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Volunteer on LOA Indiana

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  • Volunteer on LOA Indiana

    I have a volunteer that has been on LOA due to personal sickness and unable to volunteer. She was put on the LOA by a previous director and it has been approx. 3 years. According to the by laws right now, it just states that a LOA can be requested for up to a year. We are in the process of going more in depth with the LOA policy and changing it a little. I have chosen to bring the people that are on LOA to a vote at our member meeting to extend LOA or ask them to resign. The problem is, the father to this vol. is also a volunteer on our dept. and one of my officer's and he has let his personal feelings get in the way of making new changes to the LOA policy. What is a general guideline for LOA? Can we make changes to the LOA policy and expect the people that were on LOA before the changes were made to abide by the new policy? Any advise anyone can give me would greatly help. Also, we have 1 meeting a month, can we make people that are on LOA attend these meetings? Our policy is you must attend 4 meetings in a year and if there are 3 consecutive unexcused absences, you will be brought up to a vote at the 3rd absence.

  • #2
    It would help if you clarified the nature of the volunteer work (is it as an Emergency Medical Technician?) and why your department feels it is important to change the LOA policy. Is it to ensure that anyone returning from a LOA is up on training and qualifications? Is it important to maintain funding or a functional group of volunteers?

    This sounds like an emotional issue, at least for the the father, and sounds like the volunteer in question is sick enough that she probably would not attempt a return to active status.

    Could you create an "honorary" volunteer status that some of these vols on LOAs could fall into instead of keeping them on an indefinite LOA, and thus ensure that if they did want to return to active status they had to re-qualify?


    • #3
      We are more or less revamping the bylaws to clarify them better. We are not changing the LOA policy, we are basically adding that after a year you will come back or terminate. When you are able to come back then we would accept you back. Right now it just says that "a LOA may be requested up to 1 year." The former director made them too vague and open. Yes, the person on leave is an emergency medical technician. Personally, I do not think she will ever be back. She about died a couple months ago.
      Our EMT certs are renewable every 2 years and she has not been through any training with us, but has obtained training off the internet and where her husband works (a different EMS service) she got enough hours to recertify. Basically her and her dad's reason for her being able to remain on LOA is to give her hope that one day she will be able to return, they have both told me this.
      Last edited by emtjenny; 01-05-2008, 02:07 PM. Reason: Adding addtl info


      • #4
        Perhaps I'm being dense here, but how can nonemployees be given a "leave of absence" or "terminated"? If there is no employee/employer relationship, why are these terms even being used?
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


        • #5
          I don't think you are being dense, Patty. I don't get it either. That's why I asked whether the active/inactive status of volunteers created funding issues.

          What I really don't understand is why the OP feels so strongly about "terminating" an apparently terminally ill volunteer whose status as a volunteer gives her hope that someday she will recover. Seems unnecessarily cruel to me.


          • #6
            The by-laws of the corporation state that you are entitled up to 1 yr LOA. You are only allowed 1 year, this person has been left on LOA for several years. I say volunteers, because that is what they have always been until recently. When they do take a call they get "run money" all the other volunteers have been complaining because the by-laws are not being followed on the LOA policy. Because it states only 1 year, so that is why we decided to amend them and state that after 1 yr, you are to return to the active roster or terminate your volunteer status. 1 rule across the board, simple as that. You cannot let 1 person be on LOA for 3 years and then tell another one that they are done after 1 year, it has to be fair. The only exception to this is military leave. I have talked to an attorney since typing my initial post and he advised me I am doing the right thing.


            • #7
              Perhaps if the only reason for keeping her on the roster is to give her hope of returning, a sincerely worded letter from the organization thanking her for her service and extending the offer to return when she is able would accomplish much the same thing. While I'm always leery anytime someone tries to "promise" to let an employee return, there are times to make exceptions and ways to word the letter so as not to create a contract. I would run it by your legal counsel first, but it may solve the issue.

              I agree that it can cause more problems than it solves to leave employees/volunteers on LOA beyond when the policy calls for. I've been fighting a similar battle because of past procedures not being followed for 3 years now. While it may make this employee feel good to stay on LOA, it makes the next who is not able to remain feel worse. It can also get you into legal trouble if the next one to request it is of a different race, gender, religion, etc.
              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


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