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Benefits for Postdoctoral Fellows

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The following is a brief summary of the benefits that may be available to trainees at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. A more detailed description of the benefits is available through the MD Anderson Benefits Office. To obtain eligibility information, please contact the Office of Trainee and Alumni Affairs at (713) 792-2696.

Vacation and Sick Leave

An allocation for time off is given to postdoctoral fellows at the start of their appointment. A full-time one-year appointment will provide 120 hours vacation and 80 hours sick leave. The allocated hours are reduced according to the length of the appointment.

Trainees' annual leave does not automatically carry over from one appointment year to the next. Rather, it is based on a use-it-or-lose-it policy. Should laboratory coverage be such that a trainee is unable to use the time during the appointment year, a mechanism exists to allow the request of carry over time. Trainees are not paid for accumulated annual or sick leave at the time of separation.


Insurance benefits are available to persons holding educational appointments for a period of at least four and one half months and who receive a stipend. Insurance benefits for postdoctoral fellows are the same benefits as those available to classified employees.

The health insurance plan offered by The University of Texas System is UT Select, a preferred provide organization (PPO) plan, administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. The plan, which is effective the first calendar day of the month following the date of employment, is free of cost to the trainee.

Dental insurance is optional: there are two plans from which to choose. Both plans require payroll deductions.

Optional insurances are available, i.e., term life ($10,000 coverage free of cost to trainee), personal accident insurance ($10,000 coverage free of cost to trainee), long-term disability insurance, long-term care insurance and vision insurance.

Dependent coverage is available, at cost, with health, dental, term life, accident and vision. 

Other Benefits

Teacher Retirement System (TRS)

Postdoctoral fellows are required to participate in the TRS. A monthly deduction is withheld, but this may be returned (minus the tax penalty) or rolled over into another retirement fund at the conclusion of the appointment. Graduate research assistants are not allowed to participate in TRS.

Tax Sheltered Annuities

Trainees are allowed to make a tax-deferred monthly contribution towards an optional retirement plan.


A tax-free reimbursement account for medical expenses and dependent care allows trainees to deposit a portion of their stipend prior to taxation into flexible spending accounts.

Tuition Reimbursement

Most individuals holding educational appointments are not eligible for tuition reimbursement through the reimbursement plan administered by Human Resources. In most instances, trainees are expected to support the cost of their tuition. An exception is permitted for those individuals whose stipends are supported by training grants or designated scholarships.

Postdoctoral fellows are occasionally required to take course work to supplement their training program. These charges may be reimbursed by the program or department and would be paid from departmental funds. Reimbursements are handled via check requests submitted by the department to the Office of Trainee and Alumni Affairs. After verification and approval, the requests are forwarded to Fiscal Services for payment. Under no circumstances will an individual be reimbursed for a late registration fee.

Relocation Assistance

Individuals holding educational appointments are not eligible for the relocation expense program administered by Human Resources for classified employees nor does the Office of Trainee and Alumni Affairs provide any relocation assistance to educational trainees. Funding departments do have the option to provide relocation assistance to educational trainees. Departments that wish to provide relocation assistance may only use company 3 or company 8 funds.

Revised 5/11/06

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center