Benefits for Postdoctoral Fellows

On October 1, 2019, Auburn University will implement changes to several benefits that are offered to Postdocs. 

To help our University attract talented researchers as Postdocs, AU Human Resources has worked closely with the Graduate School, Research, and other academic units to determine how our Postdoc benefits compare to other statewide and peer institutions. After reviewing our benefits, along with the benefits offered by other peer and statewide universities, AU is updating these benefits to ensure that our total package to Postdocs remains competitive.


What is Staying the Same?

Postdocs will still be able to take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Health insurance: Full-time Postdocs can still elect to enroll in health insurance through Auburn University’s existing employee-group health plan. Links to additional information

  • Flexible Spending Account: Postdocs can still choose to participate in the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for medical and dependent care. Link to additional information

  • Voluntary retirement: Postdocs still have the option of participating in Auburn University’s voluntary retirement plans and, when applicable, were eligible to receive the University match. Link to additional information

  • Employee Education Benefits: Postdocs can still enroll for Employee Education Benefits, including dependent benefits. Link to additional information

  • Additional benefits: Postdocs are still eligible for the following benefits and programs:


Changes to Mandatory Retirement

Some of the most significant changes to Postdoc benefits regard the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).

Like all full-time employees at Auburn, our postdocs have historically been required to contribute 6 percent or more of their salary to the TRS. However, several universities in our state do not require this contribution from Postdocs. Additionally, Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) has recently indicated that our postdocs do not have to participate in the TRS since they may also be classified as students who are working to learn.

While our University is committed to providing basic employment benefits and protections to our Postdocs, we also recognize that most postdocs will not be at Auburn University long enough (10 years) to vest in the TRS system. Thus, effective on Oct. 1, 2019, new and current postdocs will no longer contribute to TRS. Postdocs who are currently at Auburn and have previously contributed to TRS will have the option of keeping their current contributions in TRS, or having them refunded.

Before October 1, 2019

Postdocs were required to contribute a percentage of their salary (in most cases, 6 percent) to the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). Links to additional information

Effective October 1, 2019

  • New and current postdocs will no longer contribute to TRS.
  • Postdocs who are currently at Auburn and have previously contributed to TRS will have the option of keeping their current contributions in TRS, or having them refunded.
  • If the Postdoc is later hired in an eligible position, he or she may, upon completion of two years of full-time participating membership, purchase the previously refunded account.

Changes to Leave Accrual

IMPORTANT: Leave accrual changes will only affect new Postdoctoral Scholars who begin their appointments on or after October 1, 2019. The changes will not affect Postdoctoral Scholars whose appointments started before October 1, 2019, as they will continue at their current leave accrual rates. 

Before October 1, 2019

Most postdocs received 13.34 hours of annual leave per month, in addition to sick leave. 

Effective October 1, 2019

    • 12-month Postdocs will receive eight hours of paid time off per monthly pay period for combined annual leave and sick leave. (96 hours annually)
    • 9-month Postdocs will receive four hours of paid time off per semimonthly pay period for combined annual leave and sick leave. (72 hours annually)
    • Postdocs are eligible for AU holiday pay.
    • Summer assignments of .50 full-time equivalent (FTE) or more will accrue paid time off per pay period based on the assignment’s FTE.
    • On Oct. 3, leave balances for current Postdocs will transfer to their paid-time off bank.
    • The maximum amount of paid time off that can be carried over each year is 192 hours.

Changes to Voluntary Insurance Offerings

Before October 1, 2019

Full-time Postdocs could elect to enroll in dental, vision, cancer, critical care, supplemental life, and supplemental long-term disability insurances from the University’s respective providers. Links to additional information

Effective October 1, 2019

  • Full-time Postdocs can still elect to enroll in these insurance plans through the University’s providers. 
However, Postdocs will no longer be eligible for the following benefits:
  • Employer-paid, long-term disability insurance
  • Employer-paid, salary continuation plan/short-term disability
  • Employer-paid life Insurance

Frequently-Asked Questions

Coming soon. If you have a question, please email univhr@auburn.edu
Last updated: 09/16/2019