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Article 43: Leave Sharing Program

Section 1

A. The Employer will establish a Leave Sharing Program (Program) to assist employees that are in need of additional leave as a result of a medical emergency. The Program will operate in accordance with 5 C.F.R. § 630, Subpart J.

B. The Program will enable enrolled employees who have a medical emergency to use annual leave that has previously been donated to a "Bank" by their fellow co-workers.

C. "Medical emergency" means a medical condition of an employee or a family member of such employee that is likely to require an employee's absence from duty for a prolonged period of time and to result in a substantial loss of income to the employee because of the unavailability of paid leave.

D. "Family member" means the following relatives of the employee: (a) spouse, and parents thereof; (b) children, including adopted children, and spouses thereof; (c) parents; (d) brothers and sisters, and spouses thereof; and (e) any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

Section 2

A. The Union will designate Local Leave Bank Liaisons (Liaison) for each of the Commission's Regional and District Offices, and for Headquarters, in order to collect Leave Request Applications (Application) and Enrollment Forms from employees based in those respective offices.  Once these designations are established, the Union will notify the employees of the identity of their respective Liaisons.  The Liaisons will notify employees once their enrollment into the Program has been accepted.

B. The Union will also designate a National Leave Bank Coordinator (Coordinator) who will be based at the Commission's Headquarters. This individual will receive Applications and Enrollment Forms from the Liaisons.  The Coordinator will then forward the Applications and Enrollment Forms to the other members of the Leave Bank Board within two (2) days from date of receipt.  In addition, the Coordinator will also serve as the Liaison for Headquarters.  Finally, the Coordinator will monitor (a) the number of hours available in the Leave Bank, (b) the number of enrollees in the Program, (c) the number of employees drawing from the Bank, (d) the amount of leave drawn from the Bank, (e) the number of Applications provided, (f) the number of Applications approved, and (g) the number of Applications rejected.  The Coordinator may use Official Time to perform these duties, and such time will not be charged against the bank of hours for official time in accordance with Article 39 of this Agreement.

Section 3

A. The overall Program will be managed by a Leave Bank Board (Board). The Board will be comprised of three (3) members, including the Coordinator and two (2) members from the Employer.  Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Employer and the Union shall appoint representatives to serve on the Board. The parties will notify one another of their respective representatives.  Subsequently, the parties will then meet in order to design the application and donation forms, prepare FAQs, establish written policies and procedures for administering the Leave Bank, discuss automation of the entire process, and otherwise implement the Program.

B. The Board will meet once a month in order to consider Applications, discuss the overall health of the Bank, and consider any other related matters. Each Application will be reviewed to evaluate the applicant's enrollment status and the severity and necessity of the medical condition.  Afterwards, each of the Board members will vote as to whether the Application will be approved or rejected. Applications receiving at least two (2) votes will be deemed to have been approved.  The applicant, or his or her designee, will be notified electronically of the Applications' approval or rejection within two (2) days after its consideration.  Board decisions are not subject to the provisions of Articles 32 or 33.

C. Quarterly reports will be provided by the Board to the Employer and the NTEU Chapter President.

Section 4

A. In order to enroll in the Program, an employee must complete an Enrollment Form and return it to the appropriate Liaison during the Leave Bank Open Season. There will be one (1) Open Season period (October 1 through October 31) per Leave Year, during which employees will be permitted to enroll.

B. In order to enroll in the Program, the employee must donate unused accrued annual leave hours equal to his or her annual leave accrual for one (1) pay period. However, the Board may decrease the minimum contribution for the Leave Year if it determines that there is a surplus of leave in the Leave Bank or increase the minimum contribution if it determines that such action is necessary to maintain an adequate balance of leave in the Leave Bank. Employees will be notified 30 days in advance of any change in the minimum contribution.

C. A new employee may enroll in the Program within the first sixty (60) days of being hired regardless of whether an Open Season is active.

D. An employee on leave during the entire Open Season may seek to enroll within the first sixty (60) days after his or her return to duty.

Section 5

A. Once enrolled, employees may be eligible to receive leave from the Leave Bank by submitting an Application to their Liaison.

B. If an employee is not capable of applying, a personal representative or designee may make the written Application on the employee's behalf.

C. Once an employee receives notice that his or her Application has been approved by the Board, the leave recipient may only use annual leave withdrawn from the Bank for the purpose of the medical emergency for which the leave recipient was approved.

Section 6

A. The amount of leave available in the Bank depends entirely upon the amount of annual leave received in donations.

B. An employee in the Program may donate annual leave to the Bank at any time by completing the appropriate donation form.  The Employer will make these forms readily available to employees electronically over the Commission's intranet and in hard-copy.

Section 7

During September of each Leave Year, the Employer will notify each employee in writing of the upcoming Open Season and their right to enroll in and donate unused annual leave to the Leave Bank, and provide them with information on how to enroll and donate.

Section 8

An employee who has "use or lose" annual leave at the end of the year may donate it to the Leave Bank.  "Use or lose" annual leave donations do not constitute a Leave Bank membership donation, and may be donated by employees not formally enrolled in the Program.  Employees enrolled in the Program may opt to automatically have all or a portion of their "use or lose" leave donated to the Leave Bank at the time they enroll in the Program, or during any Open Season.  Employees may withdraw permission for the automatic donation at any time.  This automatic donation is separate from Section 4(B) which provides for a minimum contribution.