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Staff Handbook

Staff Handbook

This handbook contains policy and program information that defines the responsibilities of staff members and the University's commitments to staff. Review the Staff Handbook for complete staff employment policies and procedures.

Northwestern University Staff Handbook 2019 pdf



Please contact or your Human Resources Business Partner with questions regarding the policies and programs within the Staff Handbook. Contact 847-491-7507 (Evanston) or 312-503-8481 (Chicago) for assistance identifying your HR Business Partner.


Attesting to the Handbook

Upon hire, each staff member (including Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Associates, and Faculty Librarians) is required to attest that he or she has received the Staff Handbook. This confirmation of receipt will be retained by the University. Complete the process in myHR

Summary of updates for 2020

The following new and updated sections are reflected in the 2020 Staff Handbook; for any questions regarding these changes, please contact your HR Business Partner.

  • Types of Background Checks (Page 2.3 – 2.4)
    Clarifies that credit checks are also conducted for positions with access to sensitive information, in addition to those with significant financial responsibility.
  • Transfer and Promotion, References (Page 2.7)
    Strongly encourages hiring supervisors to seek and obtain internal and external references prior to extending an offer.
  • Transfer and Promotion, Supervisor Notice (Page 2.7)
    Clarifies that staff members must notify their supervisor at the point they receive an offer.
  • Staff Recognition (Page 2.9)
    Provides condensed information on the most current staff recognition programs.
  • Workplace Commitment (Section 4)
    Aligned with the updated Policy on Discrimination and Harassment and Policy on Sexual Misconduct, and newly includes sections on Religious Accommodations and Reproductive Health Decision Making.
  • Notification and Request for FMLA Leave (Page 5.5)
    Includes that staff members need to contact their supervisor, in addition to the leave administrator, at least 30 days in advance of the start of a planned FMLA Leave or within five days following the start of an unplanned FMLA Leave.
  • Returning from FMLA Leave (Page 5.5 – 5.6)
    Clarifies the process for when staff members return from FMLA Leave, including the requirement that staff members on leave for a personal health condition complete a self-certification form to confirm they can fulfill the essential requirements of their position prior to returning to work.
  • Illinois Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) Leave (Page 5.6)
    Updated to include victims of gender violence.
  • Staff Well-being (Section 9)
    Newly renamed section aligns to the most current programs offered in the area of Staff Well-being and provides condensed information.