Benefits for Postdoctoral Scholars


NOTE: Benefits associated with postdoctoral appointments are terminated when an individual is no longer a postdoctoral scholar at VCU.

Health Insurance

Individuals must hold appropriate health insurance coverage on appointment as a postdoctoral scholar, or as soon as possible thereafter. The conditions of appointment for scholars paid through the university must include payment/contribution toward the cost of health insurance equal to the cost of individual coverage from a designated plan offered through the Office of Postdoctoral Services. Click here for health insurance information. This benefit should be paid as an addition to the salary/stipend level, with no deduction being made from the salary/stipend paid to the postdoctoral scholar. Office of Postdoctoral Services will work to assure that the designated plan offered through their office is one that provides reasonable benefits and is cost effective without placing an undue burden for co‐payments and deductibles on the postdoctoral scholar. This payment may be made as reimbursement to the scholar for his/her purchase of health insurance on another plan with appropriate documentation to support reimbursement and coverage. Health insurance coverage for spouse and/or dependents is generally the responsibility of the postdoctoral scholar. Payment/contribution toward the cost of health insurance is terminated when the postdoctoral scholar’s appointment ends.

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Retirement Plan Participation

Postdoctoral scholars in the fellow classification have the option of participating in the Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) program, as allowed by Section 403(b) of the federal tax code. Contributions can be made with pre-tax income, with earnings accumulating on a tax‐deferred basis. All postdoctoral scholars may be eligible to participate in a post-tax Roth IRA. A Roth IRA is an Individual Retirement Account that provides tax‐free growth. Roth accounts can be obtained from a stockbroker, mutual fund, or other provider of "normal" investment accounts.

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Tuition Costs

In accordance with the provisions for unfunded scholarships Chapter 875, 2007 Acts of Assembly Section 4-2.01.b.6, full‐time postdoctoral scholars may apply for tuition assistance/scholarship to defray the costs of tuition for training related courses. The scholar must submit an application for the tuition assistance/scholarship to his/her faculty mentor for approval. Final approval for the request rests with the Office of Postdoctoral Services and will be based on available funds. Full details for applying for a tuition assistance/scholarship can be found here. Postdoctoral scholar-trainees may be eligible to have tuition costs provided through their department/school as an allowable expense as described in the trainee award/grant.

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Paid Leave Time

The postdoctoral scholar-fellow is eligible for 20 days paid leave in each appointment year in addition to designated University holidays. These leave days can be used for any combination of vacation and sick leave. Leave is not cumulative from one appointment year to the next. Unused leave will not be paid out when the postdoctoral appointment ends. Work performed on site on University holidays may be added to paid leave by arrangement with the mentor. All leave for vacation purposes must be approved in advance by the mentor, and, if an international post‐doctoral scholar, any travel outside the U.S. must be approved by VCU Immigration Services. Paid leave for the postdoctoral scholar‐trainee is governed by the funding source.

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Family and Medical Leave

Postdoctoral scholar-fellows may be eligible for unpaid family and medical leave (FMLA) for certain family and medical reasons in accordance with Federal and State law. FMLA includes leave for birth or adoption of a child. Eligible female and male individuals who experience the birth or adoption of a child are eligible for up to 480 hours of unpaid leave provided that the mentor is notified of the intended leave period a minimum of 30 calendar days in advance. While this leave is unpaid, scholars may use paid leave time (described above) to cover leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Note that the postdoctoral scholar may be required to cover the cost of health insurance coverage during any extended leave period. For complete details about eligibility and qualifying events, please click here. Family and medical leave for the postdoctoral scholar‐trainee is governed by the funding source.

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