Postdoctoral Benefits

Benefits to Postdoctoral Scholars vary according to the type of appointment. Due to IRS restrictions placed on non-taxed fellowships, retirement benefits are not allowed for Postdoc Trainees (Status Code 20). VIVA Health Insurance coverage is provided at no cost to the Postdoc with the option of purchasing the dental and vision portion of the insurance plan. Because of their unique status as “Trainees” who do not receive a salary but rather a stipend, these Postdocs are eligible for student housing.

Postdoc Employees (Status Code 21), because of their employee-employer relationship with the University, receive a salary. They also are provided VIVA Health Insurance coverage paid through the University with the option of purchasing the dental and vision portion of the insurance plan. Status Code 21 postdocs are not eligible for student housing.

Benefits Eligibility Table

Employment Category

Status Code

UAB paid Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

Employee paid Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

 

Postdoctoral Scholar Trainee

20

Yes

Yes*

 

Postdoctoral Scholar Employee

21

Yes

Yes*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employment Category

Status Code

TIAA-CREF Retirement

Viva Health Insurance

Dental and Vision Insurance

UAB paid Group Term Life Insurance

Postdoctoral Scholar Trainee

20

No

Yes

Yes*

Yes

Postdoctoral Scholar Employee

21

Yes

Matched up to 5% of salary

Yes

Yes*

Yes

*Individual pays premium


University Paid Benefits

  • Viva Health Insurance - VIVA Health is the health care plan provided for Postdoctoral Trainees (status code 20) and Postdoctoral Employees (status code 21). The premium for either single or family coverage is paid by the University. Coverage under UAB's group health care plan must be elected on either the first day of appointment or the first day of the month following the date of appointment. The Postdoc has 31 days from their starting date to complete hospital insurance forms either by participating in UAB New Hire Orientation or by scheduling an appointment with the Benefits Department. Some form of health insurance coverage is mandatory and proof of insurance is required if the University's health insurance is not elected. VIVA Health also covers medical evacuation and repatriation of remains for International Postdoctoral Scholars.
  • Group Term Life InsuranceProvided at no cost to the employee; varies with salary. (Sponsored)
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance - $22,500.00 for accidental death; dismemberment coverage varies. Provided at no cost to the employee. (Sponsored)
  • Long Term Disability Insurance (Salary Continuation) – After a 90-Day waiting period, 66 2/3% monthly salary (not to exceed $10,000.00 per month) for the first 90 days of benefits. After 90 days of continued benefits, plan pays 60% monthly salary (not to exceed $10,000.00 per month). Proved at no cost to the employee. (Sponsored)
  • Retirement Plan – Teachers’ Retirement System of Alabama (TRS) – The Teachers’ Retirement System of Alabama (TRS) is a defined pension benefit plan (a specific benefit available upon retirement). Postdoctoral Employee Status 21 are only eligible to participate in this mandatory program. Employees contribute a percentage of their gross monthly tax-sheltered contributions up to the IRS 401(a) annual earnable compensation maximum. In addition to the employee contribution, the University contributes a percentage (as determined by the Alabama Legislature) of the institution’s total payroll. An employee is considered vested when 10 years of creditable service is earned. The program offers the individual a choice as to the distribution of the total deposit to be placed between TIAA/CREF and VALIC for investments.

Voluntary Employee Paid Benefits

  • Postdoctoral Met Life Dental Basic Option - Preventive and diagnostic are covered at 90% UCR. Basic services are covered at 90% UCR subject to a $25.00 deductible. The Postdoc will pay a monthly premium for single or family coverage.
  • Postdoctoral Met Life Dental Comprehensive Option - In addition to the basic dental benefits, the comprehensive plan covers major services at 60% UCR subject to the deductible. Orthodontic services are covered at 50% of UCR up to a $1,000.00 per patient lifetime maximum. The Postdoc pays the full monthly premium for single or family coverage.
  • Vision Service Plan (VSP) Vision Plan – The VSP plan offers employees coverage for routine eye exams, lenses and frames, contacts, and discounts for LAKIK eye surgery. The Postdoc pays the full monthly premium for single or for family coverage.
  • Group Universal Life Insurance Coverage - Maximum Coverage – Up to five times your Basic Annual Earnings, not to exceed $1.4 million.Guaranteed Issue - Three (3) times salary, not to exceed $500,000.00 during first 60 days of employment without evidence of insurability. Individual pays full premium. Rates vary based on age.
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance - Maximum Coverage – lesser of 10 times your basic annual earnings or $500,000.00. Individual pays full premium. Rates vary based on coverage level.            

Other Benefits

  • Social Security - Taxes and benefits established by the U.S. Government
  • Unemployment Compensation Insurance (paid by the University)
  • On-the-Job Injury/Illness Program(paid by the University)
  • Legacy Community Federal Credit Union Credit Card - The Office of Postdoctoral Education is very happy to announce that the Legacy Community Federal Credit Union will offer the opportunity to obtain a credit card to newly-arrived foreign nationals. A Postdoc should go to either of the locations near UAB – 1400 South 20th Street or 516 South 20th Street to open an account for as little as $25.00. The application requires a social security number, the Letter of Offer showing salary and start date, and another identification such a passport, driver’s license, or US government or military ID.
  • Loan - Another service that the Legacy Community Federal Credit Union can provide for Postdocs is help with unplanned cash flow shortages. A new UAB Postdoc can exhaust their available funds quickly when paying deposits on rent, utilities, etc. and may require a small loan to tide him or her over until they are in the UAB system and receive a paycheck. The Legacy Community Federal Credit Union again can help with this problem. Open an account with them for as little as $25.00, provide an ID as mentioned previously, social security number, Letter of Offer, complete the application and they will begin the process. The Legacy Community Federal Credit Union will not eliminate anyone from their services because of lack of credit history, but will need to know, as all financial institutions do, that an individual’s ability to repay a loan or pay a credit card bill is not hindered from excessive debt. They will need documentation showing salary and have agreed to accept the letter of offer as proof. The application for a loan or credit card will ask about any debt amount owed. After comparison of these two figures, they will determine qualification and notify the applicant about the requested service. For a Foreign National Postdoc acquiring the necessary credit history for a credit card can sometimes take years so we believe that this is a wonderful opportunity for newly arrived Postdocs and are very happy to present this offer to you from the Legacy Community Federal Credit Union.

LEAVE POLICIES

Vacation Leave- Six months after the effective appointment date, all Postdoctoral Scholars are eligible for ten (10) paid working days per year. Vacation days do not accrue and cannot be carried over from year to year. All requests for vacation leave should be made in writing and must be approved by the direct supervisor. Postdoctoral Scholars and their supervisors are responsible for maintaining appropriate records.

Sick Leave
- Ten (10) paid working days per year. Sick leave should not be used as vacation. Sick days do not accrue and cannot be carried over from year to year.

Maternity/Paternity Leave - Twenty-two (22) paid successive working days immediately following or just prior to birth or adoption of a child. If both spouses are employed as Postdoctoral Scholars, each one is eligible for a consecutive term of maternity/paternity leave. Additional, non-paid leave, following the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act, must be requested and approved by the supervisor.

COUNSELING

Career Counseling - Jami Armbrester, MS, is available by appointment in the OPE office in Shelby 171A to meet with Postdocs and GBS students. Jami is available for one-hour, confidential, one-on-one career counseling. With individualized career counseling, she can help you:

  • Clarify and define your career goals
  • Research and explore career options
  • Identify your strengths and weakness
  • Implement a plan for skills development
  • Develop an effective self-marketing campaign, including job search materials (i.e., CV, resume, cover letter)
  • Prepare for upcoming interviews (academic and industry)

To schedule an appointment with Jami, please contact the UAB Office of Postdoctoral Education, (205) 934-6809 or email JamiA@uab.edu .

Health and Wellness Counseling:

The Resource Center – An Employee Assistance/Counseling Service is provided by UAB as a benefit to all employees. All Postdoctoral Scholars are eligible for this confidential service (205) 934-2281.

Campus Counseling - (205) 934-3779, is a non-UAB affiliation, but is open to anyone. It is a non-profit organization that offers front line counseling by appointment. Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Motorist Assistance Road Services (M.A.R.S.) - Motorist Assistance Road Services “M.A.R.S” is a service provided by Parking Services free of charge. The service is set up to help any employee or student having car trouble on campus.  Services include retrieving keys, jump starting cars, inflating tires, and assisting if you are out of gas.  M.A.R.S. employees are not mechanics, but they will do their very best to assist you and get you on your way. If they are unable to provide assistance then they will help you find someone who can. Telephone number: (205) 975-MARS (975-6277)

CAREER DEVELOPMENT COURSES

OPE Courses

Each year, the UAB Office of Postdoctoral Education sponsors courses in Lab Management (Fall), Grant Writing (Winter), Translational Science (Spring), and Job Skills (Summer). These courses are open to all UAB Postdoctoral Scholars. Please see the OPE website or contact OPE office for more detail about these courses.

Lab Management will introduce every aspect of laboratory management. Throughout the course, participants are expected to write and present a laboratory management plan to the class. This course is open to Postdoctoral Scholars in any discipline. In general, the class meets two hours every week from September to November. Course enrollment is limited to 25 participants.

Grant Writing Course will introduce every aspect of grant writing to Postdoctoral Scholars and will be instructed by successful grant writers. Throughout the course, participants are expected to write a grant application. All grants will be criqued by participating Faculty in a mock study section formal. This course is open to Postdoctoral Scholars in any discipline in which extramural individual fellowship funding is available. In general, the class meets for 2 hours every week over 10 weeks.

Translational Medicine Course for M.D. and Ph.D. Scholars will introduce every aspect of preparing and conducting a clinical and translational science research program, including program design, data analysis, and regulatory requirements. It will be instructed by both physician-scientists and Ph.D. Scientists. Throughout the course, participants will be encouraged to design a pilot clinical and translational project using team-based approach. All projects will be critiqued by participating Faculty. This course is open to M.D. and Ph.D. Postdoctoral Scholars in all disciplines. The class will meet every week for 2 hours a week TBA. Course enrollment is limited to 25 participants.

Job Skills Course will introduce every aspect of preparing for and completing a job search, including career options, preparing CVs and resumes, and interviewing skills. This course is open to Trainees, including Postdoctoral Scholars and senior graduate students, in any discipline. Throughout the course, participants are expected to: 1. Attend each class; 2. Participate in class discussions; and 3. Develop a job search strategy. This class meets for 2 hours each week during the summer TBA. Enrollment is NOT Limited. Class topics will include: Academic and Non-academic Career Options, Preparing CVs and Resumes, and Interviewing and Negotiating Skills.

Professional Development Courses

The Office of Postdoctoral Education encourages Postdoctoral Scholars to take advantage of the many classes and seminars offered through the Professional Development Office. The OPE will pay tuition and fee costs for up to six hours of credit for a Postdoc per year. A complete listing of these courses can be found on the OPE web page at www.uab.edu/postdocs/ under Career Resources, or by going directly to the Professional Development web page at www.uab.edu/profdev. Regular credit classes as well as additional non-credit classes are available to Postdocs as long as the course will enhance career and professional development for the Postdoc.

All courses to be sponsored by the OPE must be approved prior to registration. Once a course has been decided upon, the Postdoctoral Scholar must contact Linda R. Luck by email at lluck@uab.edu or call (205) 975-7020 for approval. Upon approval to take the course, the Office of Postdoctoral Education will notify the Postdoc of the correct method to register for that particular class

In most cases, OPE will handle your registration. Please send your request with Course Title, Number, and CRN to Linda R. Luck prior to the open registration period to allow time for processing and avoid late fees. ‘

Any request to take addition hours in a calendar year must be approved by OPE prior to registration. Your request, with the rationale for this course as a benefit to your professional development, should be submitted to Dr. Lisa Schwiebert with a copy to Linda R. Luck.


Postdocs in UAB News

  • Stephen Carter will attend the Experimental Biology Conference in late March to receive his award.Stephen J. Carter, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Human Studies and the Nutrition Obesity Research Center, has been awarded the American Physiological Society’s Environmental and Exercise Physiology (EEP) section Partnership for Clean Competition New Investigator Award. The award recognizes outstanding experimental research in environmental, exercise or thermal physiology by a postdoctoral fellow involving ergogenics and detection...

  • Poster sessions and guest lecturers celebrate Darwin’s legacy.To honor the 206th birthday of legendary evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin, the University of Alabama at Birmingham will host Darwin Day on Thursday, Feb. 12, and Friday, Feb. 13. The events will celebrate scientific research in evolutionary biology and other disciplines. “Charles Darwin’s great discovery, the principle of natural selection, is more relevant to science than ever before,” said Steven Austad, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biology. “For...

UAB Research News

  • Brian Nykanen is a Cadet in the Army ROTC and honors student.Brian Austin Nykanen, a University of Alabama at Birmingham junior neuroscience major and a Cadet in the Army ROTC at UAB, is a finalist for the Truman Scholarship. Nykanen, who has a 3.9 grade-point average in the highly challenging neuroscience program, is a member of the UAB Honors College’s Experiential Learning Scholars Program. This past semester, he was the Reserve Officer Training Corps Battalion Command...

  • Stephen Carter will attend the Experimental Biology Conference in late March to receive his award.Stephen J. Carter, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Human Studies and the Nutrition Obesity Research Center, has been awarded the American Physiological Society’s Environmental and Exercise Physiology (EEP) section Partnership for Clean Competition New Investigator Award. The award recognizes outstanding experimental research in environmental, exercise or thermal physiology by a postdoctoral fellow involving ergogenics and detection...