Frequently Asked Questions: Leave

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.

Who is eligible to become a member of Leave Bank?

Federal civilian employees of the NIH.

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

An eligible employee can enroll during an enrollment period. A membership contribution of one pay period’s accrual of annual leave is required.

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 participant, the membership contribution is automatically waived.

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

There will be an annual open enrollment period, mid-November through mid-December. The open enrollment period will last for at least 30 calendar days.

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.

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 may donate leave to the Leave Bank?

Any Federal civilian employee.

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 caps, the only time a recipient would need leave under VLTP, in addition to the Leave Bank, is if he/she exceeds the cap.

What is FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides covered employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave without pay (LWOP) during any 12 month period for certain family and medical needs.

Does an employee have to recertify their medical certification?

Your leave approving official may require subsequent medical recertification on a periodic basis, but not more than once every 30 calendar days. If your health care provider has specified on the medical certification a minimum duration of the period of incapacity, NIH may not request recertification until that period has passed.

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

Only if the employee invokes FMLA.

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 and when can I cancel my Leave Bank membership?

You may opt out during an open enrollment period using ITAS.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

What should I do if my recipient VLTP 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.

How long does it take to process my Leave Bank recipient application?

Recipient applications are processed within 10 business days.

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

Yes.

Pages