Frequently Asked Questions

The Catastrophic Leave program allows employees to donate part of their vacation time to other employees who have experienced a catastrophic illness or injury themselves or who must care for a family member who has had a catastrophic illness or injury. Only individuals who are eligible to earn vacation time may participate in this program.

The definition of “catastrophic leave” is a physical or mental illness or injury, as certified by a licensed physician, that will result in the inability of the employee to report to work for more than 30 work days (consecutively or intermittently) during a 12 month period.

As soon as it is apparent that you have an injury, condition, or illness that will require you to be absent at least 30 work days in a calendar year.

Yes.  For your own illness or injury, you must exhaust all paid leave, including sick leave, vacation, or compensatory time before receiving catastrophic leave donations.  If you have already met the 90 working day waiting period for long term disability, you are not eligible for the catastrophic leave program.  If you are caring for a family member, you must exhaust all family care-giving leave, vacation and compensatory time before applying for donations.

After you have submitted your application and been approved, you can request donations from friends, family and co-workers who accrue vacation.  They must complete a donation form.  These forms, along with more detailed information on the program, are found on the catastrophic leave page.  The University does not allow departments to solicit donations on your behalf.  With your approval, your department may announce that you are in need of donations if it is their policy to do so.  Check with your departmental human resource representative for more details.

When leave is necessary due to your own catastrophic illness or injury, the donations you receive are converted to sick leave.  When leave is necessary due to a family member’s catastrophic illness or injury, donations are converted to vacation.

Any employee who accrues vacation may donate.  Employees may not donate their sick leave to an individual on catastrophic leave.

No.  The names of employees donating leave are confidential.

You may request additional donations from any employee at The University of Iowa, Board of Regents, or State of Iowa by giving permission to the Benefits Office to add your name to a web list of people seeking donations.

An individual may continue to receive donations until they qualify for long-term disability, but no longer than 12 months.  Employees on maternity leave may receive donations only for the 6 week period of physical recovery immediately following the birth of the child.  You may not receive donations for additional time for bonding.

Please review the catastrophic leave web site where you will find much more information.

When leave is necessary due to your own catastrophic illness or injury, the donations you receive are converted to sick leave.  When leave is necessary due to a family member’s catastrophic illness or injury, donations are converted to vacation.

Donation for Employee’s illness:  Donations are unlimited.  The total leave donations you can receive shall not exceed:  (1) the amount necessary to cover the Long-Term Disability (LTD) waiting period or, (2) one year (12 months) if the employee is not eligible for the LTD insurance, or (3) the six-week period immediately following the birth of a child (leave that is not medically related to the birth, i.e. bonding time, beyond six weeks must be taken as unpaid leave).

Donation for Family members:  Donations are unlimited.  The total leave donations you receive cannot exceed one year (12 months).

The hours are moved as they are needed. The Donor will receive a memo when any or all of their donation is used.

The Benefits Office communicates with your department monthly and processes the paperwork. The information is then forwarded to the Payroll Office. Payroll transfers the donated hours from the donor’s Vacation accrual to your Sick Leave accrual.