The Catastrophic Leave Sharing Program permits UCSB employees to donate vacation hours to a colleague who has, or will soon exhaust, their own accrued paid leave due to their own serious illness/injury or due to the need to care for a seriously ill member of the employee's family. Catastrophic Leave donations permit salary and benefits continuation for employees who satisfy the eligibility requirements of the program.

Note: Participation in the Catastrophic Leave Sharing Program is strictly confidential and voluntary and is not subject to any grievance, administrative review or arbitration procedure as applicable to either donor or recipient employees.

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Definition of Catastrophic Illness or Injury

A catastrophic illness/injury is one that is serious and incapacitates the employee or a member of the employee's family, and which creates a financial hardship because the employee has exhausted all eligible leave accruals. Eligible family members include the employee's spouse/domestic partner, child, or parent as defined by Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).


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Eligibility Requirements

Program recipients must meet ALL of the following criteria in order to participate in the program:

  1. Must be a UCSB non-probationary, career employee or an academic employee eligible to accrue and use vacation time.
  2. Must submit objective medical evidence substantiating the catastrophic illness/injury as verified by a licensed medical practitioner. The Doctor’s note must contain: date the illness/injury first occurred, and expected return to work date.
  3. The illness/injury as verified by the licensed medical practitioner is determined to be serious and incapacitating (due to the medical condition the employee is unable to perform the essential functions of his/her position).
  4. If the request for program participation is due to the catastrophic illness/injury of another person, the person must be a member of the employee’s family, as defined by Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  5. The Catastrophic Leave must be approved by the employee's department.
  6. Must have received no written warnings for excessive absenteeism during the two years immediately preceding the request for catastrophic leave.
  7. Must have exhausted all of their own accrued paid leave earned pursuant to the applicable personnel policies covering vacation, sick leave, and compensatory time off. (Must not be on any other University pay status)
  8. If eligible for disability benefits due to this injury or illness, employee must use Catastrophic Leave donations prior to receiving disability benefits.
  9. Catastrophic Leave cannot be used on an intermittent basis.


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How to Apply for Catastrophic Leave

  1. Review the eligibility requirements. It is important that you have a complete understanding of the program before applying. If you have questions contact the program coordinator in Human Resources.
  2. Login to the HR ServiceNow portal and click on Leave Administration. Submit the Employee Catastrophic Leave Application. Applications must be received by the HR Program Coordinator within 30 days of the date that the employee has exhausted all leave accruals.
  3. The HR Program Coordinator will make a determination regarding the employee’s eligibility for program participation upon review of the application documents.
  4. The approval or denial of the application will be communicated in writing (email or letter) to you or the department if the department is acting on your behalf.
    If the department is acting for you, the department will forward the approval or denial decision to you.


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Guidelines for Donors

1. Donors may donate vacation time only in increments of four (4) hours.

2. The maximum amount of (vacation) time credited to a recipient's account shall not exceed his or her regular paid status hours for the affected pay period.

3. The recipient may remain anonymous unless he or she decides otherwise. Likewise all donations will be taken anonymously unless the donor decides otherwise.

4. Any donation forms received that are designated for "any active recipient" will be allocated to any open Catastrophic Leave case at the discretion of the HR Program Coordinator.

5. The annual maximum donation may be no more than 50% of the donor's annual leave accrual entitlement, or 50% of the donor's vacation balance at the time of the transfer, whichever is less.

6. Donations are reflected as a deduction from the leave balance of the donor employee when Human Resources transfers the donation to the recipient. Depending on the individual Catastrophic Leave case, transfers may not occur immediately, could happen weeks or months in the future or not happen at all if a surplus of donations was received. Donations will be used in the order that they are received.

7. For the sake of auditable record keeping, accrued vacation hours shall be transferred hour-for-hour, regardless of differing pay scales.

8. Donations are not tax deductible.

9. Once processed and transferred, donations are irrevocable.


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  1. Login to the HR ServiceNow portal and click on Leave Administration. Then click Donate to the Catastrophic Leave Sharing Program if you wish to donate vacation hours.
  2. Human Resources will transfer donated vacation hours to the recipient.
  3. When the recipient returns to work, you will be notified by the Human Resources Program Coordinator if some or all of your donations were not used.


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Catastrophic Leave Sharing Program Coordinator

Raquel Galindo
Human Resources, 3101 SAASB, Mail Code 3160
Campus Phone: 805-893-4455  Email: