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Emergency Leave Bank Procedure - 63.08.16

College Policy Number/Title:

The Howard Community College emergency leave bank is designed to provide the possibility of additional leave to employees in the event of very serious illness or disability or other situation related to employee or immediate family health, as described in this procedure. The definition of immediate family members is defined in procedure 63.08.14, Sick and Disability Leave or Absence.

All full- and part-time budgeted and temporary with benefits employees who have been employed in budgeted or temporary with benefits status by the college for one year are eligible to elect to participate in the emergency leave bank by contributing four non-refundable sick leave hours each year while employed to the emergency leave bank (prorated for part-time employees). Employees are initially eligible to join the emergency leave bank during a 30-calendar-days window immediately after reaching one year of service in a budgeted or temporary with benefits status with the college. Thereafter, eligible employees may only join during yearly open enrollment. An eligible employee who wants to enroll should complete an Emergency Leave Bank Enrollment Form, which is available on the human resources portal page.

Employees who join during an open enrollment after their initial eligibility to join must retroactively contribute four hours of leave for each year during which they would have been eligible for membership, and then continue to contribute in subsequent years. The college will not require more than four hours be donated per year, but may reduce or eliminate ongoing required donations by members if the bank’s balance is deemed sufficient to meet needs. Once enrolled, an employee remains a member of the emergency leave bank until they use all allowable leave from the bank or formally request to separate from it. An employee who requests to separate from the leave bank does not recoup any donated leave.

Employees have no vested ownership in their sick leave since the actual expense of the absent employee is borne by the department, not by contributing employees. An overriding guideline will be that the procedure will be administered in an equitable and consistent manner for all employees. The college retains the right to limit the number of emergency leave days that can be withdrawn from the emergency leave bank in any fiscal year, and may also suspend or terminate the emergency leave bank's operation in whole or in part. If the board of trustees terminates the operation of the emergency leave bank, all accumulated leave balances will be distributed to current members on a prorated basis taking into consideration the amount left in the balance, if any, and the amount each employee contributed.

Membership in the emergency leave bank does not guarantee that each request for emergency leave will be granted. Decisions concerning the use of leave from the emergency leave bank are determined by a team of human resources employees, including the associate vice president, after consultation with an employee’s supervisor. Upon application by the employee, who must be a contributing member of the emergency leave bank, the request will be considered. All requests will be considered in a confidential manner. An employee may appeal the decision made by human resources to their area vice president, or to the president for the areas that report directly to the president, for review by president’s team.

Criteria for consideration include the following:

  • The employee must have depleted all personal, sick, and annual leave prior to withdrawing any leave from the leave bank.
  • Usage of leave from the leave bank is limited to situations that fall under the Family and Medical Leave Act, such as serious health conditions of the employee or an immediate family member or bonding with a new child in the first year after birth, adoption, or foster care placement. The emergency leave bank is not designed to cover routine family illnesses or circumstances. Leave without pay may be an option in a situation of a non-emergency nature. More information can be found in procedure 63.08.15, Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • In the case of employee injury or illness, the emergency leave bank may be used to cover the five-day unpaid period prior to the start of short-term disability (STD) leave. If the employee is still unable to work after using the full allotment of STD leave, additional allowable hours from the leave bank, up to the maximum described in this procedure, will be used prior to a request for long-term disability (LTD) leave.
  • The employee must provide a physician's certification or other appropriate documentation for the employee or immediate family member.
  • The procedure must be administered in an equitable and consistent manner for all employees.
  • The employee must have demonstrated a responsible use of leave over his/her tenure at the college, in the judgment of the emergency leave bank team.

Members of the emergency leave bank request use of the emergency leave bank on a college request for leave form, which can be found on the human resources portal page. The request goes to the office of human resources, which will consider the request.

The maximum amount of leave that can be awarded from the emergency leave bank to any one employee during their tenure with the college is 20 working days (prorated for part-time budgeted or temporary with benefits employees). In extraordinary circumstances, an appeal for an additional 20 working days can be requested (for a maximum of 40 working days during an employee’s tenure). Appeals outlining the extraordinary circumstances should be sent to human resources, which will consult with the employee’s supervisor and area vice president, or the president for the areas that report directly to the president, prior to making a decision.

When an employee leaves employment with the college, membership in the emergency leave bank ceases and any contributions remain with the emergency leave bank.

The compensation amount for days of emergency leave bank leave would be equal to the compensation benefit under the college's short-term disability policy and procedures. College provided benefits would continue during use of the emergency leave bank.

As with any other leaves granted under the Family and Medical Leave Act, such leave will run concurrently with any emergency leave granted.

There is no leave sequence or accrual of leave while an employee is using leave from the emergency leave bank.

Effective Date: 03/08/19

President's Office Use:  VPAF

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