Compassionate Leave


One employee may donate vacation time or Earned Time to another employee who needs extended time off from work due to his or her own serious health condition or that of an immediate family member, and who has exhausted or will exhaust all applicable paid time off. Compassionate leave is donated directly to an individual in need; it is not donated to a common leave bank.


Compassionate Leave Donation Form
Compassionate Leave Verification Form

Link to USNH Compassionate Leave policy Section 2

Such donation of accumulated earned time/vacation time will be irrevocable and applied as follows:


Any full-time or part-time status employee, including faculty on 12-month appointments is eligible to receive or donate time after completing the University’s initial six-month introductory period.

To be eligible to receive compassionate leave an employee needs to meet all of the following criteria. An employee must:

  • have a serious health condition, or have caregiver responsibilities for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. The serious health condition must meet eligibility requirements under Family and Medical Leave (FMLA). In addition the physician’s certification must indicate that the serious health condition will extend for a minimum of 30 consecutive calendar days.
  • exhaust, or expect to exhaust, all earned time/vacation time, sick leave/sick pool, and compensatory time; and must be facing a minimum of five (5) days of unpaid leave. Note: Eligible faculty and staff with at least one year of benefits-eligible service may use up to a maximum of 10 days of accrued sick leave/sick pool time per fiscal year for “Family Leave”. If, after using 10 days, there remains a sick leave/sick pool balance, they may receive Compassionate Leave to care for family members even though they have a sick leave/sick pool balance.
  • have received no more than 20 compassionate leave days in the 12-month period immediately preceding the receipt of compassionate leave. The total number of received days shall not exceed 20 workdays in a revolving 12-month period immediately preceding the receipt of compassionate leave.
  • expect to return to work for a period of at least 30 calendar days following the leave

Employees are NOT eligible if they:

  • do not meet eligibility criteria above
  • are otherwise eligible for or receiving disability benefits or workers’ compensation (excluding privately purchased short-term disability insurance)
  • are absent from work due to illnesses, injuries, impairments or physical or mental conditions, all of which are of a minor nature or due to pregnancy without
    complications resulting in a serious health condition of mother or child.
  • are in performance probationary status regarding attendance issues, at the time of


  • Leave Donor – an employee who voluntarily requests that earned time/vacation time from his or her account be credited to the account of another employee who needs leave because of the serious medical condition of employee or eligible family member. The donating employee must have a minimum balance of one week (e.g., 40 hours/5 days) of earned time/vacation time after donating time.
  • Leave Recipient – see “Eligibility” above.
  • Immediate Family Member – spouse, parent, same-sex domestic partner, or legal dependent child (natural, foster, adopted, legal ward or stepchild.
  • Serious health condition – a serious, extreme, catastrophic, or life-threatening medical condition which includes continuing treatment or supervision by a health care provider; or continuing treatment of a chronic or long-term health condition. The employee must be suffering from an extraordinary or severe illness, injury, or other medical condition, or have caregiver responsibilities for a qualifying relative or household member with a serious health condition.
  • A year – For the purpose of receiving time is defined as a revolving 12-month period spanning the 12 months immediately preceding the donation request/receipt.

Donating Time

The total number of donated ET/vacation hours/days shall not exceed 12 work days per fiscal year. Time may be donated to more than one individual provided the total amount of time donated does not exceed 12 days. The maximum amount of time donated is pro-rated for part-time appointments (for example, the total number of days donated by an employee with a 50% appointment shall not exceed six days per fiscal year).

Time must be donated in minimum increments of 4 hours/.5 days.

The donating employee must have a minimum balance of one week (e.g., 40 hours/5 days) of earned time/vacation time after donating time. During the course of the leave period, the recipient may wish to maintain his or her privacy. All employees involved in a leave transfer should make every effort to be as discreet as possible.

All compassionate leave donations must be given voluntarily and anonymously, to avoid a sense of peer pressure. No employee may be coerced, threatened, intimidated, or financially induced into donating leave for purposes of the compassionate leave program. Supervisors should avoid any appearance of soliciting leave from subordinates for transfer. The donations of Compassionate leave will remain anonymous to the recipient.

Any compassionate leave not used by the recipient during each occurrence may not be retained by the recipient. The excess leave would be returned to the donor(s) who was the last to contribute.

Leave donated may not count toward the donating employee’s minimum usage requirement.

Compassionate Leave may be donated up to one week after the end of the leave period.

Receiving Time

The total number of received days shall not exceed 20 work days in a revolving 12-month period immediately preceding the receipt of compassionate leave. The maximum amount of time an individual may receive is pro-rated for part-time appointments (for example, the total number of days received for employee with a 50% appointment shall not exceed ten days in a revolving 12-month period).

One unit (hour/day) of donated leave must be regarded as one unit (hour/day) of compassionate leave for the recipient. The value of the leave is based on the recipient’s current salary/hourly rate.

Compassionate leave may be used during the period of medical leave (up to six months) following the last day worked. It may not be used beyond the six-month disability period.

Only one University employee from a family may receive Compassionate Leave at a time to care for a family member.

Other Compassionate Leave Information

An employee may donate time and receive time in the same fiscal year. Leave may be donated between employees in different University departments and different
employment types (e.g., OS, PAT, Fiscal-year Faculty).

A recipient may not transfer donated leave to another recipient.


Receiving Employee will meet eligibility requirements. The receiving employee will go through normal medical leave process, completing Request for Leave Form to department and provide Certification of Physician or Practitioner form to Human Resources.

Office of Human Resources will verify employee leave eligibility (based on Request for Leave forms and Certification of Physician or Practitioner forms). Human Resources will maintain the Leave Transfer forms.

Leave Record Keeping

Donated leave is taken from the donor’s balance at the time it is needed by the recipient, not necessarily at the time of the donation.

Donated time does not count toward annual minimum usage requirement for earned time and vacation time.

Employees may not donate earned time/vacation time that would otherwise have been forfeited to meet minimum usage requirement or to not exceed maximum accrual amount. For example, a PAT staff member who has reached maximum accrual of 35 annual days and donates two days for compassionate leave, would have a remaining balance of 33 days.

While on compassionate leave, the receiving employee will not accrue earned time, vacation time, or sick leave. Time must be deducted each pay period before compassionate leave is used. FMLA – Any and all leave received by an employee under this policy that qualifies for Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) will count towards the employee’s FMLA entitlement.

Benefits Continuation

A leave recipient may be eligible to receive the same benefits such as medical, dental, life insurance, disability, and retirement contributions while on leave without pay, administered through the USNH Benefits Office. The USNH Benefits Office will bill the employee for his/her benefits.

Earned Time and sick/vacation time will not accrue while receiving compassionate leave payments.


The recipient’s home department shall pay the salary of an employee’s time away covered by compassionate leave, at the current regular rate of pay. The recipient shall be paid according to his or her regular work schedule and current labor distribution. Any donated leave may only be used by the recipient for the purposes specified within this policy and is not payable in cash.

The University shall not assume any tax liabilities that would otherwise accrue to the employee. Donated leave is not tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

Donated leave is not part of the earned time/vacation payout upon employee’s termination of employment or death.

Certain garnishments may still be subject to withholding for an employee receiving compassionate leave payments.

Any information received on Compassionate Leave Applications, Certification of Physician or Practitioner forms, and related information is confidential.


  • Request to receive Compassionate Leave donations. An employee wishing to receive compassionate leave completes the “Compassionate Leave Verification” form and submits it to Human Resources for authorization. The receiver also needs to have submitted Request for Leave of Absence form and Certification of Physician or Practitioner forms, consistent with FMLA policy.Medical information is treated confidentially and is kept separate from the employee’s human resources file. Employees are not required to share information about their medical condition or that of family members with their supervisor. The University reserves the right to request continual updates, second opinions, and other medical information as needed.
  • Request to donate Compassionate Leave. An employee wishing to donate earned time/vacation time completes the “Donation of Compassionate Leave” form and submits it to Human Resources for authorization.Human Resources has the discretion to deny compassionate leave for employees with a written record of disciplinary action for sick leave abuse or misuse, or other attendance-related reasons, within the past twenty-four (24) months.

Termination of Leave

Compassionate leave terminates when one or more of the following occur:

  • Recipient’s employment terminates
  • Illness or injury of employee or family member no longer requires absence from work
  • Employee returns to work
  • Health care provider releases the employee to return to work
  • Maximum compassionate leave allowance has been exhausted
  • Receipt of donations has ended