Is the NIH Minimum Salary Binding for All?
By Dora Farkas on October 3rd, 2012
Does the NIH minimum salary for postdocs only apply to people who are funded on NIH grants, or is it a general benchmark? I think I’m being paid below the NIH minimum, but I’m not on an NIH grant so I don’t know if there’s any course of action to take to increase my salary.
RO, Postdoctoral Fellow
I looked up the postdoctoral salaries on the websites of reputable universities, and the minimum for one of the universities was below the NIH minimum. This suggests that universities do not have to pay you the NIH minimum.
However, you are allowed to ask for a raise, especially if you have been there more than a year. I recommend meeting with you PI when he or she is relaxed, or at least not in a rush, and asking them whether it would be possible to have an increase in salary. You can indicate that you have been there for some time and it would be nice to be compensated for your work. I would not mention the NIH minimum, only if the raise they give you is below it.
In either event, it is best to phrase the question as “Would it be possible”, rather than demanding to get a raise to match a minimal amount.
See my previous blog on asking for a raise.
Dora Farkas, Ph.D. is the author “The Smart Way to Your Ph.D.:200 Secrets from 100 Graduates,” and the founder of PhDNet, an online community for graduate students and PhDs. You will find links to her book, monthly newsletters, and discussion board on her site. Send your questions to DearDora@benchfly.com and keep an eye out for them in an upcoming issue!
Stay tuned for the next Dear Dora in two weeks! In the meantime, check a few of Dora’s recent posts:
- Backing Out of a Postdoc Offer for a Better One
- Managing Publication Jealousy in the Lab
- Debriefing the Lab After a Scientific Conference
- Music in the Lab: MyTunes, iTunes, or No Tunes?
- Cell Culture Derailing Your Vacation Plans?
- Is a Publication Gap on Our CV a Job Killer?
- How to Leave a Postdoc Quickly with Your Reputation Intact
- How to Establish and Enforce the Chain of Command in Lab
- Walking the Thin Line Between a Great Result and a Lie
- Dear Boss: I Want to Graduate. Let’s Talk.
- My Boss’ Spouse: A Spy or Civilian in Lab?
- Bullying in the Lab: Are PIs Guilty
- What Came First: The Grad Student or the PI?
- Problems Communicating Science to Family? It’s Not Them, It’s You
Submit your questions to Dora at DearDora@benchfly.com, or use the comment box below!