"EIB" can stand for extended illness bank or extended illness benefits, depending on the employer. Not all companies offer this type of paid time off. EIB plans are most commonly available in healthcare and government positions.
EIB benefits are usually offered in exchange for a term of employment, which can begin right away on your date of hire or after a probationary period.
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EIBs aren't required as employee benefits by federal law. The Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, mandates job protection during extended absences due to illness, but it doesn't require paid leave. Employers can set their own eligibility requirements for EIB, sometimes depending on state law.
How Does an Extended Illness Bank (EIB) Work?
EIB programs provide for a paid leave of absence during extended illnesses, hospitalization, injury or pregnancy, subject to an employer's rules. Benefits are often paid at the employee's regular base pay rate, according to Carilion Clinic, a Virginia-based nonprofit healthcare organization that offers an EIB program to its workers.
Employers often require that other supplemental sick time, PTO hours or illness-related benefits must be exhausted first before EIB coverage can begin, including workers compensation benefits. Employees of the Southeast Alabama Medical Center must first use other paid time off or PTO benefits and/or sick leave, although only for the first 24 hours. It's 16 hours at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Employees must usually use these benefits before taking unpaid leave time.
Your coverage time can be capped as well. You may be covered for a 90 calendar day absence from work, but not the additional 10 days if you're out for 100 days.
EIBs don't generally cover only an employee's illness. The program that's available from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center covers family members' illnesses as well if an employee needs time off to help care for them. But you may need certification of your health condition from your health care provider in either case.
How Are Benefits Accrued?
EIB benefits are usually offered in exchange for a term of employment, which can begin right away on your date of hire or accrued in increments after a probationary period. You may not have to be a full-time employee (FTE), but part-time workers might be required to work a minimum number of hours per week, such as 20, to be eligible.
Other Limitations to Benefits
As with most employee benefits, EIB enrollment can be subject to certain limitations depending upon the employer. Time off to care for a family member is typically limited to an eligible employee's current spouse and/or minor children.
Trauma Trust Human Resources requires that its employees must miss three consecutive work days before their EIB benefits will kick in, with some exceptions for circumstances such as work-related injury and chemotherapy. And Carilion Clinic limits EIB payments to no more than the pay that would have been earned during the employee's regularly scheduled hours, up to 80 per pay period.
What Does This Mean to Your Paychecks?
As the name implies, EIBs are benefits. You don't pay into the bank, at least not with dollars. You pay in through your time invested into employment with the company. But the total of paid time off that you're entitled to and have earned should nonetheless be reported on your paycheck or pay stub.
EIB benefits can't be "cashed in" if you hit tough economic times and need to lay your hands on more cash than your paycheck provides. Benefits are only paid out to you in the event that you or an immediate family member fall victim to an injury or illness that prevents you from working, subject to any limitations that your particular employer imposes. And you can't use them in advance, such as if you're hospitalized now and hope that you'll be covered and paid later when you meet your required employment waiting period and benefits accrue.
If You Retire or Leave Your Job
Can you take your EIB hours with you if you retire or otherwise leave your job? Again, it depends on your employer. Trauma Trust Human Resources says, "Absolutely not." But some employers such as Carilion Clinic will at least let you reclaim the benefits you've accrued if you leave then return to work at the company within a year.
Workers who transfer from one state agency to another (within the same state) can usually take their EIB accruals with them, provided that it's a direct transfer. Other rules can apply as well. Some state employers will pay your benefits to your estate if you should die as a result of your illness or injury.
- Southeast Alabama Medical Center: FMLA Pay Coding
- Trauma Trust Human Resources: Paid Time Off/Extended Illness Benefit
- Southeast Alabama Medical Center: Q&As About FMLA
- Carilion Clinic: Paid Time Off/Extended Illness Bank Policy
- University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: Extended Illness Bank (EIB)