Carnegie Mellon University

PTO Donation

Carnegie Mellon University recognizes that an employee may have a catastrophic medical situation that results in a need for additional Paid Time Off (PTO). The university is supportive of fellow employees who wish to assist colleagues who have experienced such an event.

Eligible employees may donate accrued PTO from their unused balance to a PTO Donation bank of time. The PTO Donation Bank will be made available to employees who have been impacted by a catastrophic illness. Participation in the program is strictly voluntary for both donors and recipients.

CMU has partnered with PTO Exchange to administer the process of donating, requesting and managing time within the program.


Active benefits-eligible full-time non-union staff members who have completed at least one year of service are eligible to participate. 

Employees in positions that do not accrue PTO are not eligible to participate in the program. This includes all part-time staff, all faculty (tenure track, research track, library, teaching track, etc.), all 9-month and 12-month special faculty, all full-time and part-time TES employees, all student workers, all adjunct professors and staff, all contingent workers and union employees.

PTO Donation Guidelines

Refer to the PTO Donation Quick Guide [pdf] for step-by-step instructions.

  1. Employees can donate accrued PTO up to a maximum of 10 days (75 or 80 hours, as applicable) per calendar year. Unaccrued PTO cannot be donated.
  2. Employees donating accrued PTO must have a minimum balance of 10 days (75 or 80 hours, as applicable) after making their donation.
  3. Once a PTO donation has been made, the employee gives up all rights to the time off. The time off remains in the PTO Donation Bank until used by an eligible employee. Donations are voluntary, confidential and irrevocable.
  4. Donations are made to the PTO Donation Bank, not specific employees.

PTO Request Guidelines

Refer to the PTO Donation Quick Guide [pdf] for step-by-step instructions.

  1. Recipients must complete all documentation as required by the program administrator including a Request Form [pdf]Physician’s Certification Form [pdf] and must meet the eligibility requirements.
  2. The following criteria must be met: 
    • The recipient must be an active employee who is not on any other type of paid leave of absence (e.g., Short Term Disability, Long Term Disability, Workers' Compensation, Military Leave, etc.).
    • The staff member must be in good standing and not have a disciplinary history related to the abuse of time off or absenteeism on record.
    • The recipient must have one year of service.
    • The request must meet the Catastrophic Illness definition outlined by the program.
  3. The number of days available is dependent upon the amount of time off in the PTO Donation Bank.

  4. Recipients may request an initial allocation of up to 10 days (75 or 80 hours). If needed, requestors may request one additional allocation of up to 10 days (75 or 80 hours). The maximum number of hours may not exceed 20 days (150 or 160 hours) per rolling calendar year.

  5. If approved, time off from the PTO Donation Bank will be distributed to the recipient’s Donated PTO Bank of time off at the time of approval and cannot be applied retroactively.

  6. Donated PTO received from the PTO Donation Bank must be used in accordance with existing university and departmental policies and procedures.

  7. Donated PTO is not eligible to be paid out upon separation from the university.