We call on the UW administration to enable postdocs who are paid directly through external fellowships to access the same health insurance benefits afforded to all other postdocs.
UW’s decision—to assert that postdocs whose salaries are paid by external fellowships are not full time employees eligible for benefits—leaves a number of international Postdocs and others who bring outside funding to UW without healthcare. The COVID pandemic has created unprecedented challenges, putting Postdocs without healthcare at further risk. In recent weeks this has been made worse by the Trump administration’s new directives designed to exclude non-citizen students and workers. At a time when skilled Postdocs - working on COVID, public health, climate change, and other critical priorities - should be welcomed and supported, UW is sending a message that these researchers should go elsewhere and that Postdocs already at UW should not seek to bring in additional funding to the University.
The UW Administration should not be denying benefits to any UW Postdoc. Denial of health insurance to even one UW Postdoc is an affront to all of us, and in a time of global pandemic, puts all of us at risk. Our contract must be enforced to ensure equitable terms for all postdocs in our community.
We call on UW to take action now to fix this problem by ensuring that all UW Postdocs are deemed eligible for PEBB health coverage.