Donated Sick Leave

Policy No: 
Type of Policy: 
Last Revised: 
October 2014
Review Date: 
October 2019
Policy Owner: 
Human Resources
Contact Name: 
Kevin Merkel
Contact Title: 
Senior Director-Payroll and Total Rewards
Contact Email:
Reason for Policy: 

The purpose of this policy is to establish criteria and standards for the donation of accrued sick leave to a sick leave pool in order to cover absence of a benefits-eligible employee necessitated by illness or injury of the benefits-eligible employee or an immediate family member (spouse, parent, or child) of a benefits-eligible employee

Policy Statement: 

This policy addresses a donation program whereby accrued sick leave may be donated to a sick leave pool for sharing with benefits-eligible employees in certain circumstances.


Entities Affected By This Policy

All faculty and staff (excluding GTRI) who are eligible to accrue and use paid sick leave and who have been continuously employed as a benefits eligible employee for not less than 12 months by the Georgia Institute of Technology. The department of the recipient receiving donated leave is responsible for funding as the expense has been allocated in the employees’ salary. If you have any questions, please contact your assigned budget analyst.

Who Should Read This Policy

All faculty and staff within the Georgia Institute of Technology should be aware of this policy.

Policy Terms: 

Family Member
As defined by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA):

Spouse - the employee's legal husband or wife as defined or recognized under State Law for purposes of marriage in the State where the employee resides.

A biological parent of the employee. An individual who stands or stood "in loco parentis" to an employee by providing primary day-to-day care and financial support when the employee was a child. Coverage does not include parents-in-law.

The employee's biological son or daughter under the age of 18. A legally adopted son or daughter under the age of 18. A foster child, stepchild or ward under the age of 18, legally placed with the employee. Any such child over the age of 18 if the child is incapable of self-care due to a mental or physical disability.

Incapable of self-care
Requiring active assistance or supervision to provide daily self-care in three or more basic or instrumental "activities of daily living," such as grooming and hygiene, bathing, dressing, eating, cooking, taking public transportation, etc.

Physical or mental disability
One that substantially limits one or more major life functions as defined under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Serious medical condition
A serious medical condition is a health condition involving a serious illness, injury, impairment, or condition that is likely to require the employee's absence from work for an extended period of time longer that the amount of sick and vacation leave available to the employee, and the health condition is such that it is not medically appropriate for the employee to delay the absence in order to accrue additional sick or vacation leave prior to the absence. Some examples of such conditions include: advanced or rapidly growing cancers, acute serious illnesses, chronic life threatening conditions involving failure of bodily organs or systems (e.g., heart attack) or chronic conditions requiring extended rehabilitation such as back surgery. The absence may be continuous, as in hospitalization following surgery or an accident, or intermittent, as in period absences for chemotherapy or other procedures. Normal pregnancy without complications is not considered a serious health condition under this program.


This program shall be a donation program whereby accrued sick leave may be donated to a sick leave pool for sharing with benefits-eligible employees in certain circumstances.

Employee Donation of Sick Leave

  1. The donation of sick leave is strictly voluntary and is irrevocable.
  2. An employee may donate sick leave to a pool for use by eligible recipients. Any unused sick leave so donated will revert to the donor pool and will not be returned to the donating employee.
  3. The donation of sick leave is on an hour-by-hour basis, without regard to the dollar value of the donated or used leave.
  4. The minimum number of sick leave hours that a benefits-eligible employee may donate is 8 hours. All donations will be in increments of whole hours.
  5. The maximum number of sick leave hours a benefits-eligible employee may donate in one calendar year is 80 hours.
  6. No employee may donate sick leave if, after that donation, his or her balance of sick leave is less than 80 hours.
  7. Employees will be given the opportunity to donate sick leave annually during benefits open enrollment. The donated sick leave will be transferred from the donor to the leave pool on December 31st.

Recipient Eligibility
Employees may utilize donated leave when they have exhausted all available accrued vacation and sick leave. The employee or immediate family member must:

  1. Provide certification from a licensed physician of a serious medical condition; or
  2. Be in quarantine due to exposure to contagious disease.

Conditions or Circumstances That Do Not Qualify for Receipt of Donated Leave
Employees may not receive donated leave in the following circumstances:

  1. Any occupationally-related accident or illness which is compensable under Workers' Compensation benefits;
  2. Disability incurred in the course of the commission of a felony (including driving while impaired) or assault; or
  3. Disability related to an uncomplicated pregnancy/delivery
  4. An employee may also not utilize donated leave:
    • During the period of any disciplinary suspension;
    • While receiving disability insurance/Social Security Income (SSI) benefits; or
    • After the termination of employment.
  5. An employee employed less than one year is ineligible to receive donated leave.

Application Process to Utilize Donated Leave
An eligible employee may request donated leave by submitting a written request through the Donated Sick Leave Form and the physician’s certification form to the Donated Leave Certification Committee.

  1. The minimum number of hours that a benefits-eligible employee may request is 40 hours.
  2. If the employee does not use the entire 40 hours within twelve months, the remainder will revert back to the leave pool.
  3. In the event of a chronic illness or injury requiring episodic treatment (dialysis, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, physical therapy), the recipient may use donated leave in non-consecutive increments.
  4. No individual employee may receive donated leave in excess of 320 hours (eight weeks) during the course of one consecutive 12 month period.
  5. 4.5. Donated leave will be granted in blocks of up to 160 hours. Employee may receive additional time up to the 12 month maximum by providing additional documentation.

Donated Leave Certification Committee
A committee shall be appointed by the AVP of Human Resources or his/her designee to review requests for donated leave and to make the final determination of granting the requested leave. This committee shall consist of a representative from the Office of Human Resources, a member of the Faculty Benefits Committee, and a classified staff member.

The Donated Leave Certification Committee will review the request for donated leave within 5 business days of receiving the request. The Committee's decision to approve or disapprove a request will be by simple majority vote and may be the result of communication by email or phone or other means in lieu of meeting. A letter from the supervisor shall accompany the application. This letter can be of a general nature and does not need to include reference to the medical condition.

If the request is approved, the Committee will notify the donated leave program administrator who will then notify the applicant. The program administrator will inform the employee that the request is approved and the date he/she may start drawing leave from the pool.

If the request is denied, the Committee will notify the donated leave program administrator with the reason for denial. The program administer will inform the employee of the denial. All determinations made by the Committee are final.


The responsibilities each party has in connection with Donated Sick Leave are:

Donated Leave Certification CommitteeEnsure Compliance with policy.
BenefitsOffer assistance with policy interpretation.
PayrollMaintain leave balances in PeopleSoft.


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