Frequently Asked Questions

Are postdocs eligible for unemployment after their contract ends?

Eligibility for unemployment benefits is determined by the state in which you are applying for the unemployment assistance. If you are no longer employed due to no fault of your own (i.e. you contract has terminated), you should apply for unemployment to determine if you are eligible.

Employed visa holders who pay taxes are permitted to apply for and accept unemployment benefits. This is based on a State-by-State basis. The applicant should contact the local unemployment office and inquire if they would be eligible. Receiving unemployment benefits is not considered public assistance/public ward, thus would not hinder any permanent resident applications. 

Can postdocs on a J1 visa accept the US government's stimulus checks distributed during the Covid-19 Crisis without compromising future permanent resident applications?

J1 visa holders are permitted to receive and accept the US government's stimulas checks (this has been confirmed with the US Dept. of State who oversees the J1 program). ​This is not considered public assistance/public ward thus would not hinder any future permanent resident applications (this has been confirmed with UF's contracted immigration attorney). 

Are Post Doc Associates eligible for adoption benefits?

Postdocs are not eligible for adoption benefits.

Are Post Doc Associates eligible for the Sick Leave pool?

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

What retirement plans are available to postdoc associates and fellows?

Postdocs may participate in the FICA Alternative Plan and are also eligible to participate in the 403b and 457 voluntary savings plans.

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

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

Post Doc Associates and Post Doc Fellows are welcome to attend the Financial Literacy and Retirement Education (FLARE) courses offered by Human Resources Services.

Are all types of leave described here (https://benefits.hr.ufl.edu/time-away/) applicable to postdoc associates and fellows?

Review the leave entitlement chart provided by human resources services. 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.

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

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:  https://benefits.hr.ufl.edu/time-away/fmla/

Are postdocs eligible for maternity/paternity leave?

Leave time for postdocs for maternity / paternity leave can be taken through use of Postdoc Leave. Note that postdoc leave only applies to Postdoctoral Associates. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes.  New postdoctoral appointments beginning on or after July 1, 2016 must have an associated salary of $47,476 or more.  Human Resource Services will not approve or process requests for new appointments with salaries below that level.

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

The UF Ombuds is here to members of the university community, including postdocs, in resolving problems and conflicts that arise in the course of interacting with the University of Florida. By considering problems in an unbiased way, the Ombuds works to help find solutions to university related problems and concerns. Contact the Ombudsman

Postdoc's may also contact the Director of Employee Relations for UFHR, Mr Brook Mercier, to file a formal compaint. 

Mr. Brook Mercier
Director, Employee Relations
Email:  bmercier@ufl.edu 
UF Human Resource Services (903 West University Avenue)
Phone:  (352) 392-1072

If you are unsure where to turn for help, please contact LilyRLewis@ufl.edu to for assitance navigating your options. 

In transitioning from Postdoc Associate to Postdoc Fellow, what happens to my benefits and retirement plans?

When postdoc associate become a postdoc fellow, they are no longer seen as an employee of UF and their benefits eligibility will change. If you are preparing to transition from a postdoc associate to a postdoc fellow appointment, please contact LilyRLewis@ufl.edu.

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.

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

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.

Are UF fringe benefits charged against postdoctoral fellow appointments?

No.

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

No.

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

No.

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

No.

Is there a UF Template Letter of Offer for Postdocs?

Yes. Template Offer Letters for Postdoc Associates and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Postdoc Fellows can be found on the Human Resources Services website, in their Appointment Letter Library.

Do you have a question you think might be helpful to address on this FAQ site? Please e-mail Lily Lewis the question (and appropriate answer if you have it).

Updated June 2018