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Postdoctoral Appointees

Resources for postdocs specifically

Welcome and congratulations on your appointment as a Postdoctoral Appointee at the University of Rochester!

While your Departmental Administrator will take care of the vast majority of details that must be attended to in order for you to get started with our institution, we would like to highlight a few important resources and opportunities.

PostdocOnboardingChecklist (Word document) to help you get started.

 

Descriptions of Postdoctoral Appointment types

A Postdoctoral Appointment involves substantially full-time research or scholarship. It is a transitional position and is viewed as preparatory for an academic and/or research career. The appointee is not part of a clinical training program. The appointee was recently awarded the PhD or equivalent doctorate, works under the supervision of a faculty member and has the freedom and is expected to publish the results of their research or scholarship during the period of the appointment.

Postdoctoral Associate (093) is supported from research funds on grants or other external or internal funding sources and is expected to perform specific work for the University (work on a specific research project, teaching, etc.). A Postdoctoral Associate is an employee of the University and is paid through the University with a fringe rate collected on the salary.

Postdoctoral Fellow (095) is supported from a grant that prohibits the individual from being considered an employee (as determined by the terms of the Sponsored Research grant or funding entity). In cases where the grant/fellowship terms regarding whether the researcher should be an employee are not specific, the terms must be reviewed by the respective Office for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs for classification determination. Factors such as whether the funding source reimburses for our fringe rate may be considered in reaching a determination.

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (094) is being paid a stipend by an agency outside the University.

Helpful links for postdocs

Being a postdoctoral associate comes with its own unique challenges and requirements. These links below can help provide additional insight and guidance.

Postdoctoral Association

Professional advancement and support services for our postdoctoral appointees

Learn more

Tax Treatment of Postdocs

Differences in Tax Treatment of Payments and Benefits for Postdoctoral Associates (093) and Postdoctoral Fellows (095)

Tax Treatment of UR Postdocs

University postdoctoral policies

This policy applies to all University of Rochester postdoctoral positions including postdoctoral associates (093), postdoctoral fellows (095), visiting postdoctoral fellows (094), and postdocs with joint appointments (095/093, 093/094, 094/093).

The University’s preference is to keep full-time postdocs as exempt from overtime requirements, whenever possible, given their educational backgrounds, specialized skills and the autonomy demanded of their positions.

  • The current annual salary minimum for full-time postdoctoral positions is $51,480 (990/per week).
  • Postdocs with full-time, partial year appointments will be raised to the new weekly minimum of $990 per week.
  • Postdocs in part-time appointments who do not meet the new minimum will be considered non-exempt employees. These postdocs will be paid on an hourly basis and will be eligible to receive overtime for hours worked over 40 in a week.
Expectations for Annual Increases

Provided satisfactory performance and progress, departments are expected to provide annual pay increases for Postdoctoral Appointees similar to Wage and Salary increases provided to University of Rochester faculty and staff. In the event that an increase is not provided, departments are required to provide documentation of unsatisfactory performance and progress to the administrative office in their school responsible for postdoctoral affairs.

The total time spent in the 094 Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow job code may not exceed 12 months. Additionally, the initial appointment for a 094 Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow may not exceed 12 months. The term limit includes dual appointments where the Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow appointment does not represent 100% of the effort/funding.

Departments that wish to keep a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow longer than 12 months must convert the individual to the 093 Postdoctoral Associate position or another appropriate position that is paid directly from the University of Rochester. Conversion to the 093 Postdoctoral Associate position provides postdocs with the full range of benefits associated with the 093 Postdoctoral Associate position.

An exception may be permitted for funds a postdoctoral appointee receives from competitive external grants or fellowships that are awarded directly to the postdoctoral appointee from agencies with which the postdoctoral appointee is not otherwise affiliated (e.g. as an employee). Official documentation of the award from the funding agency is required.

Other exceptions to the 12-month term limit for Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows are not permitted.

Note: this policy is not intended to prevent collaborating University of Rochester schools from offering visiting postdoctoral appointments to postdocs who are appointed at 100% effort as a 093/095 Postdoctoral Associate/Postdoctoral Fellow position in another University of Rochester school.

For Postdoctoral Associates and Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral Associates and Postdoctoral Fellows (PDAs/PDFs) have the option of choosing one of two parental leave options depending on their eligibility.  The two options are outlined below.

Regardless of the option selected, during the parental leave period, PDAs/PDFs may postpone research and academic activities but remain active full-time postdoctoral appointees, with access to University facilities (including health insurance, library privileges, and housing) and to University faculty and staff.

While PDAs/PDFs will be excused from regular teaching or research duties, it is the PDA’s/PDF’s professional responsibility to work with their Advisor to prepare for the absence in advance of the leave. This includes reviewing the status and continuation of research projects, adequately preparing those who will assume teaching responsibilities during the PDA’s/PDF’s absence, and arranging for a smooth transition of any other responsibilities.

Eligible PDAs/PDFs are required to notify their Advisor of the date of their intended time away at least 60 days prior (when possible) to the expected date of childbirth.

Note: These guidelines are consistent with the NIH Grants Policy Statement – parental leave. For those on NIH training grants, the use of parental leave must be approved by the Training Grant PD/PI.Option #1 – NYS Statutory Disability, Paid Family Leave, FMLA

Option #1 is applicable to PDAs/PDFs who are disabled due to childbirth.

This option allows PDAs/PDFs to use NYS Statutory Disability (DBL) during the time period in which they are disabled (generally six weeks for uncomplicated births) followed by Paid Family Leave (PFL) for bonding. The PFL entitlement as of 1/1/2021 is 12 weeks. The individual’s entitlement to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may (if eligible) run concurrently with both the DBL and PFL leave (where PFL is taken in a block of time). More information about DBL, PFL and FMLA can be found on the Leave Administration website.

Option #2 – UR Postdoc Parental Leave (UR-PPL), Paid Family Leave (PFL), FMLA

Option #2 applies to all PDAs/PDFs who welcome a new child through birth or adoption, whether or not the PDA/PDF has given birth. Under this option, PDAs/PDFs are entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave in total. The PDA/PDF will receive their full pay for the first eight weeks of leave using a combination of NYSPFL and UR-PPL. To initiate this leave, the PDA/PDF MUST apply for PFL by initiating a claim with the University’s PFL carrier, The Hartford, at 1-866-548-3101 at the outset of the leave. The individual’s entitlement to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may (if eligible) run concurrently with the PFL leave (where PFL is taken in a block of time). More information about PFL and FMLA can be found on the Leave Administration website.

For Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows are not eligible for parental leave.

Effective January 1, 2021 for calendar year 2021 payments, payments received by postdoctoral fellows will no longer be reportable as wages in Box 1 of Form W-2 and will not be subject to federal and NY state income tax withholding. Payments received by postdoctoral fellows are considered taxable income, but not wages, under the terms of certain awards and grants (i.e., NIH/NRSA training grants) . This change recognizes that those receiving payments under the terms of these awards and grants do not have an employer-employee relationship with the University.

This change does not impact reporting for the 2020 calendar year. Postdoctoral fellows will receive a Form W-2 by January 31, 2021 for payments received during the 2020 calendar year.

Questions and Answers

1. Why is the University changing the tax reporting for postdoctoral fellows?

The University reexamined the way we were reporting postdoctoral fellow payments because of conflicting positions with respect to reporting postdoctoral fellow pay for tax purposes and under the terms of certain grants and awards (i.e., NIH/NRSA training grants). Because postdoctoral fellow payments have been reported on a W-2 – but by the terms of certain funding sources, should not reflect an employer-employee relationship – there was a disconnect with our reporting positions. This caused us to re-examine how we were reporting pay for postdoctoral fellows and what our peers were doing, and the change in reporting resulted.

This change reflects how many of our peers, including Stanford, MIT, Yale, Columbia, NYU, Washington University in St. Louis and University of Chicago, report postdoctoral fellowship payments. Similar to all of these peer schools and others, the University of Rochester will not report postdoctoral fellow payments in Box 1 of Form W-1 and will no longer withhold federal or NY state income tax on such payments.

2. Are postdoctoral associates affected by this change?

The change in tax reporting only affects postdoctoral fellows (job code 095). Postdoctoral associates (job code 093) will not have any change with respect to their tax reporting, unless they are switched from a postdoctoral associate to a postdoctoral fellow.

3. Will postdoctoral fellows be paid in the same manner?

There will be no change in how postdoctoral fellows receive payments. Postdoctoral fellows will continue to receive payments via HRMS semimonthly on the 15th of the month and on the last business day of the month.

4. How will postdoctoral fellows know how to calculate their estimated quarterly tax payments?

The University is committed to providing postdoctoral fellows with the necessary resources to understand their responsibilities for reporting payments. We will have materials available to you in early

As a result of this change, postdoctoral fellows will be responsible, if necessary, to file declarations of estimated tax and pay quarterly installments of tax for payments received in 2021. Failure to file such declarations and pay estimated taxes (IRS Form 1040-ES) could result in an underpayment of tax when you file your 2021 income tax return.

School-specific Dean’s Office contacts

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