Leave of Absence
Any full member can take a leave of absence from the community for not less than one month and not more than one year. While on leave, no allowance is earned and the member’s belongings must be placed in storage and their room may be re-allocated to another member.
How to Take a Leave
Before a member goes on leave they will have a clearness with all members where the focus question will be “How do you feel about me taking a leave of absence and how do you feel about me coming back to live at Acorn?” Afterwards, the community will agree by consensus that the member may take a leave.
Members will not be granted a leave of absence and told later they cannot return because their membership has been terminated, except in the case of the turnover provision described below. If some event occurred warranting the member’s expulsion while they were away, expulsion will be conducted in the same manner as the expulsion of active members.
At times in Acorn’s history, membership has turned over significantly in the course of a single year.
If the current membership believes that the community population is changing significantly enough that the member on leave is in danger of no longer being known well enough by the current composition of community, the community can inform the member they should return within a specified time-frame to retain their membership. Such notification will require a consensus of the community and offer the member at least one month to return.
If the member chooses not to return, the community may re-instate the member as a full member upon their return by a consensus of the full members, if they have not been on leave for more than one year.
This turnover provision is not intended as a back-door expulsion process, it merely seeks to provide for the current membership of the community during times of significant turnover.
If all rooms are occupied when the member wants to return they will be placed at the top of the current waiting list for the next room available. They may camp until a room becomes available if a consensus of the community agrees. When a room becomes available they will be considered to have seniority equal to the time they have been a member, excluding time they were on leave, to determine which room they are entitled to in the midst of any great room shuffle.
A member may reserve their previous room if they have been an active member of the community for at least three years. But, if all rooms are filled when they want to return they must wait until a room becomes available before the current occupant of the reserved room must move. In the case of a reserved room the leaving member should store all their belongings so the current resident may enjoy the full benefits of the room.
The member on leave pays for their own PEACH medical emergency insurance while they are on leave each quarter. The PEACH Melba will make arrangements with the member about how to pay.
The community will deal with emergency leave in a compassionate way and allow for exceptions to be made on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a member needs to leave for a few weeks because of family sickness the community could decide that they do not lose their right to their room or they do not need to get clear with all the individual members of the group before leaving. Granting of emergency leave will be made by a consensus of the community.