Catastrophic Leave Program (UC Davis Health Employees)

The Catastrophic Leave Sharing Program allows employees to donate vacation leave to staff employees who do not have sufficient accumulated paid leave for a catastrophic casualty loss suffered due to a terrorist attack, fire, or natural disaster.

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

The Catastrophic Leave Program permits temporary salary and benefit continuation for a staff or academic employee who accrues vacation and who has exhausted all paid leave credit to address circumstances such as:

  • A catastrophic illness or injury of an employee;
  • To care for a catastrophically ill or injured family member;
  • To deal with the death of a family member; or

While the program establishes a mechanism for leave transfers, participation is entirely voluntary. Donations are anonymous, unless donors elect otherwise.

Individual catastrophic leave accounts are not credited with vacation leave balances that exceed the amount needed to ensure continuation of the employee's regular salary during the employee's approved catastrophic leave. For simplicity and audit purposes, accrued vacation credits shall be transferred hour for hour, regardless of differing pay scales.

Catastrophic leave requests will be considered only for employees who must take leave in continuous blocks of time.


  • Employee submits completed Catastrophic Leave Application and a medical certification form which substantiates the need for time off due to an illness/injury to the department manager or chief administrative officer. If catastrophic leave donations are being requested for leave that is unrelated to an illness or injury, a medical certification form is not required. If employee, due to incapacitation, is unable to submit the required documents, a representative may submit it on the employee's behalf.

  • Department manager or chief administrative officer reviews the Catastrophic Leave Application and medical certification form and completes the Manager/CAO section of the Application Review/Approval Worksheet. All documents including the Application Review/Approval Worksheet are then forwarded to Employee and Labor Relations for review and approval.

  • Employee & Labor Relations reviews all information submitted by the department manager or chief administrative officer, confirms whether the request meets the criteria specified in the Catastrophic Leave Guidelines, and approves or denies the request. The Application Review/Approval Worksheet is then returned to department manager or chief administrative officer with the decision from Employee and Labor Relations noted on the form.

Approved Catastrophic Leave Request

  • If the request is approved by Employee and Labor Relations, the following forms will be forwarded to the Department Manager or Chief Administrative Officer:
    • Request for Catastrophic Leave Donations
    • Catastrophic Leave Donation Form
    • Summary Memo to UC Davis Health Payroll Department
  • The department manager or chief administrative officer completes the Request for Catastrophic Leave Donations and forwards it along with the Donation Form to staff in the department.

  • Employees who wish to make a donation of vacation hours must complete the Donation Form and return it to the department manager or chief administrative officer.

  • The department manager or chief administrative officer completes the Summary Memo for the UC Davis Health Payroll Department and forwards it to them along with the following documents:
    • Catastrophic Leave Review/Approval Worksheet
    • Catastrophic Leave Donation Form

Denied Catastrophic Leave Request

  •  If the request was denied, Employee and Labor Relations will notify the Department Manager of Chief Administrative Officer who will then inform the applicant.


Catastrophic illness or injury is defined as a serious illness or injury that is expected to incapacitate the employee or the employee's family member and which creates a financial hardship to the employee due to exhausted leave credits, i.e., sick leave, vacation and compensatory time off (CTO).

Eligible employee includes staff and academic personnel who accrue vacation leave, are eligible to use sick leave in accordance with applicable policy or collective bargaining agreement, and who have passed the waiting period to use vacation if a waiting period is required by the applicable policy or collective bargaining agreement.

Eligible Family Member includes employee's spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild; in laws and step-relatives in these relationships; any other person residing in the employee's household for whom there is a personal obligation.

Eligible leave credits for donation is limited to vacation credits. Sick leave and CTO credits may not be donated.

Record Keeping

The department maintains records regarding employee donations, usage rates and related accounting information. It is the department's responsibility to notify donors of subsequent adjustments to their vacation leave balances.

Vacation Leave Donations

  • Each donation must be a minimum of eight hours.
  • Each donation must be in whole increments.
  • Once credited and processed by the UC Davis Health Payroll Department, donations are irrevocable.
  • Hours collected will be held in the department and credited to the leave account on an as needed basis.

Further Information 

The Catastrophic Leaving-Sharing Program is not subject to the grievance policy or contract article applicable to the employee.

Questions about this program should be forwarded to the health system Employee & Labor Relations office at 916-734-3362. Any questions about Benefits and/or Disability Insurance should be forwarded to the UC Davis Health Benefits office at 916-734-8099.


  • Accounting Manual (Chapter P-196-13.5)
  • UCOP Delegation DA 2085, dated 6-12-97