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HR Operations

Shared Leave Program

The state of Washington’s Shared Leave Program allows employees to donate their accrued leave to another state employee who is experiencing a severe, extraordinary, or life-threatening health crisis or other qualifying circumstance. Donated leave is intended to help employees in these circumstances manage absences financially after they have exhausted their own paid leave.

Receiving shared leave

Recipient eligibility

To receive shared leave, you must:

  • Be a leave-accruing employee
  • Have a qualifying reason
  • Have used (or will soon deplete) your personal holiday, compensatory time, and discretionary leave
  • Have used (or will soon deplete) other accrued or paid leave that you may be eligible to use based on the following:
Qualifying reason: You must have used (or will soon deplete) all of your:
You, a relative, or a household member has a severe, extraordinary, or life-threatening illness or injury. Annual and sick leave
You are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Annual leave
You are called to serve in the U.S. uniformed services. Annual and paid military leave
You are serving as an approved emergency worker. Annual leave
Severe, extraordinary, or life-threatening illness or injury

The criteria for an illness or injury under shared leave is different than those for FMLA. Examples of “extraordinary or severe” situations that typically meet the criteria for shared leave include:

  • Major surgery with inpatient hospital stay
  • Outpatient surgery for severe condition
  • Cancer and treatment
  • Hospitalization for a severe physical or mental condition
  • Enrollment in an ongoing behavioral health treatment program (inpatient or day) requiring continuous leave from work
  • Bed rest due to high-risk, pregnancy-related complications

Conditions that do not typically meet the criteria include:

  • Flu
  • Chicken pox
  • Pregnancy/delivery
  • Sprained ankle
  • Elective cosmetic surgery
  • Intermittent leave for chronic, ongoing medical conditions

The University uses the information provided by your health-care provider to determine whether your medical situation meets the definition of “severe, extraordinary, or life-threatening.”

A job-related injury or illness that is covered by workers’ compensation does not qualify for shared leave.

Request for shared leave

Steps for a shared leave request:

  1. You complete and submit to your supervisor the appropriate form for the reason you are requesting shared leave. (See the table below for the correct form.)
  1. Your supervisor completes the department portion and forwards the form to your leave specialist.
  1. HR notifies you and your supervisor of the request’s approval status.

When a shared leave donation is made to you, HR calculates the hours of shared leave that will be credited to you and notifies your departmental timekeeper, who will update your leave records. Shared leave hours are paid at your regular rate of pay.

Request Forms
Qualifying reason Request form Additional documentation requirements
You, a relative, or a household member has a severe, extraordinary, or life-threatening illness or injury. Download (MS Word) Shared Leave - Health Care Provider Certification (MS Word)
You are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Download (MS Word) Individual documentation may be required. See Leave Related to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking.
You are called to serve in the U.S. uniformed services. Download (MS Word) Copy of your military orders
You are serving as an approved emergency worker. Download (MS Word) Proof that your offer of volunteer service has been accepted by a governmental agency or a nonprofit organization engaged in humanitarian relief in an area of the United States where a state of emergency has been declared
Shared leave maximum

You may receive leave donations from multiple employees. However, you are limited to a maximum of 522 days during your lifetime of state employment. A day is equivalent to eight hours for a full-time employee. For part-time employees, a day is prorated according to their FTE. For example, a day for a 0.5 FTE employee is four hours. Shared leave received through the Uniformed Service Shared Leave Pool or the Organ Donor Shared Leave Program is not included in this total.

Leave accrual and use while on shared leave

You accrue both sick and annual leave while using shared leave as long as you do not take leave without pay for more than 10 equivalent days of your FTE in a calendar month. (In other words, 80 hours for 1.0 FTE, 40 hours for 0.50 FTE.)

Timekeepers must apply your monthly leave accruals as they are earned before applying shared leave.

When shared leave ends

Your eligibility to receive shared leave ends for any of the following reasons:

  • You return to work
  • The medical situation (your or your family member’s) changes so that it no longer qualifies for shared leave
  • You separate from UW employment
Returning to work

You are expected to return to work on the date specified on your leave request form. If your return will be delayed for any reason, contact your supervisor as soon as possible.

If your health-care provider recommends a gradual return to work, you may be able to use additional shared leave for a reduced schedule or as intermittent leave, with HR approval.

Unused shared leave

Shared leave may be used only for the qualifying medical condition or reason approved in your shared leave request. Unused shared leave will be returned to the donor in accordance with state law. You may not cash out donated sick leave through the Attendance Incentive Program.

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Donating shared leave

Donor eligibility

Any leave-accruing employee with adequate leave balances may donate annual leave, sick leave, or personal holiday hours.

Donation amounts

Leave must be donated in amounts of four or more hours of any particular type of leave.

Additionally, you must meet the following requirements:

Type of leave: Donation requirements:
Annual leave
  • You have at least 10 days of annual leave after the donation is deducted. For full-time employees, 10 days equals 80 hours. The amount is prorated for part-time.
  • Classified employees may not donate hours in excess of the 240-hour maximum accrual limit if they would otherwise be unable to use those excess hours by their next anniversary date.
Sick leave

 

  • You have at least 176 hours of sick leave after the donation is deducted. Both full-time and part-time employees must maintain this amount. The amount is not prorated for part-time.
Personal holiday
  • Any personal holiday hours remaining after donation must be used at one time and within the current calendar year.
Requesting to donate

Your donation must be made to a specific individual who has been approved to receive shared leave donations. That individual may be a University employee or someone employed by another Washington state agency.

Follow these steps to donate:

  1. Download and complete the Shared Leave - Donation (MS Word) form.
  1. Submit the form to your supervisor for completion. Then your supervisor will forward it on to your leave specialist.

Human Resources will notify you, your supervisor, and your department’s timekeeper of the donation’s approval status. The hours you donate are deducted from your leave balance when the donation is processed by HR.

For separating employees, you may only donate as much leave as you could actually use between the time you request to donate and your last day with the University.

Returning unused donations

In accordance with state law, donated hours are rarely returned. However, if your unused hours are returned, you may use them for your own leave needs or donate them to someone else.

For personal holiday hours, HR returns unused hours only if the hours can be returned in the same calendar year in which they were accrued by you. You must use or re-donate those personal holiday hours before the end of that calendar year.

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Other shared leave programs

Uniformed Services Shared Leave Pool Program

Though the general Shared Leave Program allows direct donations to specific employees in the uniformed services, the Washington Military Department maintains an additional shared leave program for state employees in the uniformed services who have been called to service. Donations go into a leave pool, not to a specific individual. Visit Uniformed Services Shared Leave Pool for more information about this program.

Organ Donor Shared Leave Program

The UW Organ Donor Shared Leave Program allows you to donate leave hours to or receive hours from another University employee for the purpose of organ donation. Visit Organ Donor Shared Leave for more information about this program. 

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Supervisor responsibilities

Requests to receive leave

Follow these steps for processing a request to receive leave:

  1. When an employee submits the appropriate request form, review the employee section of the form for accuracy, then complete the departmental section.
  1. Forward the completed form to your leave specialist. If you believe approving the request may not be appropriate, contact your HR consultant to discuss your concerns.
  1. HR will send written confirmation of approval to you, the requesting employee, and your department’s timekeeper.
  1. You are responsible for ensuring that the receiving employee’s leave records are adjusted accordingly when the employee receives a shared leave donation.
Requests to donate leave

Follow these steps for processing a request to donate leave:

  1. When an employee submits a form, review the employee section of the form for accuracy, then complete the departmental section. The budget number specified on the form will be charged for the hours donated.
  1. If you approve the request, forward the completed form to your leave specialist. If you believe approving this donation may not be appropriate, contact your HR consultant to discuss your concerns.
  1. HR will send written confirmation of approval to you, the donating employee, and your department’s timekeeper.
  1. You are responsible for ensuring that the donating employee’s leave records are adjusted accordingly.
Budget considerations

A shared leave donation is a monetary transfer between budgets. You should understand the impact on your department’s finances.

The dollar amount transferred is based on the:

  • Number of hours donated
  • Leave donor’s hourly equivalent pay rate including benefit load amount

HR calculates the amount to be transferred and transfers the funds.

Leave donation value is calculated as follows:

(donor’s hourly salary rate) x (total leave hours donated) = total donation value

The hours of shared leave credited to the recipient is calculated as follows:

(total donation value) / (recipient’s hourly salary rate) = total shared leave hours received

Leave transfer reporting

Salary and benefit transfers appear on the Transaction Summary of MyFinancial.desktop (Budget Activity Report) as follows:

The salaries will appear as Journal Vouchers under the following Object/Sub-object codes:

  • 21-70 Annual Leave Prov. S&W — debited budget
  • 21-72 Shared Leave Rec. S&W — credited budget
  • 21-74 Sick Leave Prov. S&W — debited budget
  • 21-76 Per. Hol. Prov. S&W — debited budget

The benefit load rate will appear under the following Object/Sub-object codes:

  • 21-71 Benefits for Annual Leave Prov.
  • 21-73 Benefits for Shared Leave Rec.
  • 21-75 Benefits for Sick Leave Prov.
  • 21-77 Benefits for Per. Hol. Prov.

Grant and Contract Accounting and Internal Audit have determined that shared leave donations are an allowable cost to grants and contracts.

Processing unused shared leave hours

In accordance with state law, donated hours will rarely be returned. In those rare cases, unused hours must be returned at their original value to the donor(s). HR calculates any hours to be returned to the donating employee and notifies the department’s timekeeper. The timekeeper makes the appropriate adjustments to the employee’s work/leave records and payroll.

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Definitions

Emergency worker

An employee is considered an “approved” emergency worker when all of the following apply:

  • The federal or any state government has declared a state of emergency anywhere within the United States
  • The employee has the skills needed to assist in responding to the emergency or its aftermath and volunteers their services to either a governmental agency or nonprofit organization
  • The governmental agency or nonprofit accepts the employee’s offer of volunteer services

Household member

A person who resides in the same home and who provides reciprocal personal and financial support to the employee

Relative

A spouse, registered domestic partner, child, stepchild, grandchild, parent, or grandparent

Uniformed services include:

  • Air Force
  • Army
  • Coast Guard
  • Marine Corps
  • Navy
  • National Guard
  • Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps

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Additional resources

  • APS 45.10 Shared Leave Program for Classified Non-Union and Contract-Classified Staff, Professional Staff Employees, and Librarians
  • APS 11.7 Policy on Domestic Violence in the Workplace and Leave Related to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking
  • APS 45.4 Leave Related to Active Military Duty
  • APS 45.5 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Coverage for University Employees
  • RCW 41.04.650 to 670 Washington State Shared Leave Program
  • WAC 357-31-380 to 460

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