Initial wave of generosity sets an optimistic stage for leave donation campaign

In an immediate outpouring of generosity, UF faculty and staff kicked off a weeklong leave-donation drive designed to support employees who may exhaust their personally accrued leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the first two hours after the announcement of the new program, more than 12,000 hours of leave had already been donated; by mid-day Tuesday, that number had grown to more than 50,000 hours.

“It is truly humbling that our employees would be so quick to help others,” said Jodi Gentry, vice president for UF Human Resources. “This is a tremendous kickoff to this effort. I hope our faculty and staff who are able to help will continue to donate to assist our fellow employees.”

On Monday, employees were invited to donate personally accrued vacation or sick leave into a UF-sponsored leave pool to support eligible employees who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and have exhausted all of their personally accrued leave.

Ken Sallot, director of information technology for UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was among the first to respond to the call for donations.

“Having worked here for 25 years, I have a large sick leave balance and I know I’m never going to use all of it,” said Sallot. “I’ve worked with people who for one reason or another don’t have as much in the way of leave. This point in time is unique, and we need to remember that we’re all in this together and will come through this together.”

By April 10, UFHR is hopeful it will meet its goal of having 200,000 hours donated, which would provide 2,500 people with two more weeks of pay or 1,250 employees with an additional month, if needed.

Judith Russell, dean of the University Libraries, was also quick to answer the call for donations, noting she had been looking forward to it since the program was proposed to UF leadership last week.

“At the libraries, we are very conscious that we serve all of the students, faculty and staff of UF, and many others in the broader community,” said Russell. “We know there are people who work at UF who are going to be severely impacted and will not be able to work. Many of us are trying to find ways to help others during this time, and here was one tangible way we could do something immediately and simply that was really meaningful.”

To learn more about how you can help, please visit the UF COVID-19 Leave Donation Plan section of the UFHR website.