AM - Catastrophic Leave

The catastrophic leave program allows UW System employees to voluntarily donate earned paid leave credits, with the exception of sick leave or compensatory time, to employees who have been absent from pay status due to a catastrophic need for which no eligible paid leave benefits or replacement income is available at their own or at a different UW institution.

Procedure At-a-Glance

Category: Catastrophic Leave Program
Audience: Payroll Coordinator / HR Manager
Overarching Process: Absence Management
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General Description

As of 7/1/2015, the catastrophic leave program allows most University Staff, Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited employees to voluntarily donate leave credits to other UW employees either at their own or at a different UW institution who have a catastrophic need for which no eligible paid leave benefits or replacement income is available.

Recipient Eligibility:

  • Recipients must be an active University of Wisconsin employee earning sick leave
  • Recipients must be on an approved unpaid leave of absence due to catastrophic need of the employee or an immediate family member
  • A recipient must have used all available sick leave credits and have a balance of no more than 16 hours of combined accrued annual leave, including vacation, vacation carryover, personal holiday, and Banked Leave (Sabbatical/ALRA)
  • A potential recipient must submit an Employee Request for Catastrophic Leave (UWS-420) form to the Chancellor or designee who determines recipient eligibility
    • Recipient must be approved as an eligible recipient. The approver must complete an Employer Approval of Catastrophic Leave (UWS-421)
  • Recipient must not be receiving any other salary replacement income or benefits including, but not limited to, Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) or Worker's Compensation (see list in BN 5.4.A.1.g).  

Recipient Usage:

  • Donated leave will be processed only after the catastrophic leave has been approved
  • Leave earned by the recipient must be used prior to using any donated leave
  • Donated leave can be received from any employee category
  • There is no minimum or maximum number of hours of donated leave a recipient may receive
  • Donated leave will be used in a first-in, first used basis determined by the date the Catastrophic Leave Donor Authorization Form is received
  • Only the amount of the catastrophic leave needed is added to the recipient each pay period 
  • The recipient may use leave donated in one-hour increments up to their budgeted position
  • Leave donated under the Catastrophic Leave Program may be used to meet the Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) Elimination Period. Once the ICI Elimination Period is met and the recipient is eligible to receive ICI benefits, no more donated leave may be used.

Donors Eligibility and Rules:

  • A donor must be actively employed at a UW institution and have accrued eligible leave for donation
  • Donors must complete a Catastrophic Leave Donor Authorization (UWS-422) Form 
  • Any type of leave other than sick leave can be donated
  • Leave must be donated in whole-hour increments
  • A donor may donate leave to any eligible recipient in any employee category, within any UW institution
  • There is no limit on the number of hours a donor may donate and the donor may donate to more than one recipient
  • The donor's leave will be deducted when it is actually used by the recipient

Required Forms

Process Outputs

  • Leave adjustment with notification to the department sent via email / WiscIT

Catastrophic Leave Policies

Procedure Steps

Steps to be followed by the Campus and Department:

  1. The campus designee(s) will review applications to determine eligibility of recipients
  2. The campus designee(s) will issue an approval or denial consistent in accordance with program policies and guidelines listed in BN 5. 4A
  3. The campus designee(s) will notify the appropriate payroll and/or department office of approved recipients
  4. The campus will provide notification to the donors that their donated hours have been applied to the recipient
  5. The payroll/department office will solicit donations for approved recipients, consistent with established policies
  6. Once the donor forms (UWS-422) are received, the payroll/department office will date stamp when form received in the office and process donations consistent with section BN 5, 4B & 4C
  7. The payroll coordinator will create a WiscIT listing all the donors who have elected to donate their leave. The signed and dated Donor Authorization forms and Recipient's approved application needs to be attached for the UW Service Center to do the processing.  As additional donations are received they must also be date stamped and sent to the Service Center
  8. Before using catastrophic leave, the recipient must have exhausted all sick leave hours and have no more than 16 hours of combined accrued annual leave.
    • The coordinator must be sure to use the employee's own available leave before using any donated leave
    • The payroll/department office will notify the Service Center of how many hours of catastrophic leave the recipient will need each pay period
  9. After receiving notification that the Service Center has applied the catastrophic leave donation, the coordinator will enter a catastrophic absence take
  10. Examples of the catastrophic take entries:
    • If the employee is Faculty, Academic Staff, or Limited:



  • If the employee is University Staff:
CAT leave take class 

     11. When the catastrophic leave take is processed to the paycheck for University Staff employees, the take will be listed as REG hours in Review Paycheck

Steps to be followed by the UW Service Center:
  • Verify that the donor and applicant authorization forms are attached, signed, and date stamped by campus
  • Verify that the applicant is in an active payroll status in HRS in order for the donated leave to process. If not, call/e-mail the department/payroll coordinator to request the HR data to be changed
  • Communicate and review with the payroll coordinator regarding the number of hours the recipient will need each pay period and ensure that the recipient's available accrued leave is used before using any catastrophic leave each pay period
  • Review each donor's form and the donors' leave balances to ensure that they have sufficient balance for the leave type they wish to donate.
  • Make the appropriate deduction for the leave type they are donating
  • Total the leave donated in each pay period and complete the balance adjustment to add the hours for the recipient
  • Verify adjustments for the donors and recipient are processed and notify department to enter the appropriate catastrophic takes (see images above)
  • Provide a list of donors to the coordinator for each pay period
  • Once the recipient no longer has a need for catastrophic leave, if there are any remaining hours, the amounts unused will be returned to donors

Related Policies, Job Aids and Forms:

Related Policies:

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Related Job Aids:

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Related Forms:

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Keywords:Catastrophic leave donation, university staff catastrophic, cat leave, donated time, faculty catastrophic, academic staff catastrophic, limited catastrophic   Doc ID:56667
Owner:Amber D.Group:Human Resource System (HRS)
Created:2015-09-23 12:27 CDTUpdated:2016-06-24 09:44 CDT
Sites:Human Resource System (HRS)
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