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Classified Employee Handbook

Catastrophic Leave

The purpose of this policy and the accompanying procedure is to establish a Catastrophic Leave Bank Program for the exclusive use of the regular, full-time employees of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as authorized by Act 169 of 1991 and according to the rules and regulations approved by the Department of Finance and Administration.

A. Policy
It shall be the policy of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to permit eligible, regular, full-time employees to voluntarily donate accrued annual and/or sick leave to the Catastrophic Leave Bank Program. It shall also be the policy of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to permit eligible, regular, full-time employees to voluntarily receive leave from the Catastrophic Leave Bank Program. The Catastrophic Leave Bank Program does not create any expectations or promises of continued employment with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is merely a means of assisting eligible University employees through medical emergencies, injuries and illness should they exhaust all earned sick, annual, holiday and compensatory leave time. The Catastrophic Leave Committee shall be composed of five members who represent a relative demographic cross-section of the University’s work force. Participation shall be voluntary and the administration of the Catastrophic Leave Bank Program shall be in accordance with Act 169 of 1991, Department of Finance and Administration Rules and Regulations and in compliance with the listed procedures.
B. Definitions
Catastrophic Illness means a medical condition of an employee as certified by a physician (or other individual as provided in A.C.A. 21-4-207 [a][2]) 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 University’s Catastrophic Leave Bank. Catastrophic Leave may be granted only in one (1) hour increments. While a leave recipient is on catastrophic leave, he or she shall receive normal benefits such as the University’s contributions to insurance and retirement.

Catastrophic Leave Bank means a pool of accrued annual and/or sick leave voluntarily donated by employees of the University in accordance with rules and regulations established in Act 169 of 1991 for use by other employees.

Catastrophic Leave Bank Program means a program approved by the Director of the Department of Finance and Administration and established, maintained, and administered by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to provide for the orderly authorization and administration of catastrophic leave.

Catastrophic Leave Committee means a committee comprised of five members who represent a relative demographic cross-section of the University’s work force and who review applications from employees for catastrophic leave, and in turn, make recommendations to the Chancellor relating to such leave.

Employee means a person who is regularly appointed or employed in a position of service by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock who is compensated on a full-time basis. A person who works less than full time (forty hours per week) is excluded from this definition, and as such, is not eligible to participate as a donor or recipient in a Catastrophic Leave Bank Program.

Leave Donor means an employee whose voluntary written request to donate accrued annual or sick leave to the Catastrophic Leave Bank has been reviewed by the Catastrophic Leave Committee and approved by the Chancellor. No employee shall be allowed to be a leave donor if such a donation will reduce that employee’s combined 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.) Accrued leave may be donated in no less than one (1) hour increments.

Leave Recipient means a current employee whose Catastrophic Leave Request has been recommended by the Catastrophic Leave Committee and approved by the Chancellor.

Medical Condition means a personal emergency limited to catastrophic and debilitating medical situations, severely complicated disabilities and severe accident cases which cause the employee to be incapacitated, require a prolonged period of recuperation and require the employee’s absence from duty as documented by a physician (or other individual as provided in A.C.A. 21-4-207[a][2]). 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 thirty (30) working days.

Substantial Loss of Income means a continuous period of time where the employee would not have otherwise been compensated by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock due to a medical condition and the exhaustion of all earned sick, annual, holiday, and compensatory leave, and such medical condition is not covered and compensated by Workers’ Compensation.

C. Catastrophic Leave Committee
The Catastrophic Leave Committee shall be comprised of five members. Three members shall be selected by the Staff Senate and two members selected by the Faculty Senate. These committee members must represent a cross-section of the employee population. Ex-officio, non-voting members will include a representative from Human Resource Services and a representative from Payroll.

The committee shall annually select their chairperson from the committee membership. Committee meetings will be scheduled on a regular basis.

The charge of the committee shall be:

  1. Review Catastrophic Leave Requests;
  2. Determine eligibility;
  3. Determine continuing eligibility; and,
  4. Recommend action to the Chancellor.
D. Donation to the Catastrophic Leave Bank
The Catastrophic Leave Committee shall screen leave donated by employees to ensure that the following criteria are met:

  1. Donation period will be during November and December unless the Catastrophic Leave Committee declares an emergency sign-up period due to a low level of hours in the Catastrophic Leave Bank. Sick and/or annual leave may be donated to the Catastrophic Leave Bank in no less than one (1) hour increments up to a combined total of 40 hours per year. The Chancellor reserves the right to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
  2. No employee shall be allowed to donate leave to the Catastrophic Leave Bank if such donation will reduce that employee’s accrued sick and annual leave balance to less than eighty (80) hours. This does not apply to employees who are terminating their employment. When an employee terminates employment, any unused leave may be donated to the Catastrophic Leave Bank at that time.
  3. Annual and/or sick leave which has been donated to the Catastrophic Leave Bank may not be restored to the employee who donated the leave time.
  4. Annual and/or sick leave donated to the Catastrophic Leave Bank by an employee cannot be designated to any one individual.
E. General Guidelines
  1. Only employees of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock shall be eligible to participate in the Catastrophic Leave Bank Program.
  2. The employee must be a regular/full-time employee.
  3. The employee must have been employed by the State of Arkansas for at least two (2) years in a regular full-time position (even though this two (2) years may not be continuous).
  4. The employee must have exhausted all sick, annual, holiday and compensatory leave.
  5. No employee shall be approved for catastrophic leave unless that employee is, or is reasonably expected to be, on leave without pay status.
  6. The illness or injury is not covered by Workers’ Compensation or all such benefits have been exhausted.
  7. The employee has not been disciplined for leave abuse during the past two (2) years.
  8. No employee shall be eligible for approved catastrophic leave in excess of six (6) continuous months unless it can be ascertained that the employee has been denied disability retirement or Social Security benefits. However, the employee has the option of reapplying for additional leave at the conclusion of the catastrophic leave period.
  9. Catastrophic leave shall not be awarded retroactively.
  10. No employee shall be approved for catastrophic leave unless that employee has provided an acceptable medical certificate from a physician (or other individual as provided by A.C.A. 21-4-207 [a][2]) supporting the continued absence and setting forth that the employee 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 shall be made available to the physician and to the Catastrophic Leave Committee.
  11. In no case shall catastrophic leave be granted beyond the date certified by the physician as the date when the employee is able to return to work.
  12. Catastrophic leave may not be used to assist in caring for an immediate family member.
  13. In the event that an employee on catastrophic leave is terminated, retires, expires or returns to work prior to expiration of previously approved catastrophic leave time, all unused catastrophic leave shall be returned to the Catastrophic Leave Bank.
  14. An employee shall be dismissed if such employee fails to report to work promptly at the expiration of the period of approved/granted catastrophic leave. Nothing, however, shall prevent the University of Arkansas at Little Rock from accepting satisfactory reasons for employee’s not returning at the specified time if such reasons are provided by the employee in advance of the date which the employee is scheduled to return to work and/or from granting leave without pay status to an employee prior to or after the expiration of such catastrophic leave if, in the view of the Chancellor, such action is warranted.
  15. Employees on catastrophic leave will continue to accrue leave in accordance with existing state leave policies and will receive the normal institution benefits including contributions to insurance, retirement, etc.
  16. 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.
  17. Employees on catastrophic leave will continue to draw their normal rate of pay. Catastrophic leave will not change an employee’s eligibility date; however, the award of the next anniversary increase will be delayed beyond the eligibility date for the same number of work days as the employee was on leave without pay and catastrophic leave.
  18. Recommendation from the Catastrophic Leave Committee to the Chancellor regarding catastrophic leave approval shall be made within two (2) weeks from receipt of application and other required documents.
  19. The decision of the Chancellor shall be final and binding. Nothing, however, shall prevent the Chancellor from taking into account the impact of a decision on the institution’s operation in granting or denying catastrophic leave or in modifying previously approved catastrophic leave, if, in the judgment of the Chancellor, such approved leave would seriously impact the institution’s operations.
  20. Applications for catastrophic leave shall be reviewed on a first filed, first reviewed basis. Catastrophic leave which would result in a negative balance in the Catastrophic Leave Bank shall not be approved.
F. Prohibition of Concern
No employee shall directly or indirectly intimidate, threaten, coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any other employee for the purpose of interfering with any such employee with respect to donating, receiving or using annual or sick leave. Any report of such described instances shall be reported in writing to the Chancellor. All written reports of such described instances shall be investigated thoroughly and appropriate disciplinary action shall be taken for any substantiated violation.
G. Supplying False Information and/or Abuse of Catastrophic Leave
  1. Any employee who should knowingly and/or purposefully provide false information to the Catastrophic Leave Committee in an attempt to gain approval of catastrophic leave time may be dismissed or receive some other type of disciplinary action.
  2. Any employee who knowingly abuses the use of approved catastrophic leave time for the purpose of monetary gain, recreational pleasures, or any such actions that are deemed contrary to the basic intent of the Catastrophic Leave Bank Program may be dismissed or receive some other type of disciplinary action.
H. Recordkeeping Requirements
In order to comply with rules and regulations established by the State of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Catastrophic Leave Program must include a record keeping procedure which tracks:

  1. The hours donated by each employee, the rate of pay and dollar value of such donated leave;
  2. The hours of catastrophic leave awarded, including the name of the recipient, position, and rate of pay; and,
  3. Any other such data as required by the Director of the Department of Finance and Administration.

These records should be retained by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock subject to audit by the Department of Finance and Administration and the Division of Legislative Audit.

I. Funding Resources
Salary payments to the leave recipient will be paid from the recipient’s departmental budget, the same as current sick and annual leave payments. Those departments needing assistance for funding a temporary employee to handle the workload of the employee on catastrophic leave will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
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Last revision 11/1995

Updated 10.26.2011