If you are have a family or medical emergency and have run out of leave, one of the ways you can be helped out of a financial hole is if other employees will donate annual leave directly to you. Every agency has a donated leave program for its employees. And, fortunately, there’s no limit on the amount of donated annual leave you can receive from a donor or donors. Of course, when the emergency is over, any donated leave that you didn’t use has to be returned to whoever loaned it to you. The amount is returned in proportion to the amount each person loaned you.

To be eligible to receive donated leave, your agency has to determine that you emergency will last at least 24 hours and give its approval for others to donate annual leave to you. If you are a part-time employee or on an uncommon tour of duty, the amount you can use will be prorated to match your work schedule.

While using donated leave, you aren’t permitted to accrue more than 40 hours each of annual and sick leave. Any hours you earn that don’t exceed that ceiling will be placed in a "set-aside" account. Once your emergency is over, any annual or sick leave in your set-aside account will be transferred to your regular leave account; however, if you have exhausted all your donated leave, you can begin using whatever you have accumulated in that account.

If you are a potential donator, you’ll be limited in the amount of annual leave you can donate. It can’t be more than half the amount you would accrue during a leave year. And, if you have an annual leave balance that exceeds the amount you can carry into the next leave year, the so-called "use of lose" leave, you’ll be limited to the lesser of half the annual leave you would accrue in a leave year or the number of hours left in the leave year for which you are scheduled to work and receive pay.