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Resources for Department Analysts

Postdoctoral Scholar Appointments



Postdoctoral Scholars must have adequate health insurance coverage as a condition of employment at the University of California (UC).

UC offers the Postdoctoral Scholars Benefit Plan (PSBP), brokered and administered by Gallagher Benefits Services. The comprehensive benefits package consists of medical, dental, vision, and long-term disability coverage. Postdoctoral Scholars who chooses to enroll in PSCP are automatically enrolled in life and AD&D insurance and short- term disability coverage.

Postdoctoral Scholars may choose to enroll in the PSBP, which consists of shared monthly contributions with the majority of costs paid by the Hiring Department.

Postdoctoral Scholars may choose to opt-out of the UC plan if they have existing health insurance or will enroll in a non-UC plan that is equal in coverage.

Postdoctoral Scholars including family members on J visas who are enrolled in PBSP are automatically covered for medical evacuation and repatriation benefits as required by the visa requirements through the short-term disability coverage even if the Postdoctoral Scholar waives the medical, dental, and/or vision coverage.

Expand All or click the following links to expand the sections for more information.


To qualify for PSBP, the employee must be employed in one of the Postdoctoral Scholar Title Code(s): Employee (3252), Fellow (3253), Paid-Direct (3254), Non-Exempt (3255) or Interim (3256) and the initial appointment must be for 50% time or higher for one year minimum, or at 100% time for 3 months minimum.

Postdoctoral Scholar appointments may have more than one title code depending on extramural funding agency requirements. Benefits eligibility will extend to subsequent reappointments in all title codes regardless of duration and percentage of time.
NOTE: Postdoc-Interim (3256) appointments must be for 3 months minimum to qualify for PSBP.

Family members as defined by the University of California's Faculty and Staff Group Insurance Regulations are eligible for enrollment in PSBP.

Enrollment Information

Newly appointed Postdoctoral Scholars have a 31-day period of enrollment (PIE) to enroll in or opt out of PSBP starting from the appointment start date listed on the Notice of Appointment Letter.

Online enrollment in the UC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Plan is accessible in UCPath via Employee Self-Service Portal under Employee Actions/ Health and Welfare/Enroll in Benefits. UCPath will confirm enrollment eligible via email notification once the PIE begins. An additional confirmation notice will be issued once enrollment is complete.

In the event that a Postdoctoral Scholar cannot enroll in the PSBP online in UCPath, an enrollment form must be completed and submitted to the UCPath Center for processing. Enrollment by form is generally for:

  • Postdoctoral Scholars transferring from another UC campus
  • Without a Social Security Number at the time of enrollment
  • Previously a UC graduate student
  • Currently covered by a spouse's UC insurance (Duplicate UC benefits coverage is not allowed)
  • Beyond the 31-day period of employment
  • Opting out of PSBP

Family members arriving from a foreign country after the Postdoctoral Scholar can be enrolled once they arrive to California. Postdoctoral Scholars have 31 days to enroll their eligible family member(s) to their benefits plan.
NOTE: Failure to enroll oneself or family members within the PIE could result in the delay of benefits coverage or even the possibility of no coverage until the next Open Enrollment period.

For questions about or assistance with enrollment, please contact the UCPath Center at 1-855-982-7284 or by accessing the Ask UCPath Center function via the UCPath Employee Self-Service Portal.

Making Benefit Changes

Postdoctoral Scholars have an additional 31-day period of enrollment to make changes to their benefits based on a qualifying life event. A qualifying life event can be:

  • Adding a family member through marriage, domestic partnership, birth or adoption
  • De-enrolling a family member because of divorce, separation, end of domestic partnership, death of a family member, or over-age children
  • Leaves of absence from employment
  • Job Changes including location change, layoff or termination
  • Transferring to/or from a non-Postdoctoral Scholar Title

The PIE begins on the date of the most recent qualifying life event.

Changes to benefits are made in UC Path via Employee Actions/Health and Welfare/Life Events and Benefit Changes, or directly contacting the UCPath Center by phone at 1-855-982-7284 or submitting an online case request via the Ask UCPath Center function.

Any changes that does not qualify as a life event can be made during the University's annual Open Enrollment Period.

Retirement Savings Plans

Postdoctoral Scholar-Employee (3252) who are generally not eligible for membership in the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) are automatically enrolled in the UC Defined Contribution Plan (DC Plan) as Safe Harbor participants and contributes 7.5% rate of wages, pre-tax, in lieu of paying Social Security taxes. Participation in the DC plan is mandatory with the exception for Postdoctoral Scholars on F-1 or J-1 visas from foreign countries that have a tax treaty with the US. For additional information, please see Retirement Savings Safe Harbor.

Postdoctoral Scholar-Employees (3252) are eligible to participate in the voluntary Retirement Savings Programs: 403(b) and/or 457(b) administered by Fidelity Retirement Services.

Postdoctoral Scholar -Fellow (3253) and Paid-Direct (3254) are not eligible to participate in any of the UC Retirement Savings Programs.

NOTE: UC employees transiting from UCRP-eligible positions to a Postdoctoral Scholar appointment without a break in service shall retain eligibility to participate in UCRP.

For additional information, Please visit UCnet Retirement Benefits or myUCretirement.

Taxation on Benefits (Imputed Income)

Per US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, Postdoctoral Scholars in the following title codes may be assessed an imputed income tax on the UC-paid portion of the health benefits Premium:
Postdoctoral Scholar- Fellow (3253)
Postdoctoral Scholar- Paid Direct (3254)
Domestic Partners and/or dependents of Postdoctoral Scholar - Employee (3252) - with a 50% or higher appointment. Imputed income tax is applied to the Domestic Partner and/or dependents' portion of the UC-paid contribution.

Imputed income is defined as the value of any benefit or service that is considered income for calculating US federal taxes. Postdoctoral Scholars subject to imputed income will receive a monthly bill from the UCPath Center.

International Postdoctoral Scholars subject to tax treaties are exempt from paying the imputed income tax for federal tax purposes will be required to report information for California State tax purposes.

For additional information, please visit

Appointment Ending or Leaving UC

Postdoctoral Scholar benefits end on the last day of the month in which the appointment ends. For example, if the appointment end date March 5, the benefits extend to March 31.

Gallagher Benefits Services will send a COBRA Election Notice and packet regarding benefits continuation options to the Postdoctoral Scholar's current home address listed in UCPath.

Postdoctoral Scholars electing to enroll in COBRA are responsible for the full payment of COBRA coverage including family members.

For information about funds in the UC Defined Contributions Plan, please review the guide for DC Plan participants or contact Fidelity Retirement Services at 1-866-682-7787.


Gallagher Benefits Services (800) 254-1758
UCPath/Path Center (855) 982-7284
  • Enrollment/Opt-Out
  • Benefits Management
  • Billing (except for Paid-Directs)
  • Case Request Submission
  • Benefits FAQ
Insurance Carrier Member Services
  • Health Net Medical
  • Health Net Dental (DHMO)
  • Health Net Vision
  • Principal (Dental POS)
  • The Standard
  • (888) 893-1572
  • (866) 249-2382
  • (866) 392-6058
  • (800) 247-4695
  • (800) 319-9557
Office of Academic Personnel (805) 893-4441
  • Postdoctoral Scholar Appointments
  • Employment Eligibility and Verification
Business & Financial Services - Payroll
  • Imputed Income - for tax on health and welfare benefits
Fidelity Retirement Services (866) 682-7787
  • UC Defined Contributions Plan


Employment Toolkit

The toolkit contains checklists, form letters, and other documents and resources to assist in the preparation of appointment, reappointment and modification requests.

Mentoring and Evaluation

  • Evaluation Form: As postdoctoral scholar appointments are for the purpose of training and mentorship, the supervisor shall conduct an annual review with the postdoctoral scholar to assess their research and progress expectations for the current period of appointment.
  • Individual Development Plan (IDP): Postdoctoral Scholars may elect to develop an IDP that identifies their research goals as well as professional development and career objects. IDPs can also serve as a communication tool, linking the research goals for the Postdoctoral Scholar and their faculty mentor. Postdoctoral Scholars are encouraged to work with their faculty mentors to create an IDP following the sample created by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology or using the online version - myIDP.
    NOTE: Postdoctoral Scholars who are supported by a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant are encouraged to develop an IDP with help from their faculty mentor. Beginning on October 1, 2014, NIH will request grantees to report the use of those IDPs on the annual Research Performance Progress report (RPPR), regardless of the type of NIH grant that is used to support the Postdoctoral Scholar's project. NIH does not expect institutions to include copies of the actual IDPs but instead to report the success rate in which IDPs are used to help manage the training for those individuals. For more information, please visit
  • UCSB Postdoctoral Mentoring Guidelines: Best practices and resources for faculty who serve as Postdoctoral mentors

Other Resources

New Employee Orientation

Newly appointed Postdoctoral Scholars are required to attend the campus New Employee Orientation (NEO) which also includes an orientation with representatives from UAW 5810, the union of Postdoctoral Scholars at UC. At this orientation, union leaders will familiarize you with your rights, protections, and benefits under the UC-UAW 5810 Bargaining Agreement.

NEOs are held on the first (1st) and third (3rd) Tuesdays of each month, from 9 - 11:30am located in Human Resources, 3101 SAASB, 3rd Floor. No registration is required. Employees should refrain from attending the NEO prior to start of employment and may attend any subsequent NEOs if they are unable to attend the next NEO scheduled on/after their appointed start date. Click here for additional information.

If you are unable to attend the campus NEO, pursuant to UC-UAW 5810 Collective Bargaining Agreements, it is required that you contact your union representative in order to meet with your union representative for the requisite 30 minutes. The contact request can be completed here:

Please also note, according to the UC-UAW 5810 Collective Bargaining Agreements, the thirty (30) minutes of mandatory orientation with your union representative counts toward the postdoc's workload hours, provided you have an appointment in the term you attend the orientation. If you fill out a timesheet, log 30 minutes for the orientation. Please contact if you have any questions.