Benefits for postdocs

Policies regarding postdocs are found at

Medical -

 Postdoctoral scholars interested in participating in the Penn State employee healthcare plan according to postdoctoral scholar eligibility, the per pay contribution rates follow the same salary-based schedule as faculty and staff. Information on rates is at

Vision -

For postdoctoral scholars interested in participating in the University’s vision plan, the rates are shown at


The dental benefit for Post Docs is not the same as other employee benefits. They are the same as the graduate student insurance dental benefits. Current rates can be found at


Age-Graded Life Insurance

As a new postdoctoral scholar employee, you may elect to participate in the age-graded life insurance plan. Coverage can be elected in an amount that is equal to one times your annual stipend. Postdoctoral scholars only have one opportunity to sign up for the age-graded life insurance, during the new employee open enrollment period at time of hire.  Postdoctoral scholars are not eligible to elect the optional spousal or dependent life insurance. Additional information can be found at

Postdocs seeking new parent accommodation can refer to the guidelines below. Postdoctoral scholars at Penn State receive medical, dental, vision, age-graded life insurance as given below.

New Parent Accommodation




This document serves as a recommended guideline and is not considered a formal policy. Colleges and departments are encouraged to use these guidelines as a model for effectively meeting the related needs of postdoctoral trainees, in the spirit that such matters should be handled in the most supportive manner possible.


  • Purpose
  • Parental Accommodation Defined
  • Accommodations
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Acquiring Parental Accommodation
  • Financial Support & Administration
  • Statement of Minimum


Consistent with Penn State's continuous effort to support the personal and professional development of all members of our community, this guideline on new parent accommodation seeks to reduce the professional and personal stresses that can develop when postdoctoral trainees become parents. New parenthood, whether by childbirth or adoption, can put the careers of some postdoctoral trainees at risk because of the added and intensive care-giving responsibilities. This guideline is designed to provide postdoctoral trainees with an opportunity to integrate parenthood with their academic scholarship and research. In addition to providing assistance to families, it seeks to accomplish three particular institutional goals:

  1. to reduce attrition for postdoctoral trainees who become parents during their careers at Penn State;
  2. to standardize the treatment of postdoctoral trainees who become parents during their time at Penn State;
  3. to establish an institutional accommodation guideline that is recognized by external agencies and other funding sources for postdoctoral trainees.



Penn State will reasonably accommodate the needs of its postdoctoral trainees when they become parents. "Parent" is defined as a man who fathers a child, a mother who gives birth to a child, or any person who adopts a child or the documented, same-sex partner of a birth parent. A postdoctoral trainee who becomes a parent as defined above is eligible for paid leave under this guideline upon the birth of a biological child or when an adoptive child is placed within the individual’s custody and adoption proceedings are officially underway. "Accommodation" is defined as the reasonable allowances as outlined in this document.



The University wishes to foster cooperation between postdoctoral trainees and their respective supervisors and departments during any period of new parenthood. While accommodations offered by supervisors and professional colleagues beyond those listed here are encouraged, they are not required.

If the leave is approved, the postdoctoral trainee will be excused from his/her regular postdoctoral duties for a period of up to six weeks, or until the end of the appointment (whichever occurs first), immediately following the birth or adoption of a child. Note that this guideline does not address occasions for which medical care is required prior to the birth of a child, or situations that necessitate extended medical treatment because of complications that may arise during or following the birth of a child. Such occasions, which require extended paid leave due to illness or disability, are to be handled in the manner outlined in the HR68 policy regarding leaves for postdoctoral trainees. During the six weeks leave, postdoctoral trainees will continue to receive the same income and benefits as provided previously by the University. Health care benefits, including health insurance, as had previously applied to trainees and their dependents, will remain unchanged.

Postdoctoral trainees should alert their supervisors as soon as they recognize the need for an impending accommodation period so that any necessary work adjustments might be made. During the accommodation, individuals may wish to maintain a certain amount of involvement with their supervisors and other professional activities at the University to best facilitate a smooth transition upon their return. Unless otherwise mutually agreed, postdoctoral trainees will not be required to perform any duties for the duration of their accommodation.

Approval of accommodation will automatically extend deadlines--for work assignments, proposals or related work, and other responsibilities--for the duration of the accommodation period. Faculty and other supervisors are expected to work with postdoctoral trainees to make fair and appropriate alternative arrangements during the accommodation period.



An individual is eligible for parental accommodation under this guideline if she or he is the primary caregiver for a newly born or newly adopted child and is currently appointed by the University as a 48-week postdoctoral trainee. In the event both parents of a newborn or newly adopted child are postdoctoral trainees, only one parent may receive accommodation.

This guideline is applicable for the length of the appointment. International postdoctoral trainees will retain their appointment status throughout the parental accommodation period. International postdoctoral trainees should consult with the International Scholars Office during the application process to ensure their visa status will remain unchanged throughout their time at Penn State.



Postdoctoral trainees must submit a written request for an accommodation to their college/unit human resources representative who will consult with the trainee's supervisor. The human resources representative will notify the trainee regarding the outcome of the request, as well as the supervisor and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Approval for parental accommodation must be granted before individuals can be excused from their regular activities.



In most cases, postdoctoral trainees who have been funded by their supervisor’s external grant (or by an external grant from another unit if they are not funded by their supervisor) will receive their parental accommodation pay through that specific grant, provided that the granting agency permits such action. If the funding agency has terms and conditions which do not permit funding pursuant to this guideline, the supervisor should fund the parental accommodation period with other funds. Postdoctoral trainees, who work in positions funded by colleges or other administrative units of the University, should receive their parental accommodation pay from unit resources.

The human resources representative for the relevant unit, in conjunction with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, will ensure compliance and proper administration of this guideline for postdoctoral trainees. If a request for a new parent accommodation is denied, the postdoctoral trainee has the right to appeal the decision. Appeals and outstanding circumstances will be reviewed by these above entities, in consultation with the Associate Dean of Research for the respective college or unit. Appeals should be submitted in writing to the human resources representative within 10 days of receiving the notification that the original request has been denied.




This guideline sets the minimum parental accommodations recommended for postdoctoral trainees. Individual parties are encouraged to work collaboratively to ensure these minimum accommodations, but should feel free to negotiate additional accommodations as mutually agreeable. Indeed, additional accommodations may be necessary, especially in medically critical situations.