Shared Leave Program
Table of Contents
Last updated: September 22, 2023
This page applies to all time off accruing staff and student employees.
The state of Washington’s Shared Leave Program allows time off accruing employees to donate their accrued time off to another state employee who is experiencing a severe, extraordinary, or life-threatening health crisis, for parental leave, pregnancy disability, or other qualifying circumstance. Donated time off is intended to help employees in these circumstances manage absences financially after they have depleted or nearly depleted their own paid time off. Donated time is deducted from the donor’s time off balances at the time the donation is approved.
Receiving shared leave
To receive shared leave, you must:
- Hold a position that accrues time off
- Have a qualifying reason
- Have used (or will soon deplete) your accrued or paid time off 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.||Compensatory and discretionary time off; personal holiday; holiday credit. You may retain up to 40 hours of sick time off and up to 40 hours of vacation time off.|
|You are sick or temporarily disabled because of a pregnancy-related medical condition or miscarriage.||Compensatory and discretionary time off; personal holiday; holiday credit. You may retain up to 40 hours of sick time off and up to 40 hours of vacation time off.|
|You need the time for parental leave||Compensatory and discretionary time off; personal holiday; holiday credit. You may retain up to 40 hours of sick time off and up to 40 hours of vacation time off.|
|You are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.||Compensatory and discretionary time off; personal holiday; holiday credit. You may retain up to 40 hours of vacation time off.|
|You are called to serve in the U.S. uniformed services.||Compensatory, and discretionary time off; personal holiday; holiday credit. You may retain up to 40 hours of vacation time off.|
|You are serving as an approved emergency worker.||Compensatory, and discretionary time off; personal holiday; holiday credit. You may retain up to 40 hours of vacation time off.|
Severe, extraordinary, or life-threatening illness or injury
The criteria for an illness or injury under shared leave is different from 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:
- Chicken pox
- Sprained ankle
- Elective cosmetic surgery
- Intermittent leave for chronic, ongoing medical conditions
The University uses the information provided by you or your relative or household member’s health-care provider to determine whether the medical condition meets the definition of “severe, extraordinary, or life-threatening.”
An employee receiving shared leave and workers’ compensation for a job-related injury or illness may not receive more than twenty-five percent of their base salary from shared leave. This does not affect the amount an employee may “top-up” using accrued time off while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
Parental Leave – Non-Birth Parent
For the purposes of shared leave usage, parental leave means to bond and care for a newborn child after birth or to bond and care for a child after placement for adoption or foster care, for a period of up to sixteen (16) weeks of continuous leave immediately after the birth or placement.
Parental Leave – Birth Parent
For the purposes of shared leave usage, parental leave means to bond and care for a newborn child immediately after birth or to bond and care for a child after placement for adoption or foster care, for a period of up to sixteen (16) weeks of continuous leave following the time allowed for pregnancy disability, if applicable.
Request for shared leave
For campus staff: Submit an absence request for Shared Leave in Workday (select “LOA – Parental Shared Leave of Absence” or “LOA – Shared Leave of Absence”). You can find instructions in the Leave of Absence – Request Shared Leave – Staff Campus user guide. Contact the ISC for additional assistance.
For medical centers staff: Complete and submit to your manager the appropriate form for the reason you are requesting shared leave. (See the table below for the correct form.) Your supervisor completes the department portion and forwards the form to UW Medicine HR. HR notifies you and your manager of the request’s approval status.
UW Medicine HR contacts:
Shared leave hours are paid at your regular rate of pay.
|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) (For HMC or UWMC only)||Shared Leave - Health Care Provider Certification (MS Word)|
|You need the time for parental leave,
you are sick or temporarily disabled because of a pregnancy-related medical condition or miscarriage.
|None. You must be on an approved Parental Leave in order to use Parental Shared Leave. See Requesting Parental Leave.|
|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, Veterans’ In-state Service Shared Leave Pool, Foster Parent Shared Leave Pool, or the Organ Donor Shared Leave Program is not included in the 522 limit.
When shared leave ends
Your eligibility to receive shared leave ends for any of the following reasons:
- The time frame to use parental shared leave has expired
- You no longer have a severe, extraordinary, or life-threatening medical condition
- Your relative or household member no longer has a severe, extraordinary, or life-threatening medical condition, or has passed away
- Other eligibility criteria for shared leave use no longer apply to you
Returning to work
You are expected to return to work on the date specified in your leave approval. 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 time off, 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.
Donating shared leave
Any time off-accruing employee with adequate time off balances may donate vacation, sick, or personal holiday time off hours. Donated time is deducted from the donor’s time off balances at the time the donation is approved.
Time off must be donated in amounts of four or more hours of any eligible type.
Additionally, you must meet the following requirements:
|Type of time off:||Donation requirements:|
|Vacation time off||
|Sick time off
In addition to the above, for separating employees, you may only donate as much time off as you could actually use between the time you request to donate and your last day with the University.
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:
For campus staff: Follow the Leave of Absence – Donate Shared Leave – Staff Campus user guide and make your donation in Workday. Contact the ISC for additional assistance.
For medical centers staff:
- Download and complete the Shared Leave (med centers) - Donation (MS Word) form.
- 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 manager, and your department’s timekeeper of the donation’s approval status. The hours you donate are deducted from your time off balance when the donation is processed by HR.
Returning unused shared leave donations
State law restricts the circumstances under which shared leave may be returned to the donor. If your unused hours are returned, you may use them for your own time off 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 you accrued them. You must use or re-donate those personal holiday hours before the end of that calendar year.
Other shared leave programs
WA State Shared Leave Pool Programs
The state of Washington offers time off accruing state employees additional opportunities to participate in programs where donations go into a leave pool, not to a specific individual. Visit the following pages for more information:
- Uniformed Services Shared Leave Pool Program
- Foster Parent Shared Leave Pool Program
- Veterans’ In-State Service Shared Leave Pool Program
Organ Donor Shared Leave Program
The UW Organ Donor Shared Leave Program allows you to donate time off 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.
Requests to receive leave
For campus staff: Follow the Leave of Absence – Request Shared Leave – Staff Campus to approve requests in Workday. You will be notified by email when one of your employees is approved to receive shared leave. You can use Shared Leave - Opportunity to Donate template (MS Word) to inform employees in your unit about the opportunity to donate time off to a colleague who has requested shared leave.
For medical centers staff: Follow these steps for processing a request to receive shared leave:
- When an employee submits the appropriate request form, review the employee section of the form for accuracy, then complete the departmental section.
- 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.
- HR will send written confirmation of approval to you, the requesting employee, and your department’s timekeeper.
- You are responsible for ensuring that the receiving employee’s time off records are adjusted accordingly when the employee receives a shared leave donation.
Requests to donate leave
For campus staff: Follow the Leave of Absence – Donate Shared Leave – Staff Campus to approve requests in Workday.
For medical centers staff: Follow these steps for processing a request to donate leave:
- When an employee submits a form, review the employee section of the form for accuracy, then complete the departmental section. The costing information specified on the form will be charged for the hours donated.
- If you approve the request, forward the completed form to your HR leave specialist. If you believe approving this donation may not be appropriate, contact your HR consultant to discuss your concerns.
- HR will send written confirmation of approval to you, the donating employee, and your department’s timekeeper.
- You are responsible for ensuring that the donating employee’s time off records are adjusted accordingly.
The University encourages all departments to allow their employees, regardless of funding source, to participate in the shared leave program. The minimum donation is four or more hours of sick or vacation time off, or half of the donating employee’s personal holiday. Individual departments do not have authority to create their own shared leave policies. Departments do have the ability to control which cost centers are used for shared leave transactions and may want to consider use of a central cost center for both donations and receipt of shared leave to flow through.
A shared leave donation is a monetary transfer between cost centers. You should understand the impact on your department’s finances.
The dollar amount transferred is based on the:
- Number of hours donated
- Donor’s hourly equivalent pay rate including benefit load amount
HR calculates the amount to be transferred and transfers the funds.
Time off donation value is calculated as follows:
(donor’s hourly salary rate) x (total time off 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
Processing unused shared leave hours
In accordance with state law, donated hours will rarely be returned. When unused hours are returned, they will be returned at their original value to the donor(s). UWHR calculates the hours to be returned and updates the balances in Workday to reflect the return.
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
A person who resides in the same home and who provides reciprocal personal and financial support to the employee
A spouse, registered domestic partner, child, stepchild, grandchild, parent, sibling, or grandparent
- Air Force
- Coast Guard
- Marine Corps
- National Guard
- Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps
- APS 45.10 Shared Leave Program for Time Off Accruing Staff, Librarians, and Educators
- APS 46.8 Domestic Violence in the Workplace and Reasonable Accommodations 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 Purpose of state leave sharing program