Community Service Leave
Community Service Leave (CSL) is a paid time off program that allows university employees to perform community service volunteer activities during work time. These activities include participating in the educational process of children through the high school level, and supporting other eligible non-profit organizations.
Employees eligible for CSL are
- SHRA permanent employees (including probationary, trainee or time-limited) regularly scheduled 20+ hours per week
- EHRA permanent non-faculty
- EHRA faculty who earn leave
Employees who are not eligible for CSL are
- SHRA or EHRA temporary employees (see exception below for University-wide blood drive)
- Postdoctoral students
- EHRA faculty who do not earn leave
SHRA or EHRA permanent employees regularly scheduled less than 20 hours per week.
CSL does not contribute to time worked for determining overtime eligibility and will be offset by any additional time worked during the workweek. See Determining Time Worked for more details.
In order for an event to be eligible for community service leave, it must occur during the employee’s regular work schedule. However, shift employees regularly scheduled to work evening or night shift with a shift schedule in excess of a regular eight-hour shift may be permitted to use CSL in situations where participation in community service outside the employee’s normal work schedule significantly impacts the employee’s normal sleep period.
Options A, B & C
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 per calendar year (prorated for part-time employees) 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
- volunteer work for a public university that is approved by a UNC administrator or authorized official
- volunteer work for a community college that is approved by a community college administrator or other authorized community college official
- volunteer work for a State agency that is approved by the agency head or designee
See Community Service Leave: Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for more information on eligible activities.
Service for a fundraising event is eligible for community service leave if there is a bona fide volunteer relationship and the fundraising event is directly sponsored and supported by an eligible community service organization. For example, playing in a golf tournament that is raising money for the American Cancer Society is not considered a volunteer activity that would be eligible for community service leave; however, setting up tents, handling parking and registration, or serving at the food tent at the fundraising golf event would be considered a volunteer activity and would be eligible for community service leave. Volunteering at a fundraising event for an individual citizen or political party is not eligible for community service leave.
Working 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 at the polls outside the employee’s regular work schedule are not compensable.
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 raising funds to support religious activities.
Community service leave for volunteer service is meant to be used for actual service time. Time spent training to be a volunteer is not covered by community service leave. Also, time spent in administrative duties such as attending organization meetings, electing officials, or attending social events sponsored by an organization shall not be covered by community service leave.
Reasonable travel time may be included in approved time for community service but only for the time that intersects the employee’s regular work schedule. The majority of the leave shall be used for direct volunteer service.
Option B – Mentoring/Tutoring
Under Option B, eligible employees receive 36 hours of paid leave per calendar year (prorated for part-time employees) that may be applied to volunteering as a tutor or mentor in a formal, standardized tutoring/mentoring program in a public school or a non-public school for one hour each week that schools are in session. Leave under this option shall 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.
The one hour of leave each week shall be used for tutoring/mentoring an at-risk student determined eligible for the tutoring/mentoring program. Time spent commuting to and from the school and time spent in orientation or volunteer training must be accounted for using other leave policies such as compensatory time or vacation leave.
Option C – Literacy Program
Under Option C, eligible employees receive 45 hours of paid leave per calendar year (prorated for part-time employees) that may be applied to volunteering in a literacy program in a public school for up to five hours each month. Leave under this option shall be used exclusively for assisting students in reading and/or writing skills 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.
The five hours of leave each month shall be used for assisting a student in reading and/or writing. Time spent commuting to and from the school and time spent in orientation or volunteer training must be accounted for using other leave policies such as compensatory time or vacation leave.
Employees must choose Option A, Option B or Option C. If an employee chooses to change 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 Recovery & Emergency Services
Employees may receive up to 120 hours of CSL (prorated for part-time employees) in any 12-month period for participation in disaster recovery and/or emergency volunteer services, as described below.
To qualify for disaster recovery CSL, the employee must
- be a disaster service volunteer of the American Red Cross
- be requested by the American Red Cross to participate
The disaster must
- be within the United States
- be designated at Level III or higher in the American National Red Cross Regulations and Procedures
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
- assurance that the performance of such emergency services will not unreasonably hinder University 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 service assignment.
Employees may receive up to 180 hours of CSL (prorated for part-time employees) 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 Donorship
Employees are encouraged to use the opportunity to participate in “life-giving” programs through blood-related and bone marrow donation. 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 semiannual 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.
Employees may not 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 use vacation leave, bonus leave or other accrued paid time off for the absence.
Like other types of non-emergency leave, community service leave must be requested in advance and may not be used without the supervisor’s approval. 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.
Leave Accrual & Balance
Employees receive the full amount of leave to which they are entitled for the calendar year when employment begins and on January 1 of each subsequent year. New employees shall be credited with community service leave immediately upon their employment, prorated at two hours per month for the remainder of the calendar year. Separated employees who are reemployed within the same calendar year are credited CSL the same as newly hired employees; however, the combination of reemployment credit hours and total hours used prior to separation in the same calendar year cannot exceed the annual maximum leave benefit.
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
- have the appropriate number of hours deducted from the employee’s next paycheck
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 forfeited. It does not carry over to the next calendar year.
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 remove 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 forfeited. There is no payout for unused community service leave.
See also Leave/PTO Payouts & Transfers.
In the Time Information Management (TIM) system, each type of CSL has its own pay code. See the TIM website for information on recording community service leave.
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 Human Resources 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.
agency: a State government agency that is authorized to operate under the laws of the State of North Carolina
at-risk students: students who, by virtue of their circumstances, are more likely than others to fail academically
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
community college: an educational institution that is a member of the North Carolina Community College System
community service organization: a non-profit, non-partisan community organization 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
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
- a childcare program
university: a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina
volunteer: an employee who willingly chooses to perform hours of service for civic, charitable or humanitarian reasons without promise or expectation of compensation for services provided. An employee shall not be considered a volunteer if the employee is otherwise employed by a State agency or State university to perform the same type of service as those for which the employee proposes to volunteer.
The North Carolina Office of State Human Resources developed community service leave “in recognition of the State’s diverse needs for volunteers to support schools, communities, citizens and non-profit organizations, and recognizing the commitment of State employees to engage in volunteer service.”
Refer to Community Service Leave: Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for assistance in determining eligibility for community service leave. Eligibility is determined through examination of four aspects of the service:
- Who is the service supporting?
- What type of service is being provided?
- When is the service being provided?
- Where is the service being provided?