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Benefits Information for Returning Employees

(Benefits Bridging)

Bridging is the act of combining two separate periods of employment at Vanderbilt for the purpose of determining years of service for benefits purposes.

Benefits can be bridged if an employee meets two criteria: 1) completed at least two consecutive years of service in a regular or term position immediately prior to the last separation or temporary work-status, and 2) must have returned to a regular or term position in less than one year. Temporary positions are not counted when determining if two years of service have been completed.

Employees who meet both requirements above and who have already satisfied applicable waiting periods for each benefit plan will not be required to satisfy a new waiting period unless noted below. The employee must re-enroll for benefits within 30 days of the rehire date. Previous elections will not be reinstated automatically.

Benefit Rehire Wait-Period1
Health/Medical No wait; immediately eligible
Dental  No wait; immediately eligible
Vision  No wait; immediately eligible
Life/AD&D: exempt (salaried)  No wait; immediately eligible
Life/AD&D: non-exempt (hourly)  90-day wait
Flexible Spending Account  No wait to reinstate existing Vanderbilt FSA account if rehired during the same calendar year; otherwise, 90-day wait
Short-term disability No wait if rehired within 12 months of termination
Long-term disability No wait if rehired within 12 months of termination
Retirement Plan No wait if previously eligible and rehired into eligible position
Educational Assistance Program No wait if rehired within 3 months of termination2
Dependent Tuition Assistance No wait if rehired within 3 months of termination2

1 This is a summary of benefit waiting periods. It is not meant to replace the Summary Plan Descriptions, which are the governing documents for Vanderbilt benefits. Summary Plan Descriptions are available on the Benefit Plan Details web page.

2 For specific information regarding requirements and guidelines please refer to the Educational Assistance Programs and Dependent Tuition Assistance policies.


A. Employees and spouses are eligible to participate in educational assistance programs if the employee has been full-time (30 or more hours per week) for three months before course registration. Employees are eligible to receive tuition benefits for dependent children after having been a full-time employee for the immediate past five continuous years at Vanderbilt (or any other accredited college or university, within three months of joining Vanderbilt). If an employee has a break in service of more than three months, this benefit will not be bridged. For specific information regarding requirements and guidelines, please refer to the Education Assistance Programs policy and the Dependent Tuition Assistance policy.

B. If you are a returning employee in an eligible position and you were eligible for and participating in the Vanderbilt University Retirement Plan match during your previous Vanderbilt employment, you are required to participate at the mandatory level and will be eligible to receive matching contributions on the first of the month immediately following your re-employment. A summary of the terms and provisions of the plan may be found in the Retirement Plan Summary Plan Description.

Grandfathered Sick Time:

There is no bridging of actual earned sick time balances and unused sick time is not paid out at the time of separation. For complete details, see the Grandfathered Sick Time policy.

PTO Accruals:

Bridged service counts for eligibility for PTO accrual rates. However, there is no bridging of actual earned PTO balances. For complete details, see the Paid Time Off  policy.

Service Date:

  1. Employees will retain the service date in effect during the previous employment period if;
    1. the employee has completed at least two consecutive years of regular or term service at Vanderbilt immediately prior to separation (working a temporary position at Vanderbilt during the gap does not count), and
    2. the gap in regular or term employment does not exceed one year.
  2. Service date for anniversary award eligibility is determined by the service date in effect based upon the information in item one above.


See also Recruitment, Hiring and Onboarding for information regarding Background Checks, Rate of Pay, Orientation period, etc.