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Home > Policies > PTO


Last Modified: 2016-08-17

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015


Paid Time Off (PTO) is designed to provide employees income during planned time off, brief illnesses and Vanderbilt holidays.


Regular full time, part-time and term employees will begin to accrue PTO immediately upon employment. Employees are eligible to use PTO as it is accrued.

House Staff, term and temporary employees and employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement should refer to their areas for time off policies.


An employee’s PTO bank will accrue each pay period at a rate based upon the employee's years of service. Employees will accrue a prorated amount of hours per pay period based upon the yearly maximum accrual shown below:

Year Non-Exempt Employees 1 Exempt Employees 2
1 192 hrs 29 days
2 200 hrs 29 days
3 208 hrs 29 days
4 216 hrs 29 days
5 224 hrs 29 days
6 232 hrs 34 days
7 240 hrs 34 days
8 248 hrs 34 days
9 256 hrs 34 days
10 264 hrs 34 days
More than 10 272 hrs 34 days



Requesting PTO

Employees should follow their department procedures when requesting time off. Approval to change the normal work day schedule must meet the needs of the institution and be approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor.

Using PTO

All PTO accruals are to be used before time is taken without pay. In some circumstances and at the discretion of management, employees may go into a negative balance up to a maximum of 40 hours.


  1. PTO is not paid in addition to Short Term Disability Insurance; a two week (ten working days) waiting period is used before short term disability begins to pay any benefits. Employees use their PTO, or other paid time off (i.e., Grandfathered Sick, Parental Leave, etc.) during the ten day waiting period. Employees will not accrue PTO while on Short Term Disability but, their accrued bank will remain.
  2. An employee receiving benefits under workers' compensation will not be paid from both PTO and workers' compensation for the same hours. However, an employee can supplement workers' compensation pay with PTO to meet their full salary.

Banking Unused PTO

Employees can accumulate PTO up to the following amounts and schedules:

  Effective July 2014
Year Non-Exempt
1 160 hrs 22 days
2 160 hrs 22 days
3 160 hrs 22 days
4 160 hrs 22 days
5 168 hrs 22 days
6 176 hrs 30 days
7 192 hrs 30 days
8 200 hrs 30 days
9 216 hrs 30 days
10 224 hrs 30 days
More than 10 240 hrs 30 days

1 Non-exempt employees accrue PTO based on actual hours paid up to 40 hours per week (prorated if less than 40 hours per week), excluding overtime, on-call hours, and unpaid leaves of absence.

2 Exempt employees accruals occur in days; however, these are tracked in equivalent hours for record-keeping purposes (e.g., 29 days equals 232 hours for a standard 5-day/40-hour workweek). Accrual rates are prorated based on a percentage of full-time for exempt employees. Designated Senior Employees accrue 36 days per year.

3 Senior Employee balances are subject to a 33 day limit, effective July 1, 2014.


Vanderbilt recognizes the following specific holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Eve Day
  • Christmas Day

Regular and term employees are immediately eligible to use PTO accruals for a holiday. If a newly hired employee has not yet accrued enough PTO hours to cover a holiday, the PTO bank may go into a negative balance to cover the hours needed for their regular schedule.

Depending on business needs, employees may be required to work on a holiday. Supervisors determine work schedules based on the operating requirements of their units. If a unit is closed for the holiday, employees must obtain the authorization of their supervisor before working on a holiday recognized by the University.

If an employee calls out of work the day before, day of, or the day after a holiday, the manager will review the circumstances of the absence. Based on this review, the manager has the discretion to determine whether to count the incident as a regular occurrence or go directly to issuing a written warning for the holiday-related call out. Please see Attendance and Punctuality policy for more details.

Please see the Hours of Work policy for details regarding holiday shift differential and on-call pay.

Office Closing
Departments that have a need to suspend operations or close the office due to business reasons may do so with the appropriate administrative approval. If a department operates with a "skeletal staff" or closes based on a business need (such as the Friday after Thanksgiving, etc.), the employees use their accrued PTO time.

Procedure to call out on a scheduled work day

Departments are responsible for establishing call-out processes, communicating procedures to all employees and monitoring PTO usage and accruals. Employees will utilize PTO for any unscheduled absence/tardy.

  1. Non-exempt employees: Employees will utilize accrued PTO to cover time off from work. PTO should be used before going into an unpaid status.
  2. Exempt Employees: The normal workday is defined by the department. Employees are required to work consistent with the standard hours/fte for their position paid as a salary, therefore time away from the normal workday is to be reported in whole day increments and tracked using PTO. For example, when an exempt employee takes time off that is less than the full regularly scheduled workday, no time will be reported as PTO.

Payout of PTO

PTO is paid out at the end of employment when the employee leaves Vanderbilt. Any accrued PTO will be paid following the university central employee’s last day of employment generally in the last paycheck; accrued PTO may not be paid when employment is ended for serious misconduct under the Progressive Discipline policy. Ending employment for serious misconduct and any decision regarding payment of accrued PTO time will be determined by Human Resources.



This policy is intended as a guideline to assist in the consistent application of University policies and programs for employees. The policy does not create a contract implied or expressed, with any Vanderbilt employees, who are employees at will. Vanderbilt reserves the right to modify this policy in whole or in part, at any time, at the discretion of the University.

Approved by Traci K. Nordberg, Chief Human Resources Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor 

Approved by Eric Kopstain, Vice Chancellor for Administration