Text Size:
Decrease font size
Increase font size

Community Service Leave

Purpose

The University recognizes the importance of community involvement and encourages employees to participate in volunteer activities by providing flexibility in work schedules and paid leave opportunities.

Community Service Leave (CSL) is a paid time off program for participation in the educational process of children through the high school level and to support other community service volunteer activities for non-profit organizations. As defined later in this policy, CSL can be approved for:

  • parents for child involvement in the schools
  • any employee for tutoring and mentoring in the schools
  • any employee for volunteer activity in the schools or with a Community Service Organization
  • blood, bone marrow, and organ donation
  • disaster relief and emergency volunteer activities
  • any employee for volunteering in a State of North Carolina Public University, Community College System or State agency provided that the service is outside of the employee’s normal scope of duties and responsibilities and that the employee is not receiving any form of compensation for the services rendered.

CSL combines three previously separate categories of leave: child involvement leave, community involvement leave and volunteer services leave.

Eligibility

Employees eligible for CSL are:

  • SPA permanent employees (including probationary, trainee, or time-limited) regularly scheduled 20 or more hours per week.
  • EPA permanent Non-Faculty.
  • EPA Faculty who earn leave.

Employees who are not eligible for CSL are:

  • SPA or EPA temporary employees.
  • Post-docs.
  • EPA faculty who do not earn leave.
  • SPA or EPA permanent employees regularly scheduled less than 20 hours per week.

(See exception for temporary employees in Blood-Related and Bone Marrow Donation section below.)

Employees must receive prior approval from their supervisors to use this leave. The supervisor may require that the leave be taken at a time other than the one requested, based on operational needs, and/or may require acceptable proof that any leave taken is within the purposes of this policy.

Relationship to Other Paid Time

An eligible leave event must occur during the employee’s regular work schedule in order to qualify under Community Service Leave.

CSL does not contribute to time worked for determining overtime eligibility and will be offset by any additional time worked during the work week.

See "Determining Time Worked" in the Related Subjects section below for more details.

Recordkeeping

Like other types of non-emergency leave, community service leave must be requested in advance and may not be used without management’s approval. When considering a request for community service leave, management will consider both the employee’s request and operating needs of the office.

On Employee Time Records, leave records and other departmental records use the letter "A" to designate CSL. (The "A" code is assigned to "Paid Child Involvement Leave" on current forms and systems.) Departments must maintain records of the number of hours of community service leave taken by each employee. Departments should anticipate a request from the Office of State Personnel for a report showing the number of employees using CSL and the number of hours used. It is suggested that separate counts be maintained for regular community service leave, mentoring and tutoring, and for emergency/disaster relief efforts.

Community service leave is cumulative only through December 31 of each year. Any community service leave that is not used by midnight on December 31 is canceled; it does not carry over to the next calendar year.

An employee receives the full amount of leave to which they are entitled for the calendar when employment begins. Therefore, CSL cannot be advanced. An employee cannot have a negative CSL balance. If management does not carefully monitor the use of community service leave and allows a negative balance to exist at the end of a calendar year, it must be deducted from the employee’s pay in January on an hour-for-hour basis (calculated to the nearest one-tenth of an hour). Alternatively, the employee may apply accrued vacation leave, compensatory time off, travel time off, or equal time off to reduce the negative balance. A negative balance at the time of separation, including transfers to a public school or community college system, or a local Department of Human Resources agency, is deducted from the employee’s final paycheck or repaid with other paid time off as described above.

If an employee transfers to another state agency, any community service leave balance transfers to the new agency. If an employee leaves state service, all unused community service leave is canceled. There is no payout for unused community service leave.

The operating department retains individual leave records for current employees. After separation, individual leave records are retained in the employee’s personnel file by Employee Records, Office of Human Resources.

Option A and Option B

Definitions

School (public or private): One that is authorized to operate under the laws of the State of North Carolina and is:

  • an elementary school
  • a middle school
  • a high school, or
  • a child care program

Child: A son or daughter who is:

  • a biological child
  • an adopted child
  • a foster child
  • a step-child
  • a legal ward
  • a child for whom the employee serves in the role of parent
  • University: a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina

  • College:
    an educational institution that is a member of the North Carolina Community College System.
  • Agency: a State government agency that is authorized to operate under the laws of the State of North Carolina.

Community Service Organization: A non-profit, non-partisan community organization, which is designated as an IRS Code 501(c)(3) agency, or a human service organization licensed or accredited to serve citizens with special needs including children, youth, and the elderly.

Option A — School Involvement / Community Service Organizations/ Public Universities, Community Colleges and State Agencies

Under Option A, eligible employees receive 24 hours of paid leave that may be applied to absences involving:

  • meeting with a teacher or administrator concerning the employee’s child;
  • attending any function sponsored by the school in which the employee’s child is participating. This provision shall only be used with non-athletic programs that are a part of, or supplement to, the school’s academic or artistic programs;
  • volunteer work for a school that has been approved by a teacher, school administrator, or program administrator;
  • volunteer service for a community service organization as defined above;
  • performing volunteer work for a public university that is approved by a university administrator or other authorized official;
  • performing volunteer work for a community college that is approved by a community college administrator or other authorized community college official, or
  • performing volunteer work for a State Agency that is approved by the agency head or their designee.

Although religious organizations may be eligible under this policy as 501(c)(3) organizations, CSL cannot be applied to specific activities designed to promote religious beliefs, such as teaching or leading religious assemblies or in raising funds to support religious activities.

See Related Subjects for more information on eligible activities.

Option B — Mentoring/Tutoring:

The amount of type of CSL includes volunteering as a tutor or mentor in an eligible school for (generally, 1 hour each week that schools are in session) up to a maximum of 36 hours per calendar year. Leave under this option will be used exclusively for tutoring or mentoring a student in accordance with established standards rules and guidelines for such arrangements as determined and documented by joint agreement with the employee’s department and the school. Any time used for tutoring/mentoring during the employee’s regular work schedule, including time spent traveling to and from the school, must be accounted for either by the use of community service leave or other appropriate leave.

Changing Options:

Employees cannot use both 24 hours under Option A and 36 hours under Option B in the same calendar year. Employees must choose between using Option A or using Option B.

If an employee changes options during the calendar year, the maximum number of hours available will equal the number of hours available for the new option, less any hours already used.

Disaster & Emergency Services

Employees may receive up to 120 hours (15 work days) of CSL for participation in disaster relief and/or emergency volunteer services, as described below.

Disaster Services

To qualify for Disaster Relief CSL, the employee must:

  • be a disaster service volunteer of the American Red Cross, and
  • be requested by the American Red Cross to participate.

The disaster must:

  • be within the United States, and
  • be designated at Level III or higher in the American National Red Cross Regulations and Procedures.

Emergency Services

CSL may be used for employees participating in volunteer emergency and rescue services. Management is responsible for determining that a bona fide need for such services exists within a given area. A bona fide need is defined as real or imminent danger to life or property.

The employee must provide to management:

  • sufficient proof of the employee’s membership in an emergency volunteer organization, and
  • that the performance of such emergency services will not unreasonably hinder agency activity for which the employee is responsible.

Neither the University nor the employee’s department is liable for workers’ compensation claims arising from an accident or injury while the employee is on a disaster service or emergency services assignment.

Organ Donorship

Employees may receive up to 180 hours of CSL for donation of organs. Employees are expected to provide management with as much advance notice as practicable. Any additional time required for recovery must be covered through use of other available leave or leave without pay as provided by policy.

Blood-Related & Bone Marrow Donation

Employees are encouraged to use the opportunity to participate in "life-giving" programs through blood-related and bone marrow donorship. Subject to operational needs and management approval, employees may apply CSL to cover time of donation and recovery plus travel if during work time. Management also may authorize use of other available leave or a flexible work schedule, as appropriate.

University-Wide Blood Drive Exception: As an exception to the Community Service Leave policy, participation in the semi-annual University-wide Blood Drives as either a donor or volunteer is considered work time for both permanent and temporary employees. Time to donate blood or volunteer must be requested in advance and management will consider both the employee’s request and the operating needs of the office.

Political Activity & Voting

Community service leave may not be used for any partisan political activity. This includes soliciting funds for votes for a political candidate or working for the election of a candidate. (Vacation or bonus leave, or other accrued paid time off, may be used for such activities, subject to the department’s normal request and approval process.)

Voting

Employees cannot use work time for voting. This is because the polls are open for 12 hours or more on Election Day, and employees are to vote on their own time either before or after their regular work schedule. In some cases, employees may be able to vote during their scheduled meal periods. Management has the discretion to allow flexible work scheduling to accommodate voting employees, or allow the employee to code vacation leave, bonus leave, or other accrued paid time off for the absence.

Working the Election Polls

Community Service Leave may be applied to hours worked inside a polling facility to assist voters with the voting process as long as the employee is not receiving pay for the work. Vacation leave, bonus leave, or other accrued paid time off shall be charged if the employee is receiving pay for the "inside" poll work or if the employee is distributing brochures, transporting voters or other partisan campaigning outside of the polls.

In either case, only the portion of the time worked at the polls that occurs during the employee’s regular work schedule may be considered eligible as leave. Hours worked outside the employee’s regular work schedule are not compensable.

See also "Limits on Political Activity" and "Civil Leave" policies in the "Related Subjects" section below.

Recordkeeping

Leave Accruals and Balances for All Employees:

Implementation of the Time Information System (TIM) to track work hours, special pay, and leave for University employees began its phased implementation in August 2007.

All departments currently use the Time Information Management (TIM) system for tracking leave balances for eligible employees. In the TIM system, each type of CSL has its own pay code. See "TIM Website" in the "Related Subjects" section below for information on recording Community Service Leave.

End-Of-Year Balances

Community service leave is cumulative only through December 31 of each year. Any community service leave that is not used by midnight on December 31 is canceled. It does not carry over to the next calendar year.

Advancement & Negative Balances

New employees shall be credited with leave immediately upon their employment, prorated at two hours per month for the remainder of the calendar year. An employee receives the full amount of leave to which they are entitled for the calendar year when employment begins or as of January 1 for each subsequent year. Therefore, CSL cannot be advanced, and an employee cannot carry a negative CSL balance.

However, in the event that an employee is found to have a negative CSL balance, the balance must be resolved no later than the employee’s next pay cycle. The employee may:

  • Apply other available leave to cover the CSL-related absences that resulted in the negative balance, or
  • Have the appropriate number of hours deducted from the employee’s next pay check.

See also "Leave/PTO Payouts & Transfers" in Related Subjects below.

For Departments Using Employee Time Records:

For employees who are currently using paper Employee Time Records, code "A" may be used to designate all types of CSL. (On some Employee Time Records, the "A" code may be listed as "Paid Child Involvement Leave".) Employees may use the "Explanations" section of the Time Record to note which type(s) of CSL was used during the period.

Questions

If you have questions about this program, contact the Benefits Specialist in the Office of Human Resources assigned to work with your department or your department’s HR Facilitator.

If you have questions about leave balances or how to record leave in the TIM system, contact your department’s HR Facilitator or TIM Administrator.

Related subjects

Civil Leave

Legal Defense

Limitations on Political Activities

Leave PTO Payouts & Transfers

Determining Time Worked

Time Information Management (TIM) Project Web Site [link]