Just as beginning a new job at HMS takes time and consideration for new employees, the departure process gives departing HMS employees and their managers the opportunity to share information, process essential paperwork, and make the transition as smooth as possible. This ensures that employees and managers are prepared for an employee’s last day of work at HMS.


Whether you’re retiring, relocating, pursuing opportunities outside Harvard, or transferring to another Harvard school, the departure process begins when you notify your manager and department administrator of your departure.

Employees who voluntarily resign are expected to give a minimum of two weeks' notice to their manager and, depending on the circumstances, a longer notice period may be appropriate. While you may want to tell your manager and Department Administrator in person, please also provide notice in writing, which should include your intended departure date. This will allow you and your manager to submit all necessary paperwork and to develop a transition plan.


If you’re leaving Harvard, you should contact the Benefits Office with any questions about your benefits and/or to obtain COBRA information. In order to receive timely information after your departure, please ensure your address is accurate in PeopleSoft.

Vacation days that are accrued and unused will be paid to you when you leave Harvard. You may be able to defer some or all of your unused vacation days into your Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) Plan account. If you elect to defer, you will not pay Federal or State taxes on that amount until you withdraw it from your TDA Plan account at a later date. The Salary Reduction Agreement/Tax-Deferred Annuity Plan form must be completed and returned to your HR Coordinator prior to your separation date. Accrued and unused sick time will not be paid out upon your departure.

You can also learn more about your benefits when you leave Harvard or when you retire. This includes information related to medical, dental, and vision coverage, life insurance, flexible spending accounts, and more.

Harvard Accounts

If you are leaving the University, access to your email, calendar, and HMS online resources will be disabled upon your designated departure date. This includes:

  • Outlook 365 email/calendar, including Sharepoint, OneDrive
  • Shared network drives
  • HMS Account, including home drive
  • VPN access
  • Authorization access to financial and administrative applications, including library resources and intranets

HarvardKey credentials will continue to work, but most applications and resources are restricted to active affiliates only.

More information about access to Harvard accounts after departure can be found here.

Transitioning Materials and Files

Departing employees should set aside time to review work-related information and materials, and copy or transfer ownership of these materials to your manager, department administrator, or other coworkers as appropriate. This includes copying or transferring ownership of:

  • relevant documents
  • work-related data
  • digital materials on OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, personal folders on an HMS home drive, etc.
  • login information for department/group accounts

Also make sure to return all Harvard property including your Harvard ID card, keys, cell phone, laptop computer, PCard or Corporate Card, and any other Harvard property prior to leaving, to your manager or department administrator.

Exit Interview

As part of the exit process, we ask that departing employees share their thoughts and experiences with us. This information allows us to better understand the employee experience.

Departing employees will be invited to participate, either by survey or in person (or both), in a conversation with HMS HR. We strongly encourage you to schedule time to talk with HMS HR prior to your last day of work.