1. Campbell, Gladys RN, MSN

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Q One of my staff members recently experienced a series of health problems and some of my staff asked if they can donate sick time to her, but our human resource department won't allow it. Are there any programs that other organizations have implemented that allow this type of donation?

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It's always admirable when employees want to support each other in times of trouble. Unfortunately, the donation of leave is very difficult without the full support of a human resources department and organizational endorsement. There are generally two reasons why human resources may be nonsupportive of leave donation. In systems where actual sick leave is separated out as a specific level of benefit time, many organizations don't fully fund this benefit. If employees who rarely use sick leave and have large leave balances begin generously donating that leave to employees who have a history of high leave use, the budget would soon be out of alignment. Secondly, the human resources department may be concerned that a generous employee may be caught with insufficient leave if he or she incurs an unexpected illness or injury.


If your organization doesn't support leave donation, you do have options. Your organization may support the transfer of vacation time. This may be allowed because it's assumed that all employees will fully use their vacation time, so the benefit is fully funded. Your organization may also consider a transition from separate benefit categories to one leave category of PTO, or paid time off. PTO generally doesn't offer as many days off as a separated benefit package, but it's fully funded with the assumption that all employees will use all their PTO. Because of this, the transfer of PTO days is generally supported by the human resource department.


Lastly, by law an employee may apply for family medical leave. Twelve weeks of unpaid leave, with employment protection, is provided to all employees who meet the criteria for the Family Medical Leave Act, which include leave for a continued injury or illness that has made the employee unfit for duty. If an employee goes out on family medical leave, colleagues can choose to provide financial donations to that employee to diminish the monetary strain, as long as fund solicitation isn't done in the workplace and doesn't make any individual feel coerced into giving.