- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
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|FHWA Personnel Management Manual; Part 1: Personnel Systems & Procedures, Chapter 7 Leave - Leave Transfer Program (LTP)|
What is the Leave Transfer Program?
The leave transfer program (LTP) provides the opportunity for an employee who has exhausted his/her paid leave, due to a medical emergency involving self or a family member, to receive annual leave donated by another employee. The regulatory guidance for this program can be found in 5 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 630, Subpart I.
The leave transfer program was designed to assist employees who are experiencing significant financial hardship due to the medical emergency.
What is a medical emergency?
A medical emergency means a medical condition that an employee or a family member is experiencing that will require an employee’s absence from duty for a minimum of 24 consecutive work hours for a full time employee (30% of a regularly scheduled tour of duty for a part-time employee), without any available paid leave which results in a substantial loss of income. Advanced sick or annual leave is not considered available paid leave and therefore does not disqualify an employee as a leave recipient in the LTP.
Examples of medical emergencies include: serious illness, surgery, automobile accident injuries, or life threatening disease.
To become a leave recipient, an employee must make a written request through his/her supervisor to his/her Associate Administrator, Division Administrator, Director of Field Services, Chief Counsel, FLHD Engineer, or Resource Center Director. An employee may use OPM-630, Leave Recipient Application Under the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program http://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/opm630.pdf or make a written request. The employee must provide the following information:
Name, position, title, social security number, and grade or pay level;
The reasons donated leave is needed, including a brief description of the nature, severity, and anticipated duration of the medical emergency;
Medical certification from a physician with respect to the medical emergency, including the expected duration of the emergency; and if it is a recurring medical emergency, the approximate frequency of the medical emergency affecting the employee; and
The amount of unpaid leave that would have to be taken. To be eligible for the program, the medical emergency must cause the employee to be absent without pay for a minimum of 24 hours. For part-time employees, the amount of leave without pay would need to be at least 30% of the employee’s regularly scheduled tour of duty.
An employee may apply for the program in anticipation of a period of unpaid leave, which will be or exceed 24 hours. If the employee is caring for a family member who is facing a medical emergency, the employee must have exhausted the employee’s annual leave and the employee’s allowable sick leave to care for them (40 hours a calender year if the employee has less than 80 hours in the employee’s sick leave account and 104 hours a calender year if the employee maintains 80 hours in the employee’s sick leave account).
In the LTP, family member means the employee’s spouse, and their parents; children, including adopted children, and their spouses; parents; siblings and their spouses; and any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
Once approved for the program, a contact person acting on the employee’s behalf, will solicit annual leave donations through the e-mail and the Intranet. All leave transfers are coordinated with the FAA Payroll Branch through the LTP Coordinator in Headquarters.
Leave Recipient Responsibilities
It is the employee’s responsibility to keep his/her supervisor informed as to the status of his/her medical emergency. The Agency has the responsibility to continually monitor the status of the employee’s medical emergency to ensure that he/she continue to be affected by the medical emergency.
The employee’s case will be re-evaluated every 3 months and additional medical documentation may be requested to support his/her continued participation in the program. The employee’s supervisor may request medical documentation on a more frequent basis to support his/her absence and his/her use of donated leave.
If the employee is able to return to work on a temporary or part-time basis, but the medical emergency has not yet terminated, the employee’s supervisor may request medical documentation in accordance with the 5 CFR 339.104. The documentation must include a medical prognosis, an estimate of the expected date of recovery, and any recommended accommodation the Agency may need to take.
Once the employee is no longer affected by the medical emergency, he/she or his/her personal representative must notify his/her supervisor and contact point in writing. The employee’s notice will then be forwarded to the LTP Coordinator in Headquarters and the employee will be removed from the program at the end of the pay period.
Use of Donated Leave
The employee may use his/her donated annual leave only for absences related to his/her medical emergency, which warranted his/her approval into the leave transfer program. The approval and use of donated annual leave is subject to all of the conditions and requirements as the use of regular accrued annual leave. However, there is no limit on the amount of donated annual leave an employee can receive.
Donated leave may be substituted retroactively for any period of leave without pay or used to liquidate an indebtedness for any period of advanced leave that began on or after the date of the medical emergency, as determined by the approving official, based on medical documentation.
The employee cannot receive credit for the donated leave in a lump sum payment after separation and it cannot be re-credited to the employee if he/she returns to federal service after separation.
Earning and Use of Other Paid Leave While on the Program
While the employee is approved to be a leave recipient and are receiving donated leave, the employee will accrue annual and sick leave at his/her usual rate. However, the employee may not accrue and keep more than 40 hours of annual and 40 hours of sick leave while in the LTP. This leave is set aside for use after the employee’s medical emergency has ended or once all other leave has been exhausted. Any accrued annual leave (and sick leave when appropriate) greater than 40 hours must be used before using donated leave. If the employee returns to duty on a part-time or temporary basis during the medical emergency period, the annual and sick leave earned while the employee is working is placed in the employee’s regular leave accounts.
Advanced Sick Leave
Advanced sick leave (see PMM chapter 7, Leave), once approved by the appropriate official based on medical documentation, can be used in conjunction with the leave transfer program to avoid or minimize the use of leave without pay. Donated leave can also be used to pay off an advanced sick leave debt.
Program Termination as a Leave Recipient
Participation in the LTP as a leave recipient ends once the medical emergency is over. The medical emergency is considered over:
At the end of the pay period in which the FHWA receives written notice from the employee, as the leave recipient (or a personal representative), that the employee is no longer affected by a medical emergency;
When the employee is no longer a Federal employer;
At the end of the pay period in which the FHWA receives notice that the Office of Personnel Management has approved the employee’s application for disability retirement;
At the end of the pay period in which FHWA determines, after written notice and 10 calendar day opportunity for the employee (or his/her personal representative) to respond orally or in writing, that the employee is no longer affected by a medical emergency. See Supervisor Responsibilities for more information.
Restoration of Unused Transferred Leave
To the extent possible, donated annual leave remaining to the employee';s credit after the medical emergency ends is restored back to the leave donors. The amount of the unused donated leave to be restored is determined as follows:
Divide the number of hours of unused donated annual leave by the total number of hours of annual leave transferred to the leave recipient.
Multiply that ratio by the number of hours transferred by each leave donor eligible for restoration.
Round the result to the nearest hour.
If the total number of eligible leave donors exceeds the total number of hours of annual leave to be restored, no unused transferred annual leave can be restored. At the election of the leave donor, unused transferred annual leave may be credited in their current annual leave account; credited to their leave account effective as of the first day of the first leave year beginning after the date of election; or donated in whole or in part to another leave recipient.
Leave Donation Process
To donate annual leave to an approved leave recipient, complete form Optional Form 630-A Request to Donate Annual Leave (for a leave recipient within the Agency) or Optional Form 630-B (for a leave recipient outside of the Agency) and forward it to the contact point designated for that leave recipient, as provided on the leave request announcement or on the Leave Recipient List. The contact person will coordinate with the LTP Coordinator in Headquarters, Room 4322. Once processed, the "beginning balance" section of the employee's Statement of Earnings and Leave will reflect the employee's leave balance less the number of leave hours the employee donated.
Leave Donation Limitations
The employee may donate one-half of the amount of leave which the employee are entitled to accrue in a leave year. If the employee has use-or-lose leave, the maximum amount of leave that the employee may donate will be the lesser of: one-half of the amount of annual leave the employee would be entitled to accrue during the leave year or the number of hours remaining in the leave year (as of the date of the contribution) for which the employee is scheduled to work.
For example: The employee is in the 8 hour category with a balance of 380 hours of leave. To avoid forfeiting the employee’s use-or-lose hours exceeding 240, the employee wishes to donate 140 hours. However, there are only two weeks left in the leave year. The maximum amount that could be donated would be 80 hours, which equals the remaining hours left for the employee to work in the leave year. If the employee had come in earlier during the year, the employee could have donated 104 hours, which is half of the amount of annual leave that the employee is entitled to accrue during the leave year.
In unusual circumstances the limitation on the 104 hour maximum that FHWA employees can be waived by the Leave Transfer Program Coordinator if: 1) the recipient is facing a long term illness; 2) there is not enough leave donated; or 3) the donor is a relative of the recipient.
A leave donor cannot donate leave to his or her supervisor.
Donations From/To Employees Outside of the FHWA or DOT
Requests to donate leave will be accepted from other FHWA employees or employees of other DOT Administrations first. The FHWA will accept the transfer of annual leave from leave donors employed by one or more other Federal agencies when 1) the donor is a family member of a leave recipient; 2) The amount of leave transferred from donors within the agency is not sufficient to meet the needs of the leave recipient; or 3) the acceptance of the leave transferred from other Federal agencies would further the purpose of the voluntary leave transfer program.
To donate leave to an employee within the DOT, but outside of the FHWA, complete an OPM 630-A Request to Donate Annual Leave for a Leave Recipient Within the Agency http://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/opm630a.pdf and submit it directly to the LTP Coordinator in Headquarters, Room 4322. The coordinator will verify that the leave donated is available and forward it to the recipient’s operating administration.
Leave can be transferred between Federal agencies with similar leave transfer programs. However, leave cannot be transferred to another Federal agency if they have a leave bank system instead of a leave transfer system. To donate leave to a federal employee outside of the DOT, complete an OPM 630-B, Request to Donate Annual Leave for a Leave Recipient Outside of the Agency http://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/opm630b.pdf and submit it directly to the LTP Coordinator in Headquarters, Room 4322, along with a contact person in the leave recipient’s Federal agency. One copy of the form will be submitted to the Atlanta payroll office for the leave debiting and another copy will be forwarded to the leave recipient’s agency for the leave crediting.
The approving official in the leave recipients organization (such as an Associate Administrator, Division Administrator, Director of Field Services, Chief Counsel, FLHD Engineer or Resource Manager etc...) is responsible for assigning a contact person to coordinate the announcement and receipt of donated leave. The contact person plays a very important role in ensuring that the donated leave is accurately transferred to the approved recipient. If appropriate, the employee may also be asked to coordinate the approval and use of advanced annual or sick leave for the leave recipient, minimizing the impact of any leave without pay.
The contact point should work closely with the leave recipient and the LTP Coordinator to do the following:
Forward the original leave transfer request approval and medical documentation to the LTP Coordinator.
2. Announce through the E-mail system the need for donated leave. The leave recipient can request that this announcement be made to a specific audience (such as only in their immediate organization) or throughout the FHWA. Also it is important to protect the privacy of the leave recipient to the extent possible. Please see Sample Announcements for suggested formats of the e-mail announcements.
Collect all the leave donation forms (OF 630-A's) and submit them to the LTP Coordinator in Headquarters, room 4322, using the Leave Donation Summary Sheet.
Maintain a copy of all leave donation forms and summary sheets.
Ensure that the timecard is coded correctly so that it shows annual leave while the leave recipient is using the donated leave.
Coordinate the LTP termination notice from the leave recipient to the LTP Coordinator.
Associate Administrators, Division Administrators, Director of Field Services, Chief Counsel, FLHD Engineers and Resource Managers are responsible for approving requests of employees to become recipients in the leave transfer program. To ensure consistency in program operation, all approving officials must be provided the following information from the leave recipient or personal representative acting on his/her behalf, before making a determination:
The name, position title, and grade or pay level of the potential leave recipient:
The reasons donated leave is needed, including a brief description of the nature, severity, and anticipated duration of the medical emergency;
Medical certification from one or more physicians with respect to the medical emergency, including the expected duration of the emergency; and if it is a recurring medical emergency, the approximate frequency of the medical emergency affecting the employee; and
The amount of leave without pay that would need to be taken because of the medical emergency. To be eligible for the program, a minimum of 24 hours of unpaid leave must be needed. For part-time employees, the amount of leave without pay would need to be at least 30% of their regularly scheduled tour of duty.
If the application is approved, supervisors or their designee must notify the leave recipient as soon as possible, (but no later than 10 calendar days from the date the request was initially received), and assign a leave transfer contact person for the leave recipient to work with who will coordinator the leave recipients donations.
If the application is not approved, the employee must be notified in writing and provided the reasons for the disapproval no later than 10 calendar days from the date the request was initially received.
Immediate Supervisory Program Responsibilities and Use of Donated Leave
As the immediate supervisor of an approved leave transfer program recipient, the supervisor should review his/her employee's leave transfer program status approximately every 3 months to ensure that the employee is still affected by the medical emergency. If the employee does not have recent medical documentation, the supervisor should request additional medical documentation to support their continued participation in the program. However, the supervisor may request additional medical information more frequently if the employee determines that it is warranted or if the expected duration of the medical emergency has passed.
If the employee is able to return to work on a temporary or part-time basis, but the medical emergency has not terminated, the supervisor should request additional medical documentation as outlined in 5 Code of Federal Regulation, part 339.104. This documentation should include the medical prognosis, and any accommodations the Agency could make to remove any risk of injury or aggravation of their medical condition.
The donated leave may only be used by the leave recipient for absences related to their medical emergency. The approval and use of donated annual leave is subject to all of the conditions and requirements as the use of regular accrued annual leave. Therefore, the supervisor’s employee should keep the supervisor informed as to their need to be absent and the length of their absence. Established leave procedures should continue to be followed. Open and frequent communication throughout the supervisor of the employee’s absence should help to avoid any potential misunderstandings.
Medical Emergency Terminations
The agency is responsible for continuously monitoring the status of the medical emergency affecting a leave recipient to ensure that the recipient continues to be affected by the medical emergency. If at any time there is a question as to whether the leave recipient is still affected by the medical emergency, the supervisor must request additional medical documentation supporting the leave recipient's continued participation in the program. If the medical documentation is insufficient or is not provided, the approving official may provide the leave recipient with a letter proposing to terminate their participation in the program. The leave recipient (or personal representative acting on their behalf) is entitled to a 10 calendar day opportunity to respond orally or in writing to the termination. The decision will then be made in writing to the leave recipient by the approving official as to their program termination.
If my donated leave is exhausted, are there any other alternatives?
The employee may request leave without pay, or the employee may invoke his/her entitlement under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of up to 12 administrative workweeks of unpaid leave. FMLA has requirements that the employee needs to meet, so contact the employee’s human resource center for more information.
Can an employee use donated leave for maternity purposes?
The leave transfer program can be used by an employee who experiences medical complications resulting from her pregnancy and who does not have sufficient leave to cover her absence from duty. It may also be used immediately following the birth of a child while the mother is under a physicians care to recuperate from the delivery, usually 6 to 8 weeks. The program is not intended for use by an employee who wishes to take additional leave to care for a newborn or adopted child, unless extenuating circumstances exist, such as a serious medical condition affecting the child. The provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are also applicable in this situation.
Why can't sick leave be donated as well as annual leave?
The Office of Personnel Management regulations mandating the establishment of the Leave Transfer program within government agencies C5, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 630C specifically allows an employee to only donate annual leave.
Can employees who abuse their leave be excluded from participating in the leave transfer program?
The requirements for approval into the Leave Transfer Program are the same for all employees regardless of their leave balances at the time of a medical emergency. To be eligible to participate in the program, an employee must request approval from their supervisor, provide medical documentation supporting the occurrence of a medical emergency, and show the amount of unpaid leave that would have to be taken due to the emergency. The amount of unpaid absence must be at least 24 hours to qualify for the program.
There are program measures to ensure that employees on the leave transfer program are using the donated leave appropriately. Supervisors may deny an employee's request to use donated annual leave just as he or she may deny an employee's request to use other annual leave. In addition, management is responsible for monitoring the status of the medical emergency affecting the leave recipient continually to ensure that the leave recipient continues to be affected by the medical emergency.
Can the names of the donors be given to the recipient so that they can be thanked personally?
Leave recipients can be given the names of employees who donated leave to them. However, the amount of leave donated or any other personal information is not provided to the leave recipient.
Why don't we supplement the leave transfer program with a leave bank?
There are several reasons why we have not implemented a leave bank. One, a leave bank requires a greater use of administrative resources, including the establishment of a leave bank board, which is responsible for running the program and for overseeing operations. A leave transfer program is easier to manage and less expensive to operate. Two, with a leave bank, leave donors generally cannot select to who they donate leave. Many of those who responded to our LTP survey indicated that they would be much more inclined to donate leave to a person they knew and to whose circumstances they were familiar. Three, other Federal employees outside of the agency can donate leave to a friend or family member who is an approved leave recipient under FHWA's leave transfer program. A leave bank does not allow this type of flexibility.
Mr. Jones, (Location), has been accepted into the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program due to a medical emergency. Mr. Jones has been diagnosed with a severe illness which will require a long recuperation period. He has exhausted all his available leave and is currently accepting leave donations.
If you wish to donate annual leave, please complete form OF-630A, "Request to Donate Annual Leave", which is available on Informs, from your Human Resource Office or through this office, and forward the completed form to (name of contact point, address and telephone number). Any donation that you care to make will be appreciated.
Ms. (name and location) is facing a medical emergency due to complications with her pregnancy. Ms. Smith has exhausted all leave and has been approved for participation in the Leave Transfer Program.
If you would like to help by donating leave for Ms. Smith, please fill out form OF 630-A. You can obtain a copy of this form from your administrative officer, your servicing Human Resource Office, or by calling (name of contact point and phone number). Completed forms should be sent directly to (name of contact and address). Thank you.