PTO and Leave-Sharing Supports Your Employee Community

Company Donations | Sick Leave Sharing | Leave Pools

Leave-Sharing And COVID-19

Help Employees Who Need it Most


While the ultimate impact of COVID-19 is still unknown, we realize that many individuals are relying on the flexibility of their employers more than ever. Companies are increasingly using leave-sharing banks to help employees navigate disruptions and strengthen culture and community, especially during natural disasters or national emergencies like COVID-19.
Spooling up a leave-sharing / PTO bank manually can be a real challenge to administer, especially with thousands of employees.


This is one aspect of our platform that can be turned on expeditiously, as quickly as 24 hours, if the need arises.

What is PTO and Leave-Sharing?

An employer-sponsored leave-sharing program allows an employee to donate accrued hours of paid vacation or personal leave for the benefit of other employees who need to take more leave than they have available. In a typical leave-sharing plan, an employee chooses to donate hours of paid leave to an organization-managed “leave bank.” Generally, the employee seeking to draw from the leave bank must submit a request for approval from the employer.

Importantly, companies can also make one-time or ongoing monetary donations to leave-sharing pools for employees.

PTO and Leave-Sharing Donations

Any eligible employee can donate unused vacation or PTO, but they must donate to an established “sharing pool” or leave bank, not to a specific colleague. By donating to a pool, there is no tax implication for the donating employee.

Types if sharing pools include:

  • Emergency Medical Leave - which can exist in perpetuity
  • Federal Disaster or National Emergency - which can exist for 18 months from date of designation
    • COVID-19 was given National Emergency status effective 3/13/20

PTO and Leave-Sharing Requests

The PTO Exchange platform allows your company to customize qualifications or circumstances for employee eligibility. It is a simple multi-step process:

  1. Request
    - An employee fills out a request form, which can be customized for specific circumstances.
  2. Review
    - An adjudication process accepts or declines the request based on defined criteria. PTO Exchange or internal HR can act as adjudicator. 
  3. Notification
    - Approval or decline is communicated to the requester.
  4. Dispense and decrement
    - If approved, hours are automatically added to the employee’s leave balance and reflected on the paystub.

PTO Exchange integrates with your payroll system and simplifies the allocation of time based upon the hourly earning rate of each employee.

Community in Action: Case Study




InformedDNA is the nation’s largest independent provider of genetics services. When Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017, the vast majority of InformedDNA employees were impacted by the storm. They had to take time to care for their families, parents, and neighbors and services slowly were restored over a matter of weeks and months. Many employees were running out of vacation and sick leave. Hardest hit were often the front-line rank-and-file employees.

InformedDNA executives used PTO Exchange to donate weeks of unused vacation to a leave-sharing pool. Their contributions - at higher than average compensation rates - were able to support a large portion of employees that did not have the savings or leave to weather the immediate challenges thrust upon them.

After the storm, word circulated into the employee community that senior leadership donated to the pool that helped those in need.

Needless to say, the employee community grew closer and strengthened the culture of solidarity at InformedDNA.

Major Disaster and National Emergency Leave-Sharing Plans and Requirements

An employer can create / sponsor a PTO leave-sharing plan for its employees for federally-designated national emergencies, now including the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

With this designation:

  • Employees who donate will not be taxed on their donated PTO time.
  • Employees who receive donated PTO will be taxed on the leave time used - it will be treated as wages for all income and employment tax withholding purposes.

Setting Up a COVID-19 Leave-Sharing Plan

A major disaster or national emergency leave sharing plan must be a written plan and meet the following requirements:

  1. The plan allows an employee to donate accrued PTO to an employer-sponsored PTO bank for use by other employees adversely affected by a major disaster or emergency (as declared by the President). An employee is considered “adversely affected” if it has caused severe hardship or a family member of the employee requires the employee to be absent from work.
  2. The plan does not allow a leave donor to donate leave to a specific leave recipient.
  3. The amount of leave donated by an employee in any year generally may not exceed the maximum amount of leave that he or she normally accrues during the year.

For a complete list of criteria, download our free eBook, "12 Things You Need to Know About Setting up a COVID-19 Leave-Sharing Plan."

Launch A Leave-Sharing Program in About a Day

PTO Exchange has developed a flexible benefits platform that allows and facilitates giving and sharing of PTO amongst employees who need it most. This is one aspect of our platform that can be turned on expeditiously, as quickly as 24 hours, if the need arises. This is a notable time with many companies making bold adjustments to their PTO strategy and trying to find new ways to help their employee community bridge the changes that are affecting their lives.

Make it Easy for Employees to Give Back

In addition to leave-sharing, PTO Exchange allows and facilitates charitable donations to over 1.2 million certified non-profits (with company matching) as well as employee volunteer time. Together, these service plans give organizations even more options to build and strengthen internal and external community.



Allow employees to share the paid time off they’ve earned with co-workers in need.



Donate unused PTO to over 1.2 million non- profits  - both national and local - and qualify for possible tax deductions.



Employer contribution matching for employees volunteering time on behalf of community organizations.

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