Host Institution Employment Policy FAQ

This FAQ on changes to the NHFP Host Institution Employment Policy will be updated as we receive additional questions. 

Policy questions and answers

Through this change in policy we intend to ensure that all NHFP fellows will be given the opportunity to enjoy the benefits that full-time employees already have.

At present, NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP) fellows can be either employee or stipendiary fellows. Employee fellows are, as the name suggests, employees of their host institutions and receive the full employee benefit package of their host institution. While the NHFP does not pay overhead to the host institution, it does fully reimburse the host institution for the cost of the employee benefits package. Stipendiary fellows, on the other hand, are not employees of their hosts. While they receive the same salary as employee fellows, they receive no benefits, except for health care, which they, or their host institution, arrange for separately and for which they or their host institution is reimbursed. However, they do not receive sick pay, annual leave, or parental/family leave. Thus, while an employee fellow could take parental leave after the birth of a child, and then extend their fellowship by the amount of leave they took, a stipendiary fellow has no such option.  Furthermore, the income a stipendiary fellow receives is typically not considered to be earned income by their state or the Federal Government. As a result, not only do they not have an institutional retirement plan they can join, they may lose government benefits such as social security and unemployment insurance.  However, stipendiary fellows do not pay social security taxes and may have more leave flexibility than employee fellows.  Additionally, whether an individual is an employee or stipendiary fellow can affect the visas for which they are eligible. Thus which model is preferable will depend on the specific circumstances and desires of the fellow, but for the majority of fellows the employment model is the better option.


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