The following is a brief summary Q and A on the EILB.

WHAT IS THE EILB?

It is a completely voluntary program that exists to help Executive Branch employees who experience an extended illness or injury to recover a portion of their salary that would otherwise be lost due to extended unpaid leaves of absence. It was created through legislation (Chapter 97, Acts of 1995) which established Chapter 7, Section 4P, MGL and is also covered by regulations issued by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance and the Human Resources Division.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Employees voluntarily donate a specified minimum amount of sick, vacation or personal time annually to a "bank", from which they can later apply to "withdraw" if they become seriously ill or injured and have exhausted their paid leave. The EILB is a statewide bank administered by the Human Resources Division.

WHO CAN JOIN?

Any Executive Branch employee or manager (including those employed by the Sheriffs Departments that are administered by the state) who has at least one year of continuous state service as of the effective date of membership, an acceptable attendance record, and who accrues leave time, may join the EILB. Part-time employees may donate and will be eligible to withdraw on a pro-rated basis. In calendar 2004, employees must donate at least one sick, vacation or personal day to become or remain a member in good standing. This program does not apply to contract, seasonal or intermittent employees.

WHEN DO EMPLOYEES HAVE TO DECIDE TO JOIN?

There are two open enrollment periods per year, in January during which new members may enroll and current members may renew their memberships, and in June to accommodate new members. Employees who initially enroll as members in June will need to re-enroll in the program in January to maintain their membership in the ensuing year.

Enrollment outside of the open enrollment periods is only permitted on an exception basis and must be approved by HRD.

WHAT BENEFITS ARE PROVIDED?

Members who are unable to work due to an extended illness or injury for at least 20 consecutive workdays and have exhausted their paid leave may be eligible to "withdraw time" from the EILB after submitting proper medical certification. Members may withdraw up to 30 workdays at a time, for up to a maximum of 120 workdays in a two-year period. Medical information is handled with the strictest confidentiality at all times.

IF EMPLOYEES HAVE SHORT OR LONG-TERM DISABILITY PLANS, SHOULD THEY JOIN THE EILB?

This is an individual decision that each employee needs to make. The EILB is a voluntary, emergency program that depends on employee contributions of leave time, and is limited to withdrawal of 120 days in a two-year period, whereas an LTD plan is critical to long-term coverage of catastrophic illness or injury. Some STD plans may pay partial benefits that are not covered by EILB, or have waiting periods that are shorter than EILB.

The Extended Illness Leave Bank (EILB) is the payer of last resort. Members who have any type of disability plan, whether state-sponsored or private, and who experience an extended illness or injury, will be required to file a claim with their disability plan. Members may be covered under the EILB provisions for an initial waiting period before they are eligible to receive disability plan benefits, if they have no paid leave available. If members exhaust their benefits under their disability plans, they may also be eligible to receive benefits under EILB.

CAN AN EMPLOYEE DONATE TIME TO A PARTICULAR INDIVIDUAL?

No, but members can donate any amount of sick, vacation or personal time they choose to the bank, beyond the minimum amount; the larger the total bank, the more assistance can be provided to OTHER members who are in need and apply for withdrawal. Employees can also donate unused time at any time without becoming members, if they are resigning or retiring; they should consult with their HR office first before doing this to see how it affects their future benefits.

HOW DOES AN EMPLOYEE JOIN?

When Open Enrollment is announced by HRD, agencies will in turn notify all employees (including employees on leave) by email or other format as warranted. Employees without email access will be notified by their supervisors. Employees will also be notified on their biweekly pay advices. You may obtain a membership application from your agency.

Return the completed membership form to your Human Resources office, through your supervisor, and your payroll office will process your membership. Your agency will automatically debit the amount of your donation from your leave balance(s). If you have any questions or need additional forms, please contact your Human Resources office.


WHAT DO THOSE WHO INITIALLY JOIN THE EILB HAVE TO DO TO MAINTAIN THEIR MEMBERSHIP?

EILB membership for all current EILB members automatically expires each December 31 st. A new completed membership application form and donation of the minimum day(s) of sick, personal, or vacation time is required during each January enrollment period to renew membership for the calendar year.

WHAT IF AN EMPLOYEE DOES NOT MEET THE CRITERIA FOR MEMBERSHIP DURING AN OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD?

The employee may join the EILB during the first open enrollment period after he or she becomes eligible.

The Extended Illness Leave Bank is a program sponsored by the Human Resources Division (HRD); contact your human resources office or visit our EILB web site (Exclusive link for State Employees only) for more details and to obtain membership and withdrawal forms.