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Duke to require use of accrued time off for COVID-related absences starting Sept. 1

Duke staff must use vacation or sick time “for all instances where work is not being performed” starting Sept. 1, according to a June 9 message to vice presidents, vice provosts, deans, directors, department heads and managers from Vice President for Administration Kyle Cavanaugh.

From July 1 to Aug. 31, Duke will provide up to 40 hours of COVID-19 paid time for staff who must be hospitalized due to COVID-19; quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19; tested for COVID-19 (up to two shifts per test); or who are experiencing side effects following a COVID-19 vaccination (up to one shift per dose).

Following all cases, staff members must report to their next scheduled shift after being cleared to return by Employee Occupational and Health Wellness. COVID-19 paid time is provided at the staff member’s base rate of pay without differentials.

“The interim COVID pay practice has been in effect since June 2020 to keep staff members in a paid status due to COVID-19 exposure or illness and limit the potential spread of the virus,” the message explained.

Starting Sept. 1, staff will have to use accrued vacation or sick time for COVID-related absences, but Cavanaugh wrote that “rare exceptions may occur where individuals require hospitalization for severe infections.” These instances will be “reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”

The transition back to using accrued time off is due to Duke’s “advancement in vaccine distribution along with other key indicators,” according to the message. As of June 9, more than 78% of University faculty and staff were fully vaccinated.

The message noted that while vaccination is not currently a requirement for faculty and staff, those not vaccinated by the beginning of the fall 2021 semester may be required to receive weekly testing and continue wearing masks. All students, faculty, staff and family members age 12 and over are eligible for vaccination and can make appointments online or walk in.

Nadia Bey contributed reporting.


Leah Boyd | Editor-in-Chief

Leah Boyd is a Pratt junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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