Postdoctoral researcher employment changes

Postdoctoral Researcher Compensation Minimums

As part of Ohio State’s strategic emphasis on enhancing postdoctoral status and ensuring market-competitive compensation, Ohio State will establish a minimum salary for all postdoctoral researchers.

Beginning September 1, 2019, current postdoctoral researchers will be paid a minimum salary of $48,000 and must hold a 100% FTE term appointment. Postdoctoral researchers whose salaries are less than $48,000 must have their pay increased to meet the new minimum standard. The Office of Academic Affairs and Office of Research will partner with colleges to assist with the salary increases, providing cash funding for a period of 18 months after the minimum goes into effect.

In addition, starting May 1, 2019, all new postdoctoral researchers shall be offered a minimum of $48,000 annual salary and must hold a full-time equivalent term position.

As a result of this change, all full-time postdoctoral researchers will meet both the duties test of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the university salary threshold. Therefore, postdoctoral researchers will be considered exempt employees. This means they will no longer be considered eligible for overtime when working more than 40 hours in a week, and they will no longer need to use timesheets.

This decision reflects our commitment to enhance the postdoctoral experience and brings Ohio State in line with our peers. Ninety percent of institutions surveyed by the National Postdoctoral Association have a minimum salary policy. Furthermore, it will increase our competitiveness in recruiting candidates.

School directors, department chairs, associate/assistant deans, senior business officers and faculty researchers will receive similar announcements. This early communication will enable faculty to budget for this change and make adjustments to comply. In addition, we will send an email notification early next week to approximately 180 current postdoctoral researchers who will be impacted by the change on September 1, 2019. Closer to that effective date, the Office of Human Resources will provide postdoctoral researchers with details about impacts on payroll deductions and pay periods.

In the future, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will provide an annual recommendation on revisions to this minimum salary. Any changes to the policy will be communicated to the campus community in a similar manner.

Questions may be directed to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at

Frequently Asked Questions

Postdoctoral researchers are university employees who are receiving additional training while also performing services for the university in exchange for compensation. The appointment is typically five years or less and involves full-time research or scholarship. For a complete definition, visit the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs website.

The Postdoctoral Researcher primarily performs basic or applied research in an area of considerable scope and complexity, using advanced knowledge to identify and select problems to be studied and formulate a hypothesis. The individual will use independent discretion and judgement to design and perform experiments, collect and analyze data.In addition, the research results will be prepared for publication as well as delivered at seminars, talks, lectures, etc. The individual may teach classes under the mentorship of a faculty.

Yes, beginning September 1, 2019, when the salary is adjusted to the minimum.


May 1, 2019, unless the postdoctoral researcher’s appointment ends prior to September 1, 2019.  Those who are departing the university prior to September 1 may be left unchanged.

Consider creating an MOU with the other college. Choose one college for the 100% FTE and note that the funding comes from two units.


The Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) and the Office of Research (OR) will pull the salaries of a unit’s postdoctoral researchers on September 1, 2019, to determine how much it will cost to increase those salaries to $48,000 for the shorter of 18 months or until a postdoctoral researcher’s appointment ends. Nine months of funding will be provided in June 2020 (for the period September 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) and nine months of funding will be provided in March 2021 (for the period July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021).  Funds will go to each college for distribution to the home department of the postdoctoral researchers. Note:  it is expected that postdoctoral researchers will have annual merit applied to their salary which will be excluded from the OAA and OR support.

There are instances where a postdoctoral researcher position may be partially or fully funded from an external source, even though the work is performed at Ohio State.  The postdoctoral researcher must be appointed as a Term with a 100% FTE at the minimum salary.  The funding must be processed from the external source through the Office of Sponsored Programs and this should be established prior to the appointment of the postdoctoral researcher. Units should work with the appropriate sponsored project contact.