Family Leave Pool provides additional sick leave in the event an employee is seriously ill or is caring for a seriously ill family member, including pandemic-related illnesses or complications caused by a pandemic, bonding with and caring for a child during the child's first year following birth, adoption, or foster placement, or the employee previously donated time to the Family Leave Pool which caused the employee to exhaust all eligible leave.
Any donation to the Family Leave Pool will have the cash value of hours included in gross income of the donor and will be treated as wages for employment tax purposes. Such wages will be considered a lump-sum payment and subject to up to 25% income tax, Medicare and applicable social security withholdings. Individuals who wish to donate are encouraged to consult a tax advisor.
- Hours received from the FLP are not job protected leave
- Family Leave Pool hours cannot be applied retroactively. Hours donated can only be used for absences occurring after the recipient has the hours in their balance
- Family Leave Pool balances will not transfer with an employee to another state agency, are not eligible for restoration upon re-employment after a separation of employment and are not eligible for payment upon separation or to an estate upon death. The recipient may not purchase service credit in the Employees Retirement System of Texas or Teacher Retirement System of Texas with leave that is unused on the last day of the employee’s employment.
Family Leave Pool Forms
- Family Leave Pool Application
- Family Leave Pool Health Care Provider Medical Certification
- Family Leave Pool Donation - Donor Form
- Family Leave Pool Recipient Form
Family Leave Pool FAQ
What is the Family Leave Pool?
- The Family Leave Pool (FLP) is a new program established by the state legislature
effective Sept. 1, 2021, that allows leave-eligible employees to donate their accrued
sick or vacation leave into a pool that can be used for:
- Bonding with and caring for children during a child’s first year following birth, adoption, or foster placement
- Caring for a seriously ill family member of the employee, including pandemic-related illnesses or extenuating circumstances caused by a pandemic
- Employee’s serious medical condition.
What documentation do I need to provide if I want to use hours for baby bonding?
- If using hours from the pool to care for another person, the employee must submit and be listed on the other person's birth certificate, birth facts, or adoption or foster paperwork for a child under 18 years of age, including being listed as the mother, father, adoptive parent, foster parent, or partner of the child's mother, adoptive parent, or foster parent, or provide documentation that the employee is the guardian of a person who is 18 years of age or older and requiring guardianship.
What does the term “baby bonding” time mean?
- Baby bonding time refers to the period of time for which an employee requests leave for the purposes of caring for and bonding with their newly-born or newly-adopted children, in which neither the employee nor the child are under medical care from a healthcare provider.
- For example, for an employee who requests 12 weeks of leave for childbirth and baby bonding, a healthcare provider will typically require a recovery period from childbirth of six weeks and the remaining weeks of leave are not medically necessary but are an important period of time for a child to bond with their family. This distinction is important, as employees of state agencies may utilize sick leave for the medically restricted period of parental leave but baby bonding time is not a permissible use of sick leave.
- While vacation leave may be utilized for the purposes of baby bonding time, many employees may not have enough vacation accrued to cover this period or may be in a role that does not accrue vacation (such as 9 month positions). That means that for many employees, the baby bonding period is unpaid leave. This is why the Family Leave Pool is such an important new benefit, as a donation to the Family Leave Pool can make a huge difference to our employees as they bond with their child!
What documentation do I need to provide if I want to use hours for my own serious medical condition or a family members medical condition?
- A Family Leave Pool Health Care Provider Medical Certification form completed and signed by a licensed health care provider who is treating the employee or the employee’s family member and a Family Leave Pool Application Form.
What documentation do I need to provide if I have extenuating circumstances because of a pandemic?
- If the request is for extenuating circumstance created by an ongoing pandemic, including providing essential care to a family member, the employee must provide any applicable documentation, including an essential caregiver designation, proof of closure of a school or daycare, or other appropriate documentation.
Can I receive more hours than my doctor certifies?
- No. An employee cannot receive more hours than the doctor certifies. Any unused hours will be removed from the employee’s balance.
Where can I locate the Family Leave Pool policy?
- The FLP policy is in the final stages of development and approval and will be published soon. However, employees may begin donating and receiving leave from the FLP in the interim.
What are the eligibility criteria for receiving FLP leave?
- An employee who receives hours from the family leave pool must have a documented current need to use the hours. The receiving employee must have exhausted all their own paid leave prior to receiving hours from the pool.
What are the procedures for donating leave to the Family Leave Pool?
- An employee who wishes to contribute hours to the FLP must complete the FLP Donor Form.
What are the procedures for requesting leave from the Family Leave Pool?
- An employee who is needing to request hours from the FLP must complete FLP Application form.
Do an employee’s own leave accruals have to be exhausted before applying to receive leave from the FLP?
- Yes, all forms of applicable leave must be exhausted to be eligible to receive FLP leave.
Are there hours automatically added to the new FLP by the university?
- No, pool balances consist of individual employee donations of accrued leave; the university does not contribute leave to the FLP. Since the program is new, there are currently no hours in the pool.
Is FLP leave taxable to employees?
- Yes. Sick or vacation leave that is donated to the FLP is taxable to the donor pursuant to IRS regulations that require the university to withhold taxes on the donated leave from the donor, based on the donor's tax bracket. Recipients of FLP leave will be subject to normal payroll withholding taxes in the same manner as using any type of paid leave.
- Would you like to contribute to the Family Leave Pool, but have questions about the tax implications and need advice? We suggest talking with a tax professional . Your donation to the Family Leave Pool will be taxed dependent on your tax bracket.
- You can also access free financial advice (including professional tax advice) via the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which includes financial resources. Learn more here about the financial resources available to you via the EAP.
Is there a maximum number of hours that an employee can donate to the FLP?
- No. An employee may donate any amount of leave.
Is there a maximum number of hours that can be received from the FLP?
- The maximum number of hours an employee can receive is capped at the lesser of 1/3 of the pool balance or 90 days.
Is there a lifetime maximum number of hours that can be received from the FLP?
- Yes. An employee may not receive more than a total of 90 days during their employment.
If I receive pool hours, how do I record my absences?
- You will report absences through the eLeave system. There will be an option to choose FLP in the drop-down list.
What happens to the FLP hours I receive if I terminate employment?
- All FLP hours will be removed from an employee’s balance upon termination. In addition, the estate of a deceased employee is not entitled to payment for unused time withdrawn by the employee from the pool.
When can I use my family leave pool donations?
- Hours received from the family leave pool may be applied from the award date forward. Hours may not be applied to absences that occurred prior to the award.