A few weeks ago, we adopted the following policy. I imagine other hospitals have versions of it, but it actually caused some significant debate here before we adopted it. The idea is to help support people who want to devote time to work with medical relief organizations in the US or abroad. Off course, we want to be helpful to folks who want to do that, but the business issue is that it costs our hospital money if we pay people for time off -- beyond their usual earned vacation time -- to do so. So the compromise we reached is that we will pay someone for a week's time every two years, leaving people to use their own earned time beyond that if they want to engage in this kind of volunteer service.
I welcome examples from other hospitals (and, indeed, other nonprofit and for profit businesses) and am curious if our policy on this is more liberal than, consistent with, or more conservative than others'. Thanks in advance for your comments.
Humanitarian Medical Mission Leave
Staff who volunteer for medical missions under the auspices of a recognized relief organization or non-profit organization such as the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DMAT, VMAT, IMSURT), Doctors without Borders, or similar agencies, may have paid leave of up to 7 working days every two years. This leave is in addition to an individual’s earned time. The 7 days of leave can be taken in increments from one day to seven days over the two year period. Permission for leave is at the discretion of the supervisor and will be dependent on the ability to maintain adequate staffing coverage in the department.
Compensation is based on the staff member’s earned time rate and is prorated based on the compensation received from the relief organization Employees are not eligible to take medical mission leave until after twelve months of satisfactory employment and must be employees in good standing. This policy applies only to benefits eligible employees. Per diems and temporary employees are not eligible.
In addition, staff may be asked by the medical center to support the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) for community disaster relief. For community MMRS deployment, compensation will be based upon the staff member’s weekly scheduled hours, and local travel expenses will be reimbursed, if necessary.