Donating annual leave helps civilian Tinker employees in need

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Team Tinker employees know that no one is immune to serious illness, disease or injury, or the possible need for time to care for a loved one facing the same.

Tinker Air Force Base’s Human Resources Specialist, Kathye Michaelis, manages the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program for the base’s civilian employees. The program allows civilian employees to donate hours from their annual leave to help others in need so that they will still receive pay even if they’ve run out of annual and sick leave.

“If a person qualifies for the program, civilian employees can donate their annual leave to them in whole hour increments,” Michaelis said. “To be on the program, they or a family member has to be experiencing a medical emergency and it has to be substantiated by a physician. They have to be expected to be on leave without pay status for a 24-hour period.”

Some qualified individuals have had heart surgery, cancer, brain tumors, problem pregnancies and other medical challenges, or they have a loved one that needs care for a variety of disorders, diseases and ailments. She said any federal employee can donate hours of annual leave. Donations from other Air Force bases have benefited Tinker employees.

“In most cases, people tend to learn about someone who needs leave by word of mouth,” Michaelis said. “We also print their names and POC phone numbers in the ‘Tinker Take Off.’

“Leave is a precious thing and a well-respected and hard worker will often get hundreds of hours donated within a couple of days. People are most likely to donate to their co-workers. Tinker employees are very, very generous and it just floors me that some people donate most of their leave.”

Since 2014, FERS employees have been compensated for unused sick leave when they retire, along with their annuity. She said that employees should not wait until the end of the year to donate their annual leave because the cut-off date is in late December.

For more information about donating leave or qualifying to be a recipient of leave donation, contact Michaelis at 736-7365.