SOP112: BIAC Attendance and Work Policy

  1. Summary

    Establish procedures for work attendance and absences.

  2. Scope

    These policies apply to all staff, postdocs, and students who are paid by BIAC, or by grants held or supervised by BIAC faculty. Exceptions are noted below.

  3. Definitions

    • Supervisor - The individual responsible for supervising the employee.

    • Employee - The staff member, postdoc, or student who is being funded by a grant to a BIAC faculty PI, a training grant supervised by a BIAC faculty PI, or who is paid from the BIAC operating budget.

    • Monthly Employee - An employee who is paid once per month and is not covered by (or is exempt from) some provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Monthly employees have more flexibility in their work schedule, but do not receive overtime pay.

    • Bi-Weekly Employee - An employee who is paid every two weeks and is not exempt from the provisions of the FLSA. Bi-weekly employees cannot work more than 80 hours in a two-week time period without receiving overtime pay. This includes both full-time and part-time (e.g., undergraduate students) individuals. The specific job classification and the number of hours worked per pay period will influence whether or not an individual is eligible for vacation and holiday pay.

  4. Policies and Procedures

    The sections below establish BIAC policies regarding attendance at work and absences from work. BIAC's policies incorporate all official employment policies established by the Duke University Medical Center. Employees are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with these official Duke policies, as not all of these policies are reiterated herein. Additional policies developed by BIAC in consultation with Duke Human Resources are also provided below.

    1. Attendance at work

      Employees are expected to report to their workstations on time and ready to begin work. Work schedules are determined by supervisors within certain guidelines and according to BIAC needs. For example, front office staff is expected to report to work no later than 8:00 a.m. Research assistants are expected to report to work no later than 9:00 a.m., although they may report earlier if required by their supervisor.

    2. Flexible Time / Working from Home

      In some circumstances, employees may be able to do some of their work at home, from another remote location, or maintain a flexible working arrangement with their supervisor (e.g., working on Saturday to run subjects). Arrangements such as these must be approved in advance by the employee's supervisor and the arrangement can be changed or suspended by the supervisor depending upon the needs of the research project and/or BIAC. Employees working from home with approval must keep track of their hours.

    3. The BIAC Time Card System

      The BIAC has developed a computer-based "timecard" system. All bi-weekly employees paid with BIAC funds are expected to clock in at the beginning of the day and clock out at the end of the day using the BIAC Time Card System. In addition, employees should clock in and out any other time they leave BIAC on non-work related business (e.g., lunch, doctor's appointment).

    4. Absences from Work

      There are several different categories of absences from work, which are outlined below. This text was adapted from the Personnel manual created by Human Resources.

      1. Holidays

        The University recognizes thirteen paid holidays each year. Most of these holidays are designated on set dates, but some can be taken on days of your choice and are thus called "discretionary" holidays. A list of designated holidays is posted each year. To be eligible for holiday pay, you need to be a regular employee and to have worked the last scheduled day before the holiday and the first scheduled day afterward, unless you are on an excused absence. In order to earn a discretionary holiday, you must be on the active payroll the first day of the month in which the holiday is accrued. The Brain Imaging and Analysis Center is considered part of the Medical Center. Those holidays generally observed are: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and six discretionary holidays. You earn one discretionary holiday the first day of February, March, April, June, August and October.

      2. Vacation

        The University provides paid vacation to all regular employees. Vacation is accrued from your first day of employment but may not be taken during the 90-day orientation and evaluation period.

      3. Absences Due To Sickness

        The University provides sick pay to protect you from loss of earnings. You can use sick pay to cover absences from your regular work schedule caused by your own illness or temporary disability, or to cover absences caused by the sickness or temporary disability of a member of your immediate family (spouse, children, or parents). Employees can use sick pay after they have completed the 90-day orientation and evaluation period.

      4. Bereavement Leave

        The University provides paid time off for employees to attend the funeral of a close relative. For bi-weekly employees, up to five consecutive calendar days may be taken for absences caused by the death of a spouse, child, parent, brother, sister, stepparent, stepchild, stepsister, or stepbrother. In addition, bi-weekly employees can take up to three consecutive calendar days for absences caused by the death of a grandparent, parent-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, aunt, uncle, grandchild, or great grandparent. Monthly employees can use accrued sick leave for bereavement leave. Verification for each absence must be presented to your supervisor.

      5. Jury Duty or Subpoenaed Appearance

        Duke University allows you to fulfill your civic responsibility of serving on a jury or appearing as a subpoenaed witness without loss of pay or benefits. When you receive a summons, subpoena, or other legal notice for appearance, you should notify your supervisor promptly. When you return to work, you must submit proof of appearance, including complete dates of service. Your absence will be counted as an authorized absence with full pay. Accrual of sick pay and vacation will not be affected by your absence.

      6. Voting

        The University provides up to two paid hours off to allow you to vote in presidential elections. Time off for voting should be scheduled with your supervisor.

    5. Scheduling Absences

      Any employee wishing to use vacation days or a discretionary holiday, must submit a request in writing to their supervisor preferably by email. Requests for vacation or discretionary days must be submitted to your supervisor a minimum of two weeks prior to the date of the first absence. Every effort will be made to honor the dates requested, however in some instances vacation requests may be denied if they conflict with the needs and mission of the BIAC. For example, requests from more than one employee for the same vacation period may be denied if the concurrent absences would leave the BIAC critically short-staffed and unable to provide service to our users. As another example, vacation requests for some critical employees may be denied for the period preceding the submission date of a large grant. Factors that may be considered in scheduling vacation include the employee's length of service and accrued unused vacation. Vacation requests will receive approval or denial from the supervisor or assistant director within 2 days of the written request. Upon confirmation from the supervisor that the absence has been approved, the employee must email the vacation dates to

      In the event of absences due to illness, funerals, or jury duty, the employee's supervisor should be informed of the absence as soon as possible, but no later than the date of the first absence. If advance notice of the absence is available, (e.g., a medical appointment), the employee should email the absence dates to

      In the event that an absence is necessary when the employee does not have sufficient leave to cover it, the employee should consult with the supervisor to arrange a time during the same week as the absence to make up the time missed. Only under extraordinary circumstances will an employee be allowed to take unpaid leave.

    6. Recording Absences

      As indicated above, all bi-weekly employees paid by BIAC funds must use the BIAC Time Card System. In addition, monthly employees are required to submit a log of absences to

    7. Bi-Weekly Employees

      Bi-weekly employees must use the BIAC Time Card System and also fill out an electronic time card through Corporate Payroll Services. In accordance with the guidelines established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), additional policies apply to full time bi-weekly employees. Bi-weekly employees receive one 15-minute, paid break for each four hours worked. These may be taken at the employee's discretion, with the following exceptions. Breaks may not be combined into one 30-minute period, added to your lunch break, saved up from day to day, or used to offset arriving at work late or leaving early.

      If you work a full day, you are entitled to an unpaid meal period of at least 30 minutes, but no more than 1 hour. During this time your supervisor cannot require you to continue to perform your job duties unless you are paid for your work time. Because of overtime guidelines, you also need permission from your supervisor to continue to work during the meal period.

      These specific break and lunch policies do not apply to monthly employees, who are considered FLSA exempt.

      Full-time bi-weekly employees are expected to submit a timecard reflecting 40 hours of paid time per week. This can include hours worked and approved leave time. If an employee has extenuating personal or medical situations that require an extended period of time off, personal leave or family medical leave may be options. If an employee would like to take leave for other reasons, but does not have enough leave to cover the scheduled time off, it may be possible to take unpaid leave but only under extraordinary circumstances with advanced approval from the supervisor.

      Overtime is not typically approved at the BIAC. In the event that overtime is necessary, the supervisor must approve it in advance. Overtime is calculated for any hours worked reported over 40 in one week. Employees should manage their schedules to ensure that overtime is not a factor.

    8. Exceptions

      Duke employment policies do not apply to staff who have offices at the BIAC but who are paid from UNC, unless the UNC supervisor requests that the BIAC Time Card System be used to verify working hours.