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EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015



One of the ways that individuals broaden and deepen their career experience is through professional moves within the Vanderbilt system. A transfer is defined as changing positions for a lateral move, promotion, department change, job change, or demotion. A change in job title, reporting structure, change in responsibilities, or any other modification to a current position, is not considered a transfer.



Employees must have remained in the current position for at least a six month evaluation period 1 to be eligible for a transfer. Vanderbilt encourages employees to establish a long-term, stable working relationship before seeking other career opportunities within the Vanderbilt system. Individuals who are not meeting performance expectations must disclose any formal performance actions to be eligible to transfer within the Vanderbilt system (see examples below):

  • Performance Concerns: If an employee is unable to adjust to the job requirements of a position or is failing to meet minimum expectations, it may be to the employee's and the University's advantage to attempt to identify other opportunities within Vanderbilt for consideration. It is important that the individual is transferred into a position where he/she has an opportunity to be successful.
  • Behavioral/Conduct Concerns: Employees with conduct problems are rarely transferred. Behavioral/conduct issues are defined as inappropriate conduct resulting in a Performance Accountability and Commitment plan or discipline warning. The conduct must be formally documented and approval to transfer must be granted by both the leaving and gaining departments, as well as Human Resources. Unless approval is granted, employees involved in conduct actions are not eligible for transfer or promotion into a regular, term, or temporary position for the duration of the performance plan or discipline warning.
    • NOTE: While on a Performance Accountability and Commitment plan or discipline warning, the employee is required to share with the hiring manager, prior to the job offer, the content and expectations of the written or final Performance Accountability and Commitment Plan. This information may be a deciding factor in the hiring decision.
  • Employees transferring or being rehired will be subject to a screen of work history which may also include a background check. The ability to transfer to other areas within Vanderbilt could be subject to the background check.


Lateral Transfer: A lateral transfer is a move to a position with the same or similar job title in the same pay grade. Such transfers provide opportunities to work with new colleagues, to master a different range of skills, or to transfer special skills and experience to a new environment.

Promotion: Employees are often interested in opportunities for professional development through promotion to more responsible positions, either in their current department or in another area of Vanderbilt. A move is considered a promotion if it places an individual in a higher pay grade, even if the actual salary is not increased.

Other Job Changes: Employees may move to a position in another department, change career paths, or to take a job involving less responsibility or pay. These moves are also considered transfers. To process a transfer, the current supervisor must fill out the Payroll Action Form (PAF) Turnaround document (see the Administrator's Guide). Ideally, transfers for hourly employees occur at the beginning of a payroll period. However, salary increases are effective the first day of the workweek immediately following the transfer effective date. Once the PAF has been completed and appropriate signatures have been obtained, the form will be sent to the individual’s new department. The new department will complete the new information, obtain appropriate signatures, and send the form (with the Position Management Form and the EEO Self-Audit Form) to the appropriate budget office (see the Administrator's Guide).

References: Managers are required to check references with the current supervisor on all transfers within Vanderbilt. An internal transfer candidate must provide a minimum of two references. The hiring official informs the final candidate that references will be checked. Hiring officials use the same criteria for asking relevant reference questions as they use when conducting interviews with external candidates.


Exceptions to the Transfer Policy may be made in order to comply with the ADA, Workers' Compensation law, or other state or federal laws. For example, if an appropriate accommodation for a Vanderbilt staff member is to transfer to another department, exceptions may be made regarding eligibility and/or process guidelines. Exceptions to the Transfer Policy must be coordinated with Human Resources and the Equal Employment, Affirmative Action and Disability Services (EAD) Office.


The orientation period is three months for hourly employees and six months for exempt employees. The purpose of the orientation period is to provide a period of training, support and close feedback. The orientation period after a transfer differs from the “initial” orientation period upon hire or rehire into Vanderbilt. An employee who has performance issues during the orientation period, after a transfer, is subject to the Performance Management process.


Change From a Regular Position to a Temporary Position: Employees who leave Vanderbilt's regular employment and have an interest in temporary employment through Vanderbilt Temporary Services (VTS) positions must apply for opportunities utilizing the current recruitment process. Employees who leave regular employment to accept a temporary  position should be processed through a terminating PAF. Acceptance of a temporary position would be processed as a "new hire." Time spent in a temporary position does not count toward service eligibility unless the staff member returns to regular employment within 12-months of termination of their previous regular employment. Please refer to the Recruitment, Hiring and Onboarding policy for more information on rehires and bridging.

  • NOTE: Employees may be eligible to continue benefits, like health insurance, at their own cost. Consult with the Human Resources Benefits office for more information.

Change from a Temporary Position to a Regular Position: The same process is used when an employee moves from a temporary position through VTS to a regular position at Vanderbilt. The employee is terminated from VTS and processed either as a:

  1. Rehire -- If no more than one year has expired since previous regular employment or
  2. New Hire -- If more than one year has expired since previous regular employment or if this is the first regular employment at Vanderbilt.


Refer to PTO policy.



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

Approved by Eric Kopstain, Vice Chancellor for Administration

1 Contact your HR Consultant before any exceptions are made.

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.