Postdoctoral benefits

Postdoctoral scholars should clarify with their mentor if their appointment is as a postdoctoral scholar-trainee on a training grant, or a postdoctoral scholar-fellow who is an employee on a research grant. Some VCU benefits are only available to employees of VCU. Current Federal policy dictates that postdoctoral scholar-trainees cannot be employees of the university.Benefits on screen

Please note: Benefits associated with postdoctoral appointments terminate when the appointment ends.

Health insurance and retirement plan participation

Individuals must hold appropriate health insurance coverage on appointment as a postdoctoral scholar, or as soon as possible thereafter. Health insurance coverage for spouse and/or dependents is generally the responsibility of the postdoctoral scholar. VCU postdoctoral scholar-fellows have the same benefits as VCU 12-month term faculty. Please visit the Postdoctoral employees benefits page on VCU HR site for more information.

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Tuition costs

Fellows tuition assistance
The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation offers tuition assistance as a benefit to nondegree-seeking postdoctoral scholar fellows to defray the cost to the scholar for training related courses. The benefit is offered on a competitive basis; postdoctoral scholar fellows must submit an application to their faculty mentor for approval. Final approval for the request rests with the Postdoctoral Services. The amount awarded will be based on available funds.

Trainee tuition scholarship
Nondegree-seeking postdoctoral scholar trainees are eligible to apply for scholarships to defray the cost to the scholar for training related courses. Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis. Postdoctoral scholar trainees must submit an application to his/her faculty mentor for approval. Final approval for the request rests with Postdoctoral Services. The scholarship will only cover tuition and fees unallowable in the trainee grant/award, and the amount awarded will be based on available funds.

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.

Tuition scholarship form

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Paid leave time

Payroll/Salaries binders

Annual Leave - Full‐time Postdoctoral Scholar-Fellow employees accrue 1 day (8 hours) of annual leave at the end of each semi‐monthly pay period. Part‐time Postdoctoral Scholar-Fellow employees accrue a prorated amount.  Annual leave can be used for any reason, however, it must be accrued before it can be used. Annual leave will accrue after each semi-monthly pay period when a Postdoctoral Scholar-Fellow employee works the entire pay period or has appropriate leave to cover an absence. Please note: Postdoctoral Scholar-Fellow employees who are in ‘a leave without pay’ status during a semi-monthly pay period will not accrue annual leave during that pay period.All leave for vacation purposes must be approved in advance by the mentor, and, if an international post-doctoral scholar, vacation and any other travel outside the U.S. must be approved by VCU Immigration Services.

Postdoctoral Scholar-Fellow employees accrue sick leave and/or personal/family leave based on their retirement plan selection.

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 review the family and medical leave policy.

Family and medical leave for the postdoctoral scholar-trainee is governed by the funding source.

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Workers’ compensation

(804) 828-1533

Postdoctoral scholars who are hired as employees are eligible for health and income benefits for occupational injuries or illnesses that arise out of and in the course of their employment with VCU. Accident and physician selection forms are available on the HR website or through the Workers’ Compensation office.

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Employee Health Services

West Hospital, first floor, (804) 828-0584

In addition to providing evaluation and treatment of occupational injuries and illnesses, Employee Health services include:

  • Annual preventive flu shots on both campuses
  • Administration of medication provided by the employee for maintenance allergy shots or other injected medications
  • Blood pressure checks for employees on blood pressure medication
  • Referrals to other physicians and sub-specialists within the VCU Medical Center

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Recreational Sports

(804) 827-1100

Postdoctoral scholars are eligible to purchase a membership to Recreational Sports facilities and programs while employed at VCU. The annual membership fee is posted on the website and is prorated for each semester unless the faculty member verifies university employment for the year. Facilities include the Stuart C. Siegel Center, Cary Street Recreation Complex, the MCV Campus Recreation and Aquatic Center, and the Franklin Street Pool. Programs include Outdoor Adventure, fitness, aquatics, informal recreation and intramural activities. For additional information or to request a copy of the program guide available at the beginning of each semester, please call 827-1100.

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Ombudsperson services

Postdoctoral scholars are eligible to use the services of VCU’s faculty/staff ombudsperson. The ombudsperson provides confidential, informal, impartial and independent assistance to faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars who experience position-related conflict. The ombudsperson listens to complaints, provides information, facilitates communication, and helps arrange mediation or conflict resolution between or among members of VCU’s faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars. Information about the ombudsperson can be found here.

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Addressing academic bullying

Our office is here to serve VCU postdocs, especially when it comes to working conditions. Please see the Addressing harassment and academic bullying for specific steps to take if you or a colleague feel you are dealing with workplace bullying or mistreatment.

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Work/life resources

(804) 828-1533,

This office offers information, support and assistance needed to balance work and home life responsibilities. Services include:

  • Relocation information (real estate, schools, etc.) to aid in transition to the Richmond area. Also provided is employment and referral information for the spouses/partners of candidates and new hires.
  • Child and adult resource and referral for care options in the surrounding area and across the country.
  • Employee discounts for services such as child care centers, health and fitness centers, house cleaning, pet needs, etc., as well as recreational discounts for entertainment such as theme parks, warehouse clubs and dining clubs.
  • Referral list of individuals within the university community who can sit with children or adults.
  • Lunchtime seminars, newsletter, support/information groups, and resource library.

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