Postdoctoral Fellows Administration

Find information on recruiting, appointing, reappointing or changing the contract of a postdoctoral fellow.

For general inquiries about postdoctoral fellows, including inviting postdoctoral fellows, awards and funding and career development, visit the Postdoctoral Office or contact pdfo@ualberta.ca.

There are three categories of postdoctoral fellows:

Postdoctoral Fellow Employees
Postdoctoral fellow employees are paid in whole or in part by the university, via a supervisor's grant, department/faculty operating account, or an internally adjudicated and awarded fellowship (e.g., the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship).
Postdoctoral Fellow Trainees
Postdoctoral fellow trainees are paid in whole by an externally adjudicated and awarded fellowship (e.g., CIHR), but the university administers the pay through the Research Services Office (RSO) and the university payroll system. Trainees are not subject to statutory deductions.
Postdoctoral Fellow Guests
Postdoctoral fellow guests are paid in whole by an externally adjudicated and awarded fellowship (e.g., NSERC), and the funding agency pays the postdoc directly (not through the university payroll system). Guests are not subject to statutory deductions.

If, at any point, the postdoctoral fellow receives funding from the university, they will be considered an employee for the time they receive payment.

 

Salary/stipend

The minimum stipend for postdoctoral fellows and the university is $37,795.86. Postdoctoral fellows are paid on a semi-monthly schedule.

Postdoctoral fellows contribute to Employment Insurance (EI) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). EI and CPP and WCB rates change annually. To calculate or estimate annual statutory deduction costs, use the EI/CPP calculator. 

Recruitment and selection

Please review the Appointment Procedure when initiating the recruitment and appointment of a postdoctoral fellow.

Reach out to your HR Contact for assistance with creating a job posting. Postings are available on the Careers webpage under the Faculty/Instructional/Research Associates/Postdoctoral Fellows tab.

Refer to the Interview Checklist for Postdoctoral Fellows and Supervisors for tips on how to prepare for the interview and selection process.

Appointing and re-appointing

If the postdoctoral fellow is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, use the New Appointment/Reappointment Letter template. If the postdoctoral fellow is foreign national, the host department must follow the steps outlined for Foreign Workers Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before using the letter template.

A postdoctoral fellow must be appointed within 5 years of the completion of their PhD (or 10 years after a MD/DDS) and can be appointed for up to 5 years. For clarity, any reappointment of a postdoctoral fellow must not exceed 5 years unless a request for a waiver has been approved by the Vice-President (Research and Innovation).

Submitting changes

Use an eForm to submit new appointments (hires), reappointments, rate changes or terminations unless otherwise stated.

Changes to contract

Each time there is a change to the original contract, the postdoctoral fellow must be notified. In some instances, an email to the individual from the supervisor will suffice. In other cases, a letter must be provided.

Change to Appointment Dates (letter required)

An individual may not be able to take up the appointment at the time noted on the invitation letter (for example, due to visa issues). Once the postdoctoral fellow arrives, the department must provide a letter to the individual advising of the new start and, if applicable, end date. This letter must be signed by the supervisor and postdoctoral fellow. A copy of the letter must be provided to the PDF Office and attached to the eForm when you submit the hire.

Sample: Further to your contract letter dated XXX, in which your appointment was to commence on XXX, 20XX, this is to advise that [due to visa issues] your appointment will now commence on XXX, 20XX and end on XXX, 20XX. All other conditions of your contract remain the same.

Change to Supervisor (letter required)

Department must provide a letter to the postdoctoral fellow advising of the change in supervisor. This letter must be signed by the current supervisor, the replacing supervisor, and the postdoctoral fellow. A copy of the letter must be provided to Employment Services.

Sample: Further to your contract letter dated XXX, this is to advise you that effective DATE your current supervisor XXX will be replaced by XXX. All other conditions of your contract remain the same.

Change to Funding Source (email)

Department must provide an email to the postdoctoral fellow advising of the new source of funds. A copy of the email must be attached to the Speedcode/Combo Code Change Request form.

Sample: Further to your contract dated XXX, this is to advise you that your source of funds has changed from XXX to XXX effective XXX, 20XX. All other conditions of your contract remain the same.

Stipend Increases (email)

Department must provide an email to the postdoctoral fellow advising of the increase. A copy of the email must be attached to the Postdoctoral Fellow Pay/Benefits Action Form and sent to Employment Services.

Sample: Further to your contract letter dated XXX, this is to advise you that your stipend will be increased to $ effective XXX, 20XX. All other conditions of your contract remain the same.

Additional Pay (email)*

Department must provide an email to the postdoc advising of the additional pay and indicate the reason for the additional pay. A copy of the email must be attached to the Postdoctoral Fellow Pay/Benefits Action Form and sent to Employment Services.

Sample: Further to your contract letter dated XXX, this is to advise you that you will receive an additional payment of $ xxx per annum, effective XXX, 20XX to XXX, 20XX for "reason xxxx". All other conditions of your contract remain the same.

One-time Payment (email)*

Department must provide an email to the postdoctoral fellow advising of the one-time payment and indicate the reason for the payment. A copy of the email must be attached to the Postdoctoral Fellow Pay/Benefits Action Form and sent to Employment Services.

Sample: Further to your contract letter dated XXX, this is to advise you that you will receive a One-Time Payment of $ xxx effective XXX, 20XX for "reason xxxx". All other conditions of your contract remain the same.

Leave of Absences or Maternal/Parental Leave

There are no leave options specifically through the U of A for leaves for postdoctoral fellows unless the grant from which the postdoctoral fellow is being paid has provisions for parental leaves.

If the funding agency doesn't have provisions for a parental leave or leave of absence, or the funding doesn't cover the entire requested leave, the postdoctoral fellow might be able to apply for EI.

Please see below for the documentation and steps required.

  1. The postdoctoral fellow will write a letter to their supervisor requesting a leave, including the dates they will be absent. A letter is preferred.
  2. The supervisor will write a letter in response, confirming the leave, including the dates mentioned in their reply. The supervisor will also state whether the leave will be paid or unpaid, and depending on the duration of the leave if the benefits will be continued while the postdoctoral fellow is on leave.
  3. The department will then prepare Postdoctoral Fellow Pay/Benefits Action Form and include the letters when submitting the documents.

*Please note, additional pay and one-time payments must fall in the scope of work for the postdoctoral fellow as indicated in the appointment letter, especially in cases where the postdoctoral fellow is a foreign national. In cases where the postdoctoral fellow is a foreign national, please contact Immigration Services prior to offering additional payments or one-time payments.

Letter of confirmation

The university does not provide certificates of completion or certifications at the end of a postdoctoral appointment. We suggest postdoctoral fellows requiring such certification obtain a letter of recommendation from their supervisor, as such a recommendation will carry more value in an academic record.

The university will issue, upon request, a letter of confirmation that will attest to the duration of a postdoctoral fellow appointment and confirm the department where the appointment was served and the name of the supervisor. This letter is signed by the Academic Director of the Postdoctoral Fellowship and Academic Visitor Office. If you require such a letter, please email pdfo@ualberta.ca. Typically, the letter will be issued within 10 business days.

Please note that the letter of confirmation is not an employment letter and is not meant to be used as a proof of employment for banks, governments or other non-academic bodies.