Catastrophic Leave - Frequently Asked Questions

What is catastrophic leave?

Catastrophic leave is available to classified employees when the employee or a member of his/her family experiences a catastrophe and the employee has exhausted all available leave. Under NAC 284.575, a catastrophe is defined as a period of disability requiring a lengthy convalescence which an attending physician expects to exceed 10 consecutive weeks. A catastrophe may also involve a condition which is diagnosed by a physician as creating a substantial risk of death.

Are there any eligibility requirements for catastrophic leave?

Classified employees may participate in the catastrophic leave program. The employee must have exhausted all accrued sick time, annual leave, and compensatory time, and receive approval from his/her appointing authority or the Committee on Catastrophic Leave to be eligible to receive catastrophic leave donations.

What reasons qualify for the use of catastrophic leave?

Catastrophic leave is available to classified employees when the employee or a member of his/her family experiences a catastrophic event and the employee has no available leave balances to cover his/her absence. To qualify as a catastrophe, the absence must be for the purpose of lengthy convalescence expected to last a minimum of 10 weeks or may involve a condition for which a health care provider has determined there is a substantial risk of death.

Will my health insurance continue while I am using catastrophic leave?

An employee’s health insurance will continue in full effect during the time that an employee is in catastrophic leave status.

Will I accrue any leave balances while I am using catastrophic leave?

Sick leave and annual leave do not accrue during the use of catastrophic leave.

May an employee use catastrophic leave and FMLA at the same time?

Catastrophic leave and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are separate programs. There may be situations, however, which will qualify for the use of both programs concurrently. Please contact a representative from the UNLV benefits office for additional information.

How much catastrophic leave is available for my use?

Effective January 01, 2005, UNLV classified employees who are approved for the use of catastrophic leave are able to receive up to 240 hours from the general catastrophic leave bank during a rolling 12-month period. This period is measured backwards from the date an employee uses catastrophic leave. Limiting the use of catastrophic leave from the general bank helps to ensure that all those who apply for leave will have time available. Additional catastrophic leave time (up to 800 hours) may be expended, as appropriate, if donations have been made directly for a specific employee’s use (NRS 284.3622).

What is the application process for catastrophic leave?

To apply for the use of catastrophic leave, please contact the Absence Management at 895-0402. A representative will provide you with forms and provide guidance and support throughout the process.

How do I donate hours to the catastrophic leave program?

Classified employees may donate up to a maximum of 120 hours of annual leave or sick leave to the leave bank in any calendar year. An employee will not be permitted to donate time if his/her own sick leave balance will fall below 240 hours as a result of such a donation.

It’s a simple process to donate leave to this program. The required form request to transfer leave (catastrophic leave), must be completed by the employee who wants to donate leave and approved by his/her supervisor, appointing authority, and reviewed by the donating employee’s departmental leave keeper. The form is submitted to the office of human resource where the balances are transferred to the catastrophic leave bank or earmarked for the use of an individual employee.

Can I donate hours directly for the use of a fellow employee who has been approved for catastrophic leave?

Employees may earmark donations for the use of a fellow employee who is approved to receive such leave. If the donation exceeds the amount approved for use by the employee, the donor will be contacted by a representative from the human resources office to determine whether the donor would prefer to have the excess leave returned to his/her leave account or added to the general bank.

For more detailed information about the catastrophic leave program, please contact Absence Management at 702-895-0402.