Disclaimer: The information here applies to Medical School postdocs. If you are outside of the Medical School, please consult with your individual unit/school for guidance.

Q: Does the Michigan Medicine Postdoc Salary Policy still apply?

A: Yes, effective January 1, 2020, all newly hired postdocs and all re-appointed postdocs must receive at least the NIH minimum salary of $52,704.

Q: Can research fellows receive a salary increase with their annual appointment renewal (beyond the NIH Year 0 minimum)?

A: For postdocs paid from grants, incremental increases may continue at the discretion of the mentor. If paid from discretionary or other internal funds, faculty may request approval from their Department Chair/CDA, given the financial situation of Michigan Medicine.

Q: Can postdoc appointments be renewed, despite the university hiring freeze?

A: The university hiring freeze applies to new hires only, and not to existing employees. The process for annual appointment renewals has not changed. Please follow normal departmental policies and SPG 201.19 for appointment renewal. If you are a postdoc and your appointment is coming up for renewal, reach out to your PI and Department to discuss well in advance.

Q: Can new postdocs still be hired?

A: Despite the university hiring freeze, new postdocs may be hired using external funding (details from the UMOR). Note: All new appointments must go through the new hiring approval process.

Q: I’m an international scholar and have questions about how COVID policies may impact my visa status.

A: There are a number of resources that provide helpful guidance.

Q: Are postdocs eligible for the COVID-19 time off banks?

A: Yes, Postdoctoral research fellows are eligible for university COVID-19 paid time off (Paid Time Off Options & FAQs). Dr. O’Riordan also confirmed this in her email to faculty mentors in mid-April. If you are a postdoc balancing a modified schedule because of school or daycare cancellations, home-schooling responsibilities, quarantine, COVID-19 illness, or caring for someone with COVID-19, you can use this one-time COVID-19 time prior to using your three weeks of personal paid sick time. The university requires reporting on the use of these time off banks. Each department in the Medical School is responsible for sending out a Google Form for trainees to track time away from work. If you have questions about the time-reporting process, please feel free to follow up with Lisa Gubaci in the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies or your departmental administrator.

Q: Why track COVID-19 time?

A: University leadership is asking all UM members to track time related to COVID-19 when they cannot meet work expectations (e.g., due to being ill with COVID-19, caring for a family member ill with COVID-19, or caring for children due to a lack of daycare/school, or needing to provide homeschooling assistance). This data will enable UM to more accurately assess the costs of this crisis, which UM may be able to recoup with future COVID-19 crisis stimulus federal funds.

COVID-19 exception time is provided to postdocs. Unlike other members of UM, trainees normally do not report their time. However, COVID-19-related time is an exception:  UM has asked that we provide a means for trainees to report the time they are not able to work due to COVID-19. Please be assured that no one can be penalized for using or reporting University-approved COVID-19 exception time. If you are a trainee with questions or concerns, please contact your department administrator or the Office of Postdoctoral Studies (postdocoffice@med.umich.edu).

Q: How will COVID paid time off benefits be funded?

A: Grants will incur costs for personnel who are utilizing any paid time off benefits (EPSLA, U-M COVID-19, E-FMLA) the same way grants pay for sick or vacation time. The Office of Research provides specific guidance listed under “Costs During the COVID-19 Health Crisis.” For more information, see the new standard operating procedure, SOP 500.05 on Allocation of Personnel Costs During Unexpected or Extraordinary Circumstances, from the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP).

Q: Are postdocs eligible to request voluntary furlough or reduced hours?

A: Yes, Postdoctoral Research Fellows are eligible to request voluntary furlough/reduced appointments. Participation is voluntary, and the unit must approve it. Postdocs on training grants are included in this eligibility. For additional details, please review these resources:

Q: Can a Medical School postdoc appointment extend beyond the standard 5-year limit, given our current situation?

A: Due to disruption by COVID-19 on research activity of Postdoctoral Research Fellows, Michigan Medicine will support extensions of up to 12 months of the five year limit on appointments. Appointment extensions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis for alignment with Michigan Medicine policies. To request an extension, Department administrators or faculty mentors complete this Google Form & attach an explanatory letter.

If you have other questions about postdoc policies in the Medical School, please contact us: postdocoffice@med.umich.edu