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Terms and Conditions of Postdoctoral Offers

The following are important terms and conditions that apply to all postdoctoral scholar offers at Stanford. Postdoctoral Scholars must receive this memo as an enclosure with the offer letter of appointment at Stanford. By signing the offer letter, the department, faculty PI and the postdoctoral scholar acknowledge the following terms as conditions of appointment.
Funding: Please consult the Postdoctoral Scholar Handbook for questions regarding the determination of whether your financial support constitutes a "stipend" or "salary" (both are taxable, but only the latter is subject to Social Security taxes), and how it may be characterized and reported to you for tax purposes. Please understand that if your funding is partially or fully comprised of stipend support, this may alter your eligibility to receive additional maternity benefits from the State of California. Please consult with a tax advisor to understand your tax liabilities with respect to your postdoctoral support. University staff are not permitted to provide tax advice or guidance.
Effort:  If your salary is charged to a government grant or contract, you will be required to devote a certain minimum number of hours to that project, work under the direction of the principal investigator on that project, and you will be subject to satisfactory performance requirements in regard to that project. All funding, federal or non-federal, is subject to certain determinations of effort and other restrictions, and you should make certain you understand how to allocate effort for assigned projects if you are supported by multiple sources of funding.
Medical insurance: As a Postdoctoral Scholar, you must be covered by a comprehensive medical insurance plan for the duration of your appointment. You will be required to attend a Postdoc Benefits Orientation within 31 days of your appointment start date and before you can enroll in benefits. Your department administrator will register you for a session. All dates can be found on the Postdoc Benefits website. You may waive medical coverage if you are already covered by a comprehensive medical plan. Information on waiving coverage is here. Waiving medical coverage does not preclude you from attending the benefits orientation. Foreign insurance plans and travel plans are not considered comprehensive medical insurance and cannot be used to waive Stanford insurance.
Per university policy, your medical coverage and benefits are a condition of your postdoctoral appointment at Stanford. The cost of insurance benefits is funded either by the university benefits pool for scholars whose support is at least 50% salary. Otherwise, the cost is charged to the fellowship award or your faculty sponsor/department.
You may not be asked to pay for insurance costs that must be borne by Stanford, the PI or your department as a benefit to you per university policy, unless the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs receives in writing evidence of an institutional allowance, that is part of a fellowship award, designated to pay for acceptable medical coverage during a postdoctoral appointment at Stanford.
Additional information may be found in the policy memo of October 30, 2003 from then Associate Dean of Graduate Policy and Research, Godfrey Mungal.
Additional important information for international scholars on J-1 visas:  The Department of State (DoS)sets requirements for medical insurance while in the country on a J visa, however Stanford has more comprehensive requirements for postdocs appointed through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. The medical plan offered to Stanford appointed postdocs meets these requirements. If your dependents have traveled with you and they are here on a J2 visa, their insurance must meet the DoS requirements only. Our plan meets those requirements. You may enroll your J2 dependents in our health plans, but it is not required. We do not monitor dependent coverage but as the J1 visa holder you are responsible for ensuring your J2 dependents are adequately covered. If they have a travel policy that meets the DoS requirements, that would be considered adequate coverage. The DoS requirements for minimal medical insurance coverage for J visa holders can be found on Bechtel International Center's website. 
Questions may be directed to the department postdoctoral administrator or to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at