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Definitions, as used in this Procedure:

a) “Catastrophic illness or injury" means a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of an employee which requires the services of a licensed physician for a prolonged period of time which significantly limits one or more Activities of Daily Living (ADL). A catastrophic illness or injury is life threatening or very severe and typically will require an inpatient hospital stay or stay in a residential medical care facility or hospice. A catastrophic illness or injury may occur suddenly without warning or after a period of illness that is long term due to the medical condition and can have serious, long-term effects on the individual. 

b)  "Employee" means a regular, staff employee of the University of Kentucky with a full-time equivalent (FTE) assignment of 0.5 or greater.

c)  "Pool administrator" means the person appointed by Human Resources to administer the Shared Leave Pool.

d)  "Staff Shared Leave Pool" or "Pool" means the accumulated VL donated by staff employees for utilization in accordance with this Procedure.


An employee is eligible to apply for benefits from the Staff Shared Leave Pool if the employee meets the following criteria:  

a)  Is a regular staff position with a 0.5 FTE or greater with the University of Kentucky,

b)  Has successfully completed New Hire Orientation,

c)  Has personally incurred a catastrophic illness or injury to themselves, and d) Has exhausted all accrued paid leaves, (Employees are eligible to apply for benefits from the Staff Shared Leave Pool if the employee is caring for an immediate family member (such as a parent, spouse or child) and,

 d)  Has entered unpaid employment status.

Pool Administrator

a)  This Procedure shall be administered by a Pool Administrator designated by Human Resources.

b)  The Pool Administrator will establish and chair a Staff Shared Leave Pool Committee.

c)  The decision of the Staff Shared Leave Pool Committee regarding contributions and distributions from the pool shall be final.

Committee Guidelines

The Committee shall be comprised of the following members who will each serve a two year term:

  1. One representative from the Staff Senate;
  2. One representative from the Human Resources Office of Employee Benefits
  3. One university staff member
  4. One representative from the Human Resources Office of Employee Relations
  5. One health care professional with clinical background.

Committee members will have access to confidential medical, financial, and employment documentation.  As such, Committee members will be required to sign non-disclosure and/or confidentiality agreements.

The Committee has the authority to set reasonable operating and voting guidelines. Approval of a Shared Leave application requires affirmative votes from at least three Committee members.

Shared Leave may only be awarded for the time an employee is completely off work for the catastrophic illness or injury.  Once the employee returns to work, shared leave benefits discontinue. Shared leave will not be awarded for intermittent absences.

Shared Leave may be awarded retroactively up to 30 days prior to application if the employee has been off work for that period of time and continues off work secondary to the catastrophic illness/injury. 

The Chairperson is responsible for contacting the Family Medical Leave (FML) Administrator when an employee marks “NO I haven’t applied for FML” on their portion of the application. After the committee meeting has closed, the Chairperson must get the name and employee ID number for that employee from the Administrative Associate. This information is confidential, and must only be released to the FML Administrator.

For rotation procedure relative to committee members, see Appendix 1, Section 1.

Income Sources

a)  Applicants shall be required to disclose all other sources of income for themselves, spouses, dependents, or any other household member at the time of application for Shared Leave.

b)  If the employee, spouse, dependent, or any other household member becomes eligible or begins receiving other sources of income as described below, this information must be disclosed in writing to the Pool Administrator within two (2) working days.

c) Sources of income to be disclosed include, but are not limited to:

  1. Social security payments to which one is or would be entitled upon application;
  2. Worker’s compensation payments, awards and/or settlements;
  3. Payments, awards and/or settlements of other disability plans;
  4. Damages or settlements recovered in third party actions;
  5. Any other recovery through subrogation;
  6. Wages or payments from work;
  7. Any insurance payments;
  8. Any income from the sale of merchandise, services, or assets;
  9. Unemployment Insurance; and
  10. Any government payment, including those from foreign governments.

Shared Leave benefits discontinue as follows:

a)  Upon separation of employment,

b)  Upon returning to work in any capacity,

c)  Upon discontinuation of the program by the University,

d)  The available balance of the Staff Shared Leave Pool is zero,

e)  During any period of incarceration resulting from a conviction,

f)   Death, or

g)  Dishonesty

Employees are only eligible to receive a maximum of thirty (30) days paid leave during a rolling 12 month period.

Balance Availability

a)  VL issued through this procedure is subject to available VL balances within the Pool.

b)  If the available VL balance in the Staff Shared Leave Pool is zero, VL from the Pool will not be awarded.

Other Employee Responsibilities

The University reserves subrogation rights should the disability arise as a result of third party negligence. Failure to protect the University’s rights may result in denial of all benefits under this program.

Dishonesty with respect to this program shall be considered a violation of Human

Resources Policy and Procedure 12.0:  Separation from Employment.


Staff Shared Leave Pool Contributions

a)  The Staff Shared Leave Pool shall consist of the VL voluntarily contributed to the pool by staff employees.

b)  A staff employee who desires to contribute VL to the pool must submit a donation form to the pool administrator. 

c) Contributions to the pool must be in units of one half or full day of VL. Staff employees are permitted to contribute between one half day and up to ten full days to the Staff Shared Leave Pool per fiscal year.

d)  Donations to the Staff Shared Leave Pool are made through myUK. Under Employee Self Service, click Working Time and Leave Requests. From there, click Shared Leave Donation to complete a donation.  

e)  VL contributed to the pool may not be designated for the use of a particular person.

f)   VL contributions from active, staff employees can be at any time during the year. 

g)  Active, staff employees may donate up to ten days VL, in full day units, upon the date of retirement from the University of Kentucky. 

h)  Authorized individuals or entities may elect to contribute up to 10 days VL, in half or full day increments, on behalf of full-time university staff employees who become deceased prior to retirement.  This contribution must be requested in writing by an authorized individual or entity and must be received prior to finalizing the terminal VL distribution.

Application to Utilize Staff Shared Leave from Pool

Applications to utilize shared leave from the pool must be submitted on the appropriate form. An application must be filed with the Pool Administrator and must be accompanied by all three mandatory pages. This includes a statement from the licensed physician who is treating the illness or injury that resulted in the exhaustion of accrued paid leaves, and the form from the supervisor. Incomplete applications will not be considered. The Staff Shared Leave Pool Committee will consider applications in the order in which they are received and will approve or deny an application within fifteen (15) working days after receipt.

a)  An employee is eligible to withdraw paid leave from the Staff Shared Leave Pool if the Committee finds the employee has exhausted all accrued leaves (including Temporary Disability Leave, VL, and Holiday) due to a catastrophic illness or injury suffered by the employee (or immediate family member such as parent, spouse, child).   

b)  In determining the amount of shared leave to be assigned to an eligible employee, the Staff Shared Leave Pool Committee shall take into consideration the information contained in the employee's application, financial status, employee performance history, documentation or statements from supervisors, medical records, the number of applications then pending, and the amount of shared leave available in the pool. In no event shall the VL allocated to an eligible employee from the Pool exceed thirty (30) days. Upon approval of an employee's application, the Pool Administrator shall notify HR Employee Relations of the amount of VL to be assigned to the eligible staff employee.

c) The i) estate of a deceased employee, ii) retired employee, or iii) separated employee shall not be entitled to payment for unused shared leave assigned from the pool.

d)  Applicants who have previously contributed to the Staff Shared Leave Pool may be given priority for distributions if Pool balance is limited.

e)  Employees are eligible for a maximum of thirty (30) days paid leave during a rolling 12 month period.

f)   Vacation Leave utilized under this procedure will be paid at the employee’s base rate of pay.

Appendix 1

Section 1Shared Leave Committee Rotation Procedure

There is an appointment process for Shared Leave Committee members. Committee Chair, committee members, and administrative associate do not appoint volunteers; these appointments are made by the Executive Director for Human Resources (HR). The Chairperson is responsible for communicating with the Executive Director of HR regarding expiring term limits. The Chairperson must also forward any pertinent information, updates, and prospective volunteers to the Executive Director of HR.

Committee members will serve one term consisting of a maximum of two consecutive years. When the committee member’s term is finished, they must rotate off the Shared Leave Committee. If a committee member is interested in volunteering again as a committee member, their name will be placed on a short list of interested volunteers for future committee members. That individual is not eligible for an additional committee appointment until at least one term cycle as passed after their rotation off the committee.

It is important for committee members to rotate off/on, in order to give other interested employees an opportunity to serve on the Shared Leave Committee. It is also important for committee members to have a break from the committee in order to avoid burn out or work overload. Term limits also help the committee stay current with changing times, and bring new ideas/improvements to the Shared Leave Committee.

The Chairperson is responsible for ‘on-boarding’ new committee members. This includes (but is not limited to) reviewing committee procedures, committee member’s roles and responsibilities, meeting structure/location/frequency, and obtaining signature on non-disclosure and/or confidentiality agreements.