Quality of Postdoc Life

Parental Leave


Postdoctoral Scholars are automatically enrolled in a short term disability plan with Garnett Powers. For the 2017-2018 year, the monthly benefit is 70% of the insured pre-disability salary to a maximum of $1500 weekly. If your claim is approved, these benefits become payable after a waiting period of 8 days. For those with postdoctoral staff positions, additional information can be found here: https://employees.usc.edu/new-baby/.

If you decide to opt into the standard USC disability plan, the maternity disability leave consists of 10 weeks leave at 70% pay, less the first week which is an unpaid waiting period. Opting into the supplemental plan raises the pay rate to 100% of your salary for up to 10 weeks.

It is recommended that you discuss your maternity leave plan with your supervisor and Human Resources manager as soon as possible, as they will help you navigate your maternity leave and will coordinate with disability providers.

California Family Leave Law

Under California’s Family Leave Law, parents receive 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental leave in connection with the birth of a child (including through surrogacy) or adoption. Both new mothers and new fathers can take 12 weeks’ leave at any point within one year of the child’s birth or adoption (https://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/pfl_mothers).

For mothers, this leave is in addition to what is covered under USC’s disability plan. However,
only the first 6 weeks of these additional 12 weeks can be paid at 55% from the State disability plan; the rest is unpaid. If you wish to take this additional time, check your eligibility with the State Disability plan to ensure that you qualify and have been paying in to the plan during the year before your maternity leave.

Physical Health and Fitness

Gym Membership

All postdocs have gym membership, including access to the HSC Fitness Center:

The building is located at 2001 Soto Street and houses a variety of cardiovascular and strength training equipment, two group exercise rooms, locker rooms, towel service, day-use lockers, and a basketball court.  The Soto Route shuttle provides easy access to the building from other parts of HSC:

Local sporting opportunities

Los Angeles is home to many hiking trails, including trails right in the city, as well as wilderness only a short drive away.  You can read about some of the more popular trails here: https://modernhiker.com/

The trails in Griffith Park are close to HSC and offer a good introduction to hiking, and more experienced hikers may enjoy exploring the San Gabriel Mountains.  Some popular trails to consider include Runyon Canyon in Hollywood, the Hollyridge Trail in Griffith Park, and Eaton Canyon in Pasadena, and Los Liones Canyon in Pacific Palisades.

The city has many public bicycle trails as well.  A map of publicly accessible paved bike paths, e.g. along the LA River, Arroyo, or the beach, can be found here: http://labikepaths.com/.

There are also mountain biking opportunities of varying difficulty that you can learn about here: https://www.mtbproject.com/.

You can also find winter sporting opportunities at:
Big Bear: http://ski-bigbear.com/

Mountain High: http://www.mthigh.com/site

Mammoth (farther): https://www.mammothmountain.com/

Other options for sporting near campus include:
Tennis: https://www.laparks.org/

Golf: http://golf.lacity.org/

Disc Golf: https://www.pdga.com/

Ultimate Frisbee: http://laout.org/

There are also a variety of national parks that offer opportunities for backpacking, rock climbing, sightseeing within a day’s drive from the city:

Joshua Tree Natl. Park: https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm

Sequoia and Kings Canyon Natl. Park: https://www.nps.gov/seki/index.htm

Death Valley Natl. Park: https://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm

Yosemite: https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm

Exploring the City

Getting Around

The easiest way to get around the city is to have a car, but if you don’t own one there are other options:

LA Metro Rail and Busses (Union Station is easily accessible using campus shuttle): https://www.metro.net/

Short term car rentals with Zipcar: https://www.zipcar.com/

Amtrak: https://www.amtrak.com/

Ride-sharing with Uber or Lyft

The city also offers various affordable bicycle services at Metro Bike Hubs: https://bikehub.com/metro/

Learn more about more options at USC transportation services: https://transnet.usc.edu/


Los Angeles offers many cultural attractions and historical sites of interest to explore:

Art Museums 

LACMA: http://www.lacma.org/

Norton Simon: https://www.nortonsimon.org/

The Broad: https://www.thebroad.org/

The Getty Villa: https://www.getty.edu/visit/villa/

Science and Natural History:

California Science Center: https://californiasciencecenter.org/

Natural History Museum: https://nhm.org/site/

Jet Propulsion Laboratory: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/

Huntington Library and Gardens: http://www.huntington.org/


Hollywood Bowl: https://www.hollywoodbowl.com/

LA Philharmonic: https://www.laphil.com/

Greek Theatre: https://www.lagreektheatre.com/

Disney Concert Hall: https://www.laphil.com/about/our-venues/#walt-disney-concert-hall


Universal CityWalk: https://www.citywalkhollywood.com/

Old Town Pasadena: https://www.oldpasadena.org/

Glendale Galleria: https://www.glendalegalleria.com/en.html

The Grove: https://thegrovela.com/

Theme Parks:

Disneyland: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/

Universal Studios: https://www.citywalkhollywood.com/

Knotts Berry Farm: https://www.knotts.com/

Six Flags Magic Mountain: https://www.sixflags.com/magicmountain

Sports Venues:

Dodger Stadium: http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/la/ballpark/

STAPLES Center: https://www.staplescenter.com/

LA Coliseum: https://www.lacoliseum.com/

Rose Bowl: https://www.rosebowlstadium.com/

On Campus:

Thornton School of Music: https://music.usc.edu/events/

Galen Center: http://www.galencenter.org/

Dramatic Arts: https://dramaticarts.usc.edu/on-stage/

USC also offers discounts on many local attractions, so you should check the ticket office website before planning your trip: https://fbs.usc.edu/depts/ticketoffice