UA employee receives donations

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

ood news does happen.

Mimi Villafane, a University of Arizona Extended University employee

who was hospitalized and now must stay at home until her baby is born, recently received a large amount of compassionate leave donations from other UA employees campus-wide.

Villafane needs to stay on payroll in order to continue receiving medical benefits, however her own vacation and sick hours are depleted. Interim Extended University Dean Marsha Ham and Jeanne Goetzke, Extended University payroll representative, sent out an announcement for donations and the response was great, they said.

Villafane received more hours than she may need, Goetzke said. The baby is expected in November.

Compassionate leave is a program that was first developed at Employee Relations and Benefits, and is now a way of transferring hours from salary to salary, said Diane Lehmkuhl, human resource specialist. The way the program works is one employee donates paid time that they have accumulated (and probably will not use) and transfers it to another employee.

Generally the employees in need of the hours are ill, Lehmkuhl said, from very serious to minor conditions. The program is now serving those with short-term disablities as well, she said.

Lehmkuhl said it is a "really nice program," because there are many people with hours to give and many who need the time off.

Lehmkuhl said the hours are not a "money-making" venture, rather they give the beneficiaries an added level of security. It enables them to receive a portion of their pay and still take advantage of their benefits, she said.

"Compassionate leave has been a blessing for Mimi," Goetzke said. She said Villafane would have had great difficulty with her medical situation had it not been for the donations.

"We were totally gratified and amazed by the response," Ham said.

She said most of the people who called had hours that they normally would not use and were more than happy to donate to Villafane.

Goetzke said a "pet project" of hers is to develop a pool of unused employee time so that when a case like Villafane's comes up the resources are readily available.

Ham said Villafane was delighted about the donations and did not anticipate such a response.

Villafane is currently home on sick status and apparently doing well, Goetzke said.

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