Accessibility statement

Appendix 4: Paid Parental Leave Policy

Introduction

1.1

The following policy covers instances of maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental leave for York-registered PGRs (see below) who are in receipt of a York-funded stipend (see below), where the date of birth or adoption falls on or after the date this policy came into effect (1 August 2019). 

1.2

PGRs who are self- or directly externally-funded (e.g. by an overseas government) are deemed to be subject to separate terms and conditions.

Standing of policy

1.3

Paid parental leave for PGRs in receipt of a stipend is not a legal right. PGRs’ entitlement to paid parental leave is instead determined by the terms and conditions of their individual award, which are in turn determined by their funder.

1.4

The following policy outlines the terms for paid parental leave for a specific group of PGRs, as defined below, in order to bring their entitlement into line with external funders, such as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI, via the Research Councils). The policy may therefore be reviewed and amended at the discretion of the University, at any time. Any amendments must be approved by the York Graduate Research School (YGRS) PGR Policies and Programmes Committee. 

Definitions and eligibility

York-registered PGRs

1.5

This policy applies to PGRs who are fully-registered at the University of York on degree-awarding research programmes (MA/MSc (by research), MPhil, PhD, and EngD routes), and visiting PGRs (those on RVISVIS routes). It does not include PGRs with a shadow record at the University (i.e. PGRs receiving funds from a grant held at York, such as a CDT, but who are registered to study elsewhere). 

1.6

PGRs registered on a Hull York Medical School (HYMS) programme and who are registered at the University of York are covered by this policy. Those registered at the University of Hull are not

York-funded

1.7

This policy applies to PGRs in receipt of a stipend directly from (i.e. central- or departmental-funded scholarships) or via (i.e. from the University as part of a grant, award or contract funded by an external organisation) the University. If in doubt, PGRs should consult their departments about their source of funding. 

1.8

PGRs will be eligible only where the date of birth or adoption falls within their funded period, as defined by the terms and conditions of their individual award. Where the end of the funded element of parental leave extends beyond the original end of the PGR’s funded period, the funded period will be extended to the end of the funded element of the parental leave.

Stipend

1.9

For the purposes of this policy, a stipend refers to the maintenance element of a scholarship or studentship awarded to a PGR in order to undertake their research, i.e. the element of the award which is intended to support the PGR’s living costs. Therefore, PGRs in receipt of a fees-only award are not eligible for paid parental leave under this policy. Funding in support of research and training costs is also not applicable under this policy.

Qualifying period

1.10

There is no qualifying period for maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave.

Students subject to UKVI restrictions

1.11

PGRs subject to UKVI regulations must still comply with their visa regulations, as long as they continue to be sponsored by the University for visa purposes.

PGRs who are also employees of the University

1.12

A PGR employed under a current contract of employment with the University, open or fixed term (but not as a casual worker - see below)*, who is also in receipt of a stipend as a PGR may be eligible for paid parental leave, both as an employee and as a PGR, as follows:

  1. If the PGR’s stipend is York-funded (see 1.7) and they are within their funded period (see 1.8), they are eligible for paid parental leave under this policy.  
  2. If the PGR’s stipend is not York-funded (see 1.7) and/or they are no longer within their funded period (see 1.8), they are not eligible for paid parental leave under this policy. 
  3. In either case, paid parental leave as an employee falls under Human Resources’ (HR) policies, and advice should be sought from HR accordingly. 

*Note: This might include PGRs undertaking full- or part-time work on a non-casual basis, for example as an Associate Lecturer or administrator.

1.13

PGRs who are employed under a current contract of employment with the University, open or fixed term (but not as a casual worker - see below), and are not in receipt of a stipend as a PGR (e.g. MSCA Fellows, research assistants and other employees undertaking the degree in their own time), are not within the scope of this policy.

1.14

A PGR employed as a casual worker** will not normally be entitled to paid parental leave as an employee (although PGRs are advised to seek current advice from HR on this point). If they are also in receipt of a stipend as a PGR, they may be entitled to paid parental leave under this policy, as follows:

a) If the PGR’s stipend is York-funded (see 1.7) and they are within their funded period (see 1.8), they are eligible for paid parental leave under this policy. 

b) If the PGR’s stipend is not York-funded (see 1.7) and / or they are no longer within their funded period (see 1.8), they are not eligible for paid parental leave under this policy. 

**Note: This may include Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). Should Departments employ GTAs on different contracts, those employees may be entitled to paid parental leave as employees, and are advised to seek advice from HR.

Payment terms

1.15

Unless otherwise stated, there is no variation in terms on the basis of the type of paid parental leave taken. Further, in all instances the terms described below apply to an eligible PGR, as defined above; it does not extend to their partner (where relevant), unless they too are eligible under this policy. 

Rate of pay

1.16

The rate of pay will mirror that laid out in UK Research and Innovation’s Terms and Conditions of Research Council Training Grants at the commencement of the period of leave, reduced or increased on a pro rata basis in line with the stipend rate paid by or via York. 

1.17

Should the UKRI policy change, the University will review this policy and may or may not align it with the change (see above).

Maternity leave

1.18

Overall, and notwithstanding any periods of unpaid leave, PGRs are entitled to 39 weeks of paid maternity leave. Rates of pay will be modelled as follows:

  • The first 26 weeks will be paid at full stipend rate (as stated in the terms and conditions of the PGR’s award). 
  • The following 13 weeks will be paid at a level commensurate with statutory maternity pay (£148.68 per week at the time of publication). 

1.19

The duration of funding will be dictated by the period of leave the PGR chooses to take, up to the maximum stated in 1.18.

Paternity leave

1.20

PGRs are entitled to up to 10 days paid paternity leave on full stipend. 

Adoption leave

1.21

PGRs are entitled to paid parental leave where they adopt. In such cases, the PGR must be identified as either the ‘lead’ adopter (and thus entitled to paid parental leave equivalent to that outlined above under ‘maternity leave’) or the ‘support’ adopter (and thus entitled to paid parental leave equivalent to that outlined above under ‘paternity leave’). In either case, the PGR’s partner (where relevant), regardless of their student or employment status, must not be claiming the same rights as the PGR (i.e. a PGR and their partner cannot both be claiming the equivalent of the paid parental leave outlined above under ‘maternity leave’ simultaneously); PGRs may be required to provide evidence that this is not the case.  

Shared parental leave

1.22

Shared Parental Leave applies only where both the PGR and their partner qualify for paid parental leave under this policy, or where the partner is a PGR eligible for shared parental leave under the terms of their funder (e.g. those funded by UKRI). 

1.23

PGRs may be entitled to up to 50 weeks of Shared Parental Leave depending on the individual circumstances.

Extension of parental leave

1.24

PGRs who do not choose to take their full entitlement of paid parental leave when they first apply may later extend their period of paid leave up to the maximum (see above). In order to extend a period of paid leave, PGRs must reapply, as per the process outlined below.

Repayment of funds

1.25

Unless exceptional circumstances apply, PGRs will normally be required to repay any funds paid under this policy if they do not complete the final examination process (up to and including final deposit of the thesis, where applicable). This would not apply to PGRs who have undergone examination and failed to gain the intended award or were recommended a lower award post examination.

1.26

PGRs will normally be required to repay any funds paid under this policy where they return from a period of paid parental leave earlier than initially stated. In such cases, the repayments will be limited to the balance of any funds paid to the PGR in advance, calculated from the date of return. 

Applying for paid parental leave

1.27

Unless otherwise stated, there is no variation in terms on the basis of the type of paid parental leave taken.

How to apply

1.28

PGRs must follow the process outlined on the York Graduate Research School web pages.

1.29

PGRs should:

  1. Advise their department as soon as possible of their intention to take parental leave;
  2. Complete a leave of absence application (see 1.28);
  3. Complete a funding request form (see 1.28).

1.30

PGRs are responsible for notifying PGRA of any change to their intentions or circumstances, so that advice may be provided about the impact (if any) on their funding. 

Department responsibilities

1.31

Departments should:

  1. Check PGR’s source of funding and advice PGRA when the associated leave of absence paperwork is submitted for consideration;
  2. Manage funds and payment schedule as per instructions from PGRA.

1.32

Departments are responsible for notifying PGR Administration of any change to the intentions or circumstances of a PGR in receipt of parental leave payments under this policy.