January 25, 2008

elevate Answering the Tough Questions

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Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question: If a Vanderbilt office or department is closed for what would otherwise be a regular workday — the Friday after Thanksgiving, for example — why are employees who work in that department forced by policy to take a personal day or vacation day? Isn't that part of the idea of paid vacation and paid personal time, that the employee gets to choose when to take it?

Answer: For business reasons, some areas of the University shut down during what are otherwise normal workdays.

In these situations, the people who work in those offices usually take personal days or vacation time.

Exempt employees are required to take personal days or vacation time; hourly paid employees do have the option of holding on to their accrued vacation time and personal days and may instead take these days without pay.

The University is unable to give staff regular pay for these non-work days. That would constitute an extra benefit that could not be applied consistently throughout the Vanderbilt organization.

When work is available, arrangements could be made for the staff member to perform work assigned at the discretion of the manager. However, this is not a “work at home” situation.

— Veronica Burns, senior director, Human Resources