Employment & Benefits


Information pertaining to employment and benefits for postdocs varies depending upon one's classification.  At UVa postdocs are grouped into the following two categories depending on the nature of their affiliation with the university. 

Postdoctoral Fellow

Postdoctoral Fellow is the title given to postdocs who are funded through sources such as training grants, external foundations, foreign governments, or a different primary employer (e.g. foreign hospital), and who choose to carry out their training and research at the University of Virginia.  In many such cases, due to the requirements of the funding source (e.g. NIH training grant) as well as University regulations, fellows cannot be considered U.Va. employees, but they are fully affiliated with the university and the postdoctoral community.  

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Research Associate is the title given to postdocs who are affiliated with the university as employees.  In these cases the source of funds does not restrict direct payment/employment from the university.  Postdoctoral research associates are part of the University's Professional Research Staff (PRS).  Other categories of the Professional Research Staff include Research Scientists, Senior Scientists, and Principal Scientists.  
While we strive to maintain consistency in benefits for both employee and non-employee postdocs, this distinction does create some differences between the two categories, which are outlined where relevant in the sections below.  For a quick reference, please refer to the Professional Research Staff benefits information offered by University Human Resources.


Salary/Stipend and Taxes

Research Associates

As employees of the university, Postdoctoral Research Associates are supported through salary.  Compensation for Research Associates is governed by the University’s Wage Authorization document, which is updated annually. The salary range established by the Wage Authorization for 2017-2018 is $47,476 to $77,600.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Compensation for Postdoctoral Fellows is governed by the agency providing funding, and therefore varies based on the source of funds. FY2018 stipend levels for the National Research Service Award (NRSA) are:

Years of Post-Graduate Experience



















There are federal and state tax differences between salaried postdoctoral Research Associates and postdoctoral Fellows receiving a stipend. The National Postdoctoral Association has created an “Overview of Tax Issues for Postdocs,” which provides information on tax withholding, reporting fellowship income, filing estimated taxes, FICA, self-employment tax and taxes for the international postdoc.



Health Insurance

All postdocs are eligible for enrollment in the UVa Health Plan.  Please note that sponsoring offices or departments are responsible for initiating the enrollment of full-time postdoctoral fellows into this plan, and for notifying Phil Trellal at postdoc@virginia.edu when a fellow is no longer eligible for coverage.

Postdoctoral Fellows 2019 Health Plan Premiums

Premium rates for the Choice Health:




Postdoc + Child(ren)


Postdoc + Spouse 




Premium rates for Value Health:




Postdoc + Child(ren)


Postdoc + Spouse 




Premium rates for the Basic Dental:




Postdoc + Child(ren)


Postdoc + Spouse 





Specific leave benefits for Research Associates may be found in the policy governing members of the Professional Research Staff (PRS). A summary of leave benefits is provided below.

Leave Type



22 days per year


64 hours per year (plus an additional 8 hours for each 5 years
of service up to a maximum of 120 hours)


Use of sick leave, then Short Term Disability leave

Family & Personal

32 hours/4 days per year



Other Benefits

The following benefits are provided to postdocs, depending on their classification as salaried Research Associates or Fellows receiving a stipend. UVA Human Resources maintains complete information on the benefits provided to Postdoctoral Research Associates (employees) and Postdoctoral Fellows (receiving stipends). Benefits counselors are available to answer all questions about benefits. For Research Associates, please call 434-982-0123 for assistance.  Postdoctoral Fellows should consult their department’s Research Administrator or the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs prior to contacting the UHR Benefits Office.

Benefit Postdoctoral Research Associates Postdoctoral Fellows
Health & dental (individual) Yes (with cost to postdoc) Yes (with cost to postdoc)
Health & dental insurance (dependents) Yes (with cost to postdoc) Yes (with cost to postdoc) or dependent upon funding source & availability
Disability Yes Yes
Life insurance Yes Yes
Retirement Yes No



Student Loan Deferral

Some student loans from U.S. lending institutions may be eligible for payment deferral during your postdoctoral training. Research Associates and Postdoctoral Fellows should contact Phil Trella,  434-243-2018, to request status verification and institutional signature on the required deferment form.

Education related deferment forms can be obtained at the National Student Loan Program web site. http://www.nslp.org/

Lending agencies may differ in their deferral requirements. The lender, not the University of Virginia, will make the final determination regarding whether your loan is eligible for payment deferral.


Education Benefit Pilot - Extended Into 2018

Interested in getting a degree or academic certificate? Have a conference you’d like to attend related to your work? The University of Virginia’s Education Benefit enables you to do these things with UVA financial support. In 2017, an updated Education Benefit was piloted. The program's two components, Tuition Benefit and Professional Development Benefit, provide you flexibility when choosing to use this benefit for formal education or professional development. A maximum of $4,360 is available for use between the two benefits in 2018. UVA’s Cornerstone Plan guides us to invest in employees to foster a culture of excellence and achievement. The Education Benefit puts that belief into practice to help you reach your educational and professional goals.

Tuition Benefit:

  • Available for use on for-credit coursework toward a degree or academic certificate program
  • Coursework must be completed at an accredited educational provider
  • Up to $4,360 may be used for tuition in 2018

Professional Development Benefit:

  • Available for use for job- or career-growth related offerings, relevant to your current role
  • Offerings must be provided or sponsored by a recognized provider of professional development experiences
  • Up to $2,000 may be used for professional development

Eligibility Requirements: to use the Education Benefit, an employee must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an actively working full- or part-time employee (including classified staff, University staff, faculty, and professional research staff)
  • Have had one year of continuous, benefits-eligible employment at UVA

Potential Taxation of Education Benefit:

  • For tax reporting purposes, Education Benefit funds are reviewed from Oct. 1-Sept. 30 to allow time for payroll to appropriately document them on W-2s
  • If you receive over the IRS limit of $5,250 within that time frame, the excess is considered taxable income to you and appropriate taxes will be withheld

Education Benefits Detailed Information: for more information about the process, benefit approval, eligibility, appeals, and other specific information related to the Education Benefit and its components, use the following links.