Parental Leave Policies at Astronomical Institutions

This page is intended to be a resource for prospective astronomy graduate students and job seekers to compare parental leave policies at different institutions.  The goals of this wiki are: (1) to allow astronomers at different career stages (graduate students, postdocs, research staff, and faculty) to easily compare parental leave policies, and (2) to encourage institutions to enact better parental leave policies by showing how they compare with other institutions.  The listing should not be limited to institutions in any particular country, and should include all stages in the career paths of astronomers.  Only formal parental leave policies should be included.  Note that some of these policies apply to only the Astronomy (or Physics & Astronomy) Departments at these institutions.  This wiki is a work in progress, and we encourage you to include and update information on institutions that you are familiar with.

United States

The Family Medical and Leave Act provides provisions for parental leave for many (but not all) employees in the United States.  In general, this provides up to twelve weeks of job-protected unpaid leave. The employee must have worked 1250 hours within the 12 months prior to leave to be eligible.  However, postdocs are often not considered employees and thus are not necessarily guaranteed FMLA protections.


The Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA) has recently posted talks online from the 221st AAS meeting's special session on Family Leave Policies and Childcare for Graduate Students and Postdocs.

Argonne National Laboratory

12 weeks job protected unpaid leave. In order to be paid during leave, the employee uses sick and vacation leave time. At most, this means 18 days for sick leave. I haven't been able to determine the max amount of vacation time. Overall, however, some portion of the 12 weeks leave will be unpaid. And then the employee cannot take sick days or vacation days during the rest of the year.

Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)

Employees may be eligible for up to 6 weeks of paid parental leave for the birth and/or adoption of the employee’s own child. This leave is applicable for the birth parent(s), adoptive parent(s) and/or domestic partner.  AURA provides all employees with paid leave (up to 30 days sick leave per year and up to 24 days paid vacation, plus national holidays; actual amounts earned depend on years of service).  Postdoctoral fellows are regular employees and are therefore eligible for family leave. Tenure-track faculty may request up to a one-year delay in the tenure clock for the birth or adoption of a child.  AURA's personnel policies are available online, including the absences policy.

Brown University

All Graduate Students

Eligibility: Female student giving birth, male or female co-parent who is the primary care-giver of a newly born baby, or a male or female student adopting a child. Limit of one parent per family.

Length of Leave: Up to 8 weeks, duration to be determined in consultation with the advisor and DGS.

Financial Terms: Fellowship stipend or TA stipend continues and is funded by the Graduate School. For TAs, the Graduate School will aid in funding replacement teaching, if necessary.



Graduate Students


Women: Six weeks paid birth leave.
Men & Women: Up to six weeks unpaid bonding leave in first year.  May be supplemented with standard two weeks vacation leave.

Chicago State University


A Unit A employee may use up to 20 days of earned sick leave per academic year for parental leave upon the birth or adoption of a child of the employee. Requests for parental leave of more than ten days shall be submitted to the appropriate University Vice President 30 days in advance, except in cases of emergency. Non-emergency requests for parental leave of more than ten days shall be subject to the consideration of maintaining efficiency of operations. Such requests shall not be unreasonably denied.

Columbia University

All Graduate Students

Eligibility : Students in years one through seven who give birth, adopt, or become legal guardians or foster parents, as well as students whose spouse or partner gives birth, are eligible for the accommodation.

Length of Leave : 8 weeks paid maternity leave, 4 weeks paid paternity leave, 4 weeks for adoption or fostering.

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/gsas/pages/cstudents/std-ser/childbirth/index.htm l

Cornell University

Accommodation options vary with the student’s funding and degree program.

Graduate assistants, fellows, and trainees who receive full tuition, stipend, and health  insurance from or through Cornell may select either of the following options (but not both): (1) a six-week paid accommodation, or (2) up to one year of reduced-load registered-student status to be taken in full-semester increments not counting toward time–to-degree limits. Graduate students in programs without semester course credit requirements who are partially funded or self-funded may choose only Option 2. In the case of two eligible graduate student parents, both are entitled to equal accommodation under this policy.
In exceptional circumstances, a reduced-load option may be available for graduate students who select the six-week paid accommodation and subsequently encounter parental needs that require extended childcare. These students may appeal to the deans of their programs for an exception. If approved, the dean or the dean’s designee will request in writing that the student complete an accommodation form, and submit it through the regular process.
Students who do not qualify for paid accommodation or reduced-load student status  should contact the associate dean for their program. The associate dean will provide guidance to the student and arrange for reasonable accommodation of parenting demands.

Dartmouth College

All Graduate Students
Eligibility: Full-time stipend-supported graduate students.
Length of leave: 12 weeks paid maternity or paternity leave
Funding: The Graduate Studies Office provides 6 weeks of support & the student's department provides 6 weeks of support. If the department is unable to provide the matching funds, the GSO provides all 12 weeks of support. If both parents are graduate students, they split the support. 
During this period of accomodation, the student continues to be enrolled and receives full stipend support and health benefits. In addition, a one-term extension will be gratned to complete their degree. 

Indiana University

All Graduate Students

The College Graduate Student Leave of Absence may provide up to two years of relief from coursework and degree milestones. Most Leaves of Absence are granted to students who need to be away from their studies for family or medical reasons (Family and Medial Leave), or to perform military service. Students who have at least a 37.5 FTE academic appointment are also eligible for up to six-weeks of paid Family & Medical Leave. This includes teaching assistants, research assistants, associate instructors, and faculty assistants who receive University-paid health benefits. Unpaid discretionary leaves are granted for students with reasons other than family or medical. All College Graduate Student Leaves of Absences are reviewed and granted on a case by case basis.


Institute for Advanced Study 

All postdoctoral fellows with appointments of two years or more 

Qualified members can take a paid leave of absence for up to 8 weeks on or around the time of the birth of a child. In addition, either parent of the newborn child is eligible for an additional paid leave of absence of up to 6 months, as long as she/he is the primary caregiver during this period.  In addition, members who had a leave of absence of more than 8 weeks will be offered an extension of their appointment by one year following their original appointment period end date.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

http://web.mit.edu/science/academicprograms/GSO Maternity Leave Policy.pdf



The MIT Physics Department funds a third month of paid maternity leave for female physics graduate students, an extension of the two months of childbirth accommodation provided for female graduate students Institute-wide (see below).

Institute-wide graduate student family leave policy: This policy applies to any full-time, registered MIT graduate student woman. It is limited to women who anticipate giving birth, and does not apply to adoption or to partner’s supporting birth mothers during or after childbirth.  A student may choose a leave period of one month, one and a half months, or two months. During this period, the student will continue to receive her stipend at the full, pre-leave rate.  Childbirth Accommodation will stop the academic and research clocks with regard to assignments due, reports anticipated, or other class and research related requirements, including TA duties.  A student's access to on-campus medical facilities will continue, and does not affect eligibility for outside hospitalization benefits, provided that appropriate tuition and health insurance fees have been paid for the term in which delivery is anticipated.  Students supported by an RA or TA appointment will receive a stipend that is paid from the MIT Childbirth Accommodation Fund.  Students who are not supported by RA or TA assignments, for example students on a fellowship, may petition to take advantage of a Childbirth Accommodation period, but are not entitled to tuition or stipend funding from the Childbirth Accommodation Fund. Funding to support these leaves will be funded through a combination of funding from the Department and Dean for the School of Science.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

All Civil Servant Staff

12 weeks job protected paid and/or unpaid leave, in accordance with the FMLA.  In order to be paid during leave, the employee uses sick and vacation leave time.  Employees accrue 13 days of sick leave per year; there is no limit on the maximum accumulation and carry-over of sick leave.  The maximum amount of vacation leave that can be carried over to the next calendar year is 240 hours, or six weeks.  Employees without enough leave accumulated to cover their desired parental leave may request either an advance on their leave or a donation of "use-or-lose" vacation leave from other workers.


National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)

Special “Family Leave” leave coverage is provided to benefits eligible employees for the birth of the employee’s own child, or the placement of a child with the employee in connection with adoption or foster care. Coverage under this policy begins 91 calendar days after the employee’s hire date. Family Leave is separate from other NRAO paid leave coverage and provides four (4) weeks (160 hours) of paid leave per 12 month period.
Use of this leave is time limited, whereby the employee has a maximum of twelve (12) weeks to use this leave starting on the date of birth or adoption/foster care.

Northwestern University

All Graduate Students

Eligible women graduate students supported by fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and/or receiving a tuition scholarship at the time of childbirth will be excused from regular teaching or research duties for a period of six weeks during which they will continue to receive support.


Postdocs are within the Staff Category

As such:

An employee will be required to use 5 days of sick time at the beginning of a medical leave or maternity leave. After that 5 day period they will be put onto Salary Continuation (approval is done by a third party company that communicates with the employee and gets medical info directly from their physician; details on this still to be outlined).

After 5 days, the employee will be on Salary Continuation for 6 weeks ( = paid leave) in the case of childbirth (8 weeks for c-section) for maternity leave.

During Salary Continuation the employee will  receive 100% salary.  Employees are eligible for the Salary Continuation benefit as soon as they start their employment with NU and their is no pre-existing condition exclusions.

For those needing longer than 6 weeks (8 weeks) an employee could then use sick, vacation or personal days to extend their leave.  Thus avoiding exhausting it for maternity leave and having it available for postnatal/post-maternity leave needs.

Princeton University

Graduate Students


Childbirth Accommodation and Adoption Policy

This policy has two parts, as it seeks to acknowledge the demands on and accommodate the needs of graduate degree candidates who give birth. It also provides relief to graduate degree candidates faced with the additional time demands of being the primary caregiver for an infant during that critical first year of life. For graduate students who give birth, 12 weeks of maternity leave are provided during which the birth mother continues to receive financial support, and teaching and other academic obligations are suspended. While applications are required, the benefit is automatic. Also, birth mothers or primary caregivers who are pursuing doctorates will be eligible for an extension of academic deadlines that provides for one additional term of financial support to complete their studies for each child they give birth to or adopt.

Student Child Care Assistance Program

This program provides taxable grants, based on total, annual household income, to eligible graduate degree candidates with pre-kindergarten children to help them meet the cost of child care. The grants are portable and can be used to pay for a wide range of possible arrangements from in-home care to licensed day care centers. The maximum grant for one eligible child is $5,000; an additional grant of up to $5000 is available for a second eligible child. To be eligible, the full-time student may be unmarried or may have a spouse or partner who is employed at least 50% time, is a full-time student matriculated in a degree or certificate program, or is eligible for and seeking at least 50% employment.

Backup Care Advantage Program

When a disruption in normal caregiving arrangements interferes with their work or study obligations, graduate degree candidates responsible for the care of a child, adult or elder can pay $4 per hour for in-home care, for up to 3 dependents, or $2 per hour per dependent for center-based care. The person requiring the care does not have to reside with the graduate student.

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

The Smithsonian Institution does not provide specific maternity/paternity leave that is separate and apart from other leave programs/benefits. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees the right to take up to 12 workweeks of leave without pay (unpaid leave) in any 12-month period for the birth of a child and care of the newborn, or the adoption of a child, or foster care within 1 year of placement. An employee may elect to substitute annual leave, sick leave (when appropriate), or compensatory time earned for any part of the 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave.

Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows

No formal leave policy is in place.  Since Postdoctoral Fellows are not considered employees, the FMLA may not apply.

Space Telescope Science Institute

STScI provides paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child for up to 6 weeks out of the 12 week leave provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This 6 week paid parental leave is after a short-term disability period of up to 6
weeks, so that (at least for the mother), the entire 12 weeks of FMLA time can be taken with a minimal use
of sick leave. STScI also provides all employees with fairly generous leave compared to some institutions (up to 30 days sick leave per year and up to 24 days paid vacation, plus federal holidays; actual amounts earned depend on years of service), and such accrued leave can be used to receive pay during parental leave. Tenure-track faculty may request up to a one-year delay in the tenure clock for the birth or adoption of a child. 


Texas A&M University

Graduate Students (College of Science)

Eligibility : Female graduate students only.

Length of Leave : 6 weeks paid with "modified RA/TA duties", plus additional academic milestone extensions.


University of California System

Postdocs (including Center for Galaxy Evolution postdocs)

All UC postdocs are part of the UAW Local 5810 union, and relevant leave policies are specified in Articles 12, 17, and 22 of "The Agreement Between The University of California and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)"  (http://uaw5810.org/know-your-rights/contract/).  For leave related to pregnancy, rights and benefits are summarized here: http://uaw5810.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/PregnancyLeaveRights.pdf  

Postdocs get a minimum of six weeks and, if medically necessary, up to six months of pregnancy disability leave. Short-term disability insurance covers 70% pay for a minimum of 5 weeks.  This may be augmented with 100% paid personal time off (PTO) and sick leave.  Some postdoctoral fellowships allow for longer paid leaves beyond these minimum benefits.
In addition, per Article 12, a UC postdoc may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, as long as he/she has been a UC postdoc for 12 months.  The section in Article 12 on "Parental Leave" states that a UC postdoc may take 12 weeks off to take care of a newborn (or newly placed adopted or foster child) so long as he/she identifies the University 30 days in advance.  UC postdoc mothers can take 4 months of "Pregnancy Disability Leave" which may be paid, unpaid, or a combination of both depending on the postdoc's use of PTO, sick leave, and the short-term disability benefit.  The combination of pregnancy leave and parental leave cannot exceed 7 months in a calendar year. 
In general, UC postdocs also have 24 days of paid "Personal Time Off" (as specified in Article 17, this must be requested and approved in advance) and 12 days of paid sick leave (as specified in Article 22 of the contract) each year.  The paid sick leave days accrue from year to year, but the personal time off does not.  The use of sick leave includes personal illness, medical appointments, childbearing, and disability for the postdoc, as well as medical appointments, illness, or bereavement for postdoc's family member.  Sick leave and PTO are in full day increments - absences of less than a full workday do not require use of PTO or sick leave.

University of California-Berkeley


Childbirth Accommodations

In addition to being eligible for extensions of time under the Graduate Council’s Parental Accommodations provision, research doctoral students who are women anticipating childbirth and are supported by graduate student instructor (GSI) and/or research (GSR) appointments will be excused from regular duties for a period of six weeks without loss of financial support (a longer period may be granted in the case of exceptional medical circumstances experienced by the mother or child before or after birth). They may choose to continue to work in some modified capacity during this six-week period but are not be required to do so.  

Support for a GSI or GSR replacement during the six-week period may be charged by the academic unit to the campus’s Childbirth Accommodation Fund upon Graduate Division approval. Unless a semester-long period is approved due to very exceptional circumstances, the replacement GSI or GSR would not qualify for fee remissions since the appointment is limited to six weeks.

University of Colorado

Non-research faculty, instructors, senior instructors, assistant professors, associate professors, full professors, and staff members are eligible for 6 months of leave (any combination of sick leave, vacation time, or leave without pay). Full policy: https://www.cusys.edu/policies/aps/hr/5019.html

Research faculty at the University of Colorado are eligible for 12-week FMLA; this can be covered with any combination of sick leave, vacation time, or leave without pay.  From the policy:  Parental Leave: not available to research faculty. Please refer to the information regarding FML. Full policy: http://www.colorado.edu/VCResearch/researchfaculty/downloads/ResFacLeaveBenefitsOtherDocumentApril2012.pdf

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Faculty, Postdocs, and other Academic Staff

Employees with at least 6 continuous months of employment are eligible for paid leave of up to two calendar weeks per academic year immediately following the birth or adoption of the eligible academic staff member's child.  Holidays that fall within the two calendar week period do not extend the parental leave.  Parental leave cannot be used intermittently. Employees who hold only hourly appointments (Academic or Grad hourly) are not eligible for this benefit.  Leave is counted as part of the 12-week FMLA leave for FMLA-eligible employees (see Family and Medical Leave).  Parental leave is available to both mothers and fathers.  Additionally, if both parents are University employees and otherwise eligible, both may receive and use parental leave, but the usage must be concurrent. 

Graduate Assistants

Same as other academic staff except the 6 month employment requirement does not apply and the assistant must have an active appointment at the time parental leave is taken.

For additional information regarding benefits offered to faculty, postdocs, academic staff and graduate assistants at the University of Illinois, please see the following summary of benefits (XLS).

University of Maryland (last reviewed Nov. 2017)

All Graduate Students

Formal options for graduate students include a Parental Accommodation Policy, a Leave of Absence for childbearing or adoption, and/or a Waiver of Continuous Registration.

The "Parental Accommodation Policy" provides a period of up to 6 weeks during which new parents may postpone completion of academic requirements. Either or both parents are eligible, including domestic partners. Students receive their regular teaching or research assistantship stipends and benefits. Students must develop plans with their instructors/adviser on how work will be completed or made up. The intent of this policy is to permit all students, including international students, to maintain their status as full-time, enrolled students. Deadlines with regard to time to degree, time to candidacy, etc. will be extended one semester per childbirth or adoption upon the request of the student.

Graduate students may also take a "Leave of Absence for Childbearing, Adoption, Illness or Dependent Care". Either or both parents are eligible, including domestic partners. The leave is for up to two semesters; leaves for a longer period may be approved in exceptional circumstances. Deadlines with regard to time to degree, time to candidacy, etc. will be extended by the duration of the leave. The leave is unpaid; students on leave are not registered at the University and therefore are not eligible for teaching or research assistantships or benefits.

Finally, graduate students who have not yet advanced to candidacy are eligible to request a “Waiver of Continuous Registration” for childbirth or other reasons, allowing them to remain in the program for a semester or a year without enrolling. This time is unpaid and does not stop the "time-to-degree" clock.

The above options may be used in combination with each other. Thus, for example, a student may apply for the benefits of the 6-week Parental Accommodation Policy in the fall, then apply for a Leave of Absence for the following 1-2 semesters.

For students who are teaching or research assistants, the “Time Away from Duties” policy is also relevant.

Faculty (including postdocs and research scientists)

The university has a "Parental Leave Policy" for faculty that assures 8 weeks (40 workdays) of paid leave. (Accumulated annual, sick, and personal leave get used first.) Parental leave can start before childbirth. Employees are eligible for parental leave if they are half-time or greater and have been employed for at least 6 months. Employees are also entitled to a Modified Duty Family Support Plan (Section III), allowing them to reduce or modify their work duties without a reduction in salary. This modified duty plan releases teaching faculty from teaching/service responsibilities for up to one semester, while research faculty are entitled to modified duty for up to 6 weeks in addition to the 8 weeks of paid leave described above.

There is a separate, broader "Family & Medical Leave (FML) Policy", which employees can use in addition to the Parental Leave Policy. The policy allows up to 12 weeks (60 workdays) of leave during a calendar year for childbirth/child care within 12 months after birth. (Accumulated annual, sick, and personal leave get used first; any remainder will be unpaid leave.) Note that the 8 weeks of parental leave count toward the 12-week-per-year FML limit. Employees are eligible for FML after they have been employed for 12 months. Section XI discusses part-time leave. See also this FAQs PDF document.

Additional notes: 1) All new parents who are tenure-track faculty members are automatically granted a one-year extension of the deadline for tenure review. 2) Under both of the above policies, medical insurance coverage continues as usual. 3) In many cases, when both spouses have faculty status, both are entitled to separate leaves. 4) Adoptions are handled similarly to childbirth.

University of Minnesota

All Graduate Students & Postdocs

A female graduate assistant or postdoctoral associate employee may, upon request, take up to six weeks leave with pay related to the birth of a child and up to two weeks paid leave related to the adoption of a child.

A male graduate assistant or postdoctoral associate employee may, upon request, take up to two weeks leave with pay related to the birth or adoption of a child.

Parental leave provisions as provided under this policy are applicable to registered same-sex domestic partner relationships.


University of Wisconsin - Madison

Astronomy Graduate Students

A departmental policy enacted in 2010 provides twelve weeks paid parental leave to Research Assistants. 

Postdoctoral Researchers

Depending on resources, postdoctoral researchers may be eligible to access the same funds for paid parental leave as the graduate students. 

Wesleyan University

Graduate students who receive university-funded stipends are eligible for six weeks of paid leave upon birth or adoption (see the graduate catalog for details).

For staff, Wesleyan provides six weeks of paid leave upon birth or adoption.  If both parents are staff, then the birth parent/primary caregiver is eligible for six weeks and the secondary caregiver is eligible for four weeks (see the staff handbook for details).

For faculty, the policy is currently under revision.  As of the 2014-15 academic year, primary caregivers are offered a full semester leave at full pay.  Non-primary caregivers may take a one-course teaching load reduction at full pay.  In addition, there is an optional one-year tenure clock extension.  The faculty handbook has not yet been updated (and is password-protected). 

Postdoctoral Fellowships

National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship


Interruptions in tenure of up to 12 months, such as parental leave or other leaves of absence, or extensions without additional cost to NSF, are permitted with prior approval of the cognizant Program Officer. For the birth or adoption of children, up to two months of the Fellow's stipend may be used for paid parental leave if the following conditions are met: (1) a written request for paid parental leave, including appropriate supporting documentation, must be submitted by the Fellow and approved by the cognizant Program Director; and (2) the two months of paid parental leave cannot be used to increase the level of Fellow salary support beyond 36 months.  A no-cost extension may be requested to extend the Fellowship award in order to complete the goals of the Fellowship plans, but no supplemental funds will be provided for this purpose. The total duration of the fellowship may not exceed 48 months. Fellowships cannot be renewed.

Giacconi Postdoctoral Fellowship

http://www.aura-astronomy.org/about/policies/Section B/B8) B-VIII Absences.pdf 

Gicconi postdoctoral fellows are subject to the same policies as STScI staff, as described in more detail in the pdf above. 

Regular full-time and part-time (regularly scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week) staff employees who have been employed for at least 12 months and have completed at least 1250 hours within that 12 month period are eligible to recieve up to six weeks of paid parental leave for the birth and/or adoption of the employee's own child. This leave is applicable for the birth parents, adoptive parents, and/or domestic partner. 

Paid Parent Leave is limited to a total of six (6) weeks per individual, nine (9) weeks per family (in the case where both parents are employed by AURA), per birth/adoption per twelve (12) month period. 


During the leave, AURA will provide the same benefit coverage under the same conditions as during active employment. 


Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship


The Hubble Fellowship Program recognizes that some Fellows may require leave for situations such as a serious health condition, and/or the birth/adoption of a child during the three-year fellowship period.  The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policies of the Fellow’s Host Institution shall be followed for such leave. (This is typically 6-12 weeks unpaid leave. The fellow must have been at the institution for 12 months in order to benefit from FMLA).  If requested prior to (or, if a health condition, coincident with) the situation, STScI will extend the fellowship grant period accordingly. Please contact the Grants Administration Office if you have any questions regarding the above.

Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship


It is recognized that during the fellowship appointment it may be necessary for the fellow to be absent from the fellowship for a short period of time.  In these cases Fellows should follow the Family Medical Leave Act FMLA policies and procedures of the Host institution.  Note that FMLA does not apply to fellows, as fellows are not employees.  This section only allows the implementation of the existing procedures of the Host Institution.   The fellow may take unpaid leave for:

  • The birth of a child;
  • Adoption of a child;
  • Care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • A serious health condition that makes the fellow unable to perform the essential functions of his/her job;
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the fellow’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty”.

The fellow should notify the Host Institution Faculty/Science Contact, Einstein Fellowship Office, and the SAO Subawards Section as soon as possible of the need to be absent from the fellowship program and the anticipated start and return dates.  Note that the leave is unpaid.  If requested, the fellowship award end date may be extended by the number of days that the fellow was on leave.

United Kingdom

All postdoctoral positions (and staff positions) are considered employees and therefore women in these posts are eligible for the standard maternity leave all employees get in the UK. All employees in the UK are entitles to 52 weeks of leave (which is usually 39 weeks paid and 13 weeks unpaid).  This is split into SMP ("standard maternity pay") and OMP ("occupational maternity pay"). The former is the same for all employers in the UK, the latter will depend on the employers in question. Both depend on your length of service. 

You are eligible for SMP in the UK if 

  • you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks by the 15th week of pregnancy
  • earning enough to pay National Insurance contributions (currently £102 per week)

Note that people on visas which say "no recourse to public funds" are usually still eligible for SMP which is defined as not consituting public funds (your employer actually pays the money). 

SMP gives you following the birth of your child

  • 6 weeks at 90% pay
  • 33 weeks at £128.73/week (or 90% of your pay if that is lower).

 If you stop working for your employer after the 15th week of your pregnancy you are still eligible for SMP (even if you move abroad). 

 If you adopt in the UK, you can get 39 weeks at £128.73/week (or 90% of your pay if that is lower). This is called Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP). 

For fathers, (or domestic partners) of either birth or adoptive mothers in the UK, there is a Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) which has similar eligibility to SMP (and SAP) and gives fathers 2 weeks at £128.73/week (or 90% of your pay if that is lower). 

 SMP will be topped up by OMP by most employers in the UK (although there is no requirement for them to do that). 

University of Portsmouth

If you have been employed by the University of Portsmouth for at least a year at the time of the 15th week of pregnancy you will be entitled to Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP; which tops up the statutory maternity pay, SMP). The amount this is depends on if you intend to return to work or not following you leave - if you change your mind during your leave you have to pay back the difference. 

OMP at the University of Portsmouth 

  • 4 weeks full pay
  • 2 weeks 90% pay
  • 12 weeks at half pay + SMP (unless you don't intend to return to work, then this is just SMP)
  • 21 weeks SMP



Information is available on the Department of Human Services website regarding parental leave pay (approximately $622 per week before tax as of early 2014).
Postgradute students on Australian Postgraduate Award
Once APA holders have completed twelve months of their award, they are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks paid maternity leave during the tenure of their award. Periods of paid maternity leave are in addition to the normal duration of the APA. 
Parenting Leave APA holders who are partners of women giving birth and who have completed 12 months of their award, may be entitled to 10 days paid parenting leave at the time of the birth. 
Employees (i.e. Postdocs and Staff)
Australia's first national Paid Parental Leave scheme started on 1 January 2011. It provides eligible working parents with 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage, currently $589.40 a
week before tax. The scheme gives working parents support to spend more time at home with a new baby and helps employers retain valuable and skilled staff. To be eligible you must be an Australian resident.
The money is paid in addition to any Univeristy paternity pay. See Government Website for more information.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)

Maternity Leave: Female CSIRO officers are entitled to up to 52 weeks leave associated with the birth of a child. They are required to take a minimum of six weeks before and eight weeks after confinement and paid maternity leave covers the first fourteen weeks of absence. The paid leave can be taken over a twenty eight week period at half pay. Any additional leave is unpaid.

Parental Leave: On completion of 12 months service, four weeks paid parental leave will be available to an officer on the birth of their child, adoption or becoming a legal guardian of a child under the age of 16 years. Officers who have not completed 12 months service are entitled to a maximum of one week paid parental leave.

Note that mothers are eligible for both 14 weeks paid maternity leave *and* 4 weeks paid parental leave.

Contact CSIRO HR for details, and see http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Careers/Working-at-CSIRO-2/Pay-and-conditions.aspx




PhD Students on SUPRA scholarships (i.e. most international students)
The duration of a SUPRA will be increased by any periods of leave of absence, paid maternity leave, additional sick leave or parenting leave approved by the University.
Students who have completed 12 months of their scholarship are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks paid maternity leave during the duration of the scholarship.
Students who are partners of women giving birth and who have completed 12 months of their scholarship, may be entitled to a period of paid parenting leave at the time of the birth, subject to the usual practice of the University.
Swinburne Postdocs and Staff (residents and work permit holders) 
Maternity/Adoption Leave for employees with more than 12 months service: 14 weeks on full pay and 38 weeks at 0.6 of salary up to 52 weeks in duration. 
Maternity/Adoption Leave for employees with less than 12 months service: 1 week for each completed month of service and additional unpaid leave up to 52 weeks in duration.
Partner Leave (Primary carer): 3 weeks paid leave and 49 weeks unpaid up to 52 weeks duration
Partner Leave (Not primary carer): 3 weeks paid leave
See Swinburne HR  for details


Canada has fantastic parental leave laws.  Most mothers that I know take 6 months to 1 year of maternity leave, and many fathers do as well.  Parents are paid during this time by Employment Insurance, which is the same as what you are paid while unemployed.  However, as seems to be the pattern here, grad students can fall through the cracks.

University of British Columbia

Faculty and staff are entitled to 17 weeks of maternity leave and 35 weeks of parental leave.  This is unpaid by the university, but you are eligable for Employment Insurance payments.  You can keep your benefits while on leave.

For grad students it's much more complicated, and maternity/parental leave depends on your primary source of funding.  You have to take your leave by semester, regardless of where your due date falls within the academic year.  If you are paid by a grant from NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, equivalent to NSF in the US), they will reimburse your supervisor for 6 months of parental leave, so that you can continue to get paid at the same rate, or nearly the same rate, and also have your grant extended by the length of your leave.  If you are on an external scholarship, you have to check with the guidelines for that specific grant.  If you are on university funding, they withhold payment while you are officially on leave, then give you all of it as back pay when you return to work.  The university fellowship is not extended by your leave.  You are not considered a student while you are on leave, so you lose many of your student benefits.  If you have TAed in the last year, you are a member of the TA union and can apply for funding from the TA union's Hardship Maternity Fund (though there are many grad students in other departments, like humanitites, that are worse off than the science students). 

More information on grad student parental leave here: http://blogs.ubc.ca/sciencewomen/maternity-and-parental-leaves/



Denmark has very comprehensive benefits for both phd students and post docs.  Maternity/paternity leave: maternity leave with pay beginning six weeks before childbirth. In addition, you have a right to 14 weeks’ pay after the birth of the child. Fathers are entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave with pay within that same period of time.  Moreover, parents are jointly entitled to 32 weeks parental leave, which can be divided/shared however the couple wants. During parental leave you both fathers and mothers are entitled to 12 weeks’ pay, being either the mother or the father of the child.

More info here (this is Copenhagen University site, but the rules are national, so is applicable to the other instituteions in the country): http://ism.ku.dk/.  And here: http://workingconditions.ku.dk/.



Sweden has a very progressive parental leave policy that is funded by the state through tax revenue. Parents are entitled to 480 days of parental leave when a child is born or adopted. This leave can be taken by the month, week, day or even by the hour. Women still take most of the days – in 2012, men took about 24 per cent of parental leave.

For 390 days, the maximum parental allowance is SEK 946 (EUR 105.0, USD 137.0) a day, as of 2013. For the remaining 90 days, the daily allowance is SEK 180. Sixty days of leave are allocated specifically to each parent, and cannot be transferred to the other. In addition, one of the parents of the new-born baby gets 10 extra days of leave in connection with the birth or 20 days if they are twins.

Parents who share the transferable leave allowance equally get a SEK 50 daily bonus for a maximum of 270 days.

Adopting parents are entitled to a total of 480 days between them from the day the child comes under their care. A single parent is entitled to the full 480 days.

Note that graduate students and postdoctoral researchers are considered employees of their respective institution and are therefore eligible for parental leave allowance.

For general information, visit: http://sweden.se/society/gender-equality-in-sweden/

For information regarding post-graduate and post-doctoral employment, visit: http://www.doktorandhandboken.nu/engelska/handbookforpostgraduatestudents

Page last modified on Wednesday 01 of November, 2017 10:14:56 EDT