Skip to main content
Human Resource Services

Argonne Work-Life Policies and Practices

Argonne fosters an environment that values diversity and inclusion. It’s the right way to do business. It’s good for people, the organization and scientific innovation. In line with these values, the lab is committed to optimizing policies and practices that promote work-life balance, diversity and accountability in support of workforce pipeline, mentoring and leadership development.

A diverse workforce has a variety of needs, so we have developed a broad set of policies and practices that support a positive work-life balance.

Paid Time Off

Paid vacation: 15 paid vacation days per year, accrued at the rate of 1.25 days per month.

Paid holidays: 10 paid holidays per year, including one floating holiday to be used at employee’s discretion.

Paid sick leave: 18 days sick leave provided at start of employment. Employees accrue 18 days each January. Can accrue up to six months. Family friendly sick leave allows use of up to 10 days annually.

Family and Medical Leave Act: Up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for serious illness based on federal law.

Military leave: Ensures position continuation for active and reservist duty.

Employee Benefits

Medical and dental insurance: Pre-tax premiums for HMO or PPO medical and dental care effective first day of hire. Coverage available for spouses, civil union partners and dependents.

Retirement plan: 2.5%+ pre-tax employee contribution, 9% employer match.

Life insurance: Basic, plus supplemental and dependent options.

Flexible spending accounts: Pre-tax contribution options for medical expense ($2,750 annual cap) and dependent care ($5,000 annual cap) reimbursement.

Work-Life Balance

Alternate work schedules: Variety of alternative schedules available including: four 10-hour days per week or four nine-hour days per week with either one day off every other week or half a day off each week.

Dual-career job search support: Argonne supports dual-career couples as a founding member of the Greater Chicago Midwest Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (GCM-HERC).

Employee Assistance Program: Professional confidential source of help for employees and families who need assistance with personal issues. Additional resources also available for: day care, adoption, summer camps, nursing home care, pet services, separation/divorce, will preparation, college planning, debt counseling, retirement planning, tax consultation.

Telecommuting: Work from home as job allows

Unpaid entrepreneurial leave: Employees who meet the criteria may request unpaid time off to pursue entrepreneurial activities using laboratory intellectual property.

Unpaid personal leave: Employee may request unpaid time off to pursue personal interests.

Unpaid sabbatical: Employees who meet criteria may request unpaid time off to pursue professional goals.

Winter shutdown: Argonne closes for seven business days. Employees must take three paid vacation days or days without pay.

Working Parents

Adoption assistance: Reimbursement available, up to $5,000 for qualifying adoption expenses.

Backup care for adults and children: Argonne partners with CorporateCARE Solutions to offer this program to provide up to 10 days a year of professional care for a child or an adult when regularly scheduled care is not available, or an unexpected event takes place.

Child Development Center: On-site childcare available for Argonne, DOE and UChicago employees’ children. Fee based. Summer camp for older children available.

Dependent daycare flex spending account: Pre-tax contribution up to $5,000 per year.

Extension of five-year status review: RD2 employees in a five-year status review position may request an extension of that time.

Nursing mothers: Break time, private lactation rooms and base pump units available.

Parental leave: Up to six weeks will be paid at 100% of salary and an additional up to two weeks will be paid at 50% of salary for a total paid leave period of eight weeks.  The 50% benefit is intended to ease an employee’s transition of returning to their regular work schedule. In addition to parental leave, employees can also use existing lab policies to help cover leave time: accrued paid sick leave with physician certification, accrued paid vacation, paid family-friendly sick leave (up to 10 days of accrued sick time for care of a family member) and unpaid leave of absence.

School visitation leave: Only non-exempt employees are eligible. Up to eight hours per year.


This snapshot of Argonne’s policies and practices is provided for illustration and general information purposes only and is not a full list of the benefits available. This snapshot does not state all of the terms and conditions of benefits and is not intended to create any contractual obligation on the part of UChicago Argonne, LLC. The benefits described herein may be changed, revised or eliminated at any time. Please refer to the appropriate Summary Plan Description, Plan Document or Human Resources Policy and Procedure Manual for more information.