Postdocs will be getting a raise

Justin Kiggins Jul 05, 2015

President Obama just published details on proposed changes to rules defining which employees are exempted from receiving overtime pay.

Obama's justification?

Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve. That's partly because we've failed to update overtime regulations for years -- and an exemption meant for highly paid, white collar employees now leaves out workers making as little as $23,660 a year -- no matter how many hours they work.

That certainly sounds like a postdoc. 

These changes probably won't affect postdocs who are funded through fellowships like the NRSA F32. Those postdocs who are salaried employees, however, are currently "exempt" from overtime pay if they make more than $23,660. The new rules mean that they will need a salary of at least $50,400. So if their institution is following the NIH standard, which sets a minimim of $42,840, it looks like they'll either need to get paid overtime for any work done over 40 hours or get a raise to meet the exemption requirements.

The full details of the proposal were published Monday, July 6. However, there is a comment period before the rules go into effect.

Upon publication of the proposed rule on Monday July 6, 2015, interested parties will be invited to submit written comments on the proposed rule at The comment period will close on September 4, 2015. Only comments received during the comment period identified in the Federal Register published version of the NPRM will be considered part of the rulemaking record.

I certainly hope that postdocs and grad students will comment on the proposed changes. Because I've no doubt that the NIH and NIH-funded institutions will be submitting comments.

Read more: President Obama raises the overtime salary threshold, reestablishing a key labor standard

Note (7/6/15): I've updated the title and some of the text now that the full notice has been published. I couldn't find anything to indcate any change in postdoc status there. -JK