December 21, 2006

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: How are shift differentials decided? Why do they vary between Nutrition Services, Linen Services, Environmental Services and other departments?

Answer: Some VUMC job classifications come with higher rates of compensation for work scheduled and performed on the second or third shift or on weekends. These higher pay rates are called shift or weekend differentials.

One of Vanderbilt's compensation goals is to pay competitively. That means we try to be competitive in our overall compensation package. Shift differentials and weekend differentials are part of that overall compensation package.

Differences in shift or weekend differentials are analogous to differences in salary ranges for our jobs. For any given job classification, decisions about whether to attach a shift or weekend differential, and how large a differential to attach, are based mostly on Vanderbilt staffing needs and our ongoing evaluation of the labor market. Just as two jobs may be placed in different job grades because of market influences, two jobs may be paid different shift differentials because of market pressures.

Furthermore, at Vanderbilt and elsewhere, some jobs don't pay shift or weekend differentials, even though staff in those jobs may routinely be scheduled to work on later shifts and on weekends.

To offer the same pay differential for all jobs would be similar to assigning the same salary range for all jobs. That would not be in accordance with our pay philosophy and goals for compensation at Vanderbilt.

— Susan Mezger, director, Human Resources