Personal Observance Leave


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Personal Observance Leave



The State of North Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“University”) support a work environment that fosters respect and values all people regardless of their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, genetic information, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or veteran status and strive to be an employer of choice, including recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive environment.

Because of the diversity of University employees, there are many different days of cultural or religious significance in our workforce. Moreover, some employees may have days of personal significance that are their own, outside of any cultural or religious tradition. The purpose of this policy is to establish Personal Observance Leave, as authorized by the state, and to ensure that University employees have an opportunity to observe these days of personal, cultural, or religious importance.

Scope of Applicability

Subject to the provisions and limitations outlined below, this policy applies to SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty staff, and faculty who earn leave.


Policy Statement

This policy provides up to eight (8) hours of fully paid leave to eligible employees for a day of personal observance to use on a day of significance, including days of cultural, religious, or personal observation. This leave is available to eligible employees annually on a calendar-year basis.

Full-time employees will receive eight (8) hours of Personal Observance Leave each calendar year.

Part-time employees will receive a prorated amount based on their number of hours compared to a full-time schedule.


Personal Observance Leave is available only to permanent, probationary, and time-limited employees.

To be eligible for Personal Observance Leave, employees must be either (a) full-time or (b) part-time with a schedule that is at least half-time. Part-time employees are not eligible for Personal Observance Leave if they work less than half-time.

Temporary employees, interns, and contractors are not eligible for Personal Observance Leave.

Using Personal Observance Leave

When Employees Can Use Personal Observance Leave

Employees may use Personal Observance Leave for any single day of personal significance. This includes, but is not limited to, days of cultural or religious importance. The day used for Personal Observance Leave does not have to be a day from the employee’s own religious or cultural background.

Employees must use the total amount of Personal Observance Leave awarded to the employee in one work shift. Employees may use Personal Observance Leave prior to exhausting any accumulated compensatory time (comp time).

Requesting and Approving Leave

Employees should request Personal Observance Leave from their supervisors in advance.

Regardless of the employee’s religious or cultural background, any day that the employee identifies as significant for cultural, religious, or personal reasons qualifies under this policy. In considering a request to take Personal Observance Leave, supervisors must not question whether an employee’s identification of a particular day for Personal Observance Leave is sincere and legitimate.

Supervisors should, to the greatest extent possible, allow employees to use the leave at the time requested. However, the supervisor or other manager may require that the employee take Personal Observance Leave at a time other than the one requested, based on the needs of the unit.

Supervisors are encouraged to accommodate employees who may want to recognize the same day for Personal Observance Leave. However, when necessary to avoid impact to University services, the supervisor or other manager may require employees to take their Personal Observance Leave on different days.


  • If Personal Observance Leave not taken by the end of the calendar year it expires; it cannot be carried into the next calendar year.
  • Personal Observance Leave has no cash value and cannot be converted into retirement credit. Employees will not be paid for unused Personal Observance Leave at separation and will not be payable upon death of an employee during state service. 
  • Personal Observance Leave cannot be applied to existing negative leave balances.
  • Personal Observance Leave cannot be donated under the Voluntary Shared Leave policy.
  • This leave may not be used for the same purposes as sick leave.

How Personal Observance Leave is Credited during Hire and Transfer

Employees who join the University during the calendar year will be eligible for the full amount of Personal Observance Leave provided under this policy to be used in that calendar year.

The following business processes apply for existing employees, new hires, and reinstatements:

  • At the time this policy goes into effect, the University will credit all eligible employees at the University with Personal Observance Leave.
  • The University will credit all eligible newly hired employees with Personal Observance Leave immediately upon their employment.
  • Separated employees that are re-employed within the same calendar year with a Participating Agency will receive the same amount of leave as a newly hired employee unless they previously used the leave within the same calendar year.

For transfers between Participating Agencies and non-participating agencies, the following business processes apply:

  • If an employee moves from one Participating Agency to another Participating Agency within the calendar year, unused Personal Observance Leave will transfer to the employee’s new agency.
  • If an employee moves from a Participating Agency to a non-participating agency, unused Personal Observance Leave will not transfer to the non-participating agency.
  • If an employee moves from a non-participating agency to a Participating Agency, the employee will receive leave as a newly hired employee, as indicated above.


Participating Agency: A state agency, commission, board, or office that provides paid Personal Observance Leave under the Office of State Human Resources Policy for eligible employees.

Personal Observance Leave: Leave provided under the terms of this Policy.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contact

Benefits and Leave Administration
Office of Human Resources

Print Article


Article ID: 140000
Fri 6/10/22 3:56 PM
Thu 3/7/24 9:24 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Office of Human Resources
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
06/13/2023 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
06/13/2022 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
06/13/2022 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
06/13/2022 12:00 AM