Frequently Asked Questions: Leave Bank

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.

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.

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.

Who may donate leave to the Leave Bank?

Any Federal civilian employee. Visit our Leave Bank donation page for more information.

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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

Who is eligible to become a member of Leave Bank?

Federal civilian employees of the NIH.

Will employees on “leave restrictions” be allowed to apply and receive donations from the Leave Bank?

The Leave Bank Office will consult with the Employee Relations Specialist and make determinations on an individual basis.

Can I donate sick leave to the Leave Bank?

No. By law, sick leave cannot be donated to a Leave Bank or a recipient of the VLTP.

Can I change my mind after I have donated leave to the Leave Bank and request to have my leave returned?

No. By law, donations to a Leave Bank or to a Leave Recipient cannot be returned to the donor after the donation has been processed.

What is the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP)?

The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) allows an employee to donate annual leave directly to another employee who has a personal or family medical emergency.

Who is considered a family member for Leave Bank purposes?

A family member means an individual with any of the following relationships to the employee:

  • Spouse, and parents thereof;
  • Sons and daughters, and spouses thereof;
  • Parents, and spouses thereof;
  • Grandparents and grandchildren, and spouses thereof;
  • Domestic partner and parents thereof, including domestic parents of any individual in 2 through 5 of this definition; and
  • Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
What happens to my Leave Bank membership if I resign, retire, or transfer, etc.?

Membership is automatically cancelled when an employee resigns, retires, transfers to another Federal agency, or dies. The cancellation is effective on the date of the action. There is no refund of the membership contribution or leave donation.

What is the difference between the Leave Bank and the VLTP?

Both are leave sharing programs that depend on generous annual leave donations to provide paid leave to employees experiencing a personal and/or family medical emergency.  The primary difference is that the VLTP requires a direct donation from the donor to the recipient; whereas, in the Leave Bank Program, donations go into the bank and are distributed by the Leave Bank Board.

How and when can I cancel my Leave Bank membership?

You may opt out for the upcoming membership year during the annual open enrollment period using ITAS.

Why do we need a Leave Bank in addition to the VLTP?

Under the VLTP, employees in need of leave must rely on friends and co-workers to donate annual leave.  Should these requests for donations go unanswered, the Leave Bank is available. Under the Leave Bank, a reserve of leave hours is available to all Leave Bank members who are approved to be a leave recipient. Some employees choose the Leave Bank because it does not disclose medical emergencies.

What period of time is covered by joining the Leave Bank during the open enrollment period?

One leave year, which starts with pay period one of the upcoming leave year and ends with the last pay period of the applicable leave year. If a new employee joins during his/her individual enrollment period, the membership will follow the entry on duty date through the last day of the last pay period of that year.

What are the eligibility requirements for becoming a VLTP recipient?

An applicant must:

  • Experience a qualifying medical emergency, which is projected to result in at least 24 hours of non-pay status; and
  • Complete and submit a VLTP form along with supporting medical documentation to the VLTP Coordinator no later than 30 calendar days following the termination of the medical emergency.
Can my Leave Bank recipient status be terminated?

Yes, a member’s recipient status can be terminated for:

  • Fraud, that is, falsifying medical documentation;
  • Inability to verify leave used or refusal of verification;
  • Falsifying time and attendance information; and
  • Using donated leave for hours unrelated to the medical emergency.
How long does it take to process my Leave Bank recipient application?

Recipient applications are processed within 10 business days following receipt of a completed application.

I am a Leave Approving Official, do I have to approve Leave Bank leave?

Only if the employee invokes FMLA.  Visit our LAOs page for more information.

Can a recipient, approved by both the Leave Bank and the VLTP, receive leave from both programs?