5.4 Benefits, Social Security, and Retirement

(Amended 5/15; 5/17)
  1. Health and Dental Insurance: Postdoctoral Research Scholars/Fellows hired into these positions may enroll in UIGRADCare, the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP), and Student Dental. The University contribution toward the cost of coverage will be as follows: 90 percent of the cost for a single health insurance plan, 70 percent for coverage of family members; 85 percent of the cost for a single dental plan, 70 percent for coverage of family members.

    The University Benefits Office will send a packet of materials at the time the appointment begins. This will include rates, information, and an enrollment form to complete and return. Information on the plans can also be reviewed at the insurance section of this website.

    Individuals who do not receive a salary with their fellowship are still eligible to purchase coverage at their own expense. They should contact the University Benefits Office for the necessary application forms once the appointment has been entered on the University's payroll system by their department.
  2. Health and Dependent Care Spending Accounts: Any Scholar or Fellow who has taxable income may participate in these accounts. For more information on them, along with the advantages of participating and the enrollment process, search for "Spending Accounts" on the Benefits website.
  3. Disability and Workers' Compensation: Postdoctoral Scholars are covered by Workers' Compensation. Postdoctoral Fellows, however, are not covered. Since this type of appointment is not classified as a University employee, Fellows are not entitled to disability insurance.
  4. Social Security and Retirement: All Postdoctoral Research Scholars (FP01) who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents are required to participate in one of the following retirement programs: either Iowa Public Employees Retirement Systems (IPERS) or the Funded Retirement Plan (TIAA). Postdoctoral Research Scholars (FP01) who are not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents are required to participate in the Funded Retirement Plan (TIAA). 

    Postdoctoral Research Scholars also have the option to participate in the Voluntary Retirement Savings Program (VRSP) if they have taxable income. Information on this program is available on the retirement section of the Benefits website under "Saving Extra for Retirement." Scholars or Fellows who receive salary may participate in the Roth 403b plan described on the Benefits website, even if they do not have taxable income.

    Postdoctoral Research Fellows (FP02) are exempt from payment of FICA (Social Security) and Medicare taxes; therefore, they are also exempt from the payroll deduction for retirement either with IPERS or TIAA. Federal and state tax deductions will not be withheld from paychecks; however, the individual may still be responsible for payment of taxes. Individuals in this category are not eligible to participate in a VRSP.
  5. Paid Leave: Postdoctoral Scholars at The University of Iowa are entitled to annual paid leave of 15 working days and annual sick leave of 18 working days but do not accrue vacation and are not entitled to vacation pay. The agency supporting a Postdoctoral Fellow may require different policies. The appointing department is responsible for arranging and accounting of leave for Postdoctoral Scholars.
  6. Access to University Facilities and Activities: The Postdoctoral Scholar's University identification card is their key to University services. This identification card provides access to library and information resources, recreational services, cultural and athletic events, as well as the ability to charge items to their University billing account.