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Cornell University

University Policy 6.9
Time Off and Leaves

Policy Introduction

Cornell University, including Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) and Cornell Tech (collectively the “university”), acknowledges the vital role that time away from work plays in promoting employee wellbeing, restoration, and overall effectiveness. A comprehensive array of leave options and time-off provisions underscores the university’s unwavering commitment to its workforce. We firmly believe that providing opportunities for rest, rejuvenation, and personal growth leads to a more engaged and productive workforce. This policy, along with its subsequent offerings, is designed to cultivate a positive work environment and elevate the employee experience.

To Whom This Policy Applies 

This policy applies to all Cornell University regular full- and part-time nonacademic staff members. Additional populations (including benefits-eligible temporary employees on the Ithaca/Tech campuses) may be eligible for certain types of leave or time away from work. 

This policy does not apply to academic and bargaining unit staff members. Staff members belonging to bargaining units should refer to their union contracts.

For information on academic time off and leaves policies and procedures for the respective campuses, see University Policy 6.2.1, Leaves for Professors and Academic Staff and WCM’s Academic Staff Handbook.

1.0 Policy Principles

The following are the university’s core principles governing the use of leaves or other time off from work:

1.1 This policy is based upon the premise that the university and employees share a common interest for both the work that needs to be done and the wellbeing of those who perform the work. Supervisors and staff have a shared responsibility to plan for the operational requirements of departments and time off needs of individuals. 

1.2 This policy is designed to be inclusive of the diverse needs and obligations of our workforce, including but not limited to, cultural celebrations, religious observances, family commitments, and personal wellbeing.

1.3 Time off and leaves must be recorded to ensure accurate records for the university and its employees. Employees are expected to follow the appropriate steps for requesting and recording time off.

1.4 The university provides time off and leaves in accordance with local, state and federal laws. 

2.0 Categories of Time Off and Leave

There are several types of time off and leave identified under this policy that may be described differently at WCM relative to all other Cornell colleges and units. Please review the specific and relevant policies, programs, and procedures.

Time off and leave categories may include but are not limited to:

  • Vacation
  • Health/sick
  • Personal
  • Holidays
  • Jury duty/court appearances
  • Bereavement
  • Medical and family leaves
  • Voting
  • Blood donation 
  • Military leave/military reserve leave
  • Volunteer firefighter/EMT/emergency responder leave
  • Lactation
  • Unpaid leaves

Additional policies specific to WCM:

  • Extreme weather/major transportation stoppage
  • Special paid absence 

3.0 Responsibilities

3.1 Responsible Office: 

The Office of the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer (VPCHRO) has overall responsibility for implementation and administration of this policy.

3.2 University and College/Unit Management: 

Supervisors: Supervisors must administer and abide by this policy and any related policies, programs, or procedures. 

Human Resources: Human Resources is responsible for policy, program, and procedure clarification and interpretation, providing staff with information on qualifying and applying for benefits, and informing staff members of their eligibility for leave under this policy.

 All Colleges and Units Except WCMWCM
Information on Leaves Medical Leaves Administration Office (MLA): MLA is responsible for reviewing and acting upon applications for medical or family leave from nonacademic staff.HR Leave Administration: WCM’s HR Leave Administration is responsible for reviewing and acting upon applications for medical or family leave from nonacademic staff at WCM.
Policy Clarification & InterpretationHR Policy and Compliance and Staff and Labor Relations in the Division of the VPCHRO: Provide consultation to college and unit HR departments.HR Solution Center: The HR Solution Center (HRSC) is the main contact for general HR questions, requests, and forms. 

3.3 Individuals: 

Each university staff member (excluding academic and bargaining unit staff) is responsible for reading and complying with this policy and any related policies, programs, and procedures. Staff members should consult with their supervisor and/or Human Resources as questions arise.

4.0 How to Report a Concern

The Cornell Ethics and Compliance Hotline is the primary mechanism to confidentially or anonymously report ethics, integrity, or compliance concerns to the university. Other reporting options are also available. 

 All Colleges and Units Except WCMWCM
Complaint and Grievance ProceduresThe Staff Complaint and Grievance Procedure provides employees with a procedure to review an alleged violation or misapplication of university policies or rules pertaining to employment in the department involved which directly and adversely affects the staff member.The WCM Employee Complaint and Grievance Procedures apply to all regular, non-academic staff who have successfully completed the probationary period. Probationary employees may only file a grievance when the complaint involves illegal discrimination.

5.0 Record Retention 

Records associated with this policy shall be maintained by the individual or college/unit engaging in the activity within the appropriate system of record. Records shall be retained or disposed of in accordance with University Policy 4.7, Retention of University Records

6.0 Compliance

University Compliance, University Audit, and others may audit or investigate to assess compliance with this policy. Non-compliance with university policies is addressed in accordance with applicable policies and procedures and is subject to progressive disciplinary action up to and including termination.

7.0 Related Resources 

All colleges and units except WCM:


8.0 Definitions

Benefits-Eligible Temporary Employee (All Colleges and Units Except WCM)Temporary employee with at least 20 hours per week for 6 consecutive months or more of Cornell continuous service. See Benefits Eligibility for more details. 
Regular Employee (All Colleges and Units Except WCM)Employee who is appointed to a non-temporary position of at least 20 hours per week with an expected duration of at least six months.
Regular Employee (WCM only)An employee who occupies a WCM position budgeted on the regular payroll system and is scheduled to work on a weekly basis.

9.0 Responsible Office and Policy Administration

Policy Clarification and InterpretationContactPhoneEmail/Web Address
All Colleges and Units Except Weill Cornell Medicine

Human Resource Representative

Office of the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer


Find Your HR Rep 

Weill Cornell MedicineHR Solution Center (646) 962-9247

HR Solution Center

10. Responsible Executive 

Human ResourcesVice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

11.0 Revision History


Date Issued:October 1, 1980

Date of Full Review:


May 28, 2024

Date Last Updated: 


June 24, 2024
Revision notes:Substantial Revisions - transfer to new template and HTML

Policy details