FAQ: Benefits

  • Q: 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.
  • Q: 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.

  • Q: 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.

  • Q: 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.

  • Q: 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.

  • Q: 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.

  • Q: 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.
  • Q: 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.
  • Q: 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.

  • Q: What should I do if my recipient VLTP or Leave Bank application is not approved?


    Under VLTP, you may discuss the disapproval with the VLTP Coordinator.

    Under the Leave Bank, you may submit an appeal request. Once appealed, the case will go to a different medical consultant for a new review.  If the decision is based on the amount of leave in the Bank, you may not appeal.

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


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

  • Q: What happens if I do not use all the hours I receive from the Leave Bank?


    Any unused hours must be returned to the Leave Bank.

  • Q: What are the current annual hourly caps for the Leave Bank?

    • 480 hours for personal medical emergencies per leave year
    • 480 hours for family medical emergencies per leave year
    • 720 hours for combined medical emergencies per leave year
  • Q: Do I need to exhaust my available paid leave to utilize Leave Bank hours?


    Available paid leave must be exhausted prior to use of leave donations through the Leave Bank. Any available paid leave will be deducted from the total amount of leave approved by the Leave Bank Board prior to transfer (remaining balance must be 24 hours or more).


    • Annual leave
    • Sick leave
    • Restored annual leave
    • Holiday hours
    • Voluntary Leave Transfer Program Donations (for the same medical emergency only)

    Does not include:

    • Credit hours
    • Advanced annual leave
    • Advanced sick leave
    • Leave Awards
  • Q: Can I use the Leave Bank for birth and recuperation, if I also qualify for Paid Parental Leave (PPL)?


    Yes. Leave Bank hours may be used if the employee also qualifies for PPL.

    Please note that Leave Bank hours can only be used for the portion of time in which the employee is experiencing a medical emergency or caring for a family member who is experiencing a medical emergency, i.e. for birth and recuperation purposes. The Leave Bank can offer 6 weeks immediately following delivery for a vaginal birth or 8 weeks for a C-section birth. The employee must first exhaust their sick and annual leave before utilizing Leave Bank hours.

    PPL is considered a form of FMLA and offers 12 weeks paid time-off that may be used within a 12-month period following the birth or placement of a child. As such, if the employee invokes FMLA during the 6 or 8 weeks whilst they are using Leave Bank hours, this time will deplete their 12 weeks of PPL.

    An employee does not have to invoke the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to utilize Leave Bank hours, but the Leave Approving Official (LAO) may deny Leave Bank hours on the timecard if FMLA is not invoked. If the employee does not invoke FMLA while using Leave Bank hours, the employee would receive 6-8 weeks of leave for the birth and recuperation period plus an additional 12 weeks of PPL.

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


    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. 

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


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


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


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


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