- Associated Press - Saturday, March 11, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - New pay raises for postdoctoral associates at the University of Minnesota are straining some faculty budgets and causing concern over potential cuts to postdoctoral contracts.

Kathryn Brown, the university’s vice president for human resources, told the Minnesota Daily (http://bit.ly/2m3E73j ) her office established a minimum postdoctoral associate salary of nearly $47,500 after the U.S. Department of Labor announced updates to a federal employee protection law in 2016.

The new regulation allowed employees with wages below that salary to be eligible for overtime pay. She said the change impacted postdoctoral associates and about 600 other employees.

Brown said the university administration hasn’t reverted the postdoctoral base salary despite a court injunction that stopped the updates last fall.

The university’s Postdoctoral Association pushed for the school to keep the pay base after the injunction, association policy liaison Kristina Burrack said. The association is working now to ensure no postdoctoral contracts are terminated because of budget issues, she said.

“We’ve been trying to advocate for a central response from the university to provide bridge funding for any faculty that are concerned about not coming up with the needed funds. Obviously, we haven’t gotten anywhere,” Burrack said. “We’ve kind of felt like they’ve just been passing the buck down the line.”

Scott Lanyon, dean of graduate education, said it’s too soon to tell how faculty researchers may be impacted.

Lanyon said last month that university officials have been notified that four postdoctoral students will likely have their contracts cut in the College of Pharmacy.

Officials from the College of Science and Engineering, the Medical School and the College of Biological Sciences, which together hosted about 68 percent of the university’s postdoctoral associates, declined the newspaper’s request for comment.

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Information from: The Minnesota Daily, http://www.mndaily.com/

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