Skip to main content

Plan Eligibility: Staff

Full-Time Regular Staff and Postdocs

The retirement plan is optional at the voluntary level when you are new, but at your one-year anniversary and the completion of 1,000 service hours, you will be automatically enrolled at the mandatory level. Mandatory deferrals begin as soon as practical after an employee becomes subject to the requirement to make them, which generally is the first pay period of the first full month immediately after that date. (If you are covered by a collective bargaining unit, other plan terms may apply.)

Part-Time Staff

The retirement plan is optional at the voluntary level when you are new. Part-time staff are automatically enrolled at the mandatory level after completing both of the following:

  • one year of service, and
  • 1,000 service hours. 

If you do not work 1,000 hours within your first year of service, your hours will be reset for your second year of service. If you do not work 1,000 hours within your second year of service, your hours will be reset again and this process will repeat for each subsequent year of service. If you accumulate 1,000 worked hours during the course of your second or subsequent year of service, you will be automatically enrolled at the mandatory level on the first day of the month following your 1,000th hour worked that year. You will remain enrolled at the mandatory level from that point on, even if your hours are reduced. 

Contribution Levels

  • Mandatory: This level is required as a condition of employment and contributions must be made on a pre-tax basis (not Roth). The contribution is fixed at 3% of your salary and is matched 100% dollar-for-dollar by Vanderbilt.
  • Voluntary: You may choose an additional pre-tax or Roth contribution percentage up to the annual limit set by the Internal Revenue Service. The first 1% or 2% of your voluntary contributions are matched 100% dollar-for-dollar by Vanderbilt. You must take action and enroll in the voluntary level to receive these matching dollars. For current IRS limits, please see the Investment Limits section. Due to IRS regulations, before voluntary contributions (and any corresponding match) can be calculated, any mandatory contribution amounts are to be deducted from salary, and then voluntary contributions are calculated on that resulting amount.

Note: Effective in April 2015, deductions for both basic and supplemental contributions will be combined and listed as voluntary contributions on pay statements. 

For More Information

Please contact the Human Resources. For complete details of the Retirement plan, refer to the Retirement Plan Summary Plan Description.


*For faculty and executive administration members: If your gross compensation exceeds $125,000 by December 31 of your first year working at Vanderbilt, you will be deemed a highly compensated employee for that plan year (determination year) and your match will stop until you reach the one-year anniversary of your appointment date. At that time, matching contributions will resume. A highly compensated employee is defined by the Internal Revenue Code Section 414(q) as a specified indexed amount ($125,000 for 2019). This is a requirement of the Plan to meet non-discrimination regulations. See the Faculty Manual, for a full explanation.