Postdocs' Change of Status Q&A

This page was last updated on September 27, 2017, and will be continually updated as we receive further inquiries.

Q. Am I considered a student or an employee?

Q. What does it mean for a Postdoc to be an employee?

Under Quebec law, employees have certain responsibilities and benefits that students do not. For example: 

  • They must pay provincial income tax and other provincial payroll deductions.
  • Federal taxes are charged at the applicable employment income rate. 
  • They are eligible for government benefits (e.g. maternity/parental leave through the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, employment insurance, etc.).
  • Researchers who employ Postdocs must pay employer fees to the government (e.g. mandatory contributions to the Quebec Pension Plan and Quebec Parental Insurance Plan).
  • Unionized Postdocs are members of the AMURE (Postdocs) bargaining unit, and must pay union dues.

Q. How much do payroll deductions cost?

Employer and employee deductions can be calculated with online tools provided by Revenu Québec and the Canada Revenue Agency. Postdocs who are not paid by McGill funds are not McGill employees, and as such are not subject to McGill employee payroll deductions.

Q. What about international Postdocs?

Eligible international Postdocs may claim a refund of their provincial income tax payments when they complete their tax returns. For more information, consult our Quebec Tax Exemption information.

Q. Do Postdocs get McGill benefits?

Postdocs who are unionized McGill employees are entitled to benefits as outlined in their collective agreement. Additionally, McGill has chosen to offer these same benefits to non-unionized Postdocs who are McGill employees, and who meet McGill’s eligibility requirements. Postdocs who are not McGill employees may be eligible for benefits through the Postgraduate Students’ Society (PGSS). 

Q. For Postdocs who receive McGill funds, why must we apply employee payroll deductions to the entirety of their income - rather than just their income from McGill funds?

Under the law, a postdoc earning $10,000/year from McGill and $40,000/year from an outside source must be taxed on $50,000 of annual employment earnings if all those funds are administered via McGill's systems. As well, provincial benefits (e.g. payments provided during maternity leave) would be based on a $50,000/year income.

Q. If personal awards are paid directly from an external body to a postdoc, and don't pass through McGill's systems, will employee deductions be applied?

No. McGill will only apply deductions to external funds that pass through McGill systems, and only to Postdocs who also receive McGill funds.

Q. What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?

We invite you to reach out to your local HR representative (contact info here), or our HR Shared Services team at either 514-398-4747 or hr.hr [at] mcgill.ca. You may also consult the AMURE (Postdoctoral Fellows) collective agreement.