update: my boss wants to give me his kidney — but I don’t want it (second update)

Remember the letter-writer whose boss was pressuring her to take his kidney for the kidney transplant she needs? The first update was here, and here’s the latest.

I have another update regarding my kidney transplant and it’s ultimately a good one!

I received my little sister’s kidney about four weeks ago. She has been an absolute angel throughout this (very time consuming and physically demanding) process and I could not be more grateful. Her recovery went super well! She flew back home (we live across the country from each other) about a week ago and is now preparing for her first year of college. Through the donation process, she’s even become interested in attending med school! Our parents are both doctors so they’re basically on Cloud 9 now, while I try to convince her the best med school is the one by my house and not our parents alma mater. It’s been a great bonding experience for us all.

My recovery has been a little tougher than hers, which is totally normal, but I’m doing okay. I’m getting stronger each day and my mother is still here with me, so we haven’t had to take my boss up on his offer to watch the kids. He has busied himself in other ways- making me crosswords, bringing me books, and the most amazing one – starting a leave donation campaign so that I can have enough paid leave on the books for my recovery that my bank account doesn’t take a hit. So far I haven’t had to take a single day unpaid, which is just incredible.

Thank you again for your thoughtful response, and for the responses from your readers!

{ 204 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    There’s been a lot of discussion below about leave donation programs. The OP has clarified that her boss used an already-in-place leave donation program run by HR to help her get paid while she recovers. He’s not pressuring people to give up their leave.

    I’ve removed some of the derailing comments on this and ask that they stop.

    1. Call me St. Vincent*

      Just further clarification on the system since OP is a federal employee—federal government employees who have worked in the government for many years often have so much leave accumulated that they will lose the leave at the end of the year. You can only carry over a certain amount each year so if you have been there 30 years, you likely have a ton of “use it or lose it” leave, more than you could ever use. It is incredibly common for employees with “use it or lose it” leave to look to donate it to employees who have exhausted their leave because of medical issues. Most of the leave would otherwise be lost anyway. People are therefore happy to donate this leave that they can’t use and won’t be paid out for!

      1. sap*

        Yup, this is true in state governments as well. My mom works for a state, and is always donating leave because she has MONTHS accrued and can’t get more.

        1. Free Meerkats*

          City and county as well. I knew this year was going to be a vacation heavy year, so I was saving it up last year. For a couple of months before the first long leave, I had to take a day of vacation every pay period to avoid losing the hours.

          I know it’s a tough problem to have, but I’m not there now, and I’m using another 80 hours starting next Monday.

      2. AKchic*

        Yep. Can confirm. I know someone with so much leave-time accrued that he would be able to take off over 6 months of leave right now, but he wants to retire; and they don’t want him to retire (honestly, I don’t think he wants to retire so much as he just wants to slow down for his wife’s health).
        They (being the PTB / his bosses) will never let him use that much leave before he retires, if they ever let him retire, so he’d certainly end up losing the majority of his accrued leave.

        1. Julia*

          How can they not “let” him retire? If he wants to leave anyway, what would happen if he just told them he quit? They’d fire him?

        2. Yvonne*

          When my mother retired she had 3 months of leave built up. She basically told her boss she was calling in sick for three months. Which she did. No one seemed too bothered by it, amazingly.

          1. Narise*

            My FIL had around 4 months or so of time built up. Because he worked for a school district they had him take vacation for four months and then return to work for a few days and then retire. His boss said it was the only way they would pay his vacation after 30 days. He was fine with it because returning for those few days gave him a chance to say good bye to everyone and see what had happened while he was gone.

    2. Database Developer Dude*

      Most of us working in the corporate world should assume that’s what the OP meant, as it seems to be pretty common…at least in and around the National Capital area….and there are several national level firms here with a presence nationwide or internationally.

    1. Leagle Beagle*

      +1!!! What an uplifting, wonderful, terrific update! Wishing you a lasting recovery and much, much happiness for you, your sister, and your family.

  2. AnonEMoose*

    I’m so very glad to see this update; thank you for sharing it with us, OP! And it sounds like your boss has found some ways to help that are very welcome, which is also great. I hope your recovery continues to go well, and that you’re feeling much stronger soon.

    1. Cassandra*

      Cosigned. I couldn’t possibly say it better than this. Thanks for writing back in, OP.

    2. AnnaBananna*

      Is anybody else impressed that he’s totally DIYing crosswords for her?! I kinda want him to join my swapbot group.

      1. OP*

        And they’re AMAZING! The first week he did one that was “transplant recovery” themed. The next week he did one about sisterhood. Last week was one where all the answers were all related to founders and specialties and graduates of different medical schools! My sister helped me with that one. :)

        1. RJ the Newbie*

          He sounds like a really good person, which is what everyone wants in a boss. Good luck to you and your sister with your recoveries and I’m very glad to read your happy update!!

        1. Chinookwind*

          There are programs out there to help you create crosswords as well. I stumbled on to this when working at a local newspaper and got quite frustrated at the ones we were paying for from a syndicate that kept insisting that an elk, a deer and a moose are the same thing clue-wise. My editor challenged me to come up with something better to stop my mumbling rants and eventually paid for the program for me so I could supply localized content.

    3. Empty Sky*

      Great news! I’m also happy to hear that your boss (whose heart was clearly in the right place) has found ways to help that are appreciated and don’t cross boundaries. The world needs more amazing bosses and it sounds like yours is living up to his potential in that regard.

  3. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius*

    The leave donation campaign made my heart swell. What a wonderful update! OP I am so glad that you are recovering and that you can have peace of mind about work through it all.

    1. GRA*

      Me, too! Not only do you have a great boss, but also great co-workers if they’re willing to donate their leave to support your time off. Continued well wishes for your recovery, OP!!

      1. OP*

        I am truly so grateful and blessed. I have a new lease on life and amazing people to share it with.

  4. Dr. Doll*

    Wow. Best Boss Ever. Congratulations on your good progress so far, and such great news about your lovely family and supportive workplace!

    1. Hills to Die on*

      Yes, if there’s ever a best boss vote here, he should definitely be nominated. So glad you are doing well!

      1. PlainJane*

        And maybe we need a best boss vote. It would be great to recognize the good as well as the horrible.

  5. Mr. Cajun2core*

    I wish you could say where you worked! Who wouldn’t love working for a boss like that!

  6. Kay*

    I’m glad the OP and their sister are doing well and I wish OP a speedy recovery and good health in the future.

    But, I have to admit to being skeeved out at the boss started a leave donation campaign. The boss should not under any circumstances be asking others to donate their own leave. It’s fine if they want to do it on their own and I don’t mean any ill will towards OP (trying to suggest they don’t deserve paid leave) but I think the boss has overstepped here. We have seen from past letters how overzealous he gets even though he means well and I can imagine him doing the same thing with this. The fact it is called a ‘campaign’ definitely makes it sound like an ongoing thing. If I worked with them I would be annoyed at pressure to give up my own time and having it done by a boss makes it hard to say no. The boss should really back off and not try to campaign for people to donate their own leave. He can give his if he wants but it’s wrong of him to put it on others, especially those he manages where there is a power imbalance.

    Best of luck to you and your family OP!

    1. Kathleen_A*

      It really depends on what is meant by a “campaign.” If there’s any sort of pressure, that would be bad, but it could simply mean that the boss has simply announced that this was a possibility, with no pressure at all, in which case, yay him!

      1. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius*

        +1. I could imagine that other coworkers want to help somehow but may not have known that donating their PTO was an option. The boss informed them that it was possible and the coworkers with extra days were happy to help, especially if they wouldn’t have used them themselves anyway. I agree that nobody should be pressured to donate their PTO.

        1. Tableau Wizard*

          I actually think that it may not have been possible before and the boss opened that door and the coworkers jumped on board willingly.

        2. Muriel Heslop*

          My coworker needed extra leave for cancer treatments a few years ago and our boss went to bat for a leave donation, but the higher-ups nixed it and said it was too much work to keep track of. Lots of people wanted to donate – a “campaign” to let people know it was an option might be all she meant.

      2. Dragoning*

        I mean, if you donate leave, and someone else uses it, and when you need it, there is nothing there because someone else used it….how do you take the extra leave from the pool?

        This is her boss. He has much more power to talk to the company and HR and simply GIVE OP the PTO without demanding it from coworkers.

      3. Genny*

        Yeah, it read to me like there either wasn’t an option to donate leave previously or no one had enrolled OP in the existing program. The boss then either pushed to create the program (and OP was one of the first beneficiaries) or he enrolled OP in the program. Regardless, the OP clearly is happy for the program and doesn’t think her boss has crossed a line, and given her original letter, she seems plenty aware of where that line is. I think we can safely just be happy for recovery and that she has a supportive boss, even if he isn’t 100% perfect in his support.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*


          I would definitely donate leave to a coworker who was in the same position as OP.

      4. Quickbeam*

        I’ve never, ever seen it work that way in 47 years of work. You donate leave it is gone, you get no special consideration in the future.

    2. Celeste*

      I took it to mean he got the word out and is maybe monitoring how much is given in order to know when to shut it off. In other words, basic organization.

    3. Mad Woman*

      I really like the way this is handled at my workplace – a big institution with generous vacation/sick policies and a mandate that you can’t roll over more than X hours each year (its a small amount, but still, a mandate). And, people frequently work here for 25+ years, leading to people who accrue more than they care to use – especially sick time (I’m jealous of all of those people without frequent colds!).
      I’m not sure who notifies HR about the need, but they send out an email asking for voluntary time donations. You can indicate that it should be taken from your “use it or lose it” time. No one knows who asks for it and no one besides HR will know who donated. The same scripted email is used each time.
      It seems like there is no such anonymity in this letter – but it could prevent the weirdness. I think it’s a nice program that was honestly a selling point in me working here.

      1. OP*

        It’s exactly like this actually. Minus the not knowing who it’s being donated to. That is put out by HR. But I don’t know who has donated to me and there’s no pressure from anyone to do so.

      2. scmill*

        I’m retired now, but the Very Large Company I worked for gave generous PTO allocations as well as flexible hours. That meant I seldom had to take a day or half-day for something personal. I would just run out for a bit and then back to work. I frequently had more PTO left at the end of the year than I could carry over.

        We had an official PTO bank handled by HR, and from January through November, we could donate any PTO that we thought we might have leftover. It was just a form in our personal online records with our timesheets, and no one on either end (giving or receiving) knew who received it or how much they got.

      3. JanetM*

        My university has a sick leave bank. Any employee with more than a certain number of sick leave hours accrued (I think it’s 48, but didn’t go check) can make a one-time donation of 24 hours to the bank. Employees with catastrophic or ongoing sick leave needs can apply to the bank for additional hours of paid leave time.

        Someone somewhere knows who has contributed to the sick leave bank, because you have to have contributed your 24 hours to be able to draw from the bank. There’s no pressure to participate — it’s mentioned during new-hire orientation, and once a year an email goes out reminding people of its existence and allowing new sign-ups.

        There’s a small committee who evaluates sick leave bank requests, but even they don’t know who it’s for; identifying information is stripped out before they see the application.

    4. Rat in the Sugar*

      Yeah, I never like it when Alison or someone else brings up asking HR if leave donation is possible, and it really squicks me out when it’s a member of management actually doing it. Why on earth should coworkers donate to each other instead of the company doing something about it??

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I don’t think I ever suggest it, but it’s a very common thing that many large companies do, and if it’s an option, there’s nothing wrong with someone availing themselves of it or a boss helping to facilitate it (assuming, of course, that people don’t feel pressured to donate leave when they don’t want to — but there are lots of people who accrue more leave than they’ll ever take and feel good about donating it).

        1. Rat in the Sugar*

          Sorry, the suggestions I remember must have all been from the comment section!

          And it’s not like I think it’s bad for people to use it, and it’s really great that it was there for OP when she needed it, it’s just weird to me when I read comments from people praising their company for offering it. Like, it always gives me a sense of “Our company is great for giving us the opportunity to trade our benefits amongst ourselves,” when I feel like the company should just…give better benefits? I don’t even know if I’m explaining this right, it just seems weird to me.

          It does remind me of working at a certain country restaurant that had a “Country Restaurant Cares” fund that was supposed to go to employees experiencing hardship–but the whole thing was funded with payroll donations from other employees (and my coworkers and I knew several deserving employees who had been denied). The whole thing really bothered me–I think it was the way that the company slapped their name all over it and played it up like they were generous for offering it? It was framed almost like a benefit and yet it was employee-funded. That’s what the leave donation pools feel like to me, an employee-funded “benefit”.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I totally get that! But it doesn’t sound like what’s happening here. Also, the OP works for the government, so it’s not like her boss can just lobby for her to get better benefits.

            1. Judy (since 2010)*

              In the early 90s, I worked for a company that accrued vacation and sick time similarly to the government job I had before. You accrued vacation and sick time with each paycheck, the vacation had an accrual limit, but the sick time didn’t. So with the base of 8 sick days a year, if you didn’t use sick time much, after 10 years, you’d have up to 80 days of sick time. It wasn’t paid out unless you retired from the company. They had a way to share sick time with coworkers.

              I’ve not seen a program like that since I started seeing the vacation and sick time given on Jan 1, and you must use or lose it on Dec 31.

    5. Madeleine Matilda*

      I work some place with very generous sick leave and vacation time – two separate buckets to draw from. We can carry over some of our vacation leave and all of our sick leave. The fact is that often times chronic illnesses may use up all available leave even when a company is very generous. One of my co-workers, who earns the max amount of leave we can, which is a lot, uses her leave as fast as she earns it and when she had a crisis a year ago had no leave to take. That was her choice not the company’s. At that point the option to donate and receive donated leave is a great option. At my work place we have a leave bank where you can donate one pay period’s worth of vacation leave and then if you run out of sick leave you can apply to the leave bank for up to 12 weeks of leave.

      1. Poliva Ope*

        So what happens if the leave bank is empty when you need it? When a boss asks the people he is in charge of it is never voluntary. Donated leave policies are just another way for companies to avoid doing right by their workers. I empathize with someone who got sick but it’s not up to me to give up my own (limited) time off. The boss was not in the right in this circumstance.

        1. Yorick*

          I don’t know that these are pools of leave that people have made general donations to. At my workplace, employees apply for and get approved for the donation program (by HR, I guess?) and then coworkers can go in and donate to that specific person.

    6. Cousin Itt*

      As a non-American that confused me so much. I would honestly be baffled if a manager asked me to donate leave, if OP needs extra time to recover the company should just give it to her rather than ask other employees to give up theirs.

      1. Anna*

        As another non-American, the practice actually horrifies me. OP is sick. She cannot work. Since she is sick, she should be on sick leave until she is well again, and she should not be at the mercy of her coworkers’ charity to not go bankrupt from her illness. The boss sounds really nice and so do the coworkers who are donating, but the system is barbaric.

        1. Bluephone*

          Yes we know, we in the US are very well aware. Exceedingly aware. We are never not aware of how short our general employment benefits fall when compared to other countries.

    7. OP*

      This is the government. He can’t just give me paid time off or even advocate for HR to do so- even if he wants to. But we do have leave donation abilities that are in place if you meet certain requirements. It’s done for lots of people who are seriously ill and is simply an email that is sent out agency wide letting people know who is eligible for donations and how the donation process works. It’s not a matter of someone physically coming around asking you to give up your time, but it does take an employee or their supervisor requesting the action and going through a sometimes long process to be approved for it, which he undertook for me. He also has ensured my name remains on the list each week so I’m not forgotten, but he’s not legally allowed to pressure anyone to donate.

    8. Jennifer in GA*

      If I remember correctly, the OP works for the government, and I know she said that her boss is a retired military officer.

      It is incredibly common in the civilian side of government work for people to donate leave to someone who might need it (bereavement, medical issues, etc). There is rarely any pressure (YMMV) to donate.

      My husband is a DoD employee. He currently has over a month of leave accrued, and almost the same amount of sick leave. He’s donated leave here and there (and in the govt you can do it by the hour, since that’s go it’s accrued). It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice when you know how much it’s apprecited and needed.

      1. OP*


        I am so grateful to everyone who has donated to me. I could have survived financially on unpaid leave, but it’s such a weight off my shoulders to not have to. Having to budget myself down to one income would mean I couldn’t get take out when my husband and mom are both tapped out from caring for the kids and I am too weak to cook. It’s seriously been such a blessing.

        1. the gold digger*

          I know I am de-railing into super-technical issues, but it seems you do not have short-term or long-term disability?

          *runs to google to see if LTD covers transplant recovery*

          *can’t find it and am getting 404d on my own company’s LTD page so now I am really curious*

          1. OP*

            The answer is no. As a federal employee there is no short term disability benefit (defined as under 18 months). Over 18 months of being unable to perform my job gives me the option of filing for disability retirement, but I’m under 30 and this will have me unable to perform for a matter of weeks, not months.

            Government employees can used accrued leave, leave without pay, or donated leave to cover a short term disability.

          2. Overeducated*

            Yup. The government has no short term disability or paid parental leave. It would take a brand new employee at my agency at leaat 4 years to accrue enough sick and vacation time to get paid over a 12 week FMLA leave.

            1. Overeducated*

              Sorry, at least 3 years, if they don’t take a day off in those 3 years. A lot of people know government employees get relatively generous sick leave (annual leave is pretty average i think), but don’t realize it has to be saved up for disability type issues.

    9. Temperance*

      Okay I regularly see comments lecturing us Americans about how terrible we have it at work. It’s not universal, whatsoever, to have insufficient PTO and no disability leave, and it’s kind of annoying to constantly be lectured about perceived problems with our system.

      I currently have 5 weeks PTO, and 2 months of full-time, paid disability. I am not a unicorn.

      1. Elaine*

        I’m genuinely glad for you. You should have those things. I have 14 days PTO and no disability. I’m not a unicorn, either. It’s not unreasonable to be shocked that a large number of people in what we believe is a leading first world country don’t have what other first-worlders consider the basic minimum.

    10. Daffy Duck*

      Another perspective – In PastJob I had accumulated lots of sick leave, so much so that I had maxed out on my accruals. That position was officially part-time, so it was easy to schedule dr appts, etc. when I wasn’t working and a real PITA to get someone to cover for me when I was gone (also, this was the place that wanted me to use all of my vacation time first for maternity leave instead my accumulated sick leave). The last three years I worked there I wasn’t accruing any sick leave, I would have been THRILLED to donate some to a co-worker.

    11. MtnLaurel*

      That’s actually a very common thing in many workplaces I’ve been at, especially when leave is “use it or lose it.” There are processes in place to declare “catastrophic leave,” and this would definitely count. Employees can donate to the general cat leave fund or specifically to an individual.

  7. Kivrin*

    It sounds like he really took to heart the suggestion that “being flexible and supportive at work is a way that you can help that no one else can.” Kudos to him for that, and I’m so happy to hear that the transplant has been successful for you!

  8. SarahKay*

    That’s such a wonderful update. I’m so glad that you and your sister are both doing well, and that your boss finally came up with an amazing way to help you.

  9. Anna*

    Congratulations on your transplant and the growing bond with your sister! I’d like to nominate your sister AND your boss for Best People.

  10. Detective Amy Santiago*

    This is the best update! So glad that you and your sister are doing well. Sending good vibes for your continued recovery.

  11. deets*

    This is the best kind of update! I’m so glad to hear you and your sister are recovering well, OP, and may we all find such supportive bosses.

  12. PB*

    This is so wonderful. Best wishes to you and your sister both for a smooth continued recovery!

  13. Indoor Cat*

    I think we should start nominating best bosses as well as worst bosses at the end of the year; so glad you’re healing well OP!

  14. Madeleine Matilda*

    Wonderful update! I’m glad you and your sister are doing well and that your boss is being supportive in such a nice way. Over 100,000 people in the US alone are waiting for a kidney transplant. If anyone is inspired by this update to consider being a donor, more information is available at the National Kidney Foundation web site: https://www.kidney.org/transplantation

  15. Anonymosity*

    YAY! \0/

    I like that the boss has remained supportive, even if he initially overdid it.

  16. Yeah, no*

    Why is the boss trying to tell his employees what to do with their PTO? I would have HR involved so fast if my boss did this. This isn’t a thing a good boss would do and I’m a bit surprised at all the praise he is getting.

    1. Genny*

      It’s unclear exactly what his role in that regard is. He could have done anything from lobbying HR to set up a leave donation program to going cube to cube demanding that people donate. Given that the OP is happy with the situation and doesn’t think this is an overstep (and her first letter shows she’s very capable of assessing when a boss is overstepping), I think we can safely just be happy for her recovery and that she has a supportive boss, even if he isn’t 100% perfect in his support.

    2. OP*

      HR IS involved. I got a new kidney and my boss used our already in place leave donation campaigns RUN BY HR to help me get paid while I recover. He did the paperwork for it and has ensured that my name stays on the list each week the donation email goes out, but he’s not blocking people from getting to their cars and forcing them to sign over their last few hours of sick leave. There’s really no need for the amount of venom in this thread and it’s making me wish I hadn’t written in to update people, honestly.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I am glad you wrote in and sorry that a few people are being jerks.

        Please take care of yourself! Perhaps you can keep us updated in the open threads about your progress.

      2. MtnLaurel*

        I’m so glad you did update though. I’m sure you made a few people’s day. I know you made mine! Thank you.

      3. EddieSherbert*

        I am VERY glad you wrote in, OP. Absolutely everything about your update made me smile and so incredibly happy for you. This made my Monday! Thank you! I hope the rest of your recovery goes great.

        1. Zillah*

          Also, like… at the risk of getting really personal, I’m dealing with starting a new job tomorrow while knowing that my mother will be dying after a prolonged battle with a neurodegenerative disease in the next two months, and it’s really, really helpful for me to be reminded that there are definitely good people out there who are not going to begrudge me having to inconvenience them a little by leaving exactly at 5 to make a flight here and there or take a couple days when she dies to go out there to be with her/to be there for the cremation.

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Stop. Just stop.

      Leave donation programs are very common in large companies and they are very useful to people like the OP.

      This is a wonderful and uplifting update. This is the kind of thing that we need to hear more of in general. It helps me feel a little less hopeless about humanity in general to know that OP’s colleagues are supporting her this way.

      1. OP*

        I’m glad it could be a bright spot for people. I still tear up thinking about how many sacrifices have been made for me- both big and small- to be here today. Right now I am sitting around with my husband (whose work has also been incredibly accommodating) watching my kids play and knowing that I will now likely get to see THEIR children play as well. There are so many good people in the world and I am so happy I know a few of them.

    4. former geologist current NPO CEO*

      Perhaps you aren’t aware that PTO banks are quite common in many industries?

  17. LSP*

    So glad you and your sister are recovering, and that your boss has found a way to help that is appropriate for a boss. Donated leave is such a boon to people who have medical emergencies come up. Wonderful update! I hope your recovery continues to be strong!

  18. MicroManagered*

    At least, at my employer, many longer-tenured employees end up with more vacation than they can carry from year to year, or more than they can reasonably use. They tend to be the ones to “donate” most of the time. I don’t see anything wrong with it. An employer can’t be expected to pay someone indefinitely while they’re not working and if they have employees with vacation they can’t use… it’s a win-win to me.

    1. Poliva Ope*

      It should never be on the coworkers to make sure their coworker gets paid. A boss shouldn’t be asking people lower on the chain to give up their own time off. If the company can’t pay someone it is not the responsibility of the coworkers. The boss can give his own pay and advocate for the company to do more.

      1. Temperance*

        Okay, but that’s not what’s happening in these systems. My office has a pool, too, and it’s exactly like Micro’s. There are many people here who have a ton of leftover PTO at the end of the year, and they regularly donate it to the bank because they can’t use it, and it’s above the amount they can cash out and carry over. They aren’t being tricked or swindled by greedy companies to give PTO to colleagues instead of using it.

      2. MicroManagered*

        Employment is a business arrangement: Employee exchanges labor/services for pay. If it reaches a point where the employee is not exchanging any services, they’ve exhausted their paid leave benefits, and they’re not protected by FMLA, the employer doesn’t have to employ them any longer. There’s no “the boss should give up his pay”–the business arrangement has ended, period. Now, if there are people who are willing to give up THEIR employment benefit so that the employee (whose business arrangement with employer is otherwise defunct) can continue to get paid, that’s wonderful. But that an employer should continue a business arrangement that the employee is no longer continuing, is ridiculous.

        I find this thread draining and derailing to an otherwise wonderful update, so I’m going to bow out and agree to disagree with you! :)

      3. CMart*

        But why not make it available if people want to participate?

        I’m currently in a position where if I want to use all my PTO (we have unlimited sick time) then it’d just be for random days here and there “just because”. I enjoy having the ability to do that and it’s nice to take a day off to recharge, but they’re not “worth” very much to me. If I knew my coworker was going to be out for Y days but only had X number of PTO/sick days to use, I would cheerfully let her have one or two of my “meh, might as well?” paid days off.

  19. Bea*

    I’m tearing up. What a wonderful update. I’m glad your mom is with you and your sister is already headed back to school!

  20. Poliva Ope*

    I’m really happy for the letter writer. But his/her colleagues should push back against the boss. No one should be asked to give up their own time off for a coworker. It was not appropriate for the boss to ask.

    1. Elspeth*

      They are using a Leave Donation program that is already in existence – no one is being pressured to give up their leave!

  21. Bea*

    They work in a military hospital. Of course they have don’t have generous leave policies. Given the bad treatment of our vets I’m bristling at all the commentary on the leave donation when this is a time to celebrate someone’s continuing recovery.

    1. OP*

      Military hospitals are government agencies (Defense Health Agency to be exact). Veterans hospitals fall under a different agency (Veterans Affairs) and a different pot of money from military operations. We have pretty decent leave policies actually (About 30 days, plus all federal holidays). Although no maternity leave policies, but I think that’s a complaint about the way our country approaches time off and parenthood in general. I digress.

  22. it's all good*

    Excellent news! Thanks for taking the time to update. I wish you and your sister all the best in recovery and beyond.

  23. Midlife Tattoos*

    I work for an enormous corporation that is very generous with PTO, but we can only roll over 1 week from year to year. This encourages people to use their time. That being said, I have a couple people on my team who rarely use all their PTO and so, rather than losing it, they donate it to a pool. It’s completely voluntary and only they know they’re doing it. People with severe medical issues who need more time can apply to receive PTO from the pool, and again, only the requestor knows about the request.

  24. Ann Perkins*

    For everyone saying the company needs to just give OP extra PTO: they’re at a military hospital and so it’s not flexible like it would be at a private corporation. My spouse is a federal employee and at least in his experience, donating PTO is a very common thing.
    Best wishes on your recovery, OP!

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Did you ever watch 30 Rock? You could totally use Milton Green for your screen name to post updates about kidney related things <3

  25. Kiwifinance*

    I’m not from the US. My company lets us roll over our sick leave each years, so some long serving employees who are rarely sick can have hundreds of days. Unlike annual leave, sick leave is not paid out upon leaving the company.

    Our company is looking at a similar donation policy for sick leave, so people who have tons of sick leave (like me – 35 ish days with 7 more about to be added) can donate it to a pool, so other employees in a situation like the OPs can use it. It’s super clear that it will be a voluntary choice between you and HR to donate.

    I personally don’t have a problem with that.

  26. Jilly*

    The OP is a federal employee. Most of the federal agencies I am familiar with have leave donation as a policy. I am a federal contractor but I work within an agency so I get the daily digest of internal emails. Lots of times there will be one on leave donation. It’s a general blast out to the entire federal agency that X is in need of leave donations (and at the federal level it’s separate buckets of sick and vacation/personal). So while I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of DoD, it is unlikely that the boss created a leave donation policy – he just made sure that an existing policy was made available to the OP.

  27. Geneva*

    Aww, this is wonderful news OP! I’m glad you’re on the mend. Your boss sounds amazing too–a little over eager–but his heart is in the right place lol.

  28. Another Day, Another Dollar*

    So happy to read this update and hear that you and your little sister are both recovering well and that your boss found a better way to be helpful!

  29. Detective Amy Santiago*

    Alison – will you please put a comment at the top of this post asking people to refrain from having this conversation? It’s harming the OP and it’s really unnecessary.

  30. Myrin*

    Yay, OP, how absolutely fantastic for you! I’m so glad that your sister could not only be a donor but also recovered very well and got ideas about her future from the whole process! And how wonderful that your boss and coworkers are helping you so much with alleviating your (financial) troubles. Most of all, of course, I’m so happy to see that you continue to do well – I’m wishing you a speedy and full recovery!

    (Can I also say that I’m quite taken aback by the viciousness in some of these comments? I wasn’t familiar with the concept of “leave donation” before reading this but it’s very clear from OP’s letter that this is a positive and supportive thing for her; and if you read anything of hers, be it the original letter, her comments there, or her follow-up update, you can quite clearly see a person who would not be okay with a boss pressuring coworkers into donating something they didn’t want to let go off, so she certainly wouldn’t portray it that way in her second update. I really think our site rule of taking OPs at their word applies here, too.)

    1. OP*

      Thank you! I am choosing to ignore any further negative comments, but I feel bad knowing that people think poorly of my wonderful boss simply because they don’t understand leave donation. He’s a very kind, good man and it makes me want to cry to think of people being so unkind to him because I chose what was maybe a poor word to describe the process.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        Your letter is fine, and wonderful, and some people just got to nitpick. Definitely don’t worry about it or dwell on them. You, and your boss, coworkers, and family all sound amazing.

        1. Lily*

          Some folks are never happy unless they can find something to complain about/stir up arguments over in the comments. Your wording was fine and your follow up explanations made everything very clear. Your boss sounds so lovely and my heart warms knowing there are people like him in the world. I nearly cried when I read about you watching your kids play today knowing you’ll likely get to watch their kids play. What a wonderful sentiment. I’m so glad you have all of this support. Much love and hope to you, OP.

          1. OP*

            I am extra sentimental right now when I’m normally not, but it was a beautiful, albeit it normal moment. I’m so grateful to everyone supporting me right now so that I can enjoy (as much as recovering from an organ transplant can be enjoyable) this time where I’m not in hospitals almost every day and am able to confidentially plan for my future.

      2. MissGirl*

        Your boss is awesome. I think we read about so many bad bosses here, we forget there are good ones and we dig far too deeply in the letters for hidden drama. Thanks for updating us. Don’t let a few spoil your joy.

        Hey, Grumpy Commentators, this is why people are becoming more hesitant to give updates. Don’t be why we can’t have nice things.

      3. MicroManagered*

        No way. I know there was a lot of question around your original post about what kind of boss you have–but the additional details you provided (both being military, in a military hospital, which is where you were receiving treatment) cleared all that up. The verdict is in: You have the best boss in the history of bosses. (And were totally right for feeling ooked out by it/needing some opinions about how to navigate.)

        “making me crosswords” He MADE you crosswords? That says it all right there. :)

        Glad you’re doing well OP.

        1. OP*

          He is the greatest! We usually do crosswords every Monday morning together when I am in the office, so now he emails them to me at the start of the week and they’re all themed to fit my recovery/life perfectly!

        2. Iris Eyes*

          Of all the things that’s the one that made me tear up.

          Second favorite was the med school battle :D

  31. blink14*

    OP, I wish my workplace had this donation option! I work at a large university with extremely generous sick leave, I’m currently at the 44 day level (the highest is 66 days), and you start at 22 days upon hire. Both personal time (3 days) and family sick time (5 days) come out of your sick time, but the sick time does not roll over.

    I have some chronic issues, and the first year I was here I had a major surgery, so I used all 22 of my sick days that first year. Since then, even with my health problems and a more minor surgery last year, I’ve ended up with 10-20 sick days left per year. Now imagine all the people who work here that don’t use much of their sick time, the days add up!

    I would have no problem donating some of my days into a pool for someone who needs the time. Yes, it is paid time off, but it’s not vacation time, and doesn’t carry over, so ultimately what’s the difference?

    Sick leave here is a major benefit, but generally the average person who’s health is in good shape is never going to use all that time. It’s viewed by a lot of employees as a safety net – the time never rolls over, but you know you’ve got that time coming every year in case a planned procedure or emergency comes up.

    1. OP*

      It’s such a great program! I have donated several times before my condition worsened and now that I’m on the receiving end I am so happy that I hopefully helped someone as much as I’ve been helped.

  32. Sara M*

    I’m not sure how it worked exactly, but when the music teacher at my school nearly died of encephalitis, the 64 year old chemistry teacher who had never missed a day was allowed to give him 35 _years_ of accumulated leave. It was awesome. (The American system is definitely barbaric, but at least that’s a nice story within it.)

    1. Zillah*

      That’s awesome.

      And yeah – I feel like we can acknowledge that the American system is barbaric while still being touched by people doing kind and generous things for the people around them. I would argue that we ought to.

  33. KarenK*

    We have the option at my work to donate PTO, but it’s on a case by case basis, i.e., we donate to a specific person, so someone has to be the asker, so to speak. Usually, it comes from a coworker, though, not a boss or supervisor. I kind of like the idea of a pool with anonymous donations. Takes the popularity contest vibe out of the equation.

  34. Long time listener, first time caller*

    I’m crying happy tears! I wish you a speedy recovery and my fingers are crossed that your sister picks the med school near you!

  35. anonagain*

    This is such a great update! I am so glad you have supportive people around you. I wish you and your sister all the best.

  36. DietCokeHead*

    What a wonderful update! Your original letter really struck a cord with me, so I’m so happy to hear that everything worked out with your sister donating her kidney (sister of the year there!) and also that your boss is such a kind and caring man. I think what he has done for you is wonderful and appropiate. I hope your recovery continues smoothly.

    1. OP*

      She is the best sister ever- even before this honestly. When she was adopted my parents let me name her and I chose one meaning “sweet as honey” and it has truly been accurate. She is so kind and caring.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Wait – your *adopted* sister ended up being a match? That’s astounding. She was truly meant to be part of your family.

      2. Liane*

        I didn’t think I could tear up any more after reading the update–but this does it. (Adoptee who doesn’t have adoptive or bio siblings.)

  37. Just Another Analyst*

    This has totally inspired me to see if my office has a leave donation program (or is interested in starting one). As someone who wouldn’t be able to give much towards a financial donation, it would be far easier and more meaningful for me to contribute my excess PTO- which I usually have plenty of!

    Best wishes to you, OP. I’m so glad that you are surrounded by so many wonderful people!

    1. OP*

      Thank you! I am glad this update is spurring so many positive feelings of generosity in others!

  38. LeRainDrop*

    Wow! I am just so thrilled for you and your family! Best wishes for a continued smooth recovery. <3

  39. Corporate Cynic*

    Stop chopping onions, everyone!!! :’-O

    Seriously, though, this update made my day. OP – best of luck in your continued recovery and career.

  40. Clarice Fitzpatrick*

    LW, I’m so happy for you!!!! I can’t imagine the stress you’ve been through but I’m so glad it’s turning out well. It’s wonderful that you have such a great family and workplace.

    1. OP*

      I knew I was blessed even before this, but this process has been a great reminder of just how much. Thank you!

  41. MissDisplaced*

    What a nice boss. I admit, I found his overzealousness about this kind of weird… but it seems his heart was in the right place after all. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  42. Tiara Wearing Princess*

    God bless you OP and your sister and boss too.

    He’s not just a great boss. He sounds like a great human being.

    What an uplifting update. I wish you a quick, safe recovery! Thank you for sharing your story with us. It’s good to know there are still good people in the world.

  43. Bossy Magoo*

    So nice to see such a positive update! Wishing you an uneventful recovery and all the best with your new kidney :)

  44. AKchic*

    Your boss is sweet. I’m sorry I ever thought negatively of him.
    I am so glad to see this update. I’m glad you’re doing better. Congrats on the successful transplant. Wishing you a complete recovery!
    Your sister is awesome.

  45. Erin*

    Can we nominate this guy for boss of the year? We have worst boss, there should be a best boss too.

    1. OP*

      I truly do. My mom took a sabbatical for three months to be my personal nurse (or I guess MD since she’s a physician). My dad consulted with every nephrologist and surgeon he knew about my procedures (he’s a psychiatrist so he has a good network of specialists, but very little experience with kidneys in general). My sister obviously very selflessly gave her kidney. And my husband has been my personal cheerleader, caregiver and biggest supporter since I got sick 10 years ago after we had been on just ONE date- seriously. I don’t know how people do it without those around them like I have.

  46. Rebecca Bunch*

    This is wonderful! I’m also so charmed by the thought of your boss, who I’m picturing as traditionally masculine in the way of older military men, making you a crossword about sisterhood! How incredibly sweet.

  47. LGC*

    LW – glad you’re doing well and I’m really glad that you do have so much support!

    On the leave donation program: I live in a state and work for a company that has a “use it or lose it” policy. (We can carry over a few days, but everything over that expires.) My organization is…super generous with annual leave with more tenured employees (like me), so I often have weeks remaining even if I take time off.

    I honestly think that this sounds like a good idea for me at least – I’d rather share my benefits rather than having them vanish into thin air (or, I could take time off, but there’s only so much I can do).

  48. Zillah*

    I have a folder on my desktop that’s basically just full of reminders that people like me and I’m good at stuff for when I get depressed and down on myself. I think I need a new folder for when I start to get down about the human race, and this definitely needs to be in it. OP, I’m so, so happy for you.

  49. King Friday XIII*

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your updates with us, OP. I’m glad things are going so well for you!

  50. moosetracks*

    Thank you so much for updating us! I’m SO glad you were able to get a kidney from someone who isn’t your boss, and it’s great that you and your sister are recovering.

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