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Guest Post: Working to Level the Playing Field at NASA

10 Dec 2019, 20:00 UTC
Guest Post: Working to Level the Playing Field at NASA
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

By Joan SchmelzNASA Postdoctoral Program DirectorUniversities Space Research Association (USRA) A recently approved policy now allows NASA postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to continue receiving stipends during time away from work. This time away can be for a variety of family and medical issues, including a serious health condition, birth or adoption of a child, parental care, or other special circumstances. This is a major improvement over the old procedure, where stipends stopped while the fellows were absent from their posts. I have been working to get this policy in place since I became the Director of the NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) back in February 2019. Friends – alums of the program – shared their stories of how they tried to navigate the old system. Under the previous policy, the amount of time away from work needed to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The burden was on the fellow, who was dependent on the goodwill of their NASA research advisor. This burden has finally been lifted with a new twelve-week guarantee. I think of this as a policy for the 21st century. I’ve described it as ‘one giant leap’ for work-life balance at NASA. If you want to level the ...

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