exterior of CWRU's Crawford Hall

Staff helping staff: University launches “vacation bank” for employees with severe illness

Nearly everyone has had the thought when a colleague or friend faces serious illness: “I wish there was more I could do.”

Starting next month, there is—at least when it comes to coworkers at Case Western Reserve.

They can volunteer to give the gift of time. Specifically, they can donate vacation days that ailing colleagues can apply to receive as paid time off.

The Office of Human Resources developed the Vacation Donation Banks at the direction of President Barbara R. Snyder. Several staff suggested the initiative during the school visits the president and provost make twice each year, and members of the Staff Advisory Council also encouraged its launch.

Crafting a model that met government requirements and university policies took some creativity, but ultimately the office settled upon an option to launch on a pilot basis during the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year (July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017).

“The president often talks about the campus as a community,” Vice President for Human Resources Carolyn Gregory said. “When employees explained how much they wanted to be able to help others in need, she was determined that we find a way to make their generosity possible.”

Under the new model, staff can contribute vacation days they do not expect to use to a “bank” within their school or unit. Only employees who have completed their 90-day orientation period successfully may donate days. In addition, they cannot give more than 50 percent of their allotted vacation time.

Those employees who want to share part of their vacation time allotment should consider the number of days carefully. Once given, the days cannot be returned to the employee who donated the time. In addition, all the days to be provided must be donated toward the beginning of the fiscal year—between July 15 and Aug. 15, 2016. From there, employees within a school or unit who are taking unpaid medical leave may apply to use up to 10 of the paid days off that have accumulated within that bank.

Each school, as well as the university’s general operations (UGEN) unit, will have its own bank. The ability for an ill individual to secure paid time off will depend on whether people in his or her school or unit actually donate days.

Links to donate vacation days or apply for donated time will be available on the human resources website, hr.case.edu, when the donation period opens in July. The Daily will run an announcement when the vacation donation period begins.

For more information on the program, contact Jamie Ryan, senior director of benefits, records and information systems, at james.e.ryan@case.edu.