Summary of Benefits

Health Insurance

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center provides health insurance for postdoctoral research trainees. Coverage begins at the start date of employment. Individual coverage is provided at no cost to the postdoctoral research trainee and all trainees are automatically eligible for coverage. Family coverage is also available, with the additional cost to be split between UTHSC and the postdoctoral research trainee. J-1 exchange visitors not sponsored by UTHSC are responsible for their own insurance coverage.


A postdoc is recognized as a trainee committed to maximizing their research productivity and is expected to work extended hours as needed to achieve this goal. Postdocs are not eligible for overtime pay or payment for any approved leave time that is not taken. A mutually agreed upon set of workplace expectations regarding work hours, annual leave and sick leave will be formulated at the outset of the postdoctoral training period. It is expected that hours worked and leave time will be consistent with postdoc peers in the comparable departments at UTHSC and with peers in similar areas of research at other institutions within the U.S.

Vacation Time

The mentor and postdoc will discuss possible situations that may necessitate working holiday hours to complete critical experiments, obtain data for grant submissions or bring manuscripts to the submission stage. Vacation days granted for postdoctoral research trainees are typically 2 weeks/year in addition to the week-long UTHSC-wide closing during Winter Break and approximately 7 days of additional Administrative holidays/closings. (See the UTHSC Holiday Calendar.) This totals approximately 4 weeks of vacation time each year. Any additional vacation time beyond the 4 week total must be approved by the mentor in writing using the attached Request for Extended Leave for Postdocs form, and the postdoc must be placed on unpaid leave of absence.

Insurance Coverage (during leave of absence)

In order to maintain health insurance coverage during unpaid leave of absence, postdocs must assume full cost (100%) of the insurance premium for both single and family coverage. It is the responsibility of the postdoc to contact the Postdoc Office to make financial arrangements for continued insurance coverage during this time.

Religious Holidays

Specific requests by the postdoc for religious holidays will be discussed with the mentor and the postdoc and will be honored unless they cause undue hardship to the laboratory. Leave for religious holidays may be unpaid.

Sick Leave

In addition to expected vacation time and administrative holidays/closings, postdocs will be provided with reasonable amounts of sick leave and funeral and bereavement leave as requested by the postdoc and approved by the mentor on a case-by-case basis. Sick leave may be requested for the postdoc or family members. Approvals will be consistent with standard practices on campus and equally applied to all postdocs in the mentor’s laboratory.