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Alabama city sets up ‘leave bank’ for its employees

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Starting next month, employees in one Alabama city who need extra time off for catastrophic life events will be able to do so using a so-called “leave” bank.

The City of Birmingham, which has about 4,200 employees, is creating two different banks, one for sick leave and one for vacations. Participation in either bank is voluntary and employees must donate time to be able to draw time. Once an employee donates hours, that employee is eligible to borrow up to 240 hours or 6 weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period for personal and family medical emergencies.

Mayor Randall Woodfin announced the banks during a city council meeting earlier this month, reported.

“This is something I’ve been working on for some time because I know how important it is for employees to feel secure when they are faced with a significant illness or fighting a life-threatening disease,” Woodfin said.

The leave bank opens July 1. The initial enrollment period for both banks will be Monday through June 30. Employees will have another opportunity to enroll in September during the city’s open enrollment period.

To join the sick bank, employees must donate 16 hours of sick leave for the first year. After the first year, an employee must donate 8 hours to the bank each year. Illnesses and conditions that are generally covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act qualify for sick bank time, including:

— A non-job related personal catastrophic medical event

— A sudden change in health

— A catastrophic medical event

— A sudden change in the health of an employee’s immediate family member or an individual who resides in the employee’s home

The vacation bank will help those who have exhausted accrued vacation balances because of a non-job related personal catastrophe such as a home fire, flood or other non-medical emergencies. Eligible employees can borrow up to 40 hours of emergency vacation during a 12-month period.

The vacation bank is also available for new parents to take up to 240 hours or 6 weeks for paid maternity or paternity leave.

To join the vacation bank, employees must make an initial donation of 8 hours.

More information is available at

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