The Catastrophic Leave Program is designed to assist eligible faculty and staff members who have exhausted all of their paid leave due to a catastrophic illness or injury of the employee or their immediate family member.
This program allows eligible employees to make donations of vacation time anonymously or to a specific employee so that they can remain in a paid status for a longer period of time.
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Apply for Catastrophic Leave

Applications will only be considered if the treating provider indicates illness or injury will result in the absence from work for at least 30 work days. Find more information and forms on the Applying for Cat Leave page. 

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Donate Your Vacation

You may donate your accrued vacation leave to another eligible employee who has exhausted their paid leave due to a catastrophic illness or injury for themselves or a family member. 

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List of Individuals in Need of Donation

Employees who have met the requirements to participate in the Catastrophic Leave program and are in need of donations. This list is updated on a weekly basis. 

Catastrophic Leave

Definition of an employee's Catastrophic Illness or Injury means an illness or injury resulting in a health condition for which a treating healthcare provider has certified is likely to result in a loss of 30 or more work days (6 weeks) during a 12 month period. 

Includes maternity leave if the faculty or staff member does not have sufficient sick or vacation accruals to cover the medical period following the birth (generally six weeks/eight weeks for cesarean section).  Catastrophic leave can not be used for non medically-related bonding time.  

Definition of a family member's Catastrophic Illness or Injury means an illness or injury resulting in a health condition for which a treating healthcare provider has certified is likely to result in the inability of the employee to report to work for more than 30 or more work days in a 12 month period to care for an ill or injured immediate family member on a consecutive or intermittent basis. 

Immediate family member means the employee's spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent as defined by the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA):  

  • a spouse recognized by Iowa law for purposes of marriage including common law and domestic partners of the same and opposite gender registered with University Benefits;
  • a parent, including biological, step, adoptive, foster, or an individual that functions as a parent;
  • a son or daughter under the age of 18, including biological, step, adoptive or foster child, or legal ward.
  • children over 18 with a disability may also be eligible.

  • Yes, the catastrophic leave Application and Healthcare Provider Certification form are confidential medical documents that are maintained in the UI Benefits office only.
  • Applicants can also choose to keep their name removed from the "Faculty & Staff in need of donations list" by selecting this option on the Catastrophic Leave application form.    

The department will receive a copy of the response from University Benefits when the faculty or staff member is deemed eligible for catastrophic leave.

  • University Benefits will process the paperwork to apply the hours in the employee's accruals and will contact the department monthly to determine the number of donated hours needed.
  • The department or the employee will complete the Monthly Time Record. 
  • University Benefits will communicate with the department monthly to verify the records. Once the employee’s accruals are used, code donated time as sick leave for personal use and vacation for family catastrophic leave. This may be regular sick or vacation time or FMLA sick or vacation time, depending on the situation.
  • Upon exhaustion of FMLA, the use of catastrophic leave hours is at the discretion of the department. Catastrophic leave provides payment for approved unpaid leave.