Graduate Student Parental Leave Policy

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Graduate Student Parental Leave Policy for Graduate, Research, and Teaching Assistants

  1. An assistantship is financial aid, not employment. This policy states the University’s position on helping its graduate students, as they become parents, to strike a balance between personal or family responsibilities and the responsibilities associated with their program of study.
  2. This policy is also intended to promote equitable treatment of graduate students.

The overarching goal of this policy is to help funded graduate students maintain full–time status and the continuity of their funding. A secondary goal is to help departments ensure the continuity of effort for graduate students with assistantships, especially with respect to teaching responsibilities.

Parental leave (up to 5 weeks)

A student (either the mother or the mother’s partner) who expects the birth of a child or plans the adoption of a child should consult with her/his adviser and work supervisor (e.g., department chairperson, department manager, research principal investigator) and make appropriate arrangements for the anticipated absence from the assistantship assignment. The University’s policy is to not interrupt an assistantship for a parental leave up to 5 weeks, during which time the student is excused from the duties associated with the assistantship.

The student taking the parental leave must be the child’s primary caregiver. Accordingly, if both parents are graduate students, each is entitled to the parental leave for a period during which he or she is the primary caregiver, but the leaves cannot be simultaneous. In all cases, the parental leave must be taken within six months of the child’s birth date or the adoption date.

The student’s department or work supervisor may apply to the Provost’s Office for a Parental Leave Grant (PLG). The PLG equals the student’s assistantship pay during the parental leave, and is to be used to compensate another student or other students for carrying out the duties of the student who is on leave (typically the case for a teaching assistant). If no other student will be paid and the work stops during the leave, no grant will be made available (this might be the case for some graduate assistantships).

A research assistant funded by a sponsored research grant may be eligible for continuation of support under the terms and conditions of the research grant. If no such support is available, the student’s department may apply for a PLG to take the student temporarily off the research assistantship and continue his or her pay during the leave regardless of whether the research grant pays another student to carry out the duties of the student who is on leave.

Application for Parental Leave
November 17, 2009