Beyond Pay: Employee Benefits for All Phases of Life

Full-time staff and faculty employed since December 2022 will receive a Personal Benefits Statement that provides an overview of their total compensation

A collage of photos of people.
Delia Partrick, left, and her father, Jerry, celebrate Partrick's 25 years as a Duke staff member. Photo courtesy of Delia Partrick.

“I feel like Duke has been watching out for me,” Partrick said. “I know they’re making the best decisions for the university, but I also think they’re being an advocate for us at the micro level. No matter how long you’ve been at Duke, or what your position is, I feel like they’re there for us.”

In May, full-time staff and faculty employed since December 2022 at Duke University and Duke University Health System will receive a personal benefits statement in the mail that provides an overview of their total compensation. The document, provided by Duke Human Resources, offers employees an individualized view of their benefits, providing an opportunity for staff and faculty to assess whether their benefit selections meet their current needs.

Duke has been consistently named among the top employers in the state and the nation due in large part to its robust total compensation package. And as Partrick attests, employee benefits are designed to help staff and faculty members at each point in their life journey, from pursuing their higher education and protecting their health to offering pathways to a secure retirement.

“We don’t just get to interact with an employee in the role that they have at Duke, we get to interact with them as an individual, we get to interact with their whole life,” said Duke Vice President for Human Resources Antwan Lofton. “While we’re there with them when they walk through the door as a new hire, we’re also going to be there with them as their lives change.”

In the past year, Duke paid about $3.4 billion in direct pay and spent $826 million on total benefits for its workforce. It contributed $225 million to retirement plans and spent $416 million on health care expenses for the roughly 73,000 covered by Duke’s insurance plans.

This year’s personal benefits statements will offer detail in Duke’s investment in you, highlighting contributions; Fidelity retirement tools; and new information on beneficiaries and how to change them, if needed.

We caught up with a handful of Duke colleagues who shared stories of how their Duke benefits helped them at points in their life.

Sam Parham is grateful to be able to play with her dogs again. Photo courtesy of Sam Parham.

Back to throwing tennis balls

Sam Parham’s dogs, Molly and Pippin, love nothing more than to chase tennis balls thrown across Parham’s backyard in Knightdale.

“That’s what they live for,” said Parham, 25, staff assistant with Duke Alumni Engagement & Development.

When Parham tore the labrum in her right shoulder – her throwing shoulder – it was problematic for not just her, but also her four-legged loved ones.

After the injury, and again after she reaggravated it lifting a bag of garden soil a few weeks later, Parham used her Duke health plan to get X-rays and see a physical therapist with a reasonable co-pay.

“With the physical therapy, it has improved a lot,” Parham said. “In the past, I wouldn’t have considered getting it because I wouldn’t have had insurance that would have made physical therapy even reasonable.”

Jennifer Bailey, left, celebrates earning her master's degree. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bailey.

The dream of a master’s degree

Jennifer Bailey, director of Enrollment Services in the Duke Kunshan University International Enrollment Management Office at Duke, dreamed of going back to school for a master’s degree, but she didn’t think it would be affordable.

Then, she heard about the Employee Tuition Assistance Program, which provides up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible tuition expenses.

“The fact that Duke offers this benefit to employees, I felt like it would be crazy to not take advantage of it,” said Bailey, who has worked at Duke 12 years. “And then being able to get a Duke degree while working at Duke seemed perfect for me.”

Duke has expanded the program to include all accredited institutions across the U.S, including reimbursement for one semester of Ph.D. research. In addition, Duke has reduced the service eligibility requirement from two consecutive years of full-time employment to six months.

Bailey enrolled in Duke Graduate Liberal Studies in 2014. She fit her courses around her work schedule, inspiring her now college-aged children to pursue their own education. And in 2019, she graduated after writing a thesis on dementia, a disease her father died from that same year.

“I could talk ages about the program itself,” Bailey said. “But for me, it was a way to tie in what was important to my life, my family’s life and my work.”

Sharena Ballard-Hart relishes time with her daughter Katelyn. Photo courtesy of Sharena Ballard-Hart.

Space to pump breastmilk

When Sharena Ballard-Hart thought about returning to work after the birth of her daughter, Katelyn, in 2019, she thought she’d need to pump breastmilk in a conference room near her office on the fourth floor of Davison Hall.

But after learning about the designated lactation spaces available in campus buildings, Ballard-Hart, a senior program coordinator at the Duke Brain Imaging and Analysis Center, felt a sense of relief.

Duke, which has been named a top employer for women by Forbes, has a range of benefits for new and expecting parents, such as coverage for fertility treatments, prenatal classes and support groups and lactation spaces.

For most of the time when Ballard-Hart was providing milk for her daughter, she was able to pump in a private room two pumps on the fifth floor of Duke South.

“It was very handy,” said Ballard-Hart, who has worked at Duke since 2010.

“It was a great benefit just having that safe space to go and pump without having to hide in a bathroom or conference room," Ballard-Hart said. "It made me feel as if Duke truly cared about me as a new and pumping mom.”

Cody Woodlief, right, enjoys time with his wife, Katie, and son, Harvey. Photo courtesy of Cody Woodlief.

‘Bank of time’

In his role as an administrative coordinator with the Duke University Health System Hospital Medicine team, Cody Woodlief manages the schedules of clinicians at all three Duke hospitals.

And in his role as husband and father, Woodlief has to balance a sometimes-unpredictable schedule of his own.

That’s why Woodlief, who has been at Duke since 2015, said that Duke’s paid time off benefit, which allows him to accrue vacation and sick time, is the benefit he most appreciates.

In recent years, paid time off has come in handy for family getaways to Emerald Isle and Ocean Isle, and for days when his three-year old son, Harvey, has caught colds from daycare.

“It’s always good to have that bank of time that continually accrues every month,” Woodlief said. “I have not come close to running out of it yet, so that’s really nice.”

Kayla Russell can smile with ease now. Photo courtesy of Kayla Russell.

Finding her smile again

With several cracked teeth, Kayla Russell hid her smile behind a closed grin.

Earlier this year, she renewed her focus on her dental health, using her dental insurance through Duke.

She had five teeth removed, had a bone graft oral procedure and several three-hour long deep cleaning sessions.

Russell, a medical assistant at Duke Primary care Family Medicine in Holly Springs, estimates her dental plan has saved her nearly $1,000.

In the next six months, Russell will replace the pulled teeth with dental implants. As she regains her confidence, she is thankful that Duke has helped her.

“I have been able to smile again,” Russell said, “and if you know me, that is an important part of who I am.”

Michael Juday has the help he needs to manage his well-being. Photo courtesy of Michael Juday.

Counseling for everyday concerns

Over the years, Michael Juday has met with a therapist and psychiatrist to receive help with everyday concerns. While mental health can come with a stigma, he has come to learn that knowing when to seek help is a symbol of strength, not weakness.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that anything bad is happening,” said Juday, an A/V project manager for Duke Health Technology Solutions. “It’s just a place I can go and chat, talk about stuff that’s going on and maybe how I can handle things better.”

Through his medical insurance, Duke is helping Juday make his mental and emotional health a priority. For $20 for each counseling visit, Juday has learned key strategies for coping and thinking positively and keeping anxiety under control, while saving on medication each month.

“Through this process, my life has calmed down a whole lot more,” Juday said. “And I’m able to deal with these problems more as they come and not let them build up.”

Duane Schreiber can plan for his future with his Duke retirement benefits. Photo courtesy of Duane Schreiber.

Preparing for the Future

Duane Schreiber joined Duke in 2018 after nine years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force.

With a 9-year-old and twin 7-year-olds at home, retirement is least 20 years away for Schreiber and his wife, Maren.

But each month, Schreiber, the regional director of operations for Duke Primary Care, sets aside about 5 percent of his paycheck toward his 403(b) Duke Retirement Plan.

While Duke contributes about 10 percent each month directly into the account, Schreiber can focus his time and attention on paying for other finances such as a mortgage on his family’s home in Durham and saving for his kids’ education.

“You don’t have to worry about anything really because you know it’s already there,“ said Schreiber, 44. “Duke has a very generous offer, and it creates that opportunity for us to do other things, and we don’t have to choose between paying bills or saving for retirement.”

Take a look at the elements of total compensation that can help you better understand an employee's net worth at Duke.

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