BU defines postdoctoral scholars as “individuals who have fulfilled the requirements for a doctoral degree (or equivalent) and are engaged in a temporary and defined period of mentored advanced training to enhance the professional skills and/or research independence needed to pursue their chosen career paths.” Though all postdocs at BU will have a unified title of postdoctoral scholar as of July 1, 2019, postdocs are categorized differently at BU based on how they are compensated. Below is information to help distinguish between the categories as well as information related to the benefits and tax requirements associated with those categories.
- Employee Postdoc Scholars
- Non-Employee Postdoc Scholars
- Benefits for Non-Employee Postdocs
- Health Insurance through the University for Non-Employee Postdocs
- Onboarding Employee Postdoc Scholars
Employee Postdoc Scholars
Formally known as Postdoc Associates, employee postdocs are paid a salary. State and federal taxes, as well as Social Security and Medicare payments, are withheld, and a W2 form is issued by the University each January. If you are an employee, benefits are viewed as part of the University’s contribution to your health and financial welfare. The University pays for 75% of health care cost and you pay 25% of the cost. Monthly contributions are paid through pre-tax payroll deductions. Pre-tax payroll deductions can also be made for items such as retirement savings, flexible spending accounts, accident insurance, or payment for parking or MBTA passes.
Non-Employee Postdoc Scholars
Formally known as Postdoc Fellows, non-employee postdoc is paid a stipend by an externally-funded training grant, or directly by a foreign country or institution of origin, and is engaged in a temporary and a defined period of mentored advanced training and professional development following completion of a doctoral degree program.
Non-Employee Postdoctoral Scholars are eligible for health insurance coverage through Boston University. Fellows can enroll in the Aetna graduate student plan and receive a reimbursement from the Office of the Provost to make the out of pocket cost of monthly premiums equal to what an employee postdoc would pay with the Blue Cross plan.
Benefits for Non-Employee Postdocs
Starting in January 2021, non-employee postdocs (formally Postdoctoral Fellows) will be added into the payroll system, BUworks (SAP). This means that their benefits reimbursements and stipends will no longer need to be processed through Accounts Payable.
For existing postdocs:
- Human Resources will be uploading all current non-employee postdocs into SAP and you will be notified once this is completed.
- Once all postdocs are entered into the system, inform them that they need to sign up for direct deposit. Instructions: https://www.bu.edu/tech/files/2016/01/direct_deposit_instructions.pdf
- Stipend payments will now be received at a consistent time and frequency (last day of the month)
- They will have the ability to view salary statements
- They will have the ability to apply for, manage, and pay for MBTA passes or parking enrollment
- Their share of the premium for health coverage under Aetna will be directly debited from their monthly stipends
- For postdocs who have the remaining portion of their health insurance covered by their grant, they will not have any deduction from their stipends. The entire premium can be entered using the employer wage type
- All department administrators will need to update the postdocs data for the missing links in SAP, Office Address, BU Alert Information and Visa, Citizenship, Race, Ethnicity and Veteran Status.
For new postdocs:
- The non-employee postdoc’s offer letter will be required to create their positions to hire them into SAP as backup attachments on both the OM Create and PA Hire forms.
- Any new hires will currently need to utilize the guest/affiliate form with IS&T to obtain the BUID, and then set up their Kerberos & BU email. Once this step is completed, the postdoc’s actual hire into SAP will need to be completed by the units, initializing the hire with the BUID that was given to them from IS&T
Onboarding Employee Postdoc
Employee Postdocs should attend a New Employee Orientation organized by Human Resources. These sessions are held every Monday at 9:00 AM. Contact your departmental administrator in order to sign up for a session. If you have questions related to your eligibility for benefits, your existing benefits, policies within the employee handbook, or other HR-related concerns, you can contact the HR Service Center (firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-353-2380) for assistance Monday – Friday between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM.