the employee was receiving leave at the time the school year ended the school year prior.

R. Leave granted under this Policy is subject to the same restrictions and documentation as regular sick leave days under Board Policies.

S.   Employees who use three (3) or more consecutive days of leave under this Policy will also need to complete and submit required Family Medical Leave Act paperwork and documentation.

III. Procedures

  1. An employee requesting leave under this Policy shall complete an Employee Donation of Leave Request Form and submit it to his/her supervisor for review and signature. The supervisor shall provide the Personnel Department with the original request form for review and determination of eligibility.
  2. The Eligible Employee’s Employee Donation of Leave Request Form must include a certified document by a health care provider that describes the nature, severity and anticipated duration of the medical condition of the recipient and that includes a statement that the recipient is unable to work all or a portion of the recipient’s work hours which is satisfactory to the School District. In the case of an immediate family member, the certified document should include the need for the employee to care for the immediate family member.

C. Donated leave will be prorated by converting the value of the donor’s donated leave, based on the donor’s hourly rate of pay, into hours of leave for the recipient, based on the recipient’s hourly rate of pay.  The goal being that the donated leave provided under this Policy must be cost neutral to the School District, in that donated leave must be equal or exceeding in its costs to the leave provided under this Policy.

D. Los Lunas Schools reserves the right to determine whether an illness or injury qualifies under this Policy based on the information provided feedback form a licensed health care provider and may require additional information in order to determine whether the completed Employee Donation of Leave Request Form meets the requirements of this Policy.  As such, the School District reserves the right to require a second medical opinion at the expense of the applicant.  Medical procedures that may require a second medical opinion are listed below. (List is not all inclusive)

  1. Dilation and curettage - non-maternity, except for over the age of forty-five (45) and having a history of bleeding;
  2. Hysterectomy - non-maternity related, non-emergency;
  3. Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy;
  4. Inguinal hernia repair;
  5. Cholecystectomy - gall bladder, except when documented evidence of stones exist;
  6. Transurethral resection of prostrate;
  7. Surgical treatment of obesity;
  8. Cataract extraction;
  9. Laminectomy;
  10. Ligation of varicose veins; and
  11. Septoplasty

E. If the employee is eligible, the Leave Donation Committee shall approve or deny the request based on this Policy.   The Personnel Department will notify the Eligible Employee and his/her supervisor.

F.   The Personnel Department shall communicate the basis of the Request and time requested for donation of leave to staff via email. If the requesting Employee has indicated that s/he wishes to remain anonymous on the Leave Donation Request Form, the email requesting leave donations must maintain employee confidentiality.

G.   A committee will be appointed by the Superintendent.  The Leave Donation Committee shall consist of two (2) bargaining unit employees (this includes certified and ESP) and one (1) alternate, two (2) administrators and one (1) alternate, and one (1) central office administrator and one (1) alternate, who shall determine the  eligibility of the employee offering to donate Leave,

and shall maintain confidentiality if the Eligible Donor requests confidentiality.  The decision of the Leave Donation Committee shall be final and is not subject to any grievance procedure or review by the Board of Education.  Eligibility will be determined by a simple majority vote of the Leave Donation Committee.

An employee who is not satisfied with the decision of the Leave Donation Committee shall have the right to provide in writing additional information concerning facts that he or she believes would change the original decision no later than ten (10) working days from the date of the Leave Donation Committee’s decision.  The Leave Donation Committee shall review the evidence and issue an appropriate decision.

H. Donated Leave shall be transferred by the Payroll Department, from the Eligible Donor’s records to the Eligible Employee’s records only upon written approval of the Director of Personnel.

I.    The leave benefits received by the Eligible Employee shall be treated as any other benefit payment and shall be reduced by any required federal or state withholding taxes or other authorized withholdings.

J.   A time period for solicitation of donated leave will be a period of five work days.

K.  In the event that the employee requesting leave under this Policy does not receive donated leave from other employees, the requester will be notified in writing, no other action will be taken. 

L.  The Superintendent is authorized to adopt other procedures consistent with the foregoing Policy.

M. Any employee benefitting from leave, under this Policy will not be eligible for application of donated leave, more than once per calendar year.

N.  Any employee donating leave under this Policy will not jeopardize their sick leave incentive check, if applicable. 

O. Applications for leave for mental health treatment and alcohol/drug dependency treatment as a result of a school district employee assistance program or employer referral from members under the care of a licensed physician/licensed clinical psychologist must be accompanied by the physician’s statement which would include a brief outline of the therapeutic treatment plan that will be followed by the patient during the leave.

A progress report must be submitted by the physician or health care provider based on the treatment plan within thirty (30) days for the Personnel Department’s review.  Mental health and substance abuse applications may be subject to review by the Superintendent of Schools.

ADOPTED:  August 22, 2017

REVISED:

LEGAL REFERENCES:

CROSS REFERENCES:

LOS LUNAS BOARD OF EDUCATION

 

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