4.1.4 Death While Actively Employed

Policy Section: Termination

Policy Number and Title: 4.1.4 Death While Actively Employed
Applicable to: All Regular Employees
Effective Date: December 19, 2017

Policy Description

The University strives to respond quickly and appropriately when the death of an active employee occurs. The University provides resources and benefits to support the family and the department.

Application of This Policy

Supervisors should make every attempt to make proper notifications once they learn of the employee’s death. These notifications mayinclude departmental personnel, the Office of the Human Resources and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. Under certain circumstances it may be appropriate to notify the Office of Communications. While it is impossible to plan for every situation, the following individuals and offices should also be contacted at a minimum:
  • The department chair, manager, director or designate
  • The senior human resources manager or human resources generalist assigned to the department who can assist with emergency contact information and notifying family members, as appropriate. Human Resources can also assist with contacting campus resources and for general support for grieving colleagues.
The Benefits Team can enable consultation with and outreach to the employee’s family members regarding any survivor benefits.
Resources & Benefits
Princeton University employees and their dependents are eligible to use the confidential counseling services offered by Carebridge Corporation, the University’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. University resources can also include the Office of the Dean of Religious Life and University Health Services (for immediate crisis counseling for coworkers).

The Benefits Team works with the surviving family members and/or designated beneficiaries to assist in the processing of claims and to finalize all relevant transactions. Surviving dependent family members who were enrolled in benefits as of the date of employee’s death will be covered through the end of the month in which the death occurred and will be eligible for COBRA coverage for a period of up to 36 months. If the deceased employee was eligible for retiree benefits at the time of death, surviving dependent family members will be eligible to elect coverage through the retiree healthcare plan options.

The University will pay the deceased's estate a lump sum payment equivalent to one month’s salary and any outstanding vacation pay up to 30 days, minus applicable taxes and withholdings.

Tuition grant benefits may be available to surviving children if the employee met the eligibility requirements prior to their death. Dependent surviving children can apply for a tuition grant within five years from the date of death and may continue to receive grants for up to four academic years. However, the child must continue one’s education in consecutive semesters, trimesters, or quarters. If there is a break in enrollment, the benefit will cease. 
Return of University Property
The department manager or supervisor of the deceased employee and/or senior human resources manager will assist the family with the disposition of any personal property at work or University property, including but not limited to University credit cards, cell phones, worksite keys, ID cards, access cards and/or work materials, which may be at home.
University ID Card
Surviving spouses or domestic partners of employees who die while actively employed are automatically eligible to use and renew their dependent ID cards regardless of the deceased employee's age or years of service. ID cards and validation stickers will only be issued at the request of the surviving spouse or domestic partner.
E-mail Accounts
The appropriate departmental authority should contact theOIT Person Office  regarding e-mail accounts and University technical access for the deceased employee.

Roles & Responsibilities

Notifies department management, Office of Human Resources, Carebridge Services, Office of Dean of Religious Life and/or University Health Services if appropriate, and other offices responsible for University property and technical access.
Calculates the final vacation balance and prepares the termination form and forwards to the senior human resources manager.
Coordinates the return of personal belongings with Human Resources.
Human Resources
Ensures timely processing of forms and final payments as necessary.
May coordinate grief-counseling services with the deceased’s supervisor or senior manager of the department.
May contact family members to ensure they have received appropriate information and answer questions they may have regarding this process.
Coordinates the return of personal belongings with the department.


This policy does not apply to employees on long term disability.


Office of Human Resources
(609) 258-3300
Carebridge Corporation
(800) 437-0911

Related Policies

Log Update

Last updated January 1, 2014
January 2014: Clarify current procedures and practices.
December 19, 2017: Clarify benefits provided