Personal Leave Policy

Personal leave is any time off that is granted for reasons including (but not limited to) specialized experiences, family issues, extenuating personal needs, elective office, or formal studies that result in promoting the interests of Duke and/or the staff member. This type of leave also includes the time off given to any staff with an illness/injury or to those who are pregnant but do not meet the eligibility criteria for Family Medical Leave.

  • Before approval, such leave must be shown to be of mutual benefit to both Duke and the staff member.


  • Staff who have at least one year of Continuous Service Credit and who work a regular schedule of 20 hours or more per week may request a personal leave of absence.
  • Personal leaves are also given to staff who request leaves for pregnancy or illness/injury but who do not meet the one year, 1,250 hours requirement.

Request for Leave

EducationalOther Personal Leaves
Staff who have been accepted as a full-time students in formal educational programs may request educational leaves of absence.

A request for leave must be initiated 60 days prior to the beginning of the desired leave period. Educational leaves of absence will be granted for a period of one year; however, when a leave has been granted, a staff member may request an extension of an additional year.

Personal leaves of absence will be granted for a period not to exceed three months; however, once a leave has been granted, a staff member may request extensions in three-month increments for up to one year of leave.

Extension of Leave Request

EducationalOther Personal Leaves
Extension requests should be submitted to the department in writing 30 days prior to the end of the leave. Documentation in support of the extension request – such as an official letter certifying continued enrollment – may or may not be required. The extension must also be approved by the supervisor.Extension requests should be submitted in writing to the department at least 14 days prior to the scheduled end of the leave. The extension must be approved by the supervisor.

Job Guarantee

There is no job guarantee with a Personal Leave of Absence.

  • If the department replaces the staff member on leave with another regular staff member, the staff member returning from leave may apply for transfer to another position through the Recruitment Office.
  • The Recruitment Office will refer the staff member to position openings for which he or she is qualified.

Reinstatement Following Leave

  • The staff member must discuss his or her request for a leave of absence and any return-to-work arrangements with his or her supervisor and entity or department Human Resources representative prior to the start of the leave.
  • Staff who are on leaves for illness/injury must provide a physician’s release to return to work.
  • Staff may contact their supervisor(s) or their entity/department Human Resources representative to explore the possibility of placement elsewhere in Duke.
  • If a staff member fails to return to work as scheduled or to obtain an extension of the leave, employment will be terminated.

Benefits Continuation

  • Duke does not pay a staff member's share of Duke-sponsored insurance programs while the staff member is on unpaid personal leave. The staff member and covered dependents are eligible for continued coverage under the COBRA coverage.

Additionally, it is the employee's responsibility when on an approved leave without pay to pay the premium payment for life insurance benefits such as Basic Group Life insurance and Personal Accident Insurance (PAI). Personal checks, money orders, or cashier's checks for premium payments should be made payable to Duke University with the Duke Unique ID and reason for payment (e.g. personal LOA - basic group life insurance and PAI) indicated on the Memo line of the check. Payments should be mailed by the 25th of the month to:

Duke University Cashier's Office
Box 90759
Durham, NC 27708

Failure to make payments may result in cancellation of benefit coverage and you may not be allowed to reinstate coverage until you have returned to benefits-eligible work status.

Please note: In case of death during the month that the premium is due, but prior to payment of the premium, the employee retains his/her eligibility for coverage. However, if the premium is not received by the 25th of the month in which it is due, the coverage is considered lapsed, a life insurance claim will not be filed, the employee is not eligible for a life insurance benefit to be paid, and no retroactive premiums will be accepted.

For more information, please see the checklist for employees on personal leave.

Vacation, Sick Leave, Holidays, and PTO Accrual

Vacation, sick leave, holidays, and PTO do not accrue during this period of unpaid leave.

Continuous Service Credit

Length-of-service accrual will be continuous during the leave.

Further Information and Available Forms

For further information, please contact the Staff & Labor Relations office at 684-2808 (P.O. Box 3904, 1527 Duke South Clinic Building, Durham, NC27710) or the Leaves of Absence website.