The Fair Labor Standards Act and Postdocs
March 2019: Department of Labor proposes new update
The Department of Labor has proposed a new set of updates to formally retract and replace the 2016 proposal. The proposals:
- would likely come into effect January 1st 2020
- would raise the threshold for overtime exemption from $23,660 to $35,308 for the “white collar exemption” (the 2016 proposal was $47,476) and from $100,000 to $147,414 for Highly Compensated Employees (the 2016 proposal was $134,004).
- would allow the thresholds to be updated every 4 years after a consultation period (currently there is no renewal mechanism built in – the last update was in 2004; the 2016 proposal called for a binding regular update, and is likely the component allowing a successful legal challenge that ultimately stopped the update from coming into effect).
When the commenting period begins, we will post the link to the Federal Register here.
The data that follows discusses action surrounding the 2016 update
A paper by Adriana Bankston and Gary McDowell is now available, analyzing the full story of the FLSA and postdocs, and providing all the data on how institutions have implemented changes now that the FLSA will not be updated. See: Monitoring the compliance of the academic enterprise with the Fair Labor Standards Act at F1000Research
LOOKING FOR THE LATEST INFO ON WHAT INSTITUTIONS ARE DOING? START HERE:
How institutional plans have/have not changed since the injunction
Federal agencies who were planning to raise stipends:
National Institutes of Health: continuing plans to raise NRSA stipend levels – see here.
Institutions who were planning to raise salaries:
Arizona State University: continuing plans to raise salaries – for the “majority” of postdocs (unclear what this means).
Boston Children’s Hospital (Massachusetts): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Boston University (Massachusetts): continuing plans to raise salaries – see here.
Brigham and Women’s (Massachusetts): reversed plans and are now continuing plans to raise salaries, after initially cancelling plans to raise salaries.
Burke Medical Research Institute, Weill Cornell (New York): cancelling plans to raise salaries.
Clarkson University (New York): continuing plans to raise salaries.”Prior to the injunction, we had already made salary changes to our Post doc’s. We did not take those away after the injunction was issued.”
Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Massachusetts): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Dartmouth College: continuing plans to raise salaries.
Duke University (North Carolina): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Emory University (Georgia): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Florida State University: continuing plans to raise salaries.
Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Massachusetts): continuing plans to raise salaries BUT explicitly have stated there will not be raises for those paid on external stipends.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York): continuing plans to raise salaries to $50,000 minimum.
Iowa State University: continuing plans to raise salaries to lower levels, see here for more info: “We revisited and approved the salary increases to reach above the minima by 2018” after cancelling plans to raise salaries – actually paid postdocs at Dec 1st at FLSA min and then were reducing any postdocs whose salary was not updated in a renegotiation of their contract to the levels stated here (beginning at $44,100 for 2017).
Johns Hopkins (Maryland): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Joslin Diabetes Center (Massachusetts): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Loyola University (Illinois): cancelling plans to raise salaries.
Massachusetts General Hospital: continuing plans to raise salaries “As of February 1, 2017, MGH postdocs had their salaries aligned with the NIH FY17 guidelines, bringing any salaries that were below the original FLSA requirement up to that minimum. Prior to that date, MGH postdoc salaries were mandated to follow earlier NIH guidelines. Note that our salary policy is for Mass General Hospital only, and is not exactly aligned with Harvard (Medical School or University)” – previously, delayed plans to raise salaries after original indications that they were continuing plans to raise salaries, when injunction came into effect.
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary: delaying plans to raise salaries.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: continuing plans to raise salaries.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Biology: raising salaries to the following scale: $49,000 (1st year in program, 0 years of experience), $50,000 (2nd year in program, 1 year of experience), $51,000 (3rd year in program, 2 years of experience), $52,000 (4th year in program, 3 years of experience), $52,500 (5th year in program, 4 years of experience)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences: continuing plans to raise salaries (salaries already exceeded FLSA minimum and negotiated by postdocs already).
Michigan State University: cancelling plans.
Northwestern University (Illinois): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Ohio University: cancelling plans to raise salaries.
Oregon Health and Science University: continuing plans to raise salaries.
Purdue University (Indiana): cancelling plans to raise salaries – communicated to us by postdocs, HR responded with, “Communications explaining the changes to our FLSA implementation plans was delivered to each impacted employee late yesterday.”
Rutgers University (New Jersey): cancelling plans to raise salaries.
The Scripps Research Institute (California): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Stanford University (California): continuing plans to raise salaries (salaries already exceeded FLSA minimum).
Temple University (Pennsylvania): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Tufts University (Massachusetts): continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Alabama Birmingham: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Arizona: continuing plans to raise salaries, effective 7/1/2017.
University of California: continuing plans to raise salaries (already negotiated in contract with postdoc union).
University of Central Florida: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Chicago: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Colorado Boulder: continuing plans – see here.
University of Colorado Denver: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Delaware: continuing plans to raise salaries – see here.
University of Florida: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Illinois system: generally confusing and poorly administered: continued plans to raise salaries as of 12/5, after cancelling plans to raise salaries on 11/23. However they have reduced the salaries for new hires: “any NEW Postdoctoral Research Associates must be paid at least $43,000 annually. Units have discretion to pay above the floor if funds are available.” We have however had reports of “new” affecting postdoc contracts being renewed and treated as new hires.
University of Iowa: cancelling plans to raise salaries, apparently this has been mandated by the State of Iowa and they are returning to their previous policy that postdocs can be paid no less than 5% below NIH NRSA. However they have not yet replied to a request for clarification if this will be set to the new NIH NRSA levels, which begin at the FLSA minimum anyway. Clarification on 1/12/17: this WILL be based on the new NIH NRSA levels.
University of Louisville (Kentucky): continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Kansas: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Kentucky: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Maryland: cancelling plans to raise salaries.
University of Massachusetts Medical School: cancelling plans to raise salaries but allowing individual PIs to decide.
University of Memphis (Tennessee): continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Michigan: letting individual departments/units decide but generally continuing plans to raise: UMich is leaving it up to individual “units” (i.e. each college, institute). However, IF they decide to move forward (most postdocs will be getting the minimum; there are only a few colleges/institutes left), UMich will provide some bridge funding as an incentive. 12/16: faculty at college of LSA have heard raises will go ahead, some admins are hearing mixed things, postdocs at the Medical School have heard that they will benefit from continuing plans to raise salaries, after initial indications they were cancelling plans to raise salaries (see here).
University of Minnesota: somehow, possibly both? They are raising salaries as planned, see press story. However they have apparently informed postdocs that this may be reversed, depending on the outcome of the injunction. On 12/20/16 they cancelled raises for all staff groups except postdocs.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln: cancelling plans to raise salaries.
University of Nevada Reno: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Nevada Las Vegas: cancelling plans to raise salaries.
University of New England (Maine): continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of North Carolina Wilmington: cancelling plans to raise salaries.
University of Notre Dame (Indiana): continuing plans to raise salaries for current postdocs; looking into whether to create a new standard salary minimum.
University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania): continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of South Florida: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley: cancelling plans to raise salaries.
University of Texas Southwestern: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Virginia: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Washington: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Wisconsin Madison: continuing plans to raise salaries.
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee: delaying plans to raise salaries.
University System of Georgia: continuing plans to raise salaries – see here.
Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Wayne State University (Michigan): cancelling plans to raise salaries, and in doing so appear to be claiming that they are being forced to do so by the injunction, which is not the case.
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (Massachusetts): salaries already exceed FLSA minimum.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (Massachusetts): salaries already exceed FLSA minimum.
Yale University (Connecticut): continuing plans to raise salaries.
Institutions who were promoting raised salaries but also allowing hours tracking
Brigham Young University (Utah): “for the handful of researchers where we did not raise their salary and who we changed to non-exempt, we decided to keep them non-exempt and see where things will go in 2017.”
Idaho State University: “We are waiting for further information and guidelines regarding final outcome on the injunction. We have not planned on adjusting any post-doc salaries at this time…however, we will review final information at the conclusion of the injunction and make an appropriate decision at that time.”
Northern Arizona University: “Our Post-Docs were already earning over the threshold, so we did not have any plans in place that we had to reconsider.
University at Buffalo, State University of New York: dealing with postdocs “on a case-by-case basis”.
University of Maine: “Post-doc salaries were to remain where they were prior to December 1st. We decided not to raise their salaries and to make non-exempt the few that were below the $47,476 threshold. Post injunction post-docs remain as they were pre-injunction.”
Wright State University (Ohio): “No change, all based on funding.”
Institutions who were planning to track hours:
Florida Atlantic: “Florida Atlantic University did not move forward with any changes to any positions once the FLSA injunction was made.”
Texas Tech: plans on hold
University of Cincinnati (Ohio): continuing plans to track hours
University of Maine: “The injunction is currently temporary, we’ll be waiting on a more ongoing outcome.”
University of Southern Mississippi: cancelling plans to track hours
Washington State University: cancelling plans to track hours – see here.
Institutions for which plans were not previously known/decided:
Beth Israel (Massachusetts): not raising salaries.
Case Western Reserve University (Ohio): raising salaries.
Clarkson University (New York): raising salaries.
Clemson University (South Carolina): No updates as of March 2017.
Connecticut College: “The FLSA changes and subsequent injunction have not had any impact on our postdocs because their pay exceeds the proposed salary threshold and their responsibilities meet the FLSA exemption duties.”
Cooper University (New Jersey): “We are paying our post doc appropriately.”
Donald Danforth Plant Sciences Center (Missouri): raising salaries.
Drew University (New Jersey): “Drew University initially converted postdoc salary (<$21K for nine months) to hourly, but reversed decision after injunction. No increase in salary was instituted.”
Illinois State University: UNCLEAR: two replies from HR: “We have less than a handful of postdocs on our campus. Based on our case by case analysis of the positions, some positions were set to receive a salary increase and others were transitioning to the hourly payroll.” and “Currently, Illinois State University suspended all plans related to the FLSA changes.”
Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (Minnesota): raising salaries.
Oklahoma State University: not raising salaries and continuing with plans on tracking postdoc hours.
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (Illinois): raising salaries.
Salk Institute (California): not raising salaries – note that Salk is affiliated with University of California San Diego, where the postdoc union has negotiated a raise in the contract for postdocs to the new NIH NRSA levels at +2 years beyond the number of years experience the postdoc actually has.
St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Tennessee): now raising salaries as of 12/22/16, starting at $48,435 (see website here), after initial indications they would not be raising salaries (their website previously claimed that, “Postdoctoral fellows at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are not required to bring their own funding and are compensated with a competitive salary above the recommended NIH levels,” and as their salary levels were now below NIH NRSA levels we were curious as to whether that would change, and it has).
Louisiana State University: not raising salaries.
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – Shreveport: now planning to raise salaries (as of December 9) after recently contacting postdocs to say that they were not raising salaries.
Montana State University: postdocs report receiving notification that they would get raises, but it was never implemented and once the injunction came through, the raises have been put on indefinite hold.
Montclair State University (New Jersey): no response received.
New York University: raising salaries.
Smith College (Massachusetts): delayed plans until outcome clear, no new updates as of Feb 28 2017 – “we have held off on any decision pending the final outcome.”
Texas A&M: “The injunction has not affected postdoc salaries. The University is not requiring raises for postdocs, and any salary increases that were made prior to the injunction will remain in effect…Salary increases that were recommended in conjunction with the FLSA change were still implemented after the injunction. The Human Resources Office will strive to be internally and externally equitable for future postdoctoral research associates hired at the University.”
Thomas Jefferson University (Pennsylvania): raising salaries.
University of Alaska: “our plan was to raise the pay of the post-docs who were close to the minimum pay so that they could remain exempt. Other post-docs were going to become non-exempt and would be required to turn in the hours worked.”
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff: their one postdoc already paid above $47,476.
University of Connecticut: not raising salaries.
University of Oklahoma: not raising salaries: “For now, we have kept any postdocs below the threshold to hourly (as we made the move in October, prior to the injunction) and will attempt to budget for and plan future grants for postdocs to be over the threshold where possible. ”
University of Missouri: raising salaries.
University of Missouri-St Louis: raising salaries.
University of South Alabama: “Our postdoctoral fellows have historically been exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA, and continue to be so at this time.”
University of Texas El Paso: “We have no plan to do anything with titles and salaries until the law
works itself out. There’s no movement at this time.”
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston: raising salaries.
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston: raising salaries.
University of Vermont: not raising salaries/no overall strategy.
Virginia Tech: Unwilling to share identifiable information.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Massachusetts): “The FLSA injunction did not affect the salary adjustment for post docs. We went forward with any planned salary increases.”
For more info about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the history of what has been happening over the last year, read below:
What postdocs present and future should know about the Fair Labor Standards Act
*This page has now been updated to reflect the effects of the injunction issued November 22nd 2016, and the end to the updates that were finally declared invalid August 31st.*
On December 1st, 2016, the threshold at which salaried workers receive overtime payment for working more than 40 hours per week was due to increase from $23,660 to $47,476 per year, under updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This was delayed by an injunction granted November 22nd (see here for more information) and has now been declared invalid as of August 31st by the same court.
All postdocs working in the U.S. who are not in a primarily teaching role, were due to come under this ruling, regardless of visa or fellowship status (although certain institutions – Brown University, Brandeis University, Rutgers University – were claiming postdocs on fellowships to be exempt from the FLSA). Therefore institutions who did not currently pay their postdocs above this threshold would either have to choose to track the hours of a postdoc, or to raise salaries to the new threshold.
We hoped that institutions would raise salaries rather than track hours – the cost would likely be less to the institution by avoiding administrative burden, and tracking hours runs counter to academic culture. However survey and report suggested that there were institutions considering hours tracking and we decided to prepare resources for postdocs to provide as much information as possible, and find out what institutions were planning, as detailed in the “Institutions and Funding Agencies: What are they doing” tab below.
We have updated as far as possible – and still ask for your help to continue doing so – how institutional plans may have changed as a result. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide comments and information, and ask questions.
On 11/17/2016 the first version of our paper on institutional plans for implementation of the FLSA with respect to postdocs was published: Monitoring the compliance of the academic enterprise with the Fair Labor Standards Act is up on F1000Research.
The talk is freely available for use and downloading, the slides are available on the F1000Research FoR Channel and discussed here on Reddit. Please feel very free to present this at postdoc association events and to spread the resources around your postdocs and other postdocs you know.
Sources of further information
- November 2016 (prior to FLSA updates injunction): University of Colorado Boulder seminar
- The Boston Postdoctoral Association’s resource and information
- NIH NRSA levels projected from Dec 1 2016
- “Overtime Final Rule and Higher Education”, U.S. Department of Labor
- “Guidance for Higher Education Institutions on Paying Overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act”, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor
- Department of Labor website with additional information
- Summary of FLSA rule, its impact and answers to FAQs. American Council on Education (ACE)
- “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the National Science Foundation’s Implementation of the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Final Overtime Rule”. National Science Foundation
- “So You Think You Know About the FLSA? Ten Common Assumptions About the FLSA That Can Land You in Hot Water”, Pamela A. Reynolds, Brown Rudnick LLP, Bloomberg Law Reports
- “FLSA Overtime Final Rule: What You Need to Know and Do Now”, CUPA-HR Webinar
- The National Postdoc Association’s Guide to the FLSA
- FoR’s original statement on the ruling (including an infographic on salaries)
- Rescuing Biomedical Research’s statement
- American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s original comments on the proposal
- “Fair Pay for Postdocs: Why We Support New Federal Overtime Rules”, Francis Collins and Thomas Perez
- “How New US Overtime Provisions Will Affect Postdoctoral Researchers”, Mike Lauer, NIH
- “Statement from the NPA on the Fair Labor Standards Act”, National Postdoctoral Association
- “UC Postdocs Weigh in on DOL Overtime Rule in Advance of Imminent Release”, Union for Postdocs, UAW 5810
- “AAMC Submits Comments to Department of Labor on Overtime Rule” Association of American Medical Colleges
- “Re: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Defining and Delimiting the Exemption for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees (80 Fed. Reg. 38515, July 6, 2015) (RIN 1235-AA11)” College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR).
- “DOL’s Proposed Overtime Rule: Higher Education’s Comments & Concerns” College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR).
Filing a Complaint
Institutions and Funding Agencies: What they are doing
NOTE: THIS IS INFORMATION COLLECTED PRIOR TO THE INJUNCTION, OF INSTITUTIONAL INTENTIONS. FOR CURRENT, POST-INJUNCTION PLANS, PLEASE SEE THE FIRST TAB ON THE PAGE, JUST BELOW THE INTRODUCTION AND INFOGRAPHIC.
A recent report suggests that 75% of institutions surveyed are considering raising salaries, and 25% are considering hours reporting.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute: HHMI raised their minimum postdoc salary to $50,000 for those at year 0 experience level, effective November 1. This goes up $1,000 for every year of experience. The new salary applies for all postdocs at the Janelia campus and those in HHMI labs paid from HHMI funds.
National Science Foundation: “In general, NSF postdoctoral fellowship programs already include a stipend or salary amount in excess of the new minimum announced in the Department of Labor’s FLSA final overtime rule. NSF will examine Program Solicitation language to remove any restrictions that might prevent grantee compliance with the final overtime rule. For postdoctoral fellows supported on standard research grants, the salary is determined by
the grantee institution. Each institution must implement a policy to comply with the final overtime rule. This may result in the need to rebudget an existing NSF award. Please see FAQ #4 for additional information on rebudgeting.”
List of institutions by state, district and territory to follow as details come in:
University of Alabama Birmingham: Raising salaries. “In light of these changes, the University is setting a new minimum salary for postdoc trainees and postdoc employees of at least $47,500 beginning December 1, 2016. This change recognizes the hard work of postdocs and maintains their FLSA exempt status.” The document however then goes on to reveal plans to have postdocs pay 25% of their health insurance costs from January 2017 – estimated to be $900-$3000 per annum.
University of Alaska: Still deciding. 11/10/2016: “UA is currently finalizing a message and notifications to departments, supervisors and employees that will be sent out soon. There are a few factors in making a determination on how these will be handled for example- is the position full or part-time.” No information clearly available other than student employment guidelines and advice on adjuncts who are not primarily teaching, where hours are being tracked. Contacted 10/14/2016.
Arizona State University: Raising salaries. Response received 10/20/2016: “The Provost Office sent out a note to Deans to adjust salaries of full time Post Docs to $47,476 ($913/week). Part time Post Docs with a pay rate under $913/week will be re-classified to nonexempt and will need to record their work time. I believe the various units who have these folks are currently in the process of making these changes so that by the 11/21/2016 date their pay will be adjusted and be at the threshold.”
Northern Arizona University: Trying to raise salaries but allowing hours tracking. 11/07/2016: “Most of our post-doctoral scholars are already earning salaries above the new salary threshold so this is not much of a problem for us. We do have a couple who are working less than full-time and we’re working with those departments to get the salaries above the threshold. Otherwise, they will be required to track their hours.” (Historical: Contacted 10/14/2016, job description has only “FLSA Status: This position is typically exempt.”)
University of Arizona: Raising salaries but allowing tracking until salaries raised by next year. “The UA will require that all Postdoctoral Research Associates be raised to the new FLSA threshold no later than July 1, 2017.” (Historical: 10/14/2016: from the FAQs on FLSA: “How are postdoctoral researchers affected by the FLSA changes? Postdocs positions are considered exempt based on their job duties; however, any individual postdoc who does not earn the minimum threshold of $913 per week will be non-exempt and eligible for overtime or compensatory time. To better align with the FLSA changes, the NIH plans to increase the awards to postdoctoral NSRA recipients to above the new minimum threshold.” Contacted for clarification 10/14/2016. Received reply 10/17/2016: “Our practice at the University is that we will not mandate our departments to increase the Postdoc salary just to meet the FLSA weekly minimum. If a department is wanting to fund more money for the postdoc then they may certainly do so. This classification is still under review to determine it will be exempt just by title alone or if they still need to meet the duties and the salary test. As we know more it will be posted on our FLSA webpage. “)
University of Arkansas: Still deciding. No information on postdoc salaries, contacted 10/14/2016. Reply received from HR on 10/15/2016: “At this point we are undecided; however, it looks like at least a number of postdocs may have salary increases.” Info on hours tracking here.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences: Unknown. No information on postdoc salaries, contacted 10/14/2016.
Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope: Unknown. 10/30/2016: Declined to release information; 11/5/2016: Our request was referred up the chain of command.
Caltech: Unknown. No specific info, contacted 10/14/2016.
The Scripps Research Institute La Jolla: Raising salaries. Information not clear, contacted 10/14/2016. Received reply 10/17/2016: “We are moving our Postdocs to the new FLSA minimum. We are following projected stipend levels:
Stanford: Salaries already exceed minimum. Postdocs on $51,600 annual salary as of October 1 2016.
University of California system: Raising salaries. Information received 10/15/2016 from the postdoc union, UAW 5810 (information on salaries for the UC system here, and for the Lawrence Berkeley Lab here):
“In our new contract, as of Dec 1, 2016 all postdocs will be paid at least NIH+2 steps on 2017 scale, so the new minimum salary will be $48,216 (Step 2 on the 2017 scale). A small number of postdocs who choose to work less than 100% time (such as for outside employment or family care responsibilities) may fall under the OT threshold – these will be paid hourly at or above the same rates as exempt postdocs (NIH+2 steps scale converted to hourly), and our contract has protections to ensure these part-time postdocs are treated fairly and compensated in accordance with the law. Both the Union and UC expressed interested in minimizing the number of part-time postdocs to keep as many postdocs exempt as possible.
Fellows [postdocs paid directly on fellowship stipends] receive all the benefits of the contract including the same salary levels as grant-funded postdocs. If a fellowship pays less than the minimum salary scale, the postdoc’s pay is supplemented through other funds to reach at least the negotiated minimum.”
University of Southern California: Raising salaries. “However, effective December 1, 2016, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule updating salary and compensation regulations, the minimum annual salary for postdoctoral scholars will be set at $47,476. This minimum salary applies to all current and newly appointed postdoctoral scholars on or after December 1, 2016. For details, please visit the USC Postdoc Admin Resource website.”
Colorado State: Tracking hours. “Currently, we do have postdocs across campus who will be nonexempt from overtime due to salaries and those positions will be required to track their work hours per FLSA guidelines when their position goes below the salary.”
University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus: Raising salaries. 11/01/2016: “We are moving all postdocs to the new threshold.” (Historical: Information not updated for FLSA. Contacted PDA 09/22/2016. Not updated as of 10/14/2016. Contacted HR 10/19/2016.)
University of Colorado Boulder: Allowing tracking. “If a postdoc is making over $47,476, s/he may notice no difference on December 1st. For postdocs making less than $47,476, one of two things may occur: 1) their salaries may be raised to $47,476 and they will remain exempt employees; or 2) they will be converted into a non-exempt position, meaning that they will be paid on an hourly basis.”
University of Connecticut: Unclear. Contacted 10/28/2016.
Yale University: Raising salaries, according to informal contacts. 10/14/2016: Information not updated although it does state, “This scale will be adjusted again on December 1, 2016 to comply with changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act that take effect on that date,” suggesting that perhaps the intention is that salaries will be raised.
University of Delaware: Raising salaries. 11/04/2016: “when the regulations go into effect, post docs will continue to be exempt employees and salaries will be adjusted accordingly.” (Historical: Information not updated for FLSA as of 10/14/2016, current salary minimum $36,360. FOIA request on 10/14/2016.)
Delaware State University: Unknown. No information on website about postdocs, contacted 10/14/2016.
District of Columbia
Georgetown University: Unknown. No information, contacted 10/14/2016.
Florida Atlantic: Tracking hours. 11/14/2016: “Our current PostDocs that are under the threshold will be non-exempt
and paid on an hourly basis per our Academic Affairs unit.”
Florida State: Raising salaries. “In light of these legal changes, the University is setting a new minimum salary for full-time postdocs in all departments at the new FLSA salary minimum, $913 per week/$47,658.60 annually. This change recognizes the advanced skills of these hard-working employees and preserves their FLSA exempt status. The University plans to provide temporary bridge funding to assist with the initial costs of raising salaries for current full-time FSU postdocs who are making less than the new salary minimum”
University of Florida: Raising salaries. University provides salary increases for postdocs to a minimum of $47,476 by December 1, 2016, and increases minimum salary requirement for newly hired postdocs to $47,476 as of July 1, 2016.
University of Miami: Raising salaries. “Postdoctoral researchers will need to have their salary raised to meet the eligibility for exempt status”
University of South Florida: Still deciding. Contacted and email response received 9/23/2016: “We haven’t finalized anything yet. Most postdocs will remain exempt we think with a small number (under 10%) moved to non-exempt.”
Scripps Research Institute Florida: Unknown. Information not clear, contacted 10/14/2016.
Augusta University: Raising salaries. “all postdoc salaries at our institution will be raised to the new minimum effective 12/1/16.”
Emory University: Raising salaries? A post at Emory seems to suggest that salary raises will be required on current grant-funded salaries and for future hires, and that all postdocs regardless of funding source should be treated the same. Contacted 11/04/2016 for clarification.
University of Georgia: Raising salaries. “Effective December 1, 2016, postdoctoral research (and teaching) associates must be compensated a minimum annual salary of $47,476 to comply with the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime protections ruling.”
Georgia State University: Unknown. Postdoc-specific information does not clarify whether institution mandates raising salaries or tracking: “Postdoctoral researchers in the sciences are not covered by the teaching exemption. These employees are generally considered professional employees and are subject to the salary threshold for exemption from overtime. Postdoctoral researchers in the humanities also teach. To the extent that they have a primary duty of teaching, they will be subject to the teaching exemption and not entitled to overtime compensation. If they do not teach, however, and earn less than the new threshold, they will be eligible for overtime.” Contacted 10/17/2016.
Georgia Tech: Raising salaries. FLSA information does not specify postdocs except for a memo from President Peterson that says salaries will be raised for postdocs.
University of Hawaii: Unknown. There appears to be no information on postdocs on the website. Contacted 10/14/2016 asking for FLSA/postdoc information.
University of Idaho: Still deciding. No postdoc information available, contacted 10/14/2016. Reply on 10/25/2016: “Specific communication in regard to Post-Docs is currently in process and should be coming out soon. For a Post-Doc to meet the FLSA exemption they would need to be raised to the minimum salary threshold as required by FLSA exemption. Tracking of hours has not been discussed beyond an hourly appointment. We will be updating our website as new information is available.”
Idaho State University: Allowing tracking: No postdoc-specific information, contacted 10/14/2016, received reply 10/18/2016: “ISU will be doing both depending on the current wage of the employee and the specific duties of the position (teaching responsibilities). PostDocs which do not meet the updated wage threshold & do not have a teaching component to their position, will remain eligible for overtime.”
Northwestern: Raising salaries. “From December 1, 2016 onward, all post-doctoral fellows will need to be categorized as exempt, full-time employees earning an annual salary of at least $47,476.”
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Raising salaries. “As of November 16, 2016, all Postdoctoral Research Associates are appointed at 100% FTE and have a salary at or above the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum salary threshold of $47,476.”
University of Illinois Chicago: Still deciding. Unclear as to what postdocs earn and what FLSA means for postdocs. Institution contacted 10/05/2016. No update as of 10/14/2016. No decision made yet as of 10/18/2016.
University of Chicago: Raising salaries. “Effective December 1, 2016, minimum salaries for all Postdoctoral Scholars must be at least $47,478 per year ($3,956.50 per month).”
University of Indiana: Unknown. Information not updated for FLSA – currently suggests minimum of 90% NIH NRSA minimum, which is not a feasible policy as of Dec 1st. Not updated as of 10/14/2016.
Indiana University School of Medicine: Unknown. FLSA information does not mention postdocs, says affected categories will be contacted mid-October, as of 10/05/2016. Contacted 10/05/2016.
University of Notre Dame: Raising salaries. 11/03/2016: “The University of Notre Dame will continue to treat postdocs with a primary role of research as exempt employees and will therefore increase their salaries accordingly. We will not be tracking hours of our postdoctoral scholars.” (Historical: 10/14/2016: Information not updated for FLSA; there is no minimum salary set by the university other than the current legal FLSA minimum of $23,660: “Is there a University salary range for postdoc pay? The University does not set salaries for postdocs. However, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) imposes a salary minimum for exempt employees (this includes postdocs) of $23,660. The Postdoc Office suggests following the NIH stipend guidelines.”)
Purdue University: Raising salaries. “Purdue will be raising the salaries of all full-time postdocs to the minimum threshold effective December 1st; only part-time postdocs will be reclassified to non-exempt.”
Iowa State University: Raising salaries. “November 1, 2016 Full-time Post Doc salaries raised to minimum salary threshold of $47,476”
University of Iowa: Raising salaries. “With support of campus leaders, the Graduate College is requiring that all existing and new postdoc scholars’ and fellows’ salaries must be raised to the $47,476 by December 1, 2016.”
Kansas State: Raising salaries.
University of Kansas: Raising salaries. 11/02/2016: “KU will be raising the salaries of Post Docs to the new FLSA minimum & retaining their exempt status. Our effective date will be November 20th to coincide with our payroll periods.” (Historical: Informally updated 10/31/2016. 10/14/2016: Not updated.)
Eastern Kentucky University: Unknown. No postdoc-specific information on FLSA website. Contacted 10/17/2016.
University of Louisville: Raising salaries. “UofL will be raising postdocs to the minimum threshold effective 12/1.” Previous info: “Currently, approximately 1,675 (or 69%) of exempt staff are in a job code that has a pay range minimum that is below the new threshold of $47,476, and could therefore be impacted by this rule change. This will not affect any faculty positions. In order to ensure compliance, we are: Reviewing job descriptions of all impacted positions; Considering the impact of the rule on annual leave accruals, morale, pay frequency, work-place flexibility, pay ranges, etc; Developing implementation plans with payroll and university systems.”
University of Kentucky: Unknown. Information not yet up for postdocs as of 10/05/2016 (informal discussions recently suggested may not be compliant by Dec 1st).
Louisiana State University: Still deciding. No information on website, contacted PDA 10/14/2016. Informal contact on 10/17/2016: No decision yet made. Contacted HR 10/17/2016.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette: Unknown. No information on website, contacted 10/14/2016.
Tulane University: Unknown. No postdoc-specific information on FLSA website. Contacted 10/17/2016.
University of Maine: Allowing hours tracking. No postdoc salary information, contacted 10/14/2016, received reply 10/18/2016: “The existing post doc staff will either remain exempt if over the FLSA threshold or become OT eligible on Dec 1st and track their hours.”
Johns Hopkins: Raising salaries. Informally have heard that postdoc salaries will be raised, checking as of 10/31/2016, some more FLSA Hopkins info here. 10/14/2016: Salary info not updated in line with FLSA. However informally it has been communicated that while not yet official, it is expected that salaries are to be raised. HR contacted 10/18/2016.
University of Maryland: Raising salaries. “All Full-Time Exempt Staff including Contingent IIs, Research Faculty and Post-Doctoral Associates who currently fall below the salary threshold will receive a salary adjustment to the new threshold of $47,476, effective December 1, 2016.”
University of Maryland School of Medicine: Raising salaries. “Regardless of departmental budget constraints, under no circumstances may compensation be less than the amount specified for trainees with “Zero (0) Years Postdoctoral Experience,” by the National Institutes of Health, Office of Extramural Research, Guide to Grants and Contracts/Recent Notices.”
Boston University (BU): Raising salaries. “PIs should raise postdoc salaries to a minimum of $47,500 by December 1, 2016.”
Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH): Raising salaries. “Boston Children’s Hospital’s Research Fellows Policy Manual (effective July 1, 2013, revised 2016) mandates that all Research Fellows, including both hospital employees and associated personnel, be paid a salary commensurate to current NIH pay guidelines. The NIH pay scale is based on the number of years in a training position subsequent to receiving a doctoral degree. The Research Strategy Committee (RSC) has endorsed Sunday, November 27, 2016 as a compliance date for all salaries to be at the FY17 NIH pay guideline. Any salary adjustment necessary to bring Boston Children’s Hospital paid Research Fellows to the appropriate level must be effective November 27, 2016. ”
Brandeis University: Raising salaries. “As of December 1, 2016, the minimum stipend for a Postdoctoral Associate at Brandeis University will be no less than $47,484 annually or $3,957 monthly.” However as discussed in our blog post here of 10/11/2016, Brandeis seems to take the line that postdocs on training mechanisms are somehow exempt from the ruling. Emailed 10/11/2016 for clarification, no reply received as of 10/14/2016.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital: Unknown. Information not updated for FLSA as of 10/06/2016.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI): Salary already exceeds minimum. Institute raises postdoc salary scale to a starting minimum of $50,000 as of July 1, 2016, with institutional support over a 5-year transition period (independently from FLSA as a result of PDA Advocacy efforts over the last 3 years).
Harvard University: Raising salaries, informed informally 10/31/2016. Postdoc salary info generally not visible/clear on 10/06/2016. On 10/14/2016, still no clear salary info although the NIH NRSA stipends are pointed out.
Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine: Raising salaries. 11/10/2016: “Postdoctoral fellow (employee & stipendee) salaries at HMS will be in compliance with the new FLSA rule as of December 1, 2016. We will increase salaries for those postdocs below the new threshold effective December 1, 2016 and then, consistent with historic practice, align with the NIH FY17 minimum stipend for all postdocs as of July 1, 2017.” (Historical info: Information not updated for FLSA as of 10/06/2016. No information as of 10/14/2016. Contacted PDO 10/18/2016.)
Joslin Diabetes Center: Unknown. No information on postdoc salaries as of 10/06/2016.
Massachusetts General Hospital: Unknown. Salary information not publicly available as of 10/06/2016.
MIT BCS (Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences): Salary already exceeds minimum. Department raises postdoc salary to a starting minimum of $51,120 (NRSA PGY4 FY2016) as of July 1, 2016, with departmental support over a 2-year transition period (independently from FLSA as a result of PDA Advocacy efforts).
Tufts University: Raising salaries. 11/05/2016: “Salaries for full-time postdocs will be increased to the new minimum.” Taking the line that as postdocs are currently exempt, they should continue to be exempt and so have salaries raised. Those on fellowships/foreign grants who below the FLSA minimum must also have their salary raised to meet the minimum.
University of Massachusetts Medical School: Raising salaries. “”For employees in the Postdoctoral Associate position who are currently below this new threshold amount, we will increase their salary so they meet the threshold of $47,476 and retain the FLSA exemption from the requirement to pay overtime. Although we understand there is a cost associated with this change, we believe that it would be inappropriate to restrict the hours that Postdoctoral Associates expend in pursuit of their research objectives.” Information appears not to have been updated for FLSA. 10/14/2016: FLSA info does not mention postdocs and salary info not updated. 10/17/2016: salaries will be raised)
University of Massachusetts Boston: Tracking hours. 11/14/2016 “At this time, it looks like we may not be raising the salaries of our postdoctoral positions and working with supervisors to ensure that they are tracking additional hours worked. We currently do not have a high population of post-docs and only three that currently earn a salary below the new $47,476.00.”
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research: Salaries are already above the FLSA minimum, beginning at $50,127 as of 2012.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Salaries are already above the FLSA minimum. “Our postdocs are paid above the new minimum.”
Central Michigan University: Raising salaries. 11/14/2016: “Central Michigan University will be raising base salaries to the new minimum salary of $47,476 on December 1.”
Michigan Tech: Allowing tracking of hours after scrutiny. 11/14/2016: “The academic departments that have postdocs will either increase the salary to the new minimum or re-evaluate the position and make their employee hourly. However if they choose to take the hourly route the request is highly scrutinized by Human Resources and the Graduate School to see if the job duties can truly be done in an hourly fashion.”
University of Michigan: Raising salaries. “Compensation for full-time post-doctoral fellows and research track faculty will be adjusted to meet the minimum threshold of $47,476 no later than November 30, 2016 to maintain exempt status.”
Michigan State University: Each individual department deciding. Emailed MSU PDA on 09/22/2016. No information as of 10/14/2016. Contacted HR 10/17/2016. Received reply 10/18/2016: “Below is a link to our website with information on the FLSA updates. Each department within the university will individually be making the decision to pay overtime to their employees or to bump up their salaries to meet the exempt requirement. https://www.hr.msu.edu/flsa/index.htm”
Wayne State University: Raising salaries. “The minimum annual FTE salary is $47,500.”
University of Minnesota: Raising salaries. This is a particularly good rationalization of the university’s decision. “Last week, University administrators approved a plan to raise the salaries of all post-doctoral associates (Job Code 9546) to a minimum of $913 a week ($47,476 a year).”
Mississippi State University: Generally raising salaries but will allow for tracking. No postdoc-specific information in FLSA info, contacted 10/17/2016, received reply 10/18/2016: “Most of our postdocs will be moved to the minimum of the threshold of $47,476 November 1, 2016. If the departments do not have the funding to increase their salary, the status will be changed to non-exempt and they will be completing a time sheet.”
University of Mississippi: Unknown. Information not updated for FLSA, current minimum $42,840. Contacted 10/14/2016 for information.
University of Southern Mississippi: Will be tracking hours. No postdoc-specific information in FLSA info, contacted 10/17/2016, received reply 10/18/2016: “Most of our grants do not come from NIH, so there will not be any renegotiating of the grant. The majority of our departments cannot locate funding in order to raise their postdoc salaries, so they will go to a non-exempt status and have their hours tracked.”
Missouri University of Science and Technology: Raising salaries. 11/07/2016: “if a post doc is 100% FTE, then they will be paid $47,476 and remain exempt. If they are less than 100% FTE, the department can be
paid less than $47,476, must track their hours and be paid hourly.”
Washington University in St. Louis: Raising salary. Salary information has not been updated for the FLSA, contacted 10/14/2016 for information: “The WU School of Medicine minimum postdoc salary/stipend amount for FY17 (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017) is $42,840.” Informally have heard on 10/15/2016 that salaries will be raised.
Montana State University: Unknown. No information; contacted 10/14/2016.
University of Nebraska Lincoln: Raising salaries. “Minimum salaries will increase for most full-time postdoctoral scholar positions and some research-track faculty positions effective Dec. 1. Full-time postdoctoral scholars and research-track faculty will be paid at least $913 a week or $47,476 annually, the minimum threshold of the new federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Salaries for 78 percent of UNL’s postdoctoral scholars and 12 percent of research-track faculty currently are below this rate and will be raised to the new minimum by Dec. 1.” (Historical: “University changes postdocs to hourly pay status and PIs have to provide overtime payments based on timesheets by December 1, 2016.” (NOTE: UNL has recently indicated that they are still deciding what their policy will be; however this is still the information on their website). 10/14/2016: The website remains unchanged.)
University of Nevada: Unknown. Information not updated for FLSA/exact salaries not clear, contacted 10/14/2016 for clarification: “1. Salary levels – The salary range for a postdoctoral fellow is at or above the base salary level for graduate assistants and below the salary level of assistant professors in the discipline. The minimum salary level for a postdoctoral fellow at the University is equal to the minimum level set for graduate assistantships, prorated for FTE. The maximum salary level for a postdoctoral fellow is equal to the minimum level of “A” contract assistant professors in the discipline in the NSHE salary schedule. An exception to this salary maximum is allowed in situations where the granting agency funding the postdoctoral fellow provides a salary schedule that specifies a higher allowable maximum salary.”
Dartmouth University: Raising salaries. 10/14/2016: Salaries will be raised. From personal communication: “After exploring various options with Deans and the Provost, it has been decided that, effective December 1st, 2016, regardless of funding source, full‐time Research Associates B and C at Dartmouth will be classified as exempt employees and will have a salary of at least the new FLSA minimum. In making this decision, we recognize the short term impact on research budgets and are working on a mechanism to help offset the increased expenses for one year. A further announcement will be made when we have finalized the details. Following this decision, effective immediately, all new grant and contract budgets must include at least the new FLSA minimum for the salaries of full‐time Research Associate B and C personnel, including postdoctoral scholars. Note, the minimum salary will be adjusted by the Department of Labor every three years. Current Research Associates B and C who are part‐time will be changed to have non‐exempt status and will be paid hourly at a rate equivalent to their current annual salary, or equivalent of $47,476 ($22.83/hour), whichever is higher. These employees will be expected to record their hours and be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a given week. Future part‐time Research Associates B and C will be non‐exempt. Finally, Research Associate A’s have, by definition, short term engagements of nine months or less. From December 1st, 2016 they will be considered hourly employees, which means time recording will need to be implemented.”
University of New Hampshire: Raising salaries.
New Jersey Institute of Technology: Trying to raise salaries but will be allowing hours tracking. 11/10/2016: “In response to your email below, NJIT plans to increase the salaries of new post-docs to the new FLSA salary threshold of $47,476/year. For current post docs, some of their salaries will be increased to the new number by Dec 1st, and for the rest, NJIT will be tracking their hours and paying overtime (if needed) until their salaries can be raised (i.e. when a grant is renewed).”
Princeton: 10/25/2016: Raising salary. “All postdoctoral salaries will be raised to the new minimum and we will not track hours.” (Historical: The salary page and postdoctoral policies page do not give salary info nor info on the effect of FLSA. Contacted HR 10/19/2016.)
Rutgers: Raising salary. “Due to a recent decision by the U.S. Department of Labor, effective December 1, 2016, the salaries of all postdoctoral fellows at Rutgers will be increased, universitywide, to $47,476.”
University of New Mexico: Raising salary. “Research faculty and postdoctoral fellows who currently are paid less than $913 per week ($47,476 annually) cannot continue to hold these appointment classifications. They will need to be reclassified to one of the staff research scientist positions listed below (current minimum for Research Scientist 1 is $32, 235.95). The reclassification of any researchers to staff positions will facilitate use of the pre-existing hourly timekeeping process in the event any of them work over 40 hours a week.”
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: Raising salary. “Effective December 1, 2016, Mount Sinai requires Principal Investigators to increase the minimum postdoc stipends/salaries from $43,692 to $50,000.”
New York Medical College: Tracking hours. 11/14/2016: “New York Medical College will be keeping the post docs who are at or above the FLSA minimum of $47,476 as exempt fellows. We will be moving the fellows below the $47,476 to a non-exempt fellow class and they will be time in and out on their timesheets and will be paid overtime.”
State University of New York, Stony Brook: Raising salaries. “Stony Brook officially raises the salary minimum for research grant-supported postdocs in order to maintain their exemption from overtime.” Previous information: “Where base salaries cannot be increased, the supervisor or PI must authorize/monitor and pay employees for all hours worked including any time worked over 40 hours per week. Alternatively PI’s may wish to review and adjust employee schedules to ensure that the work week does not exceed 40 hours. Please note that you may not allow or expect non-exempt employees to work more than 40 hours per week without paying overtime.” It is not yet clear whether Stony Brook has a clear policy, but it appears to be letting PIs decide salaries. Information not updated as of 10/5/2016. Contacted HR 10/19/2016.
University at Buffalo, State University of New York: Trying to raise salaries but also allowing tracking of hours. 11/07/16: “UB will be approaching this on a case by case basis. We have met with all of our PI s to lay out options and implications. For all future and current proposals, we are putting in post docs and many laboratory staff positions above the new minimum threshold. For current grants – we are assisting our sponsored programs office folks to work with PI s to try and re-budget to raise the salaries. We believe that will not be possible for all of them. We are having meetings with individuals directly impacted over the next 3 weeks to go through time tracking and work behavior changes that will occur all across our campuses.” Information not updated for FLSA. Not updated as of 10/05/2016. 10/14/2016: FLSA checklist up for managers but salary level still at minimum of $30,000.
University of Rochester: Raising salaries. “As of December 1, 2016, the MBS for all new and currently appointed Postdoctoral Associates and Postdoctoral Fellows will be $47,476/year. As of December 1, 2016, the MBS for all new Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows will be $47,476/year.”
Columbia: Raising salaries. “The stipends of new postdoctoral research fellows must equal at least the minimum the NIH has set for those with no years of experience ($47,476). Their stipends may, of course, be higher. If any of those fellows’ stipends are below the NIH minimum, the principal investigators, or their department, institute or center, must supplement the stipend with salary to bring it up to that level.”
The City University of New York: 10/14/2016: Raising salaries. info updated: postdoc salaries will be raised to $47,484 minimum.
Cornell University: Raising salaries. policy announced on 9/1/2016: “For postdoctoral associates at Cornell, based on the final rule we have confirmed that an hourly position is not appropriate and will not be available. Postdoctoral associates must be full-time exempt employees paid at least the DOL salary minimum. As of December 1, 2016, where this is not possible, the postdoctoral associate must be moved to a temporary, hourly non-academic position, with a pay rate and a non-academic title appropriate for the hourly duties, for example temporary service technician.
Rockefeller University: Raising salaries. Salaries being raised above FLSA levels as of July 1 2016. Postdocs on fellowships less than salary levels stated are to be made up to stated level by the lab.
Syracuse University: Raising salaries. Intending to raise salaries “Syracuse University plans to increase salaries for the vast majority beneath the threshold to have this group remain exempt.”
Duke: Raising salaries. “Duke University has determined that the minimum salary for all current postdoctoral positions will be increased to at least the minimum of $47,476 as required by the Department of Labor to ensure these positions remain exempt.” (Historical: Contacted 10/14/2016, as the info suggests they will raise to NIH NRSA levels, but it is not up-to-date: “The University shall establish each year a minimum annual compensation level for all postdoctoral appointments equal to that set by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for zero-year postdoctoral fellows (link is external) for the period beginning July 1, 2009. For salary policy prior to July 1, 2009, see memo “Institution of New Policy Concerning Postdoctoral Appointees”, dated March 21, 2007.”)
UNC Chapel Hill: Raising salaries. “Salaries of UNC Postdoctoral Scholars and Trainees must be raised to the new minimum salary threshold ($47,476) with an effective date of December 1, 2016.”
East Carolina University: Raising salaries. “Effective November 2016, Scholars must be hired at or above the salary minimum of $47,500, in accordance with the change in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.”
North Carolina State: Still deciding. Information may not have been updated – policy is currently “Postdoctoral scholars must be, at a minimum, compensated at a rate that is at least 60% of the minimum starting academic year’s salary for an assistant professor in the appropriate discipline as published in the University’s approved faculty salary ranges established by Human Resources.” but link is broken/information cannot be found. Upon contact, email received 9/23/2016: “As of this past Tuesday, some postdocs reported having had the conversation with their PIs. One reported that they will give her a raise, another that they were to track the hours, and yet another said the PI said her project is based on a grant, so there no more money. So that is to say, departments are starting to respond, and we will keep following up on the issue especially paying keen attention on the Dec 1st deadline.”
North Carolina A&T: Still deciding. 11/07/2016: “We are finalizing the FLSA stages and will send a communication to you regarding any changes to your FLSA status or salary.” Information not updated for FLSA. 10/14/2016 FLSA overtime info does not discuss postdocs.
North Dakota State University: Trying to raise salaries but allowing hours tracking. 11/08/2016: “Some of the post docs will go to the new salary threshold: 1) post docs salaries that are close to the new threshold 2) if the PI is able to find funding on their grant. Other post docs will have to track their hours. As we move forward, the grants will be written with the minimum salary threshold for the post doc positions, so all post docs will be exempt.” (Historical: No information, contacted 10/14/2016.)
University of North Dakota: Tracking hours. 11/07/16: “UND will not be increasing salaries for Post Docs across the board. The majority of our Post Docs will be required to track hours and if they work more than 40 hours in the work week will be eligible for overtime or compensatory time.”
University of Cincinnati: Tracking hours. “Postdocs who do not generally teach enough to meet criteria for exemption, are eligible for overtime pay. Postdocs, such as those in the Humanities, whose primary role is teaching, could be exempt from overtime. In general, if a postdoc does not teach, they would be eligible to receive overtime pay.” Contacted 10/14/2016 for clarification. Received communication 10/17/2016 from HR: “All Post-docs who primarily engage in research-related activities and do not have a salary of at least $47,476 per year will be eligible for overtime and have transitioned to professional hourly status. At UC, since the employees are now non-exempt, they are required to clock in and out using our SAP system and all hours are recorded.”
Miami University: Tracking hours. Postdocs listed as non-exempt here.
Northeast Ohio Medical University: Raising salaries.
Ohio State University: Tracking hours. 11/14/2016: “We are not mandating that all post-doc researchers be moved to the new threshold. If a unit would like their post-doc researchers to remain exempt they will have to increase them to the threshold. If they do not increase them then they will convert to hourly and their time will need to be tracked.” (Historical: 10/14/2016: There is no information at the university level, but the College of Medicine has not updated their information and has a current minimum set at $30,000.)
Ohio University: Raising salaries. 11/14/2016: “Ohio University split our postdocs into two groups: Postdoc Teachers
and Postdoc Researchers. We will be increasing the researchers to the new minimum salary threshold and for the teachers we will be using the teaching exemption. All postdocs will remain exempt though, unless they are part-time working less than 40 hours a week.”
Wright State University: Allowing hours tracking of postdocs. 11/20/2016 “We left the “raising salary” issue up to each individual PI on a grant. For example, since NIH was raising the funding, those on NIH grants could increase those post docs if desired. But if a non-NIH grant, the PI had to determine if they could raise the salary and if not, how much overtime they can pay and how they would control the hours. We all wish there had been an exception for the Post Docs.“
University of Oklahoma: Unknown. States what must be done to comply but not what the policy is, contacted 10/14/2016 for clarification: “How do the new overtime rules affect post doc positions? A Post Doc with a primary duty of teaching is subject to a special provision for Higher Education. As a Teacher, the new salary threshold does not apply. Post Docs who engage in research activities and do not teach are considered professional employees by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. They are subject to the new $47,476 salary threshold. Higher education institutions have only two ways to comply with the new rule for non-teaching Post Docs: Raise the current salaries to meet the new required salary level and maintain exemption OR Move the Post Docs to the hourly pay group, track their hours and provide overtime compensation for any hours worked over 40 in a work week. Overtime compensation may be given in the form of pay or comp time.”
Oklahoma State University: Tracking hours. (Received confirmation 12/9/2016).
Oregon Health and Science University: Raising salaries. “It is mandatory that all Postdoctoral Researchers be paid at least the year 0 stipend of $47,484.”
Oregon State University: Tracking hours. 11/04/2016: “At this point, we do not intend to mandate salary increases for postdoc scholars at OSU, and will therefore be tracking hours for those postdoc scholars whose salary is below the new FLSA threshold on December 1.” (Historical: Information not updated for FLSA. Emailed Oregon State PDA 09/22/2016. On 10/14/2016, there is info on FLSA and in the FAQs there is information that postdocs are affected but it is not clear what the policy is: “Postdoctoral Fellows/Scholars: Postdoctoral fellows often meet the duties test for the “learned professional” exemption; Must also satisfy the salary basis and salary level tests to qualify for this exemption.”)
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Raising salaries. “According to CHOP policy, the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) stipend guidelines should serve as salary minimums for all CHOP postdoctoral fellows. Your pay should not fall below the appropriate stipend level for your years of experience as a CHOP postdoc.”
Penn State: Raising salaries. 11/10/2016: “Postdoctoral employees’ salaries will be raised to meet the new salary threshold of $913 per week (annualized to $47,476)” (Historical: Essentially no information available. Contacted possible PDA contact 09/22/2016. No updated FLSA info as of 10/14/2016. Contacted HR 10/19/2016.)
University of Pennsylvania: Raising salaries. “In recognition of the importance of postdocs to the University, it is recommended that, effective December 1, 2016, all schools and departments adopt the NRSA levels for all postdocs on campus. Please note that these stipend levels represent minimums. Schools and departments may establish their own guidelines as long as stipend rates meet or exceed those established by the University. Penn investigators are also expected to comply with any postdoctoral stipend guidelines promulgated by their sponsors, if these sponsor-specified guidelines exceed the Penn minimum stipend levels.”
University of Pittsburgh: Raising salaries. “full-time research faculty, postdoctoral associates, and research associates will remain exempt (ineligible for overtime) and will be raised to the minimum annual salary threshold of $47,476 by December 1, 2016.” (Historical: Information on FLSA does not mention postdocs. Contacted 10/5/2016. Contacted HR 10/14/2016.)
Temple University: Raising salaries. Salary scales are being raised as of Dec 1st 2016 to begin at new FLSA minimum.
Puerto Rico does not have to comply with the FLSA ruling under the terms of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).
Brown University: According to their statement, it appears Brown will be allowing hours tracking of postdocs and, similar to the attitude of Brandeis, appear to count postdoc fellows as exempt, counter to federal definitions and guidelines (see blogpost on this issue here). Contacted 10/14/2016 for clarification, and reply received 10/14/2016 that the over-arching aim has been to raise postdoc salaries above the new minimum level. Further reply received 10/17/2016 passing request for info onto the Office of General Counsel and asked for clarification on how postdoc fellows are exempted when they don’t meet the teaching exemption, and still meet the “suffered to work” criterion of the FLSA.
Clemson University: Unknown. No postdoc-specific information on FLSA website. Contacted 10/17/2016. Redirected to new contact 10/18/2016.
University of South Carolina: Unknown. No postdoc-specific information in FLSA info. Contacted 10/17/2016.
South Dakota State University: Unknown. No information, contacted 10/14/2016.
University of Memphis: Raising salaries. “At this time, it is our understanding that all current and future
post-doctoral fellows will make the salary minimum of $47,476.”
University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center: Raising salaries. Contacted 10/14/2016 for more information based on: “At this time, we recommend for any individuals in a postdoc position who are currently paid under the FLSA salary threshold of $47,476 to budget the base salary for these individuals at $47,476 and use a 51% rate for their fringe benefit calculation.” Received reply 10/18/2016: “UTHSC’s postdoc salaries will be increased to $47,476 effective December 1st.”
Vanderbilt: Unknown. No information, contacted 10/14/2016.
Baylor College of Medicine: Unknown. 10/14/2016 no specific info, contacted, but similar to many other institutions, would adjust with NRSA scale if this policy is in place: “The stipend amount will be stipulated in the appointment and reappointment letters from the dean and signed by the research postdoctoral. Effective July 1, 2015, all postdoctoral fellows, postdoctoral associates, and visiting postdoctoral fellows must be appointed with a stipend of at least the minimum National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award (NRSA) stipend for zero years of experience.”
Baylor University: Raising salaries. 11/11/2016: “Our PostDocs will remain exempt. They will be moved up to the new salary threshold.”
Lamar University: N/A. 11/14/2016: “Our Postdocs all have teaching duties and so are covered under the teaching exemption as they spend 50% or more of their time in instructional duties. If we were to have a postdoc that did not
qualify for the teaching exemption we would probably bring them up to the threshold.”
Prairie View A&M: Raising salaries. 11/18/2016: “We only have one title for Post Doctoral Researcher. The position is
exempt and will remain exempt under the new FLSA regulations. All of the individuals in this title are currently paid above the FLSA salary threshold so will continue to be exempt. Current pay range for the positon is $49,132 (min); $64,674 (mid); and $80,162 (max).”
Rice University: Allowing tracking: “Each situation per employee is different, and based on the decision of
the department and the budget allowance they have for their postdocs or other salaried positions that do not meet the FLSA minimum. The departments are responsible for raising salaries to the new minimum or transferring the employee into a hourly position.”
Texas Tech: Tracking hours. “All hours worked on a daily basis will be logged on a timekeeping system (TTUHSC web-time entry) – this means postdocs must record actual time worked for each workday and submit timesheets for approval for each pay period in order to be paid on cycle.”
Texas A&M: Unclear and checking 10/31/2016 – website states that all employees below salary level will be tracked hourly, BUT mentions postdocs in FAQ AND lists postdocs as FLSA exempt under employee categorization.
University of Houston: Not decided yet. 11/01/2016: “We are in the process of finalizing our decision and hope to have things wrapped up in the coming weeks to meet the potential deadline.” Info online unclear. Contacted 10/28/2016.
University of Texas system: Various. From 10/31/2016: “There is no overall University of Texas System policy or procedure on this matter, so each of our institutions is developing its own response…a mix of responses are being implemented. In some instances, salaries of all post-docs have been adjusted to make them exempt from the new threshold for overtime payments. In other instances, where resources do not permit such a compensation adjustment, the institution will be required to pay overtime as it is incurred. Since this is generally happening in resource-constrained employment situations, it is expected that post-docs will be advised to avoid work schedules which would trigger overtime payments.”
- University of Texas Southwestern: Raising salaries. Currently implementing minimum postdoc salaries at NIH NRSA levels from September 1st 2016, which will then be updated to the new 2017 FY levels to comply with FLSA on Dec 1st.
- University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio: Unknown. No information. Emailed PDA 09/22/2016.
- University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston: Unknown. Awaiting update for FLSA. Emailed possible PDA contacts 09/22/2016.
- University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: Unknown. Information not updated for FLSA. 10/14/2016: Overtime info does not mention postdocs. Contacted 10/14/2016.
- University of Texas at El Paso: 11/01/2016: No decision yet. “We are in the process of finalizing our decision and hope to have things wrapped up in the coming weeks to meet the potential deadline.”
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley: Raising salaries.
Brigham Young University: Allowing raising salaries or tracking. “The Academic Vice President gave the departments the choice to either raise their salaries to meet the new threshold or change them to hourly employees.”
University of Utah: Still deciding. “The University of Utah’s Human Resources department is evaluating the impact of this rule change on employees and departments. More information is expected as they assess options.” No new information as of 10/05/2016. No new information as of 10/18/2016.
Utah State University: Tracking hours. “They will have to track all hours they work and request leave time that is approved by their departments leave manager. Here a link with our website for more information: https://training.usu.edu/htm/o
University of Vermont: Unknown. No information for FLSA, contacted 10/14/2016. “Each college will establish a minimum and maximum salary range for postdoctoral associates and update the range each year.”
Virginia Commonwealth University: Raising salaries. “At minimum, SOM will require a postdoctoral stipend level of $47,476 for new and existing post docs effective December 1, 2016.”
University of Virginia: Raising salaries. 11/07/2016: “We plan to keep our full time post docs as exempt and they will meet the new salary threshold.” (Historical: Information not updated for FLSA. Contacted 10/05/2016.)
William and Mary: Allowing tracking of hours. 11/10/13: “We will be doing both. It depends on the post doc and the grant.”
Washington State: Tracking hours. 11/02/2016: “The University will not be mandating that postdoctoral salaries the raised to the new minimum. Therefore, if the salaries do not meet the new threshold, their hours will be tracked.” Unclear. Contacted 10/28/2016.
University of Washington: Raising salaries. “New UW hires in the Research Associate, Senior Fellow, and Visiting Scientist job categories must be appointed at 100 percent FTE and must meet the new FLSA minimum monthly salary rate of $3,957.”
West Virginia University: Unknown. No information, contacted 10/14/2016. Redirected to new contact, contacted again 10/17/2016.
Medical College of Wisconsin: Unclear. Contacted 10/28/2016.
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee: Raising salaries. “Due to the professional nature of their work, the minimum salary rate for Research Associates (post-docs), Researchers, and Scientists at UWM will increase to $47,476 for 12-month appointments and $38,845 for 9-month appointments on December 1, 2016. This will avoid the potential for overtime pay for full-time employees.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison: Raising salaries. A memo from September 16 2016 states that “UW-Madison has decided to require that all full-time postdoctoral employees will have a base salary of at least the FLSA salary threshold ($47,476)…The campus will provide bridge funding to help address potentially significant local impacts…in both FY17 and FY18, the campus will provide one half of the estimated cost of adjustments.”
University of Wyoming: Unknown. No postdoc-specific information on FLSA, contacted 10/14/2016.
Updates and news prior to the injunction
UPDATE 11/10/2016: Possible effects of Drumpf administration on FLSA discussed here. TL;DR: FLSA updates go into effect Dec 1st and so institutions still must be compliant by then, and still can be penalized for violating federal labor law if they are not, even if the ruling is reversed.
UPDATE 11/07/2016: Guide on applying for supplements to NRSA awards for current fellows to meet FLSA minimum issued by NIH: NOT-OD-17-002.
UPDATE 10/25/2016: Changing Labor Laws Bring Increased Postdoc Wages – a blogpost for Addgene showing the data we have collected with 40 days to go until the new ruling takes effect. Currently over 40% of postdocs are estimated to see their salaries raised, but at most institutions it’s still unknown what changes are taking place.
UPDATE 10/19/2016: Changes to employee benefits for scientists after FLSA – a look at how institutions are adjusting postdoc benefits as part of adjusting to the FLSA requirements.
UPDATE 10/18/2016: Postdocs on fellowships: are they FLSA-exempt? Discussion of the merits, or lack thereof, of Brown and Brandeis claiming that postdocs on fellowships with stipends below the FLSA minimum are exempt.
UPDATE 10/13/2016: States file injunction against overtime ruling: An emergency motion for a preliminary injunction has been filed by 21 states (Nevada; Texas; Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; Georgia; Indiana; Kansas; Louisiana; Nebraska; Ohio; Oklahoma; South Carolina; Utah; Wisconsin; Kentucky; Iowa; Maine; New Mexico; Mississippi; Michigan).
UPDATE 10/11/2016: All postdocs are federally recognized as trainees and employees: a discussion on Brandeis’ claim that postdocs on stipends are FLSA exempt.
UPDATE from AAAS Policy Bulletin sent out 10/06/2016: “House Passes Bill to Delay New Overtime Rule. Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill (HR 6094) to delay the new Department of Labor overtime rule from December 1, 2016 to June 1, 2017. The new Labor overtime rule raises the income threshold—from $23,660 to $47,476—by which a full-time salaried individual would be eligible for overtime. The vote of 246 – 177 fell along party lines. In preparation for the floor vote, a group of higher-education organizations issued a letter to Congress in support of the bill arguing that the delay will allow universities and colleges more time to comply. A companion bill was introduced last week by Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Susan Collins (R-ME).” Note: it is our (FoR’s) prediction that this bill is unlikely to pass the Senate; and even if it were to pass, the President will likely veto it. The vote to overtone that veto seems very unlikely as this bill does not appear to have bipartisan support.