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Program helps eligible employees in need of leave

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Federal employees here with a personal or family medical emergency and without the availability of paid leave may be eligible to apply for the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program.

The program permits employees to receive transferred whole-hour annual leave directly from other employees following supervisor approval.

“An employee who has been affected by a medical emergency may submit an application to a first-level supervisor,” said Edith Bell, 66th Force Support Squadron human resource specialist, who manages the program at Hanscom. “The civilian employee must provide a description of the hardship along with documentation from a health care provider.”

In addition to providing documentation to become a leave recipient, the employee must consent in writing to the release of this information to Hanscom officials involved in the review process.

The program is only available to employees who anticipate missing more than 24 hours.

“The supervisor determines if the employee’s absence from duty without available paid leave will result in a substantial loss of income to the employee because of the unavailability of paid leave,” Bell said.

Once the supervisor approves the employee’s application, it is sent to Civilian Personnel for review and approval.

Last year approximately 15 Hanscom employees participated in VLTP, including Lynda Roche, who works in 66 FSS Human Resources.

“The voluntary leave transfer program allowed me the opportunity to be with my father when he needed me most,” said Roche, who has worked at Hanscom for less than two years. “I feel fortunate to work for an organization that offers programs like this for their employees.”

Roche received approximately 80 hours of donated annual leave from colleagues. Donations may also come from federal employees at locations other than Hanscom.

Personnel may also submit their application anonymously, but Bell cautions that may limit donations.

“While the employee may choose anonymity, the person should know that anonymity may result in minimal leave donations,” said Bell.

While there is flexibility in the donation process, Bell said there are some restrictions.

“The maximum amount of leave someone can donate to another employee is no more than one-half of the amount of annual leave someone would be entitled to earn during the leave year,” she said. “In addition, an immediate supervisor is not allowed to receive donated leave from a subordinate employee.”

She added that Hanscom personnel approved for VLTP are required to use their sick leave before using donated annual leave.

“For someone like me who had not accrued much annual or sick leave so early in my career, I’m thankful this program exists for the civilian workforce,” Roche said.

For more information about donating leave or qualifying to be a recipient of leave donation, contact Bell at 781-225-1417 or by email at edith.bell@us.af.mil.