4.48 Catastrophic Leave


Pursuant to the Board of Regents policy 2.1.4.A, this policy serves to identify staff eligibility requirements and university procedures for donating leave and receiving leave for a catastrophic illness or injury.

Policy Statement

The University provides staff the ability to receive donated vacation due to a personal catastrophic illness or injury. A personal catastrophic illness or injury is defined as a medical condition for which a health care provider has certified is likely to result in a loss of 30 or more work days in a six (6) month period. The medical leave duration of maternity leave immediately following the birth of a child (typically 6-8 weeks) is considered a qualifying condition for the catastrophic leave program. Catastrophic leave donations cannot be used to cover the non-medical time of maternity leave. Employees on leave due to a work-related injury are also eligible for catastrophic leave donations and may use donations to supplement workers’ compensation to the extent that it does not exceed 100 percent of the employee’s pay for the pay period.

All staff who accrue vacation leave and are covered by the University’s Long Term Disability (LTD) program are eligible to receive and donate accrued vacation leave. A staff member must exhaust all of their own paid leave and not be receiving LTD benefits in order to receive donations for a personal catastrophic illness or injury. The total donations received and used by an employee for a personal catastrophic illness or injury shall not exceed 90 working days, which is the amount necessary to cover the LTD waiting period. Sick or vacation days accrued prior to or during the leave will reduce the total number of catastrophic days for which the employee is qualified.  At no point should donations for full-time staff exceed 90 days (720 hours) per illness or injury or the amount necessary to qualify for LTD, whichever is less.  Part-time employees cannot receive donations in excess of 90 working days and the equivalent number of hours (based on their weekly FTE) or the amount necessary to qualify for LTD, whichever is less.  Donations must be used within one year (12 consecutive months) from when the leave begins if the employee does not qualify for LTD benefits as defined by the LTD contract. Staff members who continue to qualify for the catastrophic leave program beyond one year will need to request a subsequent donation call to replenish expired donations. Employees can only apply for catastrophic leave donations one time per 12 month period for the same injury or illness. 

New medical documentation must be provided as requested by Human Resource Services. Donations can only be used for a time period of incapacity certified by a health care provider.

Donated leave may be used on a continuous, reduced schedule or intermittent basis.  While working on an intermittent or reduced schedule, an employee must exhaust sick and vacation accruals prior to using donated leave hours.

Staff eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must qualify the leave under FMLA. See policy 4.49 FMLA leave.


Eligible staff interested in applying for catastrophic leave donations should contact Human Resource Services (HRS). HRS will provide forms necessary, which will include medical certifications, to verify eligibility. A request for donations will be sent to all staff eligible to participate. Leave contributions will be applied to the eligible staff member’s leave balances, as needed.  Leave must be donated in full hour increments.  The total hours transferred to the recipient will be calculated using  the base rate of pay of the donor and recipient.  For questions on this policy please contact HRS.

Additional Resources:

HRS web site:   Catastrophic Leave Donations                        Long Term Disability

Human Resource Services, approved April 4, 2018
University Council, approved February 25, 2019
President and Executive Management Team, approved March 4, 2019 
[Last reviewed and/or updated 3/2019, 2/2017]