What are the steps for hiring a postdoc?
- The hiring Principal Investigator first identifies a candidate for the position. Job postings for postdocs do not need to be formally filed with Human Resources, however, postings may be placed on the Postdoctoral Affairs website to aide recruitment (send the job description to Dr. Heinen if you would like it posted on the site).
- Other useful resources may be found at our Postdoc Recruit Tools site.
- Offers of employment can be made only for valid, authorized and budgeted positions. Postdoctoral researchers found working without proper authorization will be immediately released from duty by Human Resources.
- Once the candidate is identified, the PI must complete an Offer Letter (see Sample Offer Letter). The PI is welcome to send an electronic draft of the letter to Dr. Heinen for review prior to collecting signatures. The letter is signed by the PI, the Department head and Dr. Heinen who will interface with HR for final approval before being sent to the candidate.
- One-time bonuses can be offered to postdocs in their offer letter to be used for moving expenses or other items. Language should be added to the first paragraph of the offer letter after the salary statement that reads as such: “In addition, you will receive a one-time lump sum payment of $x,xxx, which you will receive at the same time as the payment for your first pay period at UConn Health.”
- For international candidates, the PI should contact Kaitlin Dornenburg in the Office of International Programs as early as possible to initiate the necessary visa sponsorship process.
- Once the candidate signs and returns the Offer Letter, a copy of that letter is sent back to Iris Chalerman along with a Personnel Transaction Data Sheet. A copy of the internal job duties for the position and an organizational chart need to be included with that form.
- Human Resources will send the candidate a Compliance Package for them to complete as well as schedule their New Employee Orientation.
- Applicants will be required to have a Ph.D. or other advanced degree to be a postdoc at UConn Health. For applicants who have completed their advanced degree at a U.S. or Canadian institution, an official letter from that institution’s registrar’s office stating the applicant has fulfilled all requirements for the advanced degree is sufficient in lieu of the actual diploma.
- For applicants who have obtained or will be completing an advanced degree at any other foreign institution, an official translation of the diploma is necessary. However, if the diploma is not available at the time of the hiring process, at least two of the following documents must be provided as proof of completion:
- An official letter of completion from the institution’s registrar’s office, dean or other higher level administrative office (a letter from the thesis mentor or department chair is not sufficient)
- An official transcript with the institution’s seal
- An official certificate of completion from the institution
- For these international applicants, an official translation of the diploma must be provided within six months of the start date. Postdocs will not be able to exit probationary status (see below) until this document is provided. A one-time six month extension can be granted, however, if a diploma can not be produced within one year of hiring, that employee can no longer remain in a postdoc position.
What is the typical tenure for a postdoctoral scholar?
- Postdocs are hired for one year and renewed on an annual basis for a maximum of five years. (NOTE: Due to Covid-19, those postdocs who are employed at UConn Health in 2020 will have a maximum tenure of six years, if necessary. No additional approval is needed at this time.)
- Postdoctoral fellows at UConn Health are members of the University Health Professionals Union. Newly hired postdocs are considered probationary employees for the first six months. The probationary period can be extended for an additional six months if necessary. A written notification of the extension needs to be sent to the employee and the Union within two weeks of the continuation period.
- Annual written evaluations must be prepared by the PI and reviewed with the postdoctoral fellow. The signed evaluations must be turned in prior to April 30th each year to Human Resources who will implement the continuation of appointment and salary adjustments.
- Postdoctoral fellows receive 30 days of leave time per year to cover vacation, personal and holiday time off beginning each year on January 1st. This leave time cannot be carried over from year to year, nor accumulated and used for the basis of payment at the end of the year or of the postdoctoral appointment.
- Under special circumstances, a postdoc can be granted a terminal sixth year. Requests for this extension need to be made in writing to Dr. Heinen. Approval of a sixth year will require demonstration by faculty member that some form of a career development plan has been established and discussed with the postdoc. This can be demonstrated by an active job search/recruitment process, the completion of an IDP or through regular discussions of career goals and steps toward those goals. (NOTE: Approval for a sixth year is automatic for any postdocs who was working in 2020 due to Covid-19, though PIs are still asked to continue working with postdocs on career development goals)
Can I give my postdoc a raise?
- The minimum starting salary for a postdoctoral scholar at UConn Health is currently $56,484 (as of July 2023). However, a PI is free to offer any amount above the current minimum.
- As stipulated in the current UHP contract, postdocs who do not obtain an unsatisfactory evaluation will receive an automatic salary increase effective July of each year in accordance with the contract language. At this time, PIs are allowed to provide an additional raise beyond the negotiated increase. This does not apply to postdocs who are still in the probationary period.
How do I terminate a postdoctoral scholar?
- If you need to terminate a postdoc for any reason, please first contact Labor Relations (860-679-8067) to discuss. You may also contact Dr. Heinen with any questions.
- Non-renewal of a postdoc at the end of the current appointment period shall be considered a failure to re-appoint and requires a written notice (see Sample Letter) three months prior to the end date.
- A termination at any other time due to loss of grant funding also requires written notice according to the following schedule:
- After six months … two weeks
- After one year … six weeks
Dismissal due to cause does not follow this schedule.
Can I hire a part-time postdoctoral scholar or reduce their FTE?
A postdoctoral position is considered a training position and is not compatible with part-time effort. Under special circumstances, a postdoc may be reduced to part-time for a limited duration, however, this must be approved by Dr. Heinen. Requests should be sent to Dr. Heinen in writing describing the reason for the reduction and the length of time for which the reduction will be necessary.
For more information on policies concerning postdoctoral fellows, please consult the UHP contract, page 101.