Effective for Postdoctoral Fellows January 1, 2021
Terms and Conditions of Employment for Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows (Postdocs)
Postdocs have employee status within The University of Vermont. However, their terms and conditions of employment, compensation, and benefits are separate and independent from those of faculty, staff, officers, and temporary employees, and are contained in this policy document.
Terms and conditions of employment for postdocs are designed with the intention of preserving flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of the academic Department employing them. Similarly, they are implemented to enhance consistency and fairness in the benefits and terms of employment for the individuals in those positions.
I. Requirements of Position
The education requirement will be an earned doctorate and the general duties will reflect a professional level of research which in turn will support exemption from provisions of The Fair Labor Standards Act.
In some instances, postdocs may be asked to teach classes as part of their responsibilities. This may be a component of the postdoctoral associateship, or it may be at the request of an academic unit at the University. In cases when postdocs will teach classes, the following guidelines should be observed:
- The postdoc's immediate supervisor, department chair, and dean must be consulted and must approve all teaching assignments.
- The postdoc’s immediate supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the teaching assignments do not detract from the educational and research objectives of the original appointment; that they support the postdoc’s professional development; and that the postdoc’s responsibilities are compliant with all external funding requirements.
- A postdoc should teach no more than two course-equivalents per the annual term of appointment.
- If the appointment letter originally issued to the postdoc followed the approved template (with the teacher’s oath embedded in the text), a secondary appointment as lecturer is not necessary. The instruction can be provided under the title postdoc.
Each college will establish a minimum and maximum salary range for postdocs and update the range each year. Each college will establish guidelines for increases prior to the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1st, and will be responsible for equity and consistency in salaries paid. More than one salary range for postdocs may exist in each college based upon the discipline within which the research is conducted and the nature of the job market.
Postdocs are appointed on a yearly basis by a written letter cosigned by the department chairperson, and establishing the beginning date of employment, the ending date and the annual salary. Shorter appointments are permissible by the mutual agreement, generally when the external funding source is available for less than one year. Postdocs will not be employed for a period in excess of three years.
Postdoc vacancies need not be posted and advertised as required for staff and faculty positions. Appointments may be made at the discretion of the research grant holder responsible for the funds supporting the position, and upon the approval of the department chair and the dean of the college or school.
V. Termination of Employment
Normally, separation of employment would end on the date specified in the written letter of appointment. In the event of misconduct, termination would be immediate.
VI. Grievance Procedure
In the event that a postdoc would like to grieve what is believed to be an unfair interpretation of the terms and conditions of employment which applies to that position, appeal may be in writing first to the appropriate department chair who will have the responsibility of responding to the complainant in writing. In the event that the postdoctoral associate is not satisfied with the decision of the department chair, appeal may be addressed to the dean of the college or school whose decision on the matter will be in writing and will be final.
- Health insurance as for non-represented staff. Benefits would end on the last day of employment since there will be no provision for accumulation of vacation as currently is the case for staff.
- Dental insurance as for non-represented staff. Benefits would end on the last day of employment since there will be no provision for accumulation of vacation as currently is the case for staff.
- Voluntary participation in the retirement savings plans offered through the University is allowed, however there will be no University contribution.
- Long-term disability coverage available as for non-represented staff.
- UVM Short-term disability compensation as for non-represented staff approved for long-term disability benefits.
- Life insurance available for individual and dependent as for non-represented staff.
- No formal eligibility for vacation. All University holidays are official days off for postdoctoral associates.
- Six personal days at the beginning of the first year of employment, and then again at the beginning of the second and subsequent years of employment. Unused days will not be paid upon separation of employment and may not be carried forward from one year to the next.
- Six days of medical leave per year; no payment for unused days at the time of separation of employment. Unused medical leave may be carried forward into the following year.
- A regular UVM ID card that provides use of library, athletic, and other general facilities and support services offered to employees.
- Tuition remission is available for full-time postdocs with the following provisions:
- Up to 15 credits of coursework or thesis research may be taken each year beginning any September 1st – August 31st. The University will pay the comprehensive fee and Summer Session regular fees associated with courses taken.
- While the University places no restriction on the courses taken, the IRS has ruled that under some conditions, tuition remission for graduate level courses may be taxable.
- Postdocs who are half-time but less than full-time may take up to six credits per year using tuition remission.
- Courses taken under tuition remission may not interfere with the postdocs’ ability to fulfill the responsibilities of their employment.
- Retiree Health Savings Plan (RHSP)--The University of Vermont (UVM) established the Retiree Health Savings Plan (RHSP) to help individuals pay for qualified healthcare expenses during retirement. UVM will make regular tax-free contributions to the plan for benefits-eligible postdocs hired on or after January 1, 2012. For these individuals, the plan is considered a non-contributory plan (meaning that it does not require contributions from the employee in order to receive UVM contributions). Find more information go to the Retirement Resources web page and click on “Savings” to get to the Retiree Health Savings Plan page or the RHSP Summary Plan Description (pdf).
The University is committed to increasing the diversity of its students, faculty and staff, anyone hiring postdocs should aim for diversity in hiring decisions. Because they are temporary employees, however, postdoc positions will not be incorporated into the University’s general affirmative action plan.