Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is the Leave Bank?


    A Leave Bank is a pooled fund of donated annual and restored leave. Eligible members draw leave from the bank to cover time out the office due to a personal or family medical emergency.

  • Q: How can an employee become a member of the Leave Bank?


    An eligible employee can enroll during an enrollment period using the “Leave Bank Membership” tab in ITAS. Existing employees may enroll during the annual fall open enrollment, which runs from mid-November to mid-December. A new employee may enroll within 60 days of his/her enter-on-duty date.  A membership contribution of one pay period’s accrual of annual leave is required.  Visit our membership page for more information.

  • Q: If an employee is unable to make the Leave Bank membership contribution, are they unable to join?


    If the applicant doesn't have sufficient leave to make the membership contribution or they're a VLTP or Leave Bank recipient, the membership contribution is automatically waived.

  • Q: When can I enroll and become a member of the Leave Bank?


    During the annual open enrollment period, which runs from mid-November through mid-December. The open enrollment period will last for at least 30 calendar days. A new employee may enroll within 60 days of his/her enter-on-duty date.

  • Q: How much leave must I contribute to join the Leave Bank?


    The yearly contribution amount will be one pay period’s worth of annual leave based on the employee’s annual leave category. This minimum contribution requirement also applies to part-time employees.

  • Q: What are the eligibility requirements for becoming a Leave Bank recipient?


    An applicant must:

    • Be a current Leave Bank member;
    • Experience a qualifying medical emergency, which is projected to result in at least 24 hours of non-pay status; and
    • Complete and submit a Leave Recipient package to the Leave Bank Office no later than 30 calendar days following the termination of the medical emergency.
  • Q: Can an employee apply to be a recipient in both the Leave Bank and the VLTP?


    Yes. Since the Leave Bank provides 100% of the medical need up to the yearly hourly caps (480 hours for personal and family medical emergencies), the only time a recipient would need leave under VLTP, in addition to the Leave Bank, is if he/she exceeds the cap.

  • Q: Will I need to join the Leave Bank each year to continue my membership?


    Once you join the Leave Bank, you will automatically be re-enrolled each year unless you take action in ITAS to opt out during the open enrollment period.

  • Q: Must I be enrolled in a Self and Family plan for the five (5) years immediately preceding retirement in order to be eligible to continue Self and Family coverage into retirement?


    The five (5) year requirement applies to coverage under the FEHB program.  If you are covered under a Self Only or a Self and Family enrollment for the five (5) years immediately preceding retirement, you are eligible to continue your FEHB coverage into retirement.

  • Q: Can I continue health insurance coverage if my spouse dies while employed?


    It depends.  The following applies:

    If the employee had a Self and Family enrollment at the date of death and a survivor annuity is payable, the surviving spouse can continue health insurance coverage.

    • The enrollment must be immediate, and there can be no lapse in coverage.
    • The premiums will be deducted from the survivor annuity.

    If the employee had a Self and Family enrollment at the date of death, but no survivor annuity is payable--these survivors are not eligible for Temporary Continuation of Coverage.

    • The enrollment in Temporary Continuation of Coverage will terminate within 30 days.
    • The survivor has the right to convert to an individual policy within 30 days.

    If the employee had a Self Only enrollment at the date of death, the enrollment terminates at death with no right to enroll or convert for the survivor.

  • Q: What is Civil?


    Civil is a team of NIH experts that promotes civil behavior in the NIH workplace.

    • The phone number is 301-40-“C-i-v-i-l” or 301-402-4845; TTY at 301-402-9499.
    • Civil is a place to call if you have questions or concerns about harassing, intimidating, or threatening workplace behaviors.
    • The Civil Response Team draws upon its membership from many NIH resources, including management; Employee and Labor Relations; the Office of the Ombudsman; the Employee Assistance Program; the NIH Police; the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and others, to help prevent or respond to situations involving harassment, bullying, intimidation, threats, or violence.
    • To ask questions or share concerns regarding the NIH Civil Program or if you would like a presentation tailored to meet the needs or your organization, please contact:
  • Q: Why should I call Civil?


    Contacting Civil can help minimize or eliminate violence at work.

    • This team can provide a sounding board for problem-solving in these matters.
    • The NIH policy states that all individuals are to report threats and acts of violence, so that we can maintain a safe work environment for all our staff and visitors.
    • Anyone who reports in good faith a legitimate concern about threats or violence or who participates in investigations is assured protection from reprisals.
    • Civil is an NIH resource that people may use to report threats of violence, harassment, intimidation or other disruptive behavior and get information about appropriate next steps. 
  • Q: What kinds of things should I call Civil about?


    You can call about any behavior you find upsetting, disruptive, or potentially violent. This includes:

    • sexual harassment or unwelcome sexual advances
    • concerns about yourself or a colleague whom you think may be considering harm to self or others
    • unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that creates a work environment that is hostile, intimidating, or offensive
    • disruptive or concerning behavior
    • worries about domestic violence spilling over into the workplace
    • threatening behavior or threatening statements, such as, “someone will pay for that” or “that’s what causes people to bring in guns or go postal. “

    In instances where violence is imminent, first:

    • Secure your personal safety and that of others
    • Call the NIH or local police by calling 911 (or dial 9, then 911 if you are off campus).
  • Q: What will Civil do when I call?


    Civil team members will talk with you, help you assess the situation, and help you determine what you or others could do about it.

    • Civil may refer you to its individual members for you to pursue your options further, and/or
    • Civil may convene a team meeting to share ideas and develop a solution.
  • Q: If I call Civil, will my call be kept confidential?


    You do not have to provide your name when you contact Civil.  However, while Civil cannot guarantee confidentiality, callers may remain anonymous with the understanding that:

    • a review or inquiry to look into the situation will be conducted to the greatest extent possible based on the information available, but the scope may be limited in the absence of detailed information;
    • the resulting actions for the subject of allegations may be limited without sufficient supporting information; and
    • the subject of the allegations may be able to figure out who may have reported them if NIH takes any steps to address the matter.

    NOTE: All NIH supervisors and managers have an obligation to report allegations of harassment and potential harm to self or others immediately.

  • Q: Are records kept when people call Civil?


    We maintain a record of all calls so that we have information about the kinds of concerns and potential problems raised. This helps us determine if we need to provide additional information on our website, training courses, or other ways to respond to NIH concerns. Records of calls for general information only do not identify the caller by name or office.

  • Q: Will I know what happened after I contact Civil?


    A follow-up call will usually be made if an action plan has been developed or a referral suggested. These calls are made to be sure the plan is working or the referral was helpful and that no additional issues need to be addressed. We also solicit feedback as to how well Civil is doing in responding to people’s concerns.

  • Q: What are NIH plans for implementing competencies?


    Suggested competency models have been created for common occupations across NIH. These competency models are available as an example of what knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors are needed for each position. Employees and supervisors can use the competencies dictionary to identify the competencies that are needed for success in a specific position. Managers can use competencies to help identify skills needed in prospective job applicants.

  • Q: What is the relationship between performance and competencies?


    The relationship between competencies and performance is indirect. As employees increase their proficiency levels, their performance outputs would generally be expected to improve. Organizations whose employees have high proficiency levels are organizations that would be expected to have superior organizational performance. However, this is not always the case. An individual may possess the required knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors but may be performing at a lower level than expected due to various factors, e.g., personal problems, lack of focus, job dissatisfaction, negative reaction to organizational change, lack of organizational resources, etc.

    Employees are rated on performance in relation to how well they have accomplished the tasks set out in their performance plans. Performance plans establish specific tasks and expectations for various positions and employee grade levels and this is the basis for performance evaluation.

  • Q: What if there are other competencies that are relevant for my job but are not included in the models?


    The NIH occupational models describe the global competencies required for all employees in a specific occupation. The occupational models do not describe every competency relevant to a job. If there are other competencies important to your specific job/role, you should discuss them with your supervisor and determine the best approach for incorporating them into your overall career development plan.

  • Q: How do NIH and HHS competencies relate to each other?


    HHS competency models were reviewed during the development process of NIH competency models. The two models are compatible. Although there are differences in some of the names of the competencies and key behaviors, the NIH competencies incorporate the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) described in the HHS competencies.