Voluntary Summer Leave Programs

The impact of COVID-19 has been unpredictable and difficult for many of us. In order to provide additional options for university staff members who need more flexibility to manage their work and personal responsibilities during this unique time, Emory is offering two voluntary summer leave programs.

While these programs may not be for everyone, they may be worth considering to help manage your life through this pandemic. Exploring what these options could look like for you and your family may mean making some temporary adjustments, but it may be the answer you are looking for.


Under normal circumstances, more traditional flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting and flexible schedules, can help staff manage work-life effectiveness. Under the current circumstances, traditional flexibility may not be enough.

The purpose of the Voluntary Summer Leave Program and the Voluntary Summer Reduced Hours Program is to allow for schedule flexibility during the summer of 2020 for staff members who may need it, with protection of their job.

This is a pilot program for the months of June through August, 2020. The expectation is that employees will be returned to their pay status, work schedule and original FTE at the end of the period of voluntary leave or FTE reduction.

Voluntary Summer Leave Program

The Voluntary Summer Leave Program allows a staff employee to request summer leave lasting between 2 and 10 weeks during June through August 2020.

  • Summer leave must be requested in full week increments.
  • Accrued vacation and/or floating holidays may be used to cover all or part of the summer leave period.
  • If the full summer leave period can’t be covered by vacation/floating holidays, you will go on unpaid leave for the rest of the period.
  • Participation in the Voluntary Summer Leave Program must be approved by your supervisor in advance.
  • You will not be eligible for unemployment benefits for any unpaid leave during the summer leave period because it is a voluntary program.

Impact on Benefits

  • There is no change in medical, dental, life insurance, vision or other voluntary benefits. If you are on unpaid leave for an entire pay period, then the cost of your benefits will be deducted from your paycheck when you return to paid status.
  • Employee contribution amounts (premiums) will remain the same.
  • There is no vacation or sick leave accrual during unpaid leaves, per standard Emory policy.

Note: If you are requesting a normal summer vacation, you do not need to go through the Voluntary Summer Leave Program; in this case, you should use your department’s standard procedure for vacation leave requests.

Voluntary Summer Reduced Hours Program

With the Voluntary Summer Reduced Hours Program, a staff member may request a reduction in work hours (FTE) lasting 2 to 10 weeks during the months June through August 2020.

  • You may not go below 0.5 FTE (scheduled to work 20 hours per week) in order to maintain your eligibility for benefits.
  • The reduction in hours will result in an equivalent reduction in base pay. If you are a biweekly paid employee, you would be scheduled to work fewer hours to correspond to the reduced FTE. For example: if you request a reduction in FTE from 1.0 to 0.8, you would be scheduled to work 32 hours per week (0.8 x 40 hours standard workweek). If you are a monthly paid employee, you would receive a reduction in the monthly pay rate for the applicable weeks you request. For example: if you request a reduction in FTE from 1.0 to 0.8, your FTE would be adjusted in PeopleSoft for the applicable weeks, resulting in a salary reduction for those weeks.

Impact on Benefits

If you are currently paying the full-time rate for medical and dental premiums, the full-time benefits rate would continue to apply during this program.

Certain other benefits will be temporarily impacted during the reduction period:

  • Lower pay for those weeks will result in a lower employee retirement contribution/match by Emory, since it is a percentage of compensation.
  • Leave accrual will be reduced to match the FTE.
  • In the event of disability beginning during the  reduction period, disability payments will be based on earnings immediately prior to disability.

Guidance for Staff

If you are interested in utilizing one of these voluntary summer leave programs, you should research and review your options in advance of sharing your ideas with your supervisor.

Guidelines have been developed to assist you with this process.

View Guidelines for Staff

Guidance for Managers

If you receive a staff request for Voluntary Summer Leave or Voluntary Summer FTE Reduction, you are encouraged to meet with your employee to discuss the viability of their request.

Guidelines have been developed to assist you with this process.

View Guidelines for Managers