Catastrophic Leave (Davis Campus Employees)

This program allows an employee to donate accrued vacation to support a colleague who has exhausted his or her paid leave due to a catastrophic illness. 

Please note that this document describes the UC Davis program,
click here for information specific to UC Davis Health.


  • Catastrophic Illness: A serious illness or injury that incapacitates an employee or an eligible family member and is expected to use up all of the employee's accrued leave.
  • Eligible Family Member: An employee's spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild; in-laws and step-relatives in these relationships; or any other person in the employee's household for whom there is a personal obligation.


  • Departments are responsible for telling an employee about this program if it is likely that he or she could be an eligible recipient.

  • Eligibility (General): Any staff or academic employee who accrues vacation may act as a donor or a recipient. An exclusively represented employee may participate if allowed by his or her collective bargaining agreement. A staff employee must hold a career appointment and have passed probation and the waiting period to use vacation if one exists. Donations may be made across all fund sources, divisions, and departments within UC Davis.

  • Eligibility (Recipients): The recipient must be on an approved leave without pay for the period to be covered by the donations. The leave must be designated under the Family & Medical Leave Act if it is eligible. The recipient must exhaust all paid leave (sick, vacation, and compensatory time off) before using donations. The 30-day limit on use of family sick leave shall be waived to meet this requirement.

  • Approvals: A request for catastrophic leave requires the approval of the department head and Employee & Labor Relations.

  • Making Donations: Employees may volunteer to donate vacation, but not sick leave or compensatory time off. The donation must be 8 hours or more, in whole hour increments. Donations are used in the order received, except that a donation from an employee who is at the maximum vacation accrual is used before other donations. Once processed in the payroll system, the donor may not revoke the donation. If the donation is not used, the donation form is returned to the donor.

  • Receiving Donations: Vacation is transferred hour for hour, regardless of differing pay scales. For each pay period, the recipient uses his or her own accruals from the prior pay period, then the number of donated hours needed to equal his or her pre-leave percent of time.

  • Confidentiality: Information about the nature of the illness may be communicated to potential donors to the extent authorized by the employee. Information about a donor shall not be disclosed except by the donor.


  1. The employee sends a written request for catastrophic leave sharing to the department head. If the employee is unable to make this request, a representative may do it on the employee's behalf. Permission to release information on the nature of the medical condition (Exhibit A) is located at the bottom of the page. Medical verification is attached if it has not already been given for Family & Medical Leave.

  2. The department head reviews the request and, prior to making a decision, consults an Employee & Labor Relations Analyst.

  3. The Employee and Labor Relations Analyst reviews the request. If the request is approved, he or she notifies Finance.

  4. Donation forms are held in the department. The department credits the hours to the recipient once per pay period, using only as many hours as are needed for that period, using Form UPAY 3-640C. When the catastrophic leave ends, the department returns unused donation forms to the donors.

Further Information

  • For more information about this program, call Employee and Labor Relations at 530-754-8892
  • For information about benefits or disability insurance, call the Benefits Office at 530-752-1774


Office of the President: Delegation of Authority—Catastrophic Leave Sharing (DA2085).

Personnel Policies for Staff Members, UCD Procedure 41 (Vacation)