610.000 - Postdoctoral Scholars Unit


The following policies and procedures are intended to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the PX Bargaining Unit


A. Definitions
B. Criteria for Appointment and Definitions of Titles
C. Terms of Service
D. Time and Effort Commitment
E. Recruitment, Appointment and Reappointment
F. Compensation
G. Mentoring and Annual Review
H. Principal Investigator Status
I. Benefits
J. Sick Leave, Personal Time Off and Leaves of Absence
K. Health and Safety
l. Personnel Files
M. Discipline and Dismissal
N. Grievances
O. Layoff


[Pending Revisions]

Appendix (A): Voluntary Reduction in Appointment Percentage - Postdoctoral Scholar
Appendix (B):

Template Appointment Letter (updated 8/17/23)

Appendix (C):

Template Reappointment Letter (updated 8/17/23)

Appendix (D): Individual Development Plan - Postoctoral Scholar
Appendix (E): Annual Review
Appendix (G): Template Layoff Letter
Appendix (H): Insurance Continuation-PostDocs
Appendix (I): Postdoctoral Scholar Childcare Reimbursement


Anniversary Date:
Refers to the anniversary of the begin date of a postdoctoral scholar’s appointment for those postdoctoral scholar appointments which are multi-year.

Inclusive of the three ways postdoctoral scholars are compensated: (1) The salary received as employees on a Principal Investigator’s sponsored project (Postdoctoral Scholar - Employee); (2) The stipend received on fellowships awarded by external funding agencies which is administered and paid by the University through its payroll system (Postdoctoral Scholar - Fellow); and (3) The stipend received on fellowships awarded by external funding agencies paid directly to the postdoctoral scholar (Postdoctoral Scholar - Paid Direct).

Head of a Division, College, School, or other similar academic unit who has administrative responsibility for that unit.

Faculty Mentor:
An academic appointee who holds a faculty title in a School, College, Division, Department, or Program, and who is the Principal Investigator of a funded research project. In some disciplines being the Principal Investigator of a funded research project may not be required.

A grievance is defined as an alleged violation of the bargaining agreement.

Layoff is defined as an involuntary separation, or a reduction in duration of appointment for a postdoctoral scholar prior to the established appointment end date as a result of appropriate funding becoming unavailable.

Personnel File:
A personnel file is the repository of information (including reports, documents, correspondence, and other materials) pertaining to a Postdoctoral Scholar’s appointment with the University.

Principal Investigator:
The person who takes direct responsibility for completion of a funded project, directing the research and reporting directly to the funding agency.

Unit Head:
The administrative head of the academic unit where the postdoctoral scholar appointment resides. This term includes such designations as department or program chair and director.


Postdoctoral scholar appointments provide full-time employment for a temporary and defined period during which the postdoctoral scholar trains under the direction and supervision of a faculty mentor in preparation for an academic or research career. Appointment as a postdoctoral scholar requires a doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.D.) or the foreign equivalent.

1. Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee (3252): An appointment is made in the title Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee when:

  • a. The agency funding the salary requires or permits the appointee to be an employee of the University; or

  • b. Whenever General Funds, Opportunity Funds or other University discretionary funds are used to support the position.

2. Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow (3253): An appointment is made in the title Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow when the postdoctoral scholar has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency, the fellowship or traineeship is paid through a University account, and the agency does not allow an employee relationship with the University.

3. Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Direct (3254): An appointment is made in the title Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Direct when the postdoctoral scholar has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency and the agency pays the fellowship or traineeship directly to the postdoctoral scholar, rather than through the University.


1. Postdoctoral scholar appointments are temporary and have fixed beginning and end dates.

2. Appointments and reappointments are normally one year in duration, with the following exceptions:

  • a. The initial appointment of a postdoctoral scholar at any campus within the UC system shall be for a minimum of one year.

  • b. With the prior written concurrence of the postdoctoral scholar, reappointment may be for less than one year under the following circumstances:

    • i. Fellowship funding is for less than one year;

    • ii. Continuation of the project is for less than one year; and

    • iii. Visa limitations.

  • c. At the request of the postdoctoral scholar, the University may agree to bridge the postdoctoral scholar’s appointment to other employment for less than one year. For example, the postdoctoral scholar may request an appointment for a short duration to carry them over from a postdoctoral scholar appointment to another anticipated position.

3. It is within the University’s sole discretion to appoint, reappoint or not reappoint a postdoctoral scholar.

4. The total duration of an individual’s postdoctoral service may not exceed five years, including postdoctoral service at other institutions. Under unusual circumstances (e.g., when a postdoctoral scholar has changed fields of study, or the acceptable term of a fellowship in their field is for 3 years) the dean may grant an exception to this limit, not to exceed a sixth year.


1. Expectation of Full-time Postdoctoral Scholar Appointments

  • a. Postdoctoral scholars are full-time academic appointees expected to have full-time appointments on a specific research project under the direction of one faculty mentor, except as provided in Section 2.a below.

  • b. The workweek for full-time exempt appointees is normally at least forty (40) hours, with the emphasis placed on meeting the responsibilities assigned to the position, on making progress toward their professional goals, and on demonstrating their research and creative capabilities, rather than on working a specified number of hours. Required work schedules must be reasonable, and related to the research needs.

  • c. As exempt employees, postdoctoral scholars are not eligible for overtime compensation or compensatory time off.

2. Exceptions to Full-time Postdoctoral Scholar Appointments

  • a. Upon written request of the postdoctoral scholar and support of their faculty mentor, the dean may grant an exception to a full-time appointment when:

    • i. The postdoctoral scholar is unable to make a full-time commitment for reasons of health, family responsibilities, or employment external to the University. Such a request must take into account extramural funding agency requirements, if any; or

    • ii. The postdoctoral scholar simultaneously holds a University teaching appointment or other University position. The percent time of the postdoctoral scholar appointment will be reduced so that the sum of the percent times of the two appointments equals one hundred percent (100%).

  • b. Reductions to the full-time appointment expectation made pursuant to Section 2.a.i above require the faculty mentor and postdoctoral scholar to sign a written agreement specifying the reduction in hours of work and concomitant responsibilities.

3. Multiple Projects with Multiple Mentors

  • a. In the event that a postdoctoral scholar requests to split their full-time appointment between multiple research projects under the direction of more than one faculty mentor, the Academic Personnel Office shall be consulted in either the creation or amendment of the postdoctoral scholars’ appointment to ensure that contractual obligations can be met by all the faculty mentors involved.

  • b. Multiple Principal Investigators may fund a postdoctoral scholar who has a full-time appointment on a specific research project under the direction of one faculty mentor.

See Appendix (A): Voluntary Reduction in Appointment Percentage - Postdoctoral Scholar


1. Authority to Recruit/Appoint/Reappoint

  • a. The deans have been delegated the authority to approve recruitments, appointments and reappointments to the postdoctoral scholar titles. This authority may not be further re-delegated.

2. Procedures for Recruitments

  • a. Hiring units are encouraged to announce opportunities in order to identify qualified candidates; however, postdoctoral scholar appointments are exempt from open recruitment documentation due to the training nature of the positions (see CAPM 100.500.I.1.h).

  • b. At minimum, hiring units should post postdoctoral positions on the campus and/or departmental employment opportunities website in order to promote equal opportunity for all candidates.

3. Procedures for Appointment/Reappointment

4. Notice of Appointment/Reappointment

  • a. As soon as practicable, but no later than seven calendar days prior the start of an appointment, or 30 calendar days prior to the start of a reappointment, the dean shall provide a postdoctoral scholar a written notice of appointment/reappointment. The appointment notice shall include:

    • i. Appointment title;

    • ii. Beginning and end dates of the appointment;

    • iii. Appointment percentage;

    • iv. Faculty mentor’s name;

    • v. Department or academic/research unit;

    • vi. Anticipated place of employment (location of work-site – i.e., main campus, named remote location);

    • vii. A brief description of the anticipated research project(s);

    • viii. Funding information available to the University at the time of appointment including: salary/stipend amount; supplemental compensation information, if any; and funding source(s);

    • ix. A statement that information on the University of California Postdoctoral Scholars Benefit Plan may be viewed at http://clients.garnett-powers.com/pd/uc/ and that additional information and directions on how to sign up for benefits will be disseminated upon the signing of required employment forms;

    • x. A statement that the postdoctoral scholar is exclusively represented by the UAW;

    • xi. The website address for the union and the MOU: http://www.uaw.org; http://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/labor/bargaining-units/px/index.html;

    • xii. A statement that the University maintains individual personnel files and that the postdoctoral scholar may access their file in accordance with the provisions of Article 18--Personnel Files;

    • xiii. Name of a person to contact for information regarding the appointment (with contact information); and

    • xiv. An acceptance page whereby the postdoctoral scholar can accept the terms and conditions of the appointment/reappointment.

5. Acceptance of Appointment/Reappointment


  • 1. General Compensation Principles

    • a. Nothing shall preclude the faculty mentor from providing compensation to Postdoctoral Scholars at rates above those required in this policy (see Sections 2 & 3 below).

    • b. When extramural funding agencies provide compensation below that required by this policy, and the faculty mentor elects to proceed with the appointment, the faculty mentor must provide additional funds to supplement the compensation so that it meets the required minimum. The faculty mentor shall arrange the additional funding prior to the offer of appointment being made to the postdoctoral scholar.

    • c. The provisions of this policy section on compensation shall not apply to any postdoctoral scholar appointed by an extramural funding agency (e.g., Einstein Fellows, Hubble Fellows) that restricts the Postdoctoral Scholar’s compensation to only that which is received from the extramural funding agency.

    • d. When extramural funding agencies provide compensation greater than that required by this policy, the requirements of the sponsoring agency shall dictate all salary increases and adjustments for the individual Postdoctoral Scholar.

  • 2. Postdoctoral Scholar Experience-based Minimum Compensation Rates

    • a. Beginning June 1, 2011, the postdoctoral scholar experience-based minimum compensation rates shall be implemented. See the Academic Salary Scales for these rates and and corresponding experience levels.

    • b. The minimum compensation rates will apply to individual postdoctoral scholars when they are newly appointed, reappointed or on their anniversary date.

  • 3. Reappointment

    • a. Once a postdoctoral scholar is compensated at their appropriate experience-based minimum compensation rate (by appointment, reappointment or anniversary date), all future reappointments must be to at least the next appropriate experience-based minimum compensation rate.

    • b. If a postdoctoral scholar’s compensation is above the appropriate experience-based minimum compensation rate, they shall receive (on reappointment or anniversary date) an increase to at least the minimum of the next appropriate salary/stipend experience level, or at least a two percent (2%) salary increase, whichever is greater.

    • c. If a postdoctoral scholar’s compensation is below the appropriate experience-based minimum compensation rate, they shall be moved (on reappointment or anniversary date) to the appropriate experience-based minimum compensation rate unless such a move exceeds a three percent (3%) increase, in which case they are only required to receive a three percent (3%) increase. Effective June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2014, this 3% increase changes to a 3.5% increase.

    • d. All Postdoctoral Scholars shall earn at least the appropriate experience-based minimum compensation rate for their experience step by June 1, 2014.

  • 4. Merit Increase

    • a. Merit increases may be recommended for postdoctoral scholars in addition to contractually required salary increases. Such increases are awarded on the basis of merit and the availability of funding, and are normally awarded in conjunction with an annual review or reappointment review.


1. General

  • a. Faculty mentors are responsible for guiding and monitoring the training of postdoctoral scholars.

  • b. If the Principal Investigator (PI) on a grant is not a faculty member and wishes to mentor a postdoctoral scholar, an exception may be requested by that PI, submitted to the unit head for support and forwarded to the dean for approval. This request should indicate that the PI is qualified to mentor the postdoctoral scholar in preparation for their academic or research career.

2. Progress Assessments

  • a. Within a reasonable time after the start of the appointment, the faculty mentor will communicate their research and progress expectations for the coming year to their postdoctoral scholar.

  • b. A postdoctoral scholar may request that the goals and expectations on which they will be assessed be provided to them in writing. In such circumstances the postdoctoral scholar shall submit a written draft of the discussed goals and expectations to the faculty mentor for review and signature.

  • c. It is expected that the faculty mentor and the postdoctoral scholar shall periodically engage in informal oral progress assessments. In these assessments, the faculty mentor and the postdoctoral scholar should discuss the postdoctoral scholar’s recent research progress and overall research objectives.

3. Individual Development Plans

  • a. Postdoctoral scholars may elect to develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP).

  • b. An IDP identifies the postdoctoral scholar’s general individual research goals, professional development and career objectives and serves as both a link to the faculty mentor’s research goal and a communication tool between a postdoctoral scholar and their faculty mentor.

  • c. In the event a postdoctoral scholar desires an IDP, they will:

    • i. Conduct a self assessment; and

    • ii. Submit a written draft of the IDP to the faculty mentor for discussion.

  • d. In response to the written draft of the IDP, the faculty mentor must:

    • i. Review the IDP;

    • ii. Share their knowledge about available development opportunities (e.g., conferences, trainings, grant opportunities) with the postdoctoral scholar; and

    • iii. Provide advice about possible revisions to the IDP as needed.

  • e. When implementing the IDP, if the postdoctoral scholar believes the IDP requires revision, they will follow the process outlined in Section 3.c. above.

4. Annual Review


An exception to policy is required for any postdoctoral scholar who wishes to submit a contract or grant proposal as a Principal Investigator.

A postdoctoral scholar wishing to submit a contract or grant proposal as a Principal Investigator shall follow the policy and procedures put in place by the Office of Sponsored Projects listed here: https://officeofresearch.ucsc.edu/about/policies.html

All requests for Principal Investigator Status are subject to the final approval of the Vice Chancellor for Research.


Postdoctoral scholars may obtain more detailed information regarding their benefits by viewing: http://clients.garnett-powers.com/pd/uc/.

1. General

  • a. All postdoctoral scholars are eligible to participate in the postdoctoral scholar benefit plans which include medical, dental, vision, life, AD&D, short term disability, and voluntary long term disability.

2. Health Insurance Required for All Postdoctoral Scholars

  • a. As a condition of appointment, postdoctoral scholars must have health insurance coverage for the duration of their appointment. This health insurance must be provided regardless of the postdoctoral scholar’s title or appointment duration or percentage. The dean may not issue an offer of appointment or reappointment to any postdoctoral scholar unless an appropriate funding source has been identified to cover the maximum possible employer portion of the benefits costs.

  • b. The actual cost of insurance coverage is determined by the enrollment decisions of the postdoctoral scholar after the appointment has been accepted.

  • c. For Postdoctoral Scholars – Paid Directs and Postdoctoral Scholars – Fellow where the fellowship does not include sufficient funding for benefits costs, the faculty mentor, department and/or division must identify appropriate alternative funding. The funding source(s) are determined in accordance with divisional guidelines.

  • d. The University may collect payments directly from an outside funding agency if available, or from a postdoctoral scholar if the agency has provided benefits funding directly to the postdoctoral scholar.


1. General

  • a. Postdoctoral scholars are expected to communicate with their faculty mentor to request sick leave, personal time off, and leaves of absence as soon as the need arises. Requests must be made in writing with information about the nature of the absence, probable duration, and where appropriate, the necessary documentation (e.g., medical certification for childbearing leave).

  • b. The faculty mentor has authority to approve sick leave, personal time off, and other leaves of absence of up to seven days, whether paid or unpaid. The dean has authority for sick leave, personal time off, and other leave of more than seven days, whether paid or unpaid.

  • c. See Appendix (F) - Postdoctoral Scholar Leave Matrix for a complete enumeration of leaves of absence available to postdoctoral scholars including their description, notice requirements, documentation requirements, pay status (i.e., use of sick leave or paid time off) and maximum duration.

2. Sick Leave

  • a. Eligibility

    • i. Postdoctoral scholars are eligible for paid sick leave of up to twelve (12) days per 100% twelve (12)-month appointment period. All twelve (12) work days are available for use on the first day of appointment.

    • ii. Postdoctoral scholars with a less than twelve (12)-month or less than 100% appointment are eligible for sick leave in proportion to their appointment.

  • b. Use of Sick Leave

    • i. Use of sick leave is recorded in one-day increments. Approved absences of less than one full day do not require the use of sick leave.

    • ii. Sick leave shall be used in keeping with normally approved purposes (e.g., personal illness, medical appointments, childbearing, disability and bereavement).

  • c. Unused Sick Leave

    • i. The University shall carry forward unused sick leave to subsequent postdoctoral scholar appointments as well as to subsequent non-postdoctoral scholar appointments eligible to accrue sick leave.

3. Personal Time Off

  • a. Eligibility

    • i. Postdoctoral scholars are eligible for up to twenty four (24) work days of personal time off with pay within each 100%, twelve (12)-month appointment period. All twenty four (24) work days of personal time off are available for use on the first day of appointment.

    • ii. Postdoctoral scholars with a less than twelve (12)-month or less than 100% appointment are eligible for personal time off in proportion to their appointment.

  • b. Use of Personal Time Off

    • i. The faculty mentor may deny requests for personal time off based on operational needs but shall not unreasonably deny a postdoctoral scholar’s request for personal time off.

    • ii. The faculty mentor shall respond in writing to the request for personal time off as soon as practicable.

    • iii. Use of personal time off is recorded in one-day increments. Approved absences of less than a day do not require the use of personal time off.

  • c. Unused Personal Time Off

    • i. Personal time off not used when the postdoctoral scholar’s appointment concludes, including when a postdoctoral scholar leaves the appointment prior to the established appointment end date, is forfeited. Personal time off is not carried forward to subsequent reappointments.

4. Leaves of Absence

  • a. Eligibility

    • i. In addition to sick leave and personal time off, postdoctoral scholars are eligible for leaves of absence.

  • b. Taking Leaves of Absence

    • i. Leaves of absence may be with or without pay, and may be for medical purposes and/or non-medical reasons. Approved leaves of absence cannot continue beyond the predetermined end date of the postdoctoral scholar’s appointment.

      See Appendix (F): Postdoctoral Scholar Leave Matrix


1. General Health and Safety Principles

  • a. The University shall make reasonable attempts to furnish and maintain in safe working condition the workplace and equipment required to carry out assigned duties.

  • b. The University shall not retaliate against any postdoctoral scholar for identifying, and/or expressing concerns about safety-related issues including, but not limited to, chemical and biological hazards, emergency response, ergonomic risks, radiation, lasers, magnetic fields, nano-particle exposure and fall hazards.

2. Healthy and Safety Training

  • a. The University shall provide training and information about the University’s health and safety programs. This training includes information about:

    • i. The health and safety protocols and emergency procedures associated with the postdoctoral scholars research and, where applicable, known specific hazards associated with the postdoctoral scholar’s research;

    • ii. The health and safety rights and responsibilities of both the employer and the postdoctoral scholars; and

    • iii. The procedures available to postdoctoral scholars to abate or report any unsafe or unhealthy working conditions.

  • b. The University will provide relevant training/information for reasonably foreseeable hazards that are related to exploratory research, and for tasks/procedures known to have associated safety risks.

  • c. The University shall document training that is provided to postdoctoral scholars.

3. Examination/Modification of Assignment

  • a. The normal course of a postdoctoral scholar’s research may include activities, substances, or procedures that may be considered hazardous.

  • b. In the event a postdoctoral scholar believes they have been assigned research that is hazardous, or research that requires additional training, the postdoctoral scholar shall immediately inform their supervisor of the components of the assignment that they believes to be hazardous or dangerous. Nothing in this provision shall limit the postdoctoral scholar’s option to contact the Office of Environmental Heath and Safety.

  • c. In attempting to resolve the postdoctoral scholar's claim, the supervisor may provide necessary training/instruction, protective equipment or hazard abatement, or may make workplace task performance and/or task assignment changes to remediate the postdoctoral scholar’s concerns.


1. Access to Personnel Files

  • a. The University shall identify the location(s) where a postdoctoral scholar or their designated representative may obtain access to the postdoctoral scholar’s personnel file(s). In the appointment notification, the University shall designate a contact person who will identify the location and process for accessing the file.

2. Documents included in Personnel Files

  • a. A postdoctoral scholar’s personnel file(s) contain information related to the individual’s appointment at the University, such as: the postdoctoral scholar’s proof of degree or transcript, Curriculum Vita, appointment and reappointment notices, information about the postdoctoral scholar’s pay and benefits, record of training, written annual reviews, discipline and dismissal actions and other relevant or necessary employment information specified by the University.

  • b. Copies of letters of disciplinary action, along with copies of proofs of service that accompany the letters, upon being provided to a postdoctoral scholar, shall be placed in the postdoctoral scholar's personnel file(s). The postdoctoral scholar's written comments, if any, regarding such letters shall be placed in their personnel file(s).

  • c. Records involving the processing of a postdoctoral scholar's grievance, such as the grievance form, step appeals/responses and settlement documents, will be kept in a file separate from the postdoctoral scholar's personnel file.

  • d. Upon the postdoctoral scholar's written request, counseling memoranda and/or written records of discussions will be removed from the postdoctoral scholar's personnel file if there have been no other such memoranda relating to, or disciplinary action on, the same or similar issue(s) for a two-year period.

  • e. Items placed in a postdoctoral scholar's personnel file(s) shall contain the date of the document's creation and its source, and may contain the date on which the information was placed in the file.

  • f. The postdoctoral scholar has the right to request that errors of fact in employment records be corrected, and to make additions to personnel records.

3. Access to the Personnel File

  • a. A postdoctoral scholar shall, upon written request to the University, have the opportunity to review their personnel file(s) in the presence of a representative of the University, within five (5) working days after the University receives the request.


Contact the campus Labor Relations Office prior to taking any disciplinary actions. There are procedural requirements mandated by the MOU.

1. Grounds for Discipline or Dismissal

  • a. The dean may discipline or dismiss a postdoctoral scholar for just cause.

  • b. In general, the principle of just cause requires that the degree of discipline be reasonably related to the performance problem or misconduct, and that prior to being disciplined the postdoctoral scholar knew or reasonably should have known of the conduct and job performance expectations.

2. Types of Disciplinary Action:

  • a. Disciplinary actions include: written warning, suspension without pay, or dismissal.

  • b. A written notice of intent must be issued for suspension without pay and dismissal.


A postdoctoral scholar must file a grievance on the grievance form with the campus Labor Relations Office within thirty (30) calendar days from the date they knew or should have known of the event or action which gave rise to the grievance.


Contact the campus Labor Relations Office with any questions regarding Layoff

  • 1. In the event that appropriate funding becomes unavailable, the faculty mentor must inform the dean immediately, and provide a written statement concerning the unavailability of appropriate funding and the faculty mentor’s recommendation for implementation of the layoff.

  • 2. The dean shall provide written notification to the postdoctoral scholar of the layoff. Such notice shall be provided at least thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the effective date of the layoff.

  • 3. In the event thirty (30) calendar day’s notice cannot be provided, the University shall provide pay in lieu of notice for the portion of the thirty (30) days for which notice was not provided.

  • 4. A postdoctoral scholar who is subject to layoff may request that the dean supply a written statement concerning the unavailability of appropriate funding that is the reason for the layoff.

  • 5. In order to mitigate the effects of a layoff, the University will provide advice to the postdoctoral scholar in finding an alternate postdoctoral scholar appointment for which they are qualified.

    See Appendix (G): Template Layoff Letter