Research News
Information to enhance your success at UNL | UNL Office of Research | October 2016

News & Notes 

Postdoc, research faculty minimum salaries set

Minimum salaries will increase for most full-time postdoctoral scholar positions and some research-track faculty positions effective Dec. 1.

Full-time postdoctoral scholars and research-track faculty will be paid at least $913 a week or $47,476 annually, the minimum threshold of the new federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Salaries for 78 percent of UNL’s postdoctoral scholars and 12 percent of research-track faculty currently are below this rate and will be raised to the new minimum by Dec. 1.

This policy applies to full-time postdocs and full-time research-track faculty, including research associates and senior research associates, as well as assistant, associate and full research professors.

Part-time postdocs and research track faculty with salaries below the FLSA minimum threshold must be classified as non-exempt under the new rules. Their salaries will be at least proportional to the minimum compensation threshold. For example, a 50 percent FTE employee working 20 hours a week would earn at least 50 percent of the minimum salary threshold. These part-time nonexempt employees will be eligible for overtime pay for any hours worked above 40 in one work week.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently amended the FLSA by raising the salary threshold for exempting certain employees from FLSA overtime requirements. The amendment affects postdocs, as well as many other positions at the university and at institutions and businesses nationwide.

Chancellor Ronnie Green announced the change Oct. 19. The vast majority of Big Ten and other major research universities are taking similar steps to comply with the new requirements.

“We recognize the critical importance of postdoctoral scholars and research-track faculty to the research enterprise and support fair wages for employees, while at the same time recognizing the short-term hardship on principal investigators, departments and colleges presented by this new mandate,” Green said.

“As a campus, we must do our best to weather this challenging transition.”

Colleges and divisions are responsible for identifying funds to comply with this change. PIs with grants that include postdocs or research-track faculty may need to adjust their budgets. The Office of Sponsored Programs will work with PIs to re-budget existing awards, when possible, and submit requests to agencies for supplemental funds to existing awards where appropriate.

Other guidelines:

  • Effective immediately, all new sponsored programs proposals must budget no less than the FLSA minimum annual salary for all full-time postdoc and research-track faculty positions.
  • The FLSA minimum salary is expected to be reviewed and updated every three years. PIs should factor in regular postdoc salary increases when preparing proposals for grants and contracts.
  • Colleges that have postdocs or research-track faculty whose salaries are less than the minimum threshold will receive a report of names and additional information for implementing salary increases.

Anyone with questions can contact the Office of Research and Economic Development, 402-472-3123 or

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