Benefits for Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Postdoctoral Research Fellows (“Fellows”) at the University of Michigan are here to receive training from University of Michigan faculty, to prepare for future careers as researchers, and in many cases to become peers and colleagues of the faculty at UM or elsewhere. Thus, it is the University’s intent, insofar as is possible, to administer the training experiences for all Research Fellows, regardless of their appointing department or source of financial support (i.e. salary or training grant stipend), similarly. This is especially true with respect to providing a uniformly ‘family-friendly’ environment.

The University of Michigan extends benefits to all Fellows that reflect the institution's commitment to foster a family-friendly environment. These benefits may include: paid or unpaid periods of excused absence, adherence to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), access to on-site child care, child care tuition grants, child care information resources, and access to dependent coverage for health insurance.

This chart below is intended to provide general information regarding family-friendly benefits for Fellows. 

 

Leave and Time Off

 

Paid Sick Leave

Research Fellows with year-long appointments are eligible for up to three (3) weeks per year of paid absence for personal illness, childbirth, childcare, injury, and family care.  Fellows who are either part-time (i.e. less than 100% effort) or who are appointed for at least six months but less than one year shall receive a pro-rata sick leave allowance. Department administrators should consult the relevant fellowship or training grant for details on the proper administration of time away from work.  Paid sick leave for fellows paid by fellowships (“scholar trainees”) should be as similar as possible to that of ‘employee trainees’, although the University must comply with the terms set out by the sponsoring agency.  Remember that the family-friendly initiatives at NIH, NSF and other federal funding agencies have been very influential in terms of making such time off available all Fellows.

 

Paid Extended Leave

Research Fellows are eligible for up to six (6) weeks per year of paid extended leave, if unable to fulfill responsibilities because of a qualifying disability, e.g., serious illness, serious injury or childbirth. A Fellow will become eligible for paid extended leave following a six-month period of employment as a Research Fellow, starting at the date of the first appointment. A Fellow returning from extended leave must remain at work for at least six months to renew the extended leave benefit. Paid extended leave may be utilized in combination with the annual vacation allowance and/or paid sick leave provisions of SPG 201.19.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Salaried Fellows (who have formal appointments of 1% or greater, and are sometimes called employee trainees) who meet the eligibility requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) are eligible under the FMLA to be absent from work without pay for up to twelve weeks in their FMLA benefit year for a qualifying event, with continuation of University contributions to insured benefit coverage during the period.  Scholar trainees (who have 0% appointments and are supported by fellowships) are not formally covered by FMLA. However, as a matter of University policy, such Fellows should also receive continuation of appointment and benefit coverage during the previously-established term of their appointment for up to 12 weeks when they experience the family and personal situations that would make other Research Fellows eligible for FMLA. As a result of family-friendly initiatives at many sponsoring federal agencies, many federal grants have provisions for how to administer a leave that is comparable to FMLA benefits for Scholar Trainees.  Consult the terms of the funding (Note that non-FMLA periods of absence exceeding the use of available sick leave and/or vacation time, if any, may result in the Research Fellow being responsible for all costs associated with continuation of health and other insurance programs).  http://hr.umich.edu/tutorials/FMLA/eligibility.html

 

Other Unpaid Periods of Absence  

Unpaid periods of absence during the appointment period resulting from short-term disabilities or other exigencies, including pregnancy and childbirth for those not meeting FMLA eligibility requirements, may be provided if such an arrangement would allow the Fellow, on return, to successfully complete their training plan prior to the previously-scheduled appointment end date and if they are consistent with sponsor requirements . Department administrators should consult provisions of sponsor agencies relevant to the specific fellowship or traineeship for details on the proper administration of such absences.

 

Flexible Schedule

A flexible schedule typically involves rearranging a standard schedule for a defined period of time.  It can be a compressed work week (e.g. work four 10 (ten) hour days), starting and ending workdays at different times, adjusted lunch breaks, or doing some work at home.
The availability of such accommodations may vary, based on the staffing and other needs of the appointing unit.  Consult with your PI or unit administrator.

 

Vacation

Research Fellows with year-long appointments are eligible for twenty-two (22) days of paid vacation annually.  Fellows who are either part-time (i.e. less than 100% effort) or who are appointed for at least six months but less than one year shall receive a pro-rata vacation allowance.  Paid vacation for fellows paid by fellowships (“scholar trainees”) should be as similar as possible to that of ‘employee trainees’, although the University must comply with the terms set out by the sponsoring agency.  Remember that the family-friendly initiatives at NIH, NSF and other federal funding agencies have been very influential in terms of making such time off available all Fellows.

 

Holidays

All Fellows are granted time off without loss of pay or stipend for all University holidays observed during the appointment period. If operational exigency requires that time off cannot be granted during the holiday, an equivalent amount of time off should be provided during another period of time.   Holidays observed by the University are described on the University Human Resources website at: http://hr.umich.edu/holidays13.html   

 

Season Days

All Fellows are granted time off without loss of pay or stipend during four (4) Season Days typically a between the days observed by the university as the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. If operational exigency requires that time off cannot be granted during the season day period, an equivalent amount of time off should be provided during another period of time.  Season Days observed by the University are described on the University Human Resources website at: http://hr.umich.edu/holidays13.html

 

 

Child Care and Dependent Care

 

Child Care and Education

University of Michigan Child Care and Education currently serves children, ranging in age from infants to age five. U-M child care centers are located on and or near the Ann Arbor central and north campuses, close to the University of Michigan Health System, and on the campuses of U-M Flint and Dearborn.  http://hr.umich.edu/childcare/

 

Child Care Referral Service

Child Care Referral Specialists are available to do a customized search using a regularly updated child care referral database containing licensed child care programs to match your needs. http://hr.umich.edu/worklife/childcare/index.html

 

Child Care Tuition Grant

The Child Care Tuition Grant (CCTG) is a University of Michigan program designed to assist low-income families with young children meet the cost of licensed child care at our central and north campus centers.  Eligibility for the Child Care Tuition Grant is determined by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines.   The program is funded by the Provost’s Office.   http://hr.umich.edu/worklife/childcare/moneymatters.html  

 

Family Helpers Program

The U-M Family Helpers program offers a listing of University of Michigan students who are available for:  child care; elder assistance; tutoring; pet sitting; house sitting; house-keeping; lawn care; running errands; and more.  Students listed on this site have cleared a State of Michigan criminal background check.  This website also has a “help wanted” feature where the UM community can post the service they are seeking so a Family Helper can respond directly.  https://hr.umich.edu/worklife/familyhelpers/

 

Kids Kare at Home

Kids Kare at Home is a back-up child care program for families at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and UMHS. Kids Kare at Home gives you a back-up option when your child is sick and cannot be sent to school/child care; or your regular child care is not available (e.g. in-service day). Sliding scale rates (graduated according to family income) are available.  http://hr.umich.edu/worklife/kidskare/index.html

 

Work Life Resource Center

The Work/Life Resource Center is a starting point for members of the University community to learn about resources and tools to promote work/life balance. Members of the University — research fellows, full- or part-time faculty, staff or student —can receive support from the office at no charge.
http://hr.umich.edu/worklife/index.php

 


Benefits

 

General Information

Benefit information for Research Fellows is summarized on the following web page:  http://benefits.umich.edu/benefitgroups/research.html   

 

Group Health Insurance

All fellows with a 0% or greater appointment funding (stipend, Special Purpose Funds or salary) for a minimum of four continuous months are eligible to enroll in U-M health insurance plans. (note:  Fellows are required to enroll themselves and their dependents, as necessary, in the University group health and dental plans.  They receive the same rate structure that applies to University staff.)  http://benefits.umich.edu/plans/medical/index.html

 

Dental

All fellows with a 0% or greater appointment funding (stipend, Special Purpose Funds or salary) for a minimum of four continuous months are eligible to enroll in U-M Dental Plan Options 1, 2, or 3. http://benefits.umich.edu/plans/dental/index.html

 

Vision

All fellows with a 0% or greater appointment funding (stipend, Special Purpose Funds or salary) for a minimum of four continuous months are eligible to enroll in the U-M Vision Plan.  http://benefits.umich.edu/plans/vision/index.html

 

MHealthy

All Fellows are eligible. MHealthy offers a variety of programs and services to help meet your health and wellness needs. http://www.hr.umich.edu/mhealthy/

 

Legal Plan

All Fellows are eligible.  The Legal Plan covers telephone advice, office consultation, and referral to a local attorney.  You can receive legal assistance with matters such as: wills and estate planning, real estate matters, family law matters, and document preparation.  http://benefits.umich.edu/plans/legal/index.html

 

Travel Accident Insurance

All Fellows are eligible. Provides coverage for accidental death or permanent total disability when traveling while on official University of Michigan Business (excluding vacations and everyday travel to and from work). The university pays the full premium and you do not have to enroll in this coverage.  http://benefits.umich.edu/plans/travelacc/index.html

 

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

Salaried Fellows (e.g. employee trainees) with a 1% or greater appointment for a minimum of four continuous months are eligible to participate. A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows you to set aside pre-tax money from your paychecks to pay for daycare expenses for your eligible dependents incurred so you can work, or if you are married, so you and your spouse can work, or your spouse can attend school full-time.  http://benefits.umich.edu/plans/reimburse/index.html

 

Health Care Flexible Spending Account

Salaried Fellows (e.g. employee trainees) with a 1% or greater appointment for a minimum of four continuous months are eligible to participate.  A Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows you to set aside pre-tax money from your paychecks to pay for certain medical expenses. Eligible expenses may have been incurred for you, your spouse, children, and any other person who is a qualified dependent under the Internal Revenue Code.  http://benefits.umich.edu/plans/reimburse/index.html

 

Supplemental Retirement Account

Salaried Fellows (e.g. employee trainees) with a 1% or greater appointment of at least four months duration paid by the university are eligible to participate.   A Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA) can be established with TIAA-CREF or Fidelity Investments as a way to save more for retirement on a tax-deferred basis. http://benefits.umich.edu/plans/retire/sra.html

 

University, Optional, and Dependent Group Term Life Insurance

Salaried Fellows (e.g. employee trainees) with a 0% or greater appointment for a minimum of four continuous months are eligible to participate.  Options range from a University Plan provided to you paid for by the University; an Optional Plan that allows you to chose your coverage amount (up to a maximum) that is paid for by you; and a Dependent Plan that provides coverage for your spouse or other qualified adult or your dependent children that is paid for by you.   http://benefits.umich.edu/plans/life/index.html

 

 

Resources

National Postdoctoral Association: Family-Friendly Resources for Postdocs
http://www.nationalpostdoc.org/publications/family-friendly

NIH Family-Friendly Initiative (including some FAQ)
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/family_friendly.htm

NIH: Frequently Asked Questions on Policies Related to Parental Leave and Child Care
http://grants.nih.gov/training/faq_childcare.htm#1346

NIH: Frequently Asked Questions, NRSA Fellowships
http://grants.nih.gov/training/faq_fellowships.htm  

NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html

National Institutes of Health Grants Policy Statement (NIHGPS) http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm#gps

Balancing the Scale: NSF’s Career-Life Balance Initiative
http://www.nsf.gov/career-life-balance/

National Science Foundation Award and Administration Guide
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf11001/aag_index.jsp

National Science Foundation Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf10_1/nsf10_1.pdf

NSF: Frequently Asked Questions Related to Dependent Care
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2010/nsf10032/nsf10032.jsp

 

October, 2012