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News

Taking Time to Give Back: Community Service Leave

August 9, 2017 | In Benefits & Work/Life, Uncategorized

Want to spend some time outside of the office giving back to our community? At UNC-Chapel Hill, we encourage it.

State and University leadership recognize the importance of community involvement and encourage employees to participate in volunteer activities by providing paid leave opportunities. Community Service Leave (CSL) is a paid time off program that allows employees to participate in the educational process of children through the high school level and to support other community service volunteer activities for non-profit organizations.

Recently, a group of OHR’s benefits consultants took advantage of this opportunity and visited the Carol Woods Retirement Center in Chapel Hill. They spent the afternoon helping the center put on an ice cream social for residents to celebrate the beginning of summer.

“It was more than just a day away from work,” said Terra Cornelius. “It was a time of sharing and making a difference. We gained a better understanding of the Center’s purpose and got to know the people living at the center.”

Tarron Brandon echoed this sentiment. “Volunteering at Carrol Woods was very rewarding,” she said. “Serving ice cream to the residents brightened their day and made a big difference. Just to have someone to eat with was most meaningful to many of them, as some rarely receive visitors. I’m happy to have played a part to brighten their day!”

Community Service Leave can also be used to volunteer at local schools, or to attend your own children’s school functions. Robin O’Hare King, an executive assistant in the division of Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement, spent two days this summer assisting her daughter, a teacher, to set up her classroom for the near year.

“It was a lot of work, but so incredibly rewarding, as the incoming students will arrive to a bright, shiny, clean room. Hopefully this will help motivate them to start the year on a positive note.  It’s definitely a happy place now,” O’Hare King recalled. She was grateful that the University allowed her to spend the time doing something close to her heart.

“I was proud of the time I was able to contribute, and most importantly that the University allowed me time away from work to participate in a passionate cause of mine. I see first-hand how much time, energy & personal expense our teachers spend on their students and classrooms – they definitely need our support!”

Rob Stevenson, a senior benefits consultant in the Office of Human Resources, has used CSL not only to give back to the community, but also to stay involved in the education of his three children. “I’ve used my community service leave for parent-teacher conferences, back to school activities and school field trips,” said Stevenson.

“I’ve also used this leave to volunteer with a Habitat for Humanity build, as a Senior Games badminton official and to serve at my local food pantry. Using Community Service Leave is rewarding in so many ways and I’m appreciative that this benefit is extended to us.”

Shauna Stackhouse, Director of Benefits and Leave Administration at UNC-Chapel Hill, considers the Community Service Leave program a gift – both to those who use the program to contribute, and for those who benefit from such community service. “Each day, we are given an infinite number of opportunities to make somebody’s life better,” she said. “The Community Service Leave program is a gift, and an excellent means through which our faculty and staff can give back to the community.”

All permanent SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty who are regularly scheduled to work 20 or more hours per week are eligible for Community Service Leave. Learn more about Community Service Leave.