FAQ: Leave

  • Q: Who is considered a family member for Leave Bank purposes?

    A: 

    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.
  • Q: Can I donate more annual leave than the required contribution amount during an enrollment period in the Leave Bank program?

    A: 

    Yes.  Visit our Leave Bank donation page for more information.

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

    A: 

    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.

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

    A: 

    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.

  • Q: What is the difference between the Leave Bank and the VLTP?

    A: 

    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.

  • Q: Under ELTP, what if I do not use all of the leave I am given?

    A: 

    If you have not used all the leave you were granted within a month of your estimated end date, you will be asked whether the time needs to be extended. If the original need for the leave is over, any remaining leave will be returned to the leave bank to be distributed.

  • Q: Can I use ELTP to volunteer for disaster relief efforts?

    A: 

    No.  ELTP, as described above, is only for those employees directly affected or employees whose family members were directly affected by a major disaster or emergency. ELTP cannot be used in order to “volunteer” to help the situation.

  • Q: Is there a limit on how much leave a person can receive under the ELTP?

    A: 

    Yes. You may not receive more than 240 hours of donated leave at one time.

  • Q: How do I apply to become an ELTP Recipient?

    A: 

    Submit an OPM Form 1637, Application to Become a Leave Recipient under the Emergency Leave Transfer Program and OPM Form 71, Request for Leave or Approved Absence (both can be found on the OPM website) to your supervisor for approval.

  • Q: Do I have to have a medical condition (or be caring for a family member who has one) because of a major disaster or emergency in order to apply to receive leave under ELTP?

    A: 

    No. The ELTP covers more than just medical conditions.  Perhaps you need time to file insurance claims for lost property, or to assist a family member relocate from a major disaster or emergency area.  In order to receive leave under ELTP, you need only to demonstrate “severe hardship resulting in required absence from work.”

  • Q: Do I have to exhaust all my own annual and sick leave before I can receive leave donated under ELTP?

    A: 

    No.

  • Q: Who is eligible to receive donated leave under the HHS ELTP?

    A: 

    To be eligible as a recipient under the ELTP, an employee or an employee’s family member must be adversely and directly affected by a major disaster or emergency which causes severe hardship to the employee or the employee’s family member to such a degree that the employee’s absence from work is required. An emergency leave recipient may only use donated annual leave to care for a family member if that family member has no reasonable access to other forms of assistance.

  • Q: Who is considered a family member under ELTP?

    A: 

    The definition of family member covers a wide range of relationships, including spouse; parents; parents-in-law, children; brothers; sisters; grandparents; grandchildren; step parents; step children; foster parents; foster children; guardianship relationships; same sex and opposite sex domestic partners; and spouses or domestic partners of the aforementioned, as applicable. The list of family members for whom an employee may request donated annual leave under the ELTP may be found at OPM.

  • Q: Can I use ELTP leave to assist a family member?

    A: 

    Perhaps.  It depends on the amount of leave in the bank available.  Employees directly impacted by the major disaster or emergency have first priority to available leave.  Employees who need to assist family members impacted by the event have secondary priority to the leave.

  • Q: I am a member of the Commissioned Corps. Can I donate annual leave to the ELTP?

    A: 

    No. Commissioned Corps members are not eligible to participate in the HHS ELTP, either as a leave donor or as a recipient.

  • Q: Does leave I donate to the ELTP count against the donation limit to the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP)?

    A: 

    No.  Donations made to the ELTP do not count against the limitation to the donations under VLTP.

  • Q: What if the annual leave I donate to the ELTP does not get used?

    A: 

    When the emergency ends, you will receive a proportional share of any unused leave remaining in the bank.

  • Q: May I give my donated annual leave to a specific individual, as is the case under the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP)?

    A: 

    No.  According to government-wide regulations, donations to an ELTP may not be directed to a specific individual.  Donations made to an ELTP are applied towards a central pool.

  • Q: Can I donate some of my accrued sick leave to the ELTP?

    A: 

    No.  According to government-wide regulations for the ELTP, employees may ONLY donate accrued annual leave to the program.

  • Q: How much annual leave may I donate to the ELTP?

    A: 

    The minimum number of hours of annual leave that can be donated is 1 hour.  The maximum number of hours of annual leave that can be donated in a leave year is 104 hours.

  • Q: How do I donate annual leave to the HHS ELTP?

    A: 

    You [or your timekeeper or administrative officer (AO) on your behalf] may donate the leave through the time and attendance system (ITAS).  Just click on the left menu item “Donate Leave.”  Once in that screen, choose the VLTP recipient set up as “ELTP, HHS.”  Select a leave type (either annual leave or restored annual leave, as appropriate) and insert the number of hours you wish to donate.  Click on “OK.”  You and your Leave Approving Official (LAO) will receive an e-mail with information regarding your donation.  Once your LAO approves the donation, the hours will be deducted from your leave balance in the time and attendance system. 

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