4.500 Catastrophic Leave Policy
Subject: Catastrophic Leave Policy
Date Adopted: January 1, 1991; Revised May, 1991; Revised July, 2003, Revised August 28, 2013
Catastrophic Leave Bank Program
Act 678 of 2003 requires National Park Community College (NPC) to establish a Catastrophic Leave Bank Program for its permanent employees similar to that in Arkansas Code 21-4-214.
The Catastrophic Leave Bank is administered by the Human Resources Office. The Vice President for Financial Affairs serves as Chairman of the Catastrophic Leave Committee.
Definition of Terms
Catastrophic Illness means a medical condition of an employee or the spouse or parent of the employee, or a child of the employee who may be claimed as a dependent under Arkansas Income Tax Act of 1929, as certified by a physician (or other individual as provided in Arkansas Code Annotated 21-4-201 et seq.), which requires an employee's absence from duty for a prolonged period of time and which results in a substantial loss of income to the employee because of the exhaustion of all earned sick, annual, holiday, and compensatory leave time.
Catastrophic Leave means paid leave which is transferred to a leave recipient from the College's Catastrophic Leave Bank. Catastrophic Leave may be granted only in eight-hour increments. While a leave recipient is on Catastrophic Leave, he or she will receive normal benefits such as College contributions to insurance and retirement.
Catastrophic Leave Bank means a pool of accrued annual and sick leave voluntarily donated by employees which may be approved by the College for use by other employees.
Catastrophic Leave Committee means a committee comprised of eight members who represent a relative demographic cross section of the College's work force and who review applications from employees for Catastrophic Leave and make recommendations to the President relating to such leave.
Employee means a person who is regularly appointed or employed in a regular position by the College who is compensated on a full-time basis. [A person who works less than full-time (40 hours per week) is excluded from this definition, and as such, is not eligible to participate as a donor or recipient in the Catastrophic Leave Bank Program.]
Leave Donor means an employee whose voluntary written request to donate accrued annual or sick leave to the National Park Community College's Catastrophic Leave Bank has been approved. No employee shall be allowed to be a leave donor if such donation will reduce that employee's accrued sick and annual leave to less than 160 hours. (Exception: an employee who is terminating employment may donate all accrued leave time and is not required to maintain the 160-hour leave balance.)
Medical Condition means a personal emergency limited to catastrophic and debilitating medical situations, severely complicated disabilities and severe accident cases of the employee or a qualifying family member, which causes the employee or qualifying family member to be incapacitated and requires a prolonged period of recuperation and which requires the employee's absence from duty as documented by a physician (or other individual as provided in AA.C.A. 21-4-201 et seq." Routine disabilities or disabilities resulting from elective surgery do not qualify for catastrophic leave.
Prolonged Period of Time means a continuous period of time whereby a medical condition prevents the employee from performing the employee's duties. A prolonged period of time is interpreted to be a minimum of 30 working days.
Substantial Loss of Income means a continuous period of time where the employee will not have otherwise been compensated by NPC due to a medical condition and the exhaustion of all earned sick, annual, holiday, and compensatory leave.
I. Catastrophic Leave Policy
NPC's Catastrophic Leave Policy Committee will be comprised of appointed departmental representatives as follows:
II. Record Keeping
The records for the Catastrophic Leave Program will be maintained in the Human Resources Office. Records will reflect the amount of leave donated, date, amount of Catastrophic Leave awarded, date, and name of each recipient.
Meetings will be routinely conducted to explain NPC's Catastrophic Leave Bank Program. The meetings will be conducted by the Vice President for Financial Affairs and Human Resources Office staff. Each employee eligible to participate in the Catastrophic Leave Bank Program will receive a
donation card. Eligible employees wishing to voluntarily donate annual or sick leave to the program may fill out the card, sign, and return to the Human Resources Office.
IV. Prohibition of Coercion
It is the policy of NPC not to intimidate, threaten or coerce any employee for the purpose of interfering with any employee's decision to donate, receive, or use annual or sick leave.
V. General Policies
A. Accrued annual leave and/or sick leave may be donated to the Catastrophic Leave Bank.
B. Catastrophic Leave with pay may be granted to an employee when such employee is incapacitated for the performance of the employee's duties due to a catastrophic illness.
C. Eligibility Qualifications
D. Any employee on Catastrophic Leave will continue to accrue leave in accordance with existing state leave policies and will receive normal benefits such as NPC contributions to insurance and retirement. Catastrophic Leave will not change an employee's salary increase eligibility date. Any leave earned while an employee is on Catastrophic Leave must, as a condition of voluntary participation in the program, be assigned to the Catastrophic Leave Bank, and any restrictions concerning the maintenance of minimum leave balances shall not apply to such assignment.
E. Any unused Catastrophic Leave will be returned to the program in the event the employee is terminated, retires, or returns to work prior to the expiration of the previously approved Catastrophic Leave period. An employee may be dismissed if such employee fails to report to work promptly at the expiration of the period of approved catastrophic leave. Nothing, however, shall prevent NPC from accepting satisfactory reasons provided by the employee in advance of the date the employee is scheduled to return to work, and from granting leave without pay status to an employee prior to and after the expiration of such Catastrophic Leave if such action is warranted.
F. Accrued leave may only be donated to the Catastrophic Leave Program in eight-hour increments. Catastrophic Leave may be granted only in eight-hour increments. Unused hours of awarded Catastrophic Leave will be returned to NPC Catastrophic Leave Bank. No employee shall be allowed to donate leave to NPC's program if such donation will reduce that employee's combined accrued sick leave and annual leave balance to less than 160 hours.
G. The Catastrophic Leave Bank Program does not create any expectation or promise of continued employment.
VI. Committee Guidelines
The Catastrophic Leave Committee shall meet as needed to review all catastrophic leave requests. The Human Resources Office staff will be responsible for submitting to the Committee only those requests that meet minimum qualifications. The Committee shall utilize the following guidelines to review catastrophic leave requests:
A. Catastrophic Leave shall be granted in increments of no more than 30 working days (240 hours). As necessary, additional requests may be made and reviewed. No employee shall be eligible for approved Catastrophic Leave in excess of a total of six months (1040 hours).
B. If the illness or injury is that of an employee and is covered by worker's compensation, the compensation based on catastrophic leave when combined with the weekly worker's compensation benefit received by the employee shall not exceed the compensation being received by the employee at the onset of the illness or injury.
C. No employee shall be approved for Catastrophic Leave unless the employee has provided an acceptable medical certificate from a physician supporting the continued absence, and setting forth that the employee or a qualified family member is and will continue to be incapacitated from performing the employee's duties due to a catastrophic illness. Information relative to the employee's assigned duties such as functional job descriptions should be made available to the physician.
D. In no case shall Catastrophic Leave be granted beyond the date the physician certifies that the employee is able to return to work.
E. Catastrophic Leave which would result in negative balance in NPC's Catastrophic Leave Bank shall not be approved.
F. Determinations by the Catastrophic Leave Committee shall be reviewed by the President of NPC.
G. The decision of the President shall be final and binding. Nothing shall prevent the President from taking into account the impact on the College's operation in granting or denying Catastrophic Leave or in modifying previously approved Catastrophic Leave if, in the judgment of the President, such approved leave would seriously impact the College's operation. In exceptional circumstances, the President may allow catastrophic leave that does not conform to all applicable policies.
H. Applications for Catastrophic Leave shall be reviewed on a first-filed, first-considered basis.