Staff benefits and perks

JPL is a unique collaboration between NASA and Caltech. We are funded by the space agency to serve the space program and national interests, while staffed and managed by one of the world’s premier academic Institutions. This synergy offers unique opportunities and benefits to consider as you begin your JPL journey.

Exciting NASA missions

NASA entrusts JPL to work on the hardest and most complex missions. We are the gold standard of space exploration technologies, where you have the chance to make the wildest sci-fi dreams come true.  

Caltech connection

Have access to world-renowned experts. Being Caltech employees means you can build relationships and connections to brilliant academic minds. Think something is impossible? This is the place to make it happen. 

Leave a legacy

Our research, projects, missions and advancements in science, technology and engineering can change the course of human history. 

Employee community

Get involved with a large and active community of employees, from Employee Resources Groups to interest clubs, to outreach and volunteering opportunities.

Workplace Flexibility

The big picture at JPL is designed to empower you to do your best work while living a full life.

Long weekends

Most employees can choose a '9/80' schedule (work 80 hours over 9 days), which means every other Friday off. 

Telework flexibility

Depending on role duties, most employees can opt to work from home at least one to two days a week.  

Holidays + paid time off

Employees receive 12 paid holidays and one personal holiday in addition to accruing  vacation at 10 hours per month and additional sick hours at 8 hours per month.
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On your 5th year of service, your vacation accruals increase to 12 hours per month and on your 10th year of service they increase again to 14 hours per month.

Childcare

The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provides financial assistance by subsidizing childcare costs from infancy through sixth grade. Eligibility for CCAP is based on total household income, the age of the child, and child care costs.

JPL also partners with Bright Horizons to provide you with the “Back-Up Care Advantage” program, which offers center-based child care, and in-home care for children, adults and elder relatives. Bright Horizons also offers resources to find childcare centers near JPL.  

Paid Parental Leave

JPL provides up to 8 weeks of 100% base pay for parental leave to eligible employees who have been employed with JPL for at least 12 months. This allows employees to take time off during pregnancy disability leave or to bond with their new child without requiring the use of accrued paid time off. 

Rideshare

Catch up on life while someone else drives. Employees can ride on free vanpools or receive subsidies for biking, and premium parking spots for those who carpool.

Health, wellness and the future

Our benefits are a mix of Caltech-provided insurance plans, as well as additional JPL focused wellness iniatives and programs. Contributions to retirement accounts are also some of the best in the industry. 

Sonic Boom

Sonic Boom is a free wellness app that encourages employees to engage socially by tracking their activities, monitoring nutrition, mood, hydration and weight with the added perks of earning raffle tickets that qualify you for quarterly drawings to win Sonic Boom’s virtual currency. This virtual currency is redeemable for prizes ranging from electronics to home goods, to healthy wellbeing items – and everything in between!

Free Class Pass

The free ClassPass membership allows you to take fitness classes and access your local gyms. Benefits include: 
  • 45 credit trial to use on any class or the 5,000 livestream classes held per week (credits expire 30 days from signup date)
  • At the end of the trial period, all enrolled members will receive 15 FREE credits per month from JPL
  • Unlimited, 0 credit in-person gym time
  • Unlimited access to ClassPass’ on-demand digital fitness library

Employee assistance programs

A robust EAP, including a 24/7 hotline for employee assistance, elder care, financial planning and budgeting assistance, and more. You can connect with the right resources to help you and your family live well. 

Mental and emotional wellbeing

Access to tools and memberships to support employees’ mental and emotional wellbeing, including online assessments and free therapy sessions. 

Insurance benefits

Caltech provides several plan options for medical and dental coverage, and also offers vision coverage, flexible spending accounts, and a health savings account, in addition to comprehensive life, accident and disability insurance coverage, and other voluntary benefits. Click on the button below to view the details of all insurance plans offered.

Saving for the future

Our 403b retirement plan contributes a percentage of your salary based on your age and years of service, regardless of your voluntary contribution. You begin participating in the Caltech Base Retirement Plan (the Base Plan) on the first of the month coincident with or next following meeting eligibility requirements. Caltech makes contributions as a percentage of your eligible compensation1 and Years of Service.
Institute Contribution Formula (Base Benefit)4
Less than 10 Completed Years of Service5% of eligible compensation1 up to the Social Security Wage Base2, then 10% of eligible compensation1 over the Social Security Wage Base2 up to the IRS Section 401(a)(17) maximum compensation limit3
10 or More Completed Years of Service11% of eligible compensation1 up to the Social Security Wage Base2, then 16.5% of eligible compensation1 over the Social Security Wage Base2 up to the IRS Section 401(a)(17) maximum compensation limit3
Institute contributions to the Base Plan are subject to a 3-year graded vesting schedule described in the chart below. Once you are 100% vested in the Institute’s contribution to the Base Plan, you remain 100% vested and the amount contributed by the Institute cannot be forfeited. However, if you terminate employment from the Institute prior to becoming 100% vested, the non-vested portion of your Base Plan account, including all associated investment earnings, will be forfeited. Regardless of vesting service, an Employee is automatically 100% vested at age 65 or if death occurs while actively employed.

Rehired Employees with an original date of hire prior to January 1, 2022 will continue to be 100% vested as of their original date of hire. Institute contributions made on or after January 1, 2022 will continue to be immediately 100% vested.


Completed Years of ServicePercentage Vested
Less than 10%
1 but less than 233%
2 but less than 366%
3 or more100%

You are also eligible to make voluntary pre-tax and/or Roth after-tax contributions to the Caltech Voluntary Retirement Plan, up to the maximum annual deferral amount set by the IRS. We offer a variety of investment options. TIAA is the record keeper for the Caltech Retirement Plans.
Eligible compensation generally is your taxable income including lump sum payments, but excludes certain forms of pay including bonuses, foreign allowances, relocations, taxable reimbursements, imputed income, and gross-ups.

Social Security Wage Base (SSWB) limit is updated annually. For 2023, the limit is $160,200.

IRS Section 401(a)(17) maximum compensation limit is updated annually. For 2023, the limit is $330,000.

Institute employees in retirement plan eligible employment categories (Regular, Post Doctorate Scholar, Temporary Employee Special and Academia Partner) who are regularly scheduled to work 20 or more hours per week are eligible for the Caltech Base Retirement Plan (“Base Plan”).

We always have more to learn

"Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination." — Mae Jemison

Tuition reimbursement

Want to go back to college? JPL offers tuition reimbursement to eligible employees to help support educational and growth opportunities. Depending on the degree program you wish to pursue and whether your academic goal is considered job or career related, JPL offers different program reimbursement maximums. This amount is the maximum amount offered per calendar year for the reimbursement of tuition and eligible fees.

Undergraduate Programs
Job or Career Related Programs
  • Standard Reimbursement Maximum - $5,250 per calendar year (Tax Free)
  • Additional Reimbursement Maximum - $9,750 per calendar year (Taxed) (to total $15,000 per calendar year)

Graduate Programs
Job Related Programs
  • Standard Reimbursement Maximum - $10,000 per calendar year (Tax Free)
  • Additional Reimbursement Maximum - $15,000 per calendar year (Tax Free) (to total $25,000 per calendar year)

​​​​​​​Career Related Programs
•    Standard Reimbursement Maximum - $5,250 per calendar year (Tax Free)
•    Additional Reimbursement Maximum - $9,750 per calendar year (Taxed) (to total $15,000 per calendar year)

Certificate Programs
Job Related Programs
  • Standard Reimbursement Maximum - $3,000 per calendar year (Tax Free) (Job related fields only)

Additional Training
Job Related Training
  • Standard Reimbursement Maximum - $5,250 per calendar year (Tax Free) (Job Related fields only)

Career development

JPL offers various professional growth, skill, and development opportunities and interests that you are passionate about in your career, all while you help to meet the mission of the Lab. JPL Employees have access to LinkedIn Learning, NASA courses, mentoring programs and more. 

We offer a comprehensive set of learning resources aligned to your role and career with courses ranging from essential skills, business skills, technical skills, specialized domain knowledge, and leadership and professional development programs.

At JPL, we value modernized learning, and to cater to our hybrid workforce, you’ll find a wide variety of blended learning formats from online, self-paced through to virtual and in-person instructor led programs led by professional expert speakers.
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You also have direct access to many on demand courses from world class learning providers including LinkedIn Learning, Degreed, Center for Creative Leadership and more.

JPL Mentoring Program 

The JPL Mentoring Program matches mentors and mentees across the Lab, in all fields, skill sets, and levels. The program is customized to help mentees identify, define, clarify potential career paths, and growth opportunities that are suited specifically to them. The JPL Mentoring Program can be repeated at every stage in your career development and is a great tool to help you successfully transition into JPL.

Speaker series

Exclusive insight and lectures about our projects, science, engineering, technology, and mission support related topics like cybersecurity, leadership and more.

Awards and recognition

We offer a robust JPL awards program to recognize outstanding achievement of individuals and teams. You are also eligible for the NASA Agency Honor Awards Program.
This webpage provides only highlights of your benefits. It is not a contract. It does not change the terms of your benefit plans or the official documents that control them. Consult the individual plan booklets for specific details of benefit coverage. To permit a brief summary of benefits and services, use of actual contract language has been minimized.
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This summary comparison does not replace the legal documents that establish the plans. Final interpretation of any provision of the plans will be governed by the master policies and official plan documents, which are on file in the office of the plan administrator. Caltech reserves the right to change, suspend or terminate its benefits programs, in whole or in part, at any time and for any reason.
Electrical Engineering

Our employees

We're more than our missions, science and innovations. Get to know JPL employees and be inspired by their stories. 
Electrical Engineering

@NASAJPLCareers

Whether you LinkedIn, Insta, Tweet or Facebook, follow us @NASAJPLCareers on social media to stay up-to-date on JPL happenings, exclusive behind-the-scenes looks, and career opportunities. You can also check out our employee reviews on Glassdoor.
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Get the merch

There is no official dress code at JPL, but we do love our swag! Saw the launch and need that shirt? Want to wear what employees are wearing? Check out the JPL store for the latest JPL merch!