How to Apply for Catastrophic Leave

NOTE:  Effective 9-1-2016, UAMS’ participation in the State Catastrophic Leave Program will end.  It will be replaced with a fully insured Short Term Disability plan.   Cat leave donations will discontinue on that date.  Current cat leave recipients will continue that benefit in a phase-out period.  

Application Process

The UAMS Catastrophic Leave Program is a State legislated program designed to assist employees in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury – either their own illness or that of a family member (defined as spouse, parent or child). Employees may apply for the program directly through the Office of Human Resources (OHR), or their department can apply to OHR on their behalf.

There are certain eligibility criteria an employee must meet in order to be considered for Catastrophic Leave. After an employee applies for the program, OHR contacts his/her respective department for verification of the eligibility criteria:

  • Regular, full-time, non-faculty, benefits eligible State employee for a minimum of two (2) years
  • Exhaustion of all sick, vacation, holiday and comp time
  • No disciplinary action for leave abuse in previous two (2) years
  • The medical condition prevents the employee from performing their duties for at least 30 working days (6 calendar weeks)

A doctor’s statement needs to accompany the application. This information should be provided on the Physician Statement Form. This statement should include the following necessary information:

  • Diagnosis
  • First date that employee is unable to work due to this illness/injury
  • Anticipated return to work date
  • Verification that employee is unable to work for thirty (30) working days or six (6) weeks
  • Explanation of the catastrophic nature of this illness/injury.

If the employee is requesting Catastrophic Leave for a family member a letter from the physician regarding why consist care is needed from the employee is also required

The Liability Agreement and, if applicable, a Dependent Child Form approved by the Arkansas Individual Income Tax Section, must be submitted.

The forms, once completed, and any additional information should be sent to the Human Resource office, #564. The forms will be reviewed to see if the employee is eligible, then place on the agenda for the next Catastrophic Leave meeting.

The Catastrophic Leave Committee meets biweekly to review and evaluate all completed applications. The Committee determines whether an applicant is awarded or denied Catastrophic Leave. When a decision is made, the employee and the department are notified in writing along with the payroll department.

Payroll Process

When an employee is awarded Catastrophic Leave, the employee’s department’s timekeeper should process CTLV in Kronos once all vacation, sick and any other owed time is processed first. Catastrophic Leave is for base pay only. No WEO or shift pay should be used to calculate the amount processed.

The employees vacation and sick will continued to be accrued while the employee is on Catastrophic Leave, however these hours should not process unless instructed by OHR. All leave earned during the period while the employee is on Catastrophic Leave will be returned to the UAMS Catastrophic Leave Bank. Exceptions may be made for employees awarded intermittent leave.

Cost of the Leave is the responsibility of the employee’s department or based upon the cost distribution in SAP.

Benefits and other Payroll Deductions
While the employee is on Catastrophic Leave, their benefit coverage and any other payroll deductions will not changed.

Merit eligibility date will not change for the employee.

Catastrophic Leave Award

Award is based on the medical condition and not financial need.

The length of the leave is based on the Physician’s Statement. If the original award date is reached prior to being released to full duty from the physician, and extension can be requested. A written statement from the physician must be presented to the committee to request additional award. If no date is given by the physician or a request for the full six (6) month by the physician, the committee may grant leave on a short term bases for follow-up documentation.

The committee may grant up to six (6) months or 1040 hours of paid leave.

The employee may receive Workers’ Compensation and Catastrophic Leave at the same time. Catastrophic Leave is used only to bring the employee’s paid amount up to 100%.

An employee may return to work part-time and remain on Catastrophic Leave to bring the employee’s pay to 100% as long as they are still under doctors care and approved by the committee.

Under certain circumstances, the employee may return to work and remain on Catastrophic Leave to cover future treatments (i.e. chemo treatments).

Catastrophic Leave forms can be found here.