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The Voice of the Library of Congress Professional Guild


November 23, 2004

Special leave bank edition

Voluntary Leave Bank Continues to Roll

By Sara Duke

As the Guild representative to the Voluntary Leave Bank Pilot Project Board, I have fantastic news to share with all of you. By mutual agreement with management, the Guild, and the Leave Bank Board, the Voluntary Leave Bank Pilot Program has been extended another year. A new enrollment period for current members and for new members who wish to join the Voluntary Leave Bank, is now underway. The enrollment period begins November 22, 2004 and ends on January 7, 2005. To join the Voluntary Leave Bank you must fill out Form 1698 and donate either 4, 6, or 8 hours of annual leave, depending on your length of federal service. For the first time this year, you may also donate “use-or lose” and other accrued annual leave directly through webTA. We provide instructions in this newsletter. While “use-or-lose” leave donated to the Bank will be deducted from 2004, the hours which you donate to become a member of the bank (e.g. 4,6,8 hours) will be deducted in Pay Period 1 of the 2005 leave year. Remember: if you joined the Leave Bank last year you must join again for leave year 2005. The Board does waive the minimum donation if you are in a negative leave situation or are already in the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a Voluntary Leave Bank member!

To receive leave you must provide: medical certification of your, or your family member’s medical emergency, show evidence that you have exhausted your annual and sick leave and will be in a leave-without-pay status for at least 24 hours (you are not required to use advanced leave), and finally, you must be a member of the Voluntary Leave Bank. The program is administered by a joint Guild-management Leave Bank Board. In 2004 the Board awarded up to 160-hour allotments to Bank members who might have otherwise gone without pay. With your assistance, by donating the minimum membership amount, and better yet “use or lose” leave, the allotments we grant to individuals or to their family members undergoing medical emergencies will be even greater in 2005.

Application forms (1698) to become a member of the Leave Bank are available in the Guild Office, LM-G43 and online at Please return the completed forms to the Guild Office prior to January 7, 2005. You need not be a Guild member to join. Any full time or part-time employee who is represented by the Guild (AFSCME 2910) bargaining unit may join during the enrollment period. For more info see the Voluntary Leave Bank handbook online at

Questions and Answers
Guild Voluntary Leave Bank Program
  • What is a leave bank?
    • A leave bank is a pooled fund of annual leave. Employees who want to join the Bank must make a minimum contribution of annual leave during an open enrollment period. This pooled leave is then available for use by members of the Bank who need such leave as this because of a medical emergency.
  • Do I need to be a Guild member to join the Leave Bank?
    • No. While it’s always a good idea to be a Guild member, the only requirement for Voluntary Leave Bank membership is that you are an AFSCME 2910 bargaining unit employee at the Library of Congress.
  • How may I contribute to the leave bank?
    • There are two ways in which 2910 bargaining unit employees may contribute: 1) fill out Form 1698 to become a Leave Bank member by joining the Leave Bank and donating the minimum contribution and 2) donate additional annual leave that you have accrued and do not intend to use directly through webTA.
  • How much is the minimum contribution?
    • Depends on how much federal service you have performed : 4 hours (less than 3 years), 6 hours (3 or more years but less than 15), and 8 hours (15 years or more).
  • May part-time employees make a smaller minimum contribution?
    • No. Contribution is based on years of service. The allotment of hours you may receive from the Bank is the same as those for full-time employees.
  • May I donate my "use or lose"?
    • You may donate more than the required number of hours to the Bank, and in fact "use-or-lose" and other donations of annual leave are welcome. There are limits to the total amount of annual leave you may donate to the Bank. See the Voluntary Leave Bank Pilot Program Handbook, available on-line at This year, for the first time, 2910 bargaining unit employees may donate accrued annual leave directly through webTA. We provide instructions in this newsletter.
  • May I donate leave without joining the leave bank?
    • Yes. You may donate at any time during the year, not just during the open enrollment period. The hours you donate may insure that someone gets a paycheck during a medical emergency. However, if you do not become a member then you may not receive leave from the Bank should you or a family member experience a medical emergency.
  • Why should I join the leave bank?
    • As "insurance" against loss of income while you or a family member experience a medical emergency. In order to receive leave from the Leave Bank during the 2005 leave year, you must join during this open enrollment period.
  • When may I join the leave bank?
    • You may join the Leave Bank during the open enrollment period. The Guild Voluntary Leave Bank Program open enrollment period begins on November 22nd and runs through January 7, 2005. New Library of Congress employees represented by the Guild may join within thirty days of hiring outside of the open enrollment period.
  • How do I join or donate leave to the bank?
    • To become a member of the Leave Bank fill out an application to donate leave, Form1698, during either an open or individual enrollment period. This form is included in this newsletter or pick one up from the Guild Office. (A photocopy of the form may be used.) Submit the completed application to the Guild Office, LM-G43, across from Health Service. To donate additional accrued annual leave to the Leave Bank use webTA. It’s easy as one-two-three; see the instructions in this newsletter.
  • When is the minimum contribution deducted?
    • The minimum contribution is deducted during the first pay period of the leave year, in January 2005. New employees will have their deduction taken upon joining the Leave Bank. Part-time employees may have deductions from one or more pay periods until the minimum contribution is met.
  • How much leave may I receive from the leave bank?
    • Leave Bank members with a medical emergency may receive at least one percent of the Bank balance thirty days after the end of the open enrollment period. This is a yearly maximum and, once exhausted, you may not be approved for additional Bank leave for the remainder of the leave year. In 2004, Leave Bank members were eligible to receive up to 160 hours of leave from the Bank to cover medical emergencies. Leave Bank members will receive an announcement about the 2005 leave year allotment by e-mail.
  • How do I apply to receive leave from the leave bank?
    • Fill out an application to receive donated leave under the Leave Bank Program, form LB-2, and attach a medical certificate. The medical certification must provide a brief description of the onset, beginning date, nature, severity, duration, and/or frequency of the medical emergency. This certification must provide an anticipated ending date for the medical emergency. You must provide evidence that you have exhausted your annual and sick leave, and will be in leave-without-pay status for at least twenty-four hours as a result of the medical emergency. Submit the application to the Health Services Office (LM G40). The application will then go to the Voluntary Leave Bank Board for approval. Remember, only Voluntary Leave Bank members are eligible to receive leave from the Bank!
  • Who is on the leave bank board?
    • By law, a Bank Board consists of three members, at least one of whom must represent a labor organization or employee group. The Guild (AFSCME 2910) and the Library of Congress have agreed that the Voluntary Leave Bank Program board will consist of two management officials and one employee designated by the Guild.
  • What are their responsibilities?
    • The Board reviews all applications from Guild (AFSCME 2910) bargaining unit members who are eligible for donated leave under the Voluntary Leave Bank Pilot Program and approves or denies the applications. In addition, the Board determines the amount of Bank leave to award to an approved program recipient.
  • Do I have to repay the bank?
    • No. However, unused hours will have to be returned to the Leave Bank.

Original artwork by George R. Willeman

Join the Leave Bank

(Tune: You are my sunshine)
Come join the Leave Bank,
the LC Leave Bank
Please sign a form
without delay
You’ll never know,
how much you’re helping

When you become a member today.
Come join the Leave Bank,
the LC Leave Bank
And in hard times
you’ll make it through
So if you find that,
your life’s uncertain
Just lean on me and
I’ll lean on you.

Song lyrics by Julie McCall and Saul Schniderman

The Library of Congress Works
Because we do.

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