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EFFECTIVE DATE: Oct. 1, 2016


Vanderbilt University recognizes 13 paid holidays, including a six-day winter break, each year. 



Regular and term non-union employees are immediately eligible for holidays as they occur. As long as an employee is in active paid status on both the scheduled workday before and after a holiday, the employee is eligible for holiday time ­­ whether or not the holiday falls on a day the employee is actually scheduled to work.  For example, employees who work a Tuesday­-Saturday schedule do not lose a holiday that falls on a Monday; they may take an alternate paid day off that they and their supervisor agree to.


Vanderbilt recognizes the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day after Thanksgiving
  • Winter Break (six days). The dates of the six-day winter break will vary by year and be posted on the University Official Holiday calendar.

Number of Hours

Regular and term employees are eligible for holiday time based on the number of hours, or percentage of fulltime equivalency (FTE) they are scheduled to work according to their payroll records.   A "day" of holiday time is equal to 1/5 of the employee’s regularly-scheduled hours or FTE per week.  For example, if an employee’s regular work schedule is 30 hours per week (or 75% FTE), a day of holiday is the equivalent of 6 hours rather than 8. 


If an employee calls out of work the day before, the day of, or the day after a holiday, the manager will review the circumstances of the absence. Based on this review, the manager in consultation with HR, may determine whether to count the incident as a regular occurrence of absence or to issue a written warning for an unauthorized holiday­related call out.
Please see Attendance and Punctuality policy for more details.

Working on Holidays and Holiday Differential 

Even on holidays, since Vanderbilt is a residential and research institution, it can never entirely close, and some employees must work on holidays.   Depending on your unit’s business needs, you may be required to work on a holiday. Employees who are required to work on a University-recognized holiday will receive an alternate day off before the end of the fiscal year (June 30), or be paid for the holiday in lieu of a day off, at management discretion. For example, an employee who works on Thanksgiving Day in 2017 and is given an alternate day off would have until June 30, 2018 to use the holiday. If an employment ends before an employee takes the alternate day off, it will be paid out at the employee's current pay rate.

Supervisors determine work schedules based on the operating requirements of their units. If a unit is closed for the holiday, employees should not work. 

When hourly-paid (non-exempt) non-union employees (full and part-time) work on one of the following actual calendar holidays, they are eligible to receive a $6.25 per hour holiday pay differential:   

  • New Year’s Day (Jan. 1)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday)
  • Memorial Day  (Monday)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day  (Monday)
  • Thanksgiving Day  (Thursday)
  • Christmas Eve  (Dec. 24)
  • Christmas Day  (Dec. 25)

Holiday differential pay is in addition to base pay, and in addition to any applicable shift differential. Each holiday covers the 24-­hour period that begins at midnight on the actual holiday, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on the same day. Holiday differential pay only applies to the hours worked during that 24­-hour period. Employees who work on other designated holidays (such as July 3 if July 4 falls on a Saturday, or the other days of winter break, such as December 27) are eligible for alternate time off (or straight time pay in lieu of the holiday) but not holiday differential, which only applies to the actual holidays noted above.   

Employees who are on call during the 24­-hour holiday period receive holiday differential only for the hours they actually work if they are called in. 

Hourly-paid employees who normally work shifts of more than eight hours per day may use PTO to supplement the additional hours needed to meet their normal hours when taking a Vanderbilt recognized holiday; however, they are not required to do so. For example, an employee who normally works 40 hours a week as four 10-hour days receives 1/5 of their regular work schedule as holiday pay (8 hours) and may use PTO to make up the other two hours if a holiday falls on a day they would ordinarily work.  


Departments are responsible to ensure that employees record holiday time off correctly. Hourly-paid employees should use the holiday earnings code when reporting time in e-Timesheet.  Exempt employees should use the holiday code when reporting time off in the Exempt Time Off (ETO) system.  For time reporting, see the Hours of Work policy.      

FMLA and Other Medical Leaves 

Employees in a paid status while on FMLA or other approved medical leave (e.g., using PTO, parental leave or grandfathered sick time) are eligible for holiday time off.  Employees on an unpaid medical leave status do not earn and cannot take holiday time off. 

Time that employees are not scheduled to report for work is not counted toward against FMLA leave limits. If the University “closes,” and employees are not expected to report for work for one or more weeks (e.g., during winter break), the weeks that the University is closed does not count as one of the 12 weeks of FMLA entitlement.  See the FMLA policy for more information. 

University holidays that fall during the two-week (14 calendar day) waiting period for short-term disability (STDI) can be counted toward the 14 calendar day wait as long as the employee is in an active, paid status on the day before and after the holiday, such as using PTO or parental leave. 

Employees do not accrue holidays that fall during STDI (which is technically an unpaid status, even though the employee is receiving an STDI benefit) or any other unpaid leave period to use at another time.


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 Barbara Carroll, Chief Human Resources Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor 

Approved by Eric Kopstain, Vice Chancellor for Administration