Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

Q:  I am a new postdoc at UF. Where can I find information about settling in to Gainesville?

A:  Information about area resources and acclimating to the Gainesville area are available on the Postdoc Life Web site: http://postdoc.aa.ufl.edu/postdoc-life

Q:  What does UF provide for my professional and career development?

A: Numerous workshops and career development resources are available for postdocs at UF. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs provides a Postdoc Development Workshop series covering topics like developing a teaching and research statement, and how to get published in a highly rated journal. Other opportunities for professional development are listed on the Programs and Events section of the Postdoc Web site: http://postdoc.aa.ufl.edu/programs.

Q:  What does UF provide for postdocs for social opportunities?

A: Postdocs serving on the Postdoctoral Affairs Advisory Committee coordinate different postdoc social events throughout the year.  Information about postdoc social events are emailed out on the postdoc listserv.  Additionally, postdocs are encouraged to utilize the resources available on the Postdoc Life Web site: http://postdoc.aa.ufl.edu/postdoc-life that provides information about leisure resources and activities in the Gainesville area.

Q:  How is the postdoc listserv maintained?

A:  The postdoc listserv is generated automatically and updated automatically with anyone who has "postdoc" in their title.  A separate readers list is maintained by the OPA for anyone who is not a postdoc who wishes to receive the information sent out on the listserv.  Additionally there is a "postdoc info" listserv intended for more frequent reminders of workshops, events and deadlines.   E-mail Cheryl Gater (cgater@aa.ufl.edu) to join the postdoc listserv.

Q:  Where can I go for help if I have a problem or complaint?

A:  Depending on the nature of your problem, you may need to address the issue with an administrative unit on campus (such as Human Resource Services) or your department or college.  Contact one of your postdoc college contacts to find out where you can receive information or help on your issue.  Or contact Cheryl Gater (cgater@aa.ufl.edu) in the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Q:  Can a postdoc use the services of the UF Ombuds?

A:  No, only if the postdoc is taking courses at UF.

Q:  I am a postdoc and wish to audit a class at UF. What is the process for auditing?

A:  The process is the same for an admitted UF student.  You may audit a course as long as the instructor and dean of the college offering the course agree.  Information on Audit registration and the Permit to Audit a Course form may be found on the Registrar's site here:http://registrar.ufl.edu/currents/specialregistrations.html#2

Q:  Are postdocs eligible for the Employee Education Program?

A: Yes, postdoc associates (but not postdoc fellows) are eligible for the EEP. More information about the EEP may be found on the Office of Human Resource Services site: http://hr.ufl.edu/learn-grow/education-programs/employee-education-program/

The EEP is an opportunity funded by university resources that enables full-time UF Academic Personnel, TEAMS employees, and USPS employees who have been employed for at least six months to receive tuition assistance for up to six (6) credit hours of instruction per semester at the University of Florida or state university closest to their work location. TEAMS employees may also attend classes at a public community or state college closest to their work location.

To be eligible to participate in the EEP employees MUST meet the following criteria:

  • Be a full-time UF employee classified as Academic Personnel, TEAMS, or USPS—including postdoctoral associates, not fellows
  • Be in good standing
  • Employed for at least six (6) months (not OPS). Calculation of six month window begins on date of hire and ends on the UF fee deadline date for the semester of enrollment.

Q:  If I am a postdoc who is not a Florida resident or am an international postdoc, will I be charged out-of-state tuition for the EEP?

A:  Non-Florida resident postdocs, including International Post Doc Associates, will not be charged  the difference between in state and out of state tuition, if approved for the EEP.

Q:  What are my rights as a renter in the state of Florida?

A: Rights and duties of tenants (renters) in the State of Florida are outlined here by the Florida Bar.

Q:  Where can I get a UF business card?

A: Business cards can be ordered at this site:  http://maildocserv.ufl.edu/document-services/CardOrder.aspx, but one should check with their department first as to department or college protocol for business cards.

Q:  Where can I find out information about filing taxes?

A: Tax resource information is available on this site on the OPA website:  http://postdoc.aa.ufl.edu/tax-info

Q:  I am looking for funding for postdoc travel. Are there any awards available at the University level or through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs?

A:  Currently there is no funding available at the university level, including the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, for postdoc travel.  The UF Office of Research's Research Funding Opportunities newsletter is produced each Friday and may provide information on travel funding opportunities as well as other funding opportunities.  If not already signed up, one may sign up for the weekly newsletter here: http://my.research.ufl.edu/Applications/FundingOpportunities/Opportunities.aspx

Q:  Where can I find information and resources to help with developing my teaching skills?

A:  Teaching resources for postdocs are available here:  http://postdoc.aa.ufl.edu/teaching  General teaching assistance for teaching at UF is available on the Teaching Assistance website:  http://teach.ufl.edu/

Q:  What is a postdoc?

A:  The definitions of a Postdoctoral Associate and Postdoctoral Fellow are articulated in the University of Florida Regulations, 7.003: Academic Personnel Employment Plan: Academic Appointments, Types of Appointments, Appointment Status Modifiers, and Academic-Administrative Classification Titles.

Postdoctoral Associate(Specialty OPS title).  The appointee shall have received the doctorate in a field appropriate to the assigned duties and responsibilities. This appointment is used when the individual renders compensable services to the University and is assigned specific duties and responsibilities. Such appointments are temporary, and appointees to these specialty OPS titles shall have no continuing contractual relationship with the University. Postdoctoral associates may be appointed for up to four (4) years. Appointments of the postdoctoral associate beyond four (4) years will acquire approval of the Senior Vice President of the area requesting the appointment.

Postdoctoral Fellow. The appointee shall have received the doctorate in a field appropriate to the position offered. The appointment is for the individual’s further experience in research and teaching and is generally limited to two (2) or three (3) years. To qualify for a fellowship exemption under the Federal income tax laws, no assigned duties and responsibilities or services can be required other than those which are an integral part of the Fellow’s program in research and teaching. Appointees to these positions shall have no continuing contractual relationship with the University.

Q:  Can a postdoc particiate in outside consulting?

A:  As long as a postdoc completes an Outside Activity Form and there is no conflict of interest, postdocs may participate in outside consulting.

Q:  Is there free legal assistance available for postdocs?

A:  At this time, there is no free legal assistance available to postdocs.  The university can provide assistance to postdocs on the issue of intelelctual property in which case the Office of Technology Licensing can provide assistance.

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Human Resource Services Questions Regarding Benefits:

Q: Are Post Doc Associates eligible for adoption benefits?

A: Postdocs are not eligible for adoption benefits.

Q: Are Post Doc Associates eligible for the Sick Leave pool?

A: Postdocs are not eligible for the sick leave pool as they do not accrue sick leave hours.

Q:  What retirement plans are available to postdoc associates and fellows?

A:  Postdocs participate in the FICA Alternative Plan (http://hr.ufl.edu/benefits/retirement/fica-alternative-plan/) and are also eligible to participate in the 403b and 457 voluntary savings plans (http://hr.ufl.edu/benefits/retirement/voluntary-savings-plans/).

Note:  Fellows are not employees and do not participate in either the FICA Alt or the voluntary savings plans.

Q:  Are any retirement and/or financial planning seminars offered for postdoc associates and fellows?

A:  Post Doc Associates and Post Doc Fellows are welcome to attend the Retirement and Financial Planning courses offered through T&OD.  The schedule is here:  http://hr.ufl.edu/benefits/retirement/flare/flare-courses/

Q:  Are all types of leave described here (http://hr.ufl.edu/benefits/leave/) applicable to postdoc associates and fellows? 

A:  There is a leave entitlement flow chart found here:  http://hr.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/docs/leave_cash_out_chart.pdf.   Post Doc Associates are eligible for Post Doc Leave, which is accrued at 5 hours per pay period up to 352 hours per year to use for vacation, sickness or injury.  Please use leave code "NRA 18 PL*" for reporting paid time off.

They are also eligible for the four December Leave Personal Days as well as all holidays with pay.  There is no leave cash out granted to Post Docs Associates.  Postdoctoral Associates can check their leave accrual in their biweekly paycheck under the Leave Balances section.  The leave benefits do not apply to Post Doc Fellows, since they are technically not employees.

Q:  Are postdoc associates eligible for FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act)?

A:  Yes, with certain eligibility factors fulfilled. 

OPS employees, including Post-Doctoral Associates, are eligible for up to 12 work weeks, once they have worked at least 12 months (need not be consecutive), and also have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave. Breaks in employment do not affect this total. It is a cumulative total of the number of months the employee has been employed by the University.

More FMLA information is available here:  http://hr.ufl.edu/benefits/leave/fmla/

Q:  Are postdocs eligible for maternity/paternity leave?

A:  Leave time for postdocs for maternity / paternity leave can be taken through use of Postdoc Leave

Q:  How much leave can postdocs accrue?  What happens once that limit is reached?

A:  Postdocs can accrue up to 352 hours of postdoc leave.  Once that limit is reached, postdocs will stop accumulating leave.

Q:  At the end of a postdoc associate/fellow’s employment, will they receive accrued leave payouts?

A:  Upon termination of employment with the university,  postdocs will not receive payout for postdoc leave.

Q:  Who are the administrative contacts in Human Resource Services to address postdoc issues?

A:  You may contact University Benefits for questions regarding Benefits, Retirement, and Leave.  Contact information is as follows:

Email:  benefits@ufl.edu
Telephone:  (352) 392-2477

Q:  Are there salary minimums for Postdoctoral Associates at the University of Florida?

      A: Yes.  Current Postdoctoral Associate salary minimums can be found in this 2014 Administrative Memo from the Provost:  https://administrativememo.ufl.edu/2014/10/postdoc-salary-minimums-for-2014-15/

Q:  Where can a postdoc go for help if they are experiencing difficulty with their employer?

      A:  If the situation cannot be resolved in the department, postdocs may contact Kim Baxley in UF's Human Resource Services Employee Relations office:

Ms. Kim Baxley
Director, Employee Relations
Email:  kczap@ufl.edu
UF Human Resource Services (903 West University Avenue)
Phone:  (352) 392-1072

Q:  Where can I find clarification on postdoc salaries and training activities for NIH grants?

A:  The NIH Article from the Office of Extramural Research may be helpful:  Clearing Up Confusion about Postdoc Salaries and Training Activities

Q:  In transitioning from Postdoc Associate to Postdoc Fellow, what happens to my benefits and retirement plans?  Am I still eligible for FICA Alternative?

A:  When postdoc associates become fellows, they are seen as separated from the University of Florida as an employee. When a fellow terminates (moves from Postdoc Associate to Postdoc Fellow) their FICA Alternative, they can move their funds to BENCOR.

A:  Heath Insurance for Post Doc Fellows:  Post-doc fellows are eligible to participate in the UnitedHealthCare StudentResources health insurance plan as visiting scholars.  To enroll, please contact Scarborough Insurance at (352) 377-2002 within 60 days of appointment start date.

Q:  Are UF fringe benefits charged against postdoctoral fellow appointments?

A:  No.

Q:  Does a postdoc fellowship appointment count toward years of work and wages contributed with social security?   

A:  No.

Q:  Does Social Security tax need to be paid by the postdoctoral fellow from the fellowship income? 

A:  No.

Q: Can a postdoc associate or fellow be employed at UF as a student assistant?

A:  No.

Q: Is there a UF Template Letter of Offer for Postdocs?

A:  Yes. It is available on the UF Human Resource Services site:  Letter of Offer: Postdoc Associates

Q:  Is it possible to continue my health insurance coverage following termination of my postdoc appointment with the University of Florida?

A:  Post Docs are eligible for COBRA after termination of employment.  An informational packet will be mailed after the termination date of your postdoc appointment, so please be sure to update your “Local Home Mailing Address” in the University of Florida directory.

 

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Do you have a question you think might be helpful to address on this FAQ site? Please e-mail Cheryl Gater (cgater@aa.ufl.edu) the question (and appropriate answer if you have it).