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PGR Parental Leave

Policy for maternity, adoption, paternity and unpaid parental leave for research students

Last updated 15 September 2021

1. Introduction
2. Definition of terms used
3. Terms and Conditions
4. Maternity leave
5. Adoption leave
6. Paternity leave
7. Unpaid parental leave
1. Introduction

1.1 This policy is designed to ensure that individuals with caring responsibilities for young children are treated fairly and consistently and are not treated less favourably than other students as a result of their parental responsibilities. Following the birth or placement of a child, eligible research students can take maternity, adoption, paternity or unpaid parental leave as appropriate.

2. Definition of terms used

2.1 Maternity leave – a period of up to 52 weeks of leave that may be taken by research students registered at the University of Warwick following the birth of a child.
2.2 Adoption leave - a period of up to 52 weeks of leave that may be taken by research students registered at the University of Warwick following the placement of a child with an adoptive parent.
2.3 Paternity leave – ordinary paternity leave refers to a period of up to ten days leave available to the partner of the person giving birth, the partner of the primary adopter or an intended parent (for those having a baby through a surrogacy agreement).
2.4 Unpaid parental leave - a period of up to 50 weeks of unpaid leave that may be taken by research students registerd at the University of Warwick following the birth of a partner's child.

3.Terms and Conditions

3.1 SUSPENSION OF STUDY

3.1.1 Any research student applying for maternity, adoption, paternity and unpaid parental leave should apply for Temporary Withdrawal or Authrosied Absence (see section 3.4) for the relevant period.
3.1.2 Requests for Temporary Withdrawal (TWD) should be made using the Student Records online system and will require supporting evidence which will either be a MAT1B form or evidence of placement of a child for adoption AND a maternity / paternity pay application form for students in receipt of funding and entitled to payment. (A MATB1 form is issued approximately 15 weeks before the expected week of birth and is normally provided by the midwife). In order to ensure there is no delay in making maternity / paternity payments we suggest that your TWD is requested and discussed with your department as early as possible and all relevant forms are attached to the online request.
3.1.3 When the TWD is granted, the student’s submission date will be amended to take these circumstances into account, and the student will be notified of the new submission date by email.
3.1.4 After the TWD is approved by the Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies, the PGR Funding Team will make any appropriate changes to the student’s stipend payments as informed by the Maternity Pay application form.
3.1.5 Please note that stipend payments will not be processed until the completed application form has been received by the PGR Funding Team via the electronic workflow system. While Student Records will process a temporary withdrawal request, no stipend payments will be released without the required forms. It is the student’s responsibility to provide these when submitting a request. All relevant authorising signatures must be complete before payments can be made.
3.1.6 UKRI and University funded students who are currently on paid Maternity or Adoption leave are entitled to up to ten KiT days in any given period of leave. KiT days are for students to undertake activities related to their research project during their leave, agreed between the student and the supervisor in advance. KiT days are paid as whole days at the standard UKRI rate, less any parental leave pay that the student is already receiving.

3.2 PAYMENTS TO STUDENTS

3.2.1 UKRI-funded students will be entitled to payment for maternity, adoption, paternity and unpaid parental leave as outlined in this policy.
3.2.2 Students who are funded by the University of Warwick (central or department) will be entitled to payment for maternity, adoption, paternity and unpaid parental leave as outlined in this policy.
3.2.3 Students who receive external funding, either directly from an external organisation or an external award administered through the University of Warwick, must consult with their department finance team to determine whether payments can be made during periods resulting from maternity, adoption and paternity leave. If the funder does not provide additional money to fund periods of leave, the University is not liable to provide any payment.
3.2.4 Students who are self-funded, entitled to tuition fee only awards, or whose funding period has ended, are entitled to the periods of leave detailed within this policy, but will not be eligible for any financial support from the University.
3.2.5 Payments made to University-funded students who are either part-time, or only part-funded by the University, will be subject to a pro-rata adjustment in line with the percentage of funding received. Part time status is at 60% in terms of funding and attendance requirements / expectations.

3.3 STUDENTS WITH GRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANT CONTRACTS

3.3.1 In the case of students who have or have held a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) contract, advice should be sought from the GTA Team about eligibility for Statutory Maternity Pay.

3.4 STUDENTS WITH UKVI STUDENT VISAS

3.4.1 In all cases, advice should be sought from the International Student Visa Advice and Compliance Team as early as possible (especially in the case of a pregnancy) to ensure compliance with the student visa can be maintained.

3.4.2 In the case of students sponsored by the University under UKVI student visa, suspension as a result of parental leave may require the University to withdraw sponsorship and for the student to return to their home country for the duration of the leave. In such cases, students will thereafter need to apply to the University for a new CAS number to apply for a new visa to resume their studies.

3.4.3 All requests for parental leave must be made in good time to permit time for approval of the request and to ensure travel home can be made following the report of the suspension to the UKVI.

3.4.4 In lieu of taking a formal suspension, a student who is sponsored on a UKVI student visa may be able to request a period of Authorised Absence for the purpose of parental leave. Should the student also require an extension to their period of study, they can apply separately for an Academic Extension.

3.4.5 In order to claim parental leave relating to a period of Authorised Absence, the student must submit the relevant MAT1B form or evidence of placement of a child for adoption AND a maternity / paternity pay application form to pgscholarships@warwick.ac.uk, stating that this parental pay claim relates to a period of Authorised Absence and not a formal Temporary Withdrawal. Stipend payments can only continue for up to (i) the total length of the period of Authorised Absence, (ii) until the end of the registration period or (iii) the submission of the thesis for examination, whichever is sooner.

3.5 REPAYMENT OF STIPEND PAYMENTS

3.5.1 Students should return to studies at the University in a full or part-time (60% FTE) capacity, for at least three months full time (five months for part-time students) following maternity or adoption leave, or until they successfuly submit their thesis for examination.

3.5.2 Should a student not return to their studies after the period of parental leave, any stipend paid above the prevailing reduced SMP rate during that period will normally be recovered by the University. This requirement can be waived only in exceptional circumstances, with approval on a case-by-case basis by the Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies.

4. Maternity Leave

4.1 STIPEND PAYMENTS DURING MATERNITY LEAVE

4.1.1 The following table outlines a students’ entitlement to stipend payments during maternity leave which is dependent upon the source of funding:

4.1.2 The reduced rate refers to an equivalent payment that is available to staff who are entitled to statutory maternity pay. The lower level of statutory maternity pay is set by the government each year.

4.1.3 Students who are unsure about the source of their funding should contact their Department Postgraduate Administrator for clarification.

4.1.4 Students who are registered at less than 100% will receive their standard pro-rata stipend payments capped at UKRI rates (for the initial 26-week period as above) followed by 13 weeks the reduced SMP payment, capped to a maximum of 100% of their normal stipend rate.

4.1.5 Students do not have to take the full 52 weeks maternity leave and can opt for a shorter period of maternity leave; however, in line with guidance for staff, students should take at least two weeks leave following the birth of the child.

5. Adoption leave

5.1 Students who are planning to or who have become parents as a result of adoption are entitled to the same support and advice as other students who become parents during their studies, and the processes, leave allowances and stipend payments outlined in the table above and elsewhere in this policy apply equally.

5.2 It is acknowledged that the time-frame for adoption arrangements may not allow as much time for planning in comparison with a pregnant student, and where this is the case, the student and the member of staff will follow the principles and processes as far as they are able.

5.3 Where two students are jointly adopting, only one member of the couple can be considered as the primary care-giver, who will be entitled to be considered for maternity related-absence. The other partner will be afforded the same entitlements as is outlined for partners entitled to paternity leave and unpaid parental leave.

5.4 All references to adoption and adoption leave include circumstances where individuals foster a child for adoption or are ‘Parental Order’ intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement.

6. Paternity leave

6.1 All research students registered at the University of Warwick are eligible for paternity leave, if they are:

• the partner of the person who will give birth or

• the partner of the primary adopter or

• the intended parent (if you are having a baby through surrogacy arrangement)

and

• also have or expect to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing

6.2 In the case of couples who are adopting a child or having a child through a surrogacy arrangement, adoption leave and pay are available to only one member of the couple. The other person can take paternity leave.

6.3 Paternity leave permits the individual to take up to 10 days leave on full stipend. Paternity leave must be taken in blocks of not less than one week. The funding end date should be extended to cover this period of absence. During this period the student’s normal stipend payments will continue.

7. Unpaid parental leave

7.1 Partners are entitled to an extended period of unpaid parental leave, up to a maximum of 50 weeks, with their studentship extended accordingly. Unpaid parental leave must be completed within 12 months of the birth of the child. This leave may be taken in up to three blocks of leave or all at once. Unpaid parental leave is available to those who meet the following eligibility criteria:

(i) They must share responsibility for the child with one of the following: their husband/wife/civil partner, or the child’s other parent, or their partner (if they live with them) and they must provide a written statement from the other parent to confirm this;

(ii) They must be taking the leave to look after the child;

(iii) The terms and conditions of their grant must not specifically exclude the taking of such leave.

7.2 The student should apply for a TWD as outlined above. All applications should be submitted with a statement from the parent, in receipt of the paid maternity or adoption leave, confirming that the applicant for unpaid parent leave is their husband/wife/civil partner, or the child’s other parent.