Why are faculty employees unable to donate Vacation Leave to the Staff Shared Leave Pool?
The Staff Shared Leave Program was developed in association with the Staff Senate to provide a means by which staff employees may receive additional paid leave in the event of a catastrophic accident or illness. Because faculty paid leave accrual (Vacation Leave and Temporary Disability Leave) is very different from staff in amount and rules regarding subject to loss, it is not appropriate for their paid hours to be donated, nor for them to receive additional paid leave from the Pool.
Why can't I donate Temporary Disability Leave (TDL or "sick leave")?
The Staff Shared Leave Pool only accepts transfers of vacation leave to ensure the program remains financially sustainable over time. Under national accounting guidelines followed by the University, vacation leave is already treated as an "up front" financial obligation but temporary disability (sick) leave is not. As a result, the costs of vacation leave are already factored into departmental budgets. Structuring sick leave so that it, too, would be transferable would create a new, unpredictable financial obligation for the institution that also would require additional time and expense to administer. Currently the shared leave program provides a sustainable, straightforward leave "pool" created very simply by donations from staff members in support of their fellow UK employees in need. Any attempt to add transferable TDL leave would add complexity and additional cost (which would impact administration of sick leave for all employees), which may undermine the long-term viability of this offering. As a result, the program in its current form does not create a new financial obligation, apart from the cost of administering the program. If you would like to utilize Temporary Disability Leave indirectly, you may convert TDL days to Vacation Leave days in July according to HR Policy & Procedure 87.0. The VL received from the TDL conversion can then be donated to the Pool in August.
Which department actually incurs the cost for granting the vacation hours — the department of the person donating, the department of the person receiving, or other?
There will be no transferring of dollars/cost for the extra leave. Because the University budget is set such that positions are funded on an annual basis, the department employing an individual who is receiving additional paid leave hours will continue to provide the funding/payment for these additional hours. The position is already funded for the entire year; any unpaid leave is typically available as "salary savings" for that position in the department. With additional paid leave awarded, the salary savings will then be reduced. The only possible additional costs would be for areas that must have coverage for additional leave (Hospital, PPD, etc.). In these cases, the departments will also be funding coverage costs.
Is the donation of vacation hours tax deductible? Is this a qualifying charitable contribution?
The donation of additional paid leave to the Pool is not tax deductible for the donor. The employee who receives the additional paid leave will be taxed for those pay periods just like s/he would be normally taxed through UK payroll.
What if the available balance in the Staff Shared Leave Pool is exhausted?
Donations to the Staff Shared Leave Pool are accepted between August 1st and 31st each year. If the Vacation Leave (VL) balance of the pool is zero, VL will not be awarded. We are considering the possibility of offering another "open enrollment period" during the year for additional vacation leave donations if the Pool is drained to zero; however, no decision has been made at this time.
For questions, contact the Human Resources Office of Employee Relations: 213 Scovell Hall • University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0064 • (859) 257-8758