Benefits and Leave

Benefits and Leave

The information below provides information on Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) benefits and leave policies including information on health insurance, sick leave, and retirement. Please note that your department or school administrator may have more specific instructions that you should follow. Some items on this list will not apply to everyone.

Health Insurance

Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) are required to have health insurance. PDTs are eligible to receive free single person insurance, as provided under the Basic University of Pennsylvania Postdoctoral Insurance Plan in cooperation with Gallagher Benefit Services. This benefit is in addition to the stipend, and no premium should be deducted from the PDT’s stipend.

Family Health Coverage

If the PDT elects family coverage, the difference between the single and family premium can be paid from one of three sources: (1) it can be deducted from the PDT’s stipend; (2) it can be paid by the funding source if it is an allowable expense; or (3) it can be paid by the unit that recruited the PDT. 

Dental Insurance

The University of Pennsylvania Postdoctoral Insurance Plan includes dental insurance. Details of the plan are available on-line.

No Health Insurance

If PDTs elect to waive health insurance coverage through the University, PDTs must certify that they have alternate health insurance that provides at least comparable coverage. 

Life Insurance

Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance (Life/AD&D) is also provided to Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) via Gallagher.

View information about the life and AD&D benefit. 

PDTs are required to log in to the Gallagher portal and complete the information required to identify a beneficiary.

Vacation and Mentor-Approved Flexibility of Observed Holidays and Winter Break

In any appointment year, Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) may elect to take up to ten University business days as paid vacation days, on which days the PDT will continue to receive their stipend. PDTs are also entitled to the eight official holidays observed by the University and are eligible to take the University’s special winter vacation, during which time the University is typically closed. If a PDT wishes to work and/or perform research during an official holiday or special winter vacation, the postdoc can use the equivalent time as additional paid vacation days. PDTs forfeit any unused vacation days or holidays at the end of any appointment year.  


Sick Leave

Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) may continue to receive stipends for up to 15 University business days of sick leave per year. PDTs forfeit any unused sick leave at the end of the appointment year. Under exceptional circumstances, a period of leave due to illness or incapacity may be extended at the discretion of the mentor. Mentors may request for any extended absence medical documentation from a health care provider, to be provided to an appropriate administrative office consistent with confidentiality. Additional sick leave may be approved in the discretion of the mentor. 

New Child Leave

Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) are entitled to receive stipends for no more than 60 calendar days of leave per appointment year for adoption or birth of a child. Either parent is eligible. PDTs must discuss the use of new child leave in advance with the mentor. A mentor may not deny a request to use new child leave without the authorization of the appropriate administrative office. Unused sick leave or vacation days may be used, with approval, to extend the period of new child leave. Additional new child leave may be approved at the discretion of the mentor.


Unpaid Leave

Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) requesting extended periods of time away from their training experience, including leave in excess of available sick and/or parental leave, must obtain approval for a leave of absence without stipend continuation. Approval for such leave must be requested and approved by the mentor in advance. 

Record of Paid and Unpaid Leave

All paid and unpaid leave must be approved in advance by the mentor; additional leave may be approved at the mentor’s discretion. Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) and mentors are responsible for keeping accurate records of paid and unpaid leave.


Postdoctoral Researchers and Salaried Fellows are eligible to invest in Penn’s Supplemental Retirement Annuity plan. Enrollment can be completed in Workday. NRSA Postdoctoral Fellows are not eligible for this benefit. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact the Penn Employee Solution Center.