Duke provides a Severance Pay Program to eligible employees whose employment has been terminated because of Duke's operational needs. This presentation will help you understand the benefits that you may receive if you are eligible for this program.

While we have made every effort to assure the accuracy of this information, please remember that our benefit plans are based upon the plan's official plan documents, which are available to you online. If there is a conflict between the information presented on this website and the official plan documents, the official plan documents will govern in all cases. For additional questions related to Severance, please contact the HR Information Center at (919) 684-5600.

Layoff Candidate: Frequently Asked Questions

While our goal is to assist you in finding another position at Duke, it is important that you understand the benefits Duke provides you in the event that an alternative position is not obtained prior to the end of your notice period. This overview is designed to help you understand these benefits as well as answer questions you may have. Please contact the Human Resource Information Center at (919) 684-5600 for additional assistance.

Can I continue my Duke medical, dental, and/or vision insurance beyond my lay-off date?

Yes, under the federal law, COBRA, you may continue your existing medical, dental, and/or vision insurance for up to 18 months. For six months, Duke will continue to pay its share of the premium cost, if any, for your medical insurance. Thereafter, you may continue coverage for up to 12 additional months. You will be responsible for the entire premium payment plus a 2% charge. The same COBRA continuation applies for dental and vision insurance; however, Duke does not pay any portion of the premium during the COBRA continuation period. If you do not receive a COBRA continuation notice or have additional questions, contact Duke's Human Resource Information Center (HRIC) at (919) 684-5600.

Note that if you are age 65 or older, COBRA is not considered creditable coverage for Medicare Part B. If you enroll in COBRA coverage and delay enrolling in Medicare Part B when your employment ends, you will face a lifetime penalty when you later enroll in Medicare Part B.

HealthEquity is the company with whom Duke has contracted to provide Cobra administration. Your COBRA information will automatically be sent to your home address.

Make sure your enrollment decision is made within the time limit outlined in your COBRA letter. Failing to do so will result in termination of coverage.

Monthly COBRA Premiums can be found here.

Can I continue my existing reimbursement accounts?

You may submit claims for eligible expenses incurred up through your layoff date (the layoff date is the last day of the 60-day notification period) for the Health Care Reimbursement Account. In addition, under COBRA, you have the right to make health care reimbursement account contributions (plus a 2% service charge) on an after-tax basis after your employment ends. This COBRA continuation maintains your annual election amount as long as you continue to contribute, or for the remainder of the plan year, whichever occurs first. This may be particularly important if you have a high balance in your health care reimbursement account and have not yet incurred an anticipated eligible expense. Continuing your contributions allows access to funds in your health care reimbursement account for eligible expenses incurred after your layoff date through the remainder of the plan year (December 31).

The funds that you have already contributed towards the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account are available for eligible expenses incurred until the end of the plan year (December 31).

Your COBRA election form will automatically be sent to your home address. Please return your completed election form to HealthEquity. If you do not choose to continue this account under COBRA, then you can only submit claims for eligible expense incurred through your layoff date.

Your deadline for submitting health care or dependent care expenses to our COBRA administrator, HealthEquity, is April 15 for expenses incurred during the prior plan year.

Specific questions regarding the reimbursement plan should be directed to HealthEquity. For more information, please see the Reimbursement Accounts web site.

Can I continue my current life insurance policies?

Some types of insurance provide for continuation of coverage as follows:

  • $10,000 Basic Life Insurance - coverage will be continued automatically by Duke for six months following your layoff date. After the six-month period, the basic life coverage may be converted to a whole life individual policy by contacting Lincoln Life Assurance Company at 1-800-423-2765.
  • $10,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) - coverage ends on your layoff date.
  • Supplemental Life and Universal Life - coverage may be continued on a direct bill basis. The rate for the supplemental life insurance policy will change after you finish receiving severance payments. The specific vendor should be contacted for further information.
  • Post-Retirement Life - Contact the Holroyd Agency at 919-755-8684 and ask about a reduced paid-up insurance certificate.
  • Personal Accident, Business Travel and Accident or Gratuity to Spouse or Estate - Coverage ends on your layoff date.

Are there other benefit programs of which I need to be aware?

You are eligible to continue Long Term Care insurance, Long Term Disability Enhancer, the Voluntary Long Term Disability plans (if you have more than 12 months of participation), or the Personal Casualty insurance (METPAY) coverage and should contact each company directly to inquire about options.

The Voluntary Short Term Disability ends on your termination date. Voluntary Long Term Disability insurance may be continued if you had continuous coverage for the 12 months prior to your termination date. Contact MGIS at 1-800-969-6447 (ext. 132) to continue any existing policies.

Are educational benefits still available after my employment ends?

There are two education benefits:

  • Children's Tuition Grant Program - For laid-off staff who were eligible for this benefit as of their layoff date, the grant will be paid for a maximum of 12 months from your layoff date for two semesters per child. The overall benefit maximum limit of 8 semesters per child and 16 semesters per family will continue to apply. You may be eligible to participate in the Children's Tuition Grant Program if you were eligible for the benefit under the Rule of 75 prior to the end of your layoff notice period.  Refer to CTG eligibility rules for retirement.
  • Educational Assistance - Coursework started after your layoff date will not be reimbursed. However, approved coursework that began prior to your layoff date will be reimbursable as long as all of the reimbursement criteria under the Employee Tuition Assistance Program have been met. Reimbursed coursework will not be subject to the traditional two-year retention policy.

What happens to my retirement pension and/or accumulations?

The following applies depending on retirement plan participation:

  • Employees' Retirement Plan-ERP (Staff paid biweekly only) - Hourly paid staff who are laid off may be eligible for retirement income benefits from the ERP depending on their years of service under the plan. An ERP participant who is vested in the plan is eligible for a benefit upon reaching age 65 even if they leave Duke before age 65 or before they qualify for early retirement. Vesting requires five years of continuous service. Under the ERP, continuous service is defined as a fiscal year in which the participant has been paid for at least 1,000 hours. Your vested retirement amount is based on years of credited service in the plan and your average final compensation when you leave Duke. To be eligible for early retirement, you must be at least age 45 and have 15 years of credited service.
  • 403(b) Retirement Contributions - If you leave Duke, you retain full control over your employee contributions and any vested Duke contributions to your Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan. You have several options under this plan which are subject to certain restrictions. You should contact the investment carriers for further information. In general your options are to:
    1. keep the funds with the same investment carrier and transfer with that carrier at any time; or
    2. transfer the funds between carriers; or
    3. roll the funds over into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA); or
    4. make a lump sum transfer into your new employer's plan; or
    5. withdraw the funds before retirement. These will be considered fully taxable income as of the date of withdrawal and may be subject to surrender charges and IRS penalties.

For more information, please see the Retirement Plans web site.

I know the goal is to find another position at Duke, but if there isn't one within the 60-day notice period, what is the severance benefit? What if I am offered a comparable position?

As a general overview, the benefit amount is one week of pay for each completed year of service; the minimum benefit is two weeks and the maximum is twenty-six weeks. Faculty and staff in 100% grant funded positions or in a probationary status, or scheduled to work less than 20 hours per week are not eligible for severance pay or severance benefits; nor is an employee that refuses an offer of a comparable position. A position is comparable if there is no more than a 10% reduction in current base salary.

To whom do I speak about receiving my severance pay and accrued benefit time?

The payment of your severance, final paycheck, and pay out of your benefit time is coordinated between your departmental payroll clerk and Payroll.

After your termination paperwork is completed within your department and is processed in Payroll, you will receive payment for any unused holidays and accrued vacation or your eligible PTO time (i.e., your short term bank and 50% of your long term bank). You will be paid according to the normal payroll schedule. Note: accrued sick time or carry over bank time is not eligible to be paid out.

All established, voluntary payroll deductions, such as health insurance, dental insurance, reimbursement accounts, and/or retirement contributions, will be taken from your final pay unless you sign an authorization to stop such deductions before the payroll deadline. You will receive COBRA information in the mail with instructions on electing continuation of health, dental, vision, and reimbursement account coverage. If you would like to terminate other deductions, such as for parking, credit union, Athletic Facilities, United Way, YMCA, etc., contact the department that originally authorized the deduction.

Duke provides for severance pay benefits including compensation equal to one week of regular base pay or salary multiplied by your years of service as of your termination date up to a maximum of 26 weeks of pay. Severance pay benefits will be paid according to the normal payroll schedule, by mail or through an established direct deposit authorization.

This overview is intended to highlight some of the pay and benefit options to be considered due to a layoff. It is not designed to substitute for an official plan document for the Severance Pay Plan or other benefit plans. If there is a conflict between this website and the official plan documents, the official plan documents will govern in all cases. Duke reserves the right to change or terminate these plans or your eligibility for benefits under the plans at any time.