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Legacy Sick Time

SUBJECT: Legacy Sick Time Policy


Employees who were hired before July 1, 2014 (when the PTO plan was first implemented) may have a bank of accrued, unused, “legacy” sick time from before that date, which they may use to remain in paid status when illness or a medical condition prevents the employee from working.


  1. University employees hired before July 1, 2014.
    1. Any unused sick time accruals were legacy and are available to employees to take time off in accordance with this policy, however; there will be no new accruals into their sick leave bank.
  2. If an employee ends employment, any legacy sick time is not paid out; if the employee is later rehired, legacy sick leave is not reinstated. 

Legacy sick time may be used in the following circumstances:

  • Employee is unable to work because of illness or injury
  • Employee has a scheduled medical or dental appointment
  • To care for eligible family members who require the employee’s direct care for illness, injury or medical appointments (see "Employee use of legacy sick time for family members" below).



Requesting Legacy Sick Time

Employees should give as much notice as possible when requesting legacy sick time off. Whenever possible, employees should schedule legacy sick time off in advance, according to the department's procedures.

Calling out Sick

For unexpected medical absences (e.g. the flu), employees should follow the departmental call-out procedure. Failure to call-out according to departmental procedures may result in performance action.

Departments are responsible for establishing a call-out process, communicating the procedure to all employees and monitoring legacy sick time usage.

Using legacy Sick Time

Legacy sick time may be used to replace regularly scheduled work hours that employees miss due to illness, injury, or a medical appointment. Legacy sick time may only be used to fulfill an employee's standard hours of work/FTE and may not be used for hours beyond the normal work schedule (i.e. scheduled overtime). If an employee uses legacy sick time for more than three consecutive days, it may be appropriate to submit a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 1 request.  All legacy sick time (as well other paid time off such as PTO and banked holiday time) must be used before time is taken without pay.

Medical and Dental Appointments

Employees should request time off from their supervisor in advance for scheduled doctors' appointments. Legacy sick time may be used for scheduled medical and dental appointments.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

As provided in Vanderbilt's medical leave policy, a birth mother can use legacy sick time for any period of her pregnancy or post-pregnancy recovery that is considered by her health care provider to be a period of medical disability. Spouses can use legacy sick time when they are needed to directly care for the birth mother who is medically disabled due to pregnancy or post-pregnancy recovery.

For specific information, please refer to the policies and resources pages on Parental Leave, Family Medical Leave of Absence (FMLA) or Tennessee Medical Leave of Absence (TMLA) for pregnancy, childbirth or adoption, and the Non-FMLA Medical and Personal Leave of Absence Policy.

Employee use of legacy sick time for family members

Vanderbilt recognizes that sometimes a family member's illness or injury requires the employee's time and care. For that reason, Vanderbilt allows employees to use legacy sick time for the direct care of an eligible family member.  If the time off is for the care of a family member with a serious health condition, such absence may be covered under provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

For the purpose of this policy, eligible family members are defined as: spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, biological child, stepchild, adopted child, foster child.  Sick time may be used for those family members in the following circumstances:

  • the care of an eligible family member who is ill or injured
  • accompanying an eligible family member to a scheduled medical or dental procedure or checkup
  • attending to an eligible family member who is hospitalized

Employees may not use legacy sick time for absences related to the care of family members not listed above; however, employees may request time off as PTO.

Recording use of legacy sick time

  • Note: Approval to change the normal workday schedule must meet the needs of the institution and be approved in advance by the employee's supervisor 2 .

Supplementing Reduced Work Schedules with Legacy Sick Time

If the employee's health care provider recommends a reduced work schedule temporarily due to medical reasons (i.e., during late stage pregnancy), the employee will need to provide medical certification. If so, the employee must supplement any missed work time with legacy sick time, if available, as appropriate.

Payout of Legacy Sick Time

Legacy sick time is not paid when employees leave the employment of Vanderbilt and is not reinstated if the employee is rehired.  

1 As referenced in the "Family Medical Leave of Absence" policy, time off under the FMLA may be taken as a continuous leave period, or for medical reasons, the leave may be taken on an intermittent basis or as a reduced work schedule, as long as the need to do so is appropriately documented. When FMLA leave is taken on an intermittent basis or reduced work schedule, both hourly paid and exempt employee may track usage by the hour. Each type of usage is counted towards the 12-week maximum available leave and is triggered at the beginning of the FMLA leave time.

2 Please refer to the Alternative Work Arrangement policy.

This policy is intended as a guideline to assist in the consistent application of University policies and programs. The policy does not create a contract implied or expressed, with any Vanderbilt staff members, 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