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Postdocs and Overtime

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor changed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to raise the salary threshold for certain employees to qualify for overtime. The change will render most postdocs earning less than $47,476 annually eligible for overtime on December 1, 2016, along with a number of other professional employees. Although a federal injunction put the FLSA change on hold as of November 22, 2016, Stony Brook, like most research institutions, still raised its postdoc salary minimum to the new national standard of $47,500.  

November 23, 2016: NIH Director of External Research, Michael Lauer, indicates NRSA stipend scale increase will proceed.  

November 22, 2016: Federal judge issues injunction putting FLSA overtime change on hold.  Nevertheless, Stony Brook new salary minimum remains in place.

October 7, 2016:  Memo from Office of Vice President for Research, 
"Changes to Minimum Postdoctoral and Research Scientist Salaries for Compliance with Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)"

Stony Brook officially raises the salary minimum for research grant-supported postdocs in order to maintain their exemption from overtime.

Parallel guidance on State-supported postdocs has also been issued from the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Dean of the Medical School.

Postdocs with questions about how this change affects them are encouraged to talk with their supervisor/PI and to contact HR at

June 6, 2016 : Memo from the Office of the Vice President for Research.



  1. Final Department of Labor Rule

  2. Department of Labor Overview page

  3. Dept of Labor Fact Sheet for Higher Ed (Excerpt, page 2): 

    Postdoctoral researchers:
    • Sciences: Postdoctoral researchers in the sciences are not covered by the teaching exemption. These employees are generally considered professional employees and are subject to the salary threshold for exemption from overtime. DOL has been working closely with NIH and NSF regarding their mutual interest in this area.

    • Humanities: Many postdoctoral researchers in the humanities also teach. To the extent that they have a primary duty of teaching, they will be subject to the teaching exemption and not entitled to overtime compensation. If they do not teach, however, and earn less than the new threshold, they will be eligible for overtime

  4. DoL Guidance for Higher Ed 

  5. Op-ed from NIH Director and Labor Secretary on postdocs, describing NIH's support for salary increases for postdocs

  6. National Postdoctoral Association Postdoc Overtime Resource Page

  7. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget's 2014 clarification on the postdoc's dual role as employee and trainee. See:  OMB FAQ, Section 200.400-2 and  NIH Policy Notice NOT-OD-15--008

  8. FAQ on NSF’s Implementation of the FLSA Final Overtime Rule

  9. NIH Revised NRSA Stipend Scale for FY17 (NIH  NOT-OD-16-134)