Student maternity and childcare responsibilities

Students and maternity

Policy on maternity, adoptive and paternity leave provision for students

An early discussion should take place between the student and the Course Organiser/ supervisor/ Departmental Senior or PG Tutor and a full risk analysis to determine whether or not there may be any possible adverse effects of the programme on the course of the pregnancy (e.g. programme of study, examinations, working with chemicals, radiation or other hazards) leading to the development of an agreed action plan to mitigate all identified risks. Children playing

Undergraduate students

Depending on the expected timing of the birth, the principal option is to interrupt studies for one year and resume the course at the same point one year later.

Postgraduate taught students

Depending on the expected timing of birth, the principal option is to interrupt studies for one year and resume the course at the same point one year later; an alternative possibility for resuming studies is to transfer to the part time version of the course, where there is a part time offering of the same course available.

Postgraduate research students

An application should be made for a period of interruption of studies to cover the period of maternity leave, up to one year. The maximum period of paternity leave normally allowed is 4 weeks, unless it is for shared parental leave.

For Home/EU research students in receipt of a stipend, contracts should include provision for up to 39 weeks paid maternity or adoptive leave (unless the funder stipulates a longer period); if the costs of maternity leave are not met by the funder, Departments/Divisions are asked if they can cover an appropriate leave payment.

For 2020-21, an expanded College central fund managed by the Student Financial Support team is available to enable our research students to engage in a paid parental leave in one of five scenarios: (Statutory Maternity Pay [SMP] is £151.20 per week in 2020)
1) If their funder will not pay, then the Parental Leave Fund will cover up to the equivalent of their funded stipend (capped at the President's PhD rate of £21,400 per annum in 20-21) for the first 16 weeks and, either 90% of their funded stipend, or the SMP equivalent, whichever is less, for 21 weeks thereafter.
2) If their funder will pay, but only for a limited time less than 39 weeks, then the College Fund will fund the difference in weeks at the model suggested above.
3) If the student is self- paying, then the College Fund will pay the SMP equivalent for 39 weeks.
4) If the student has been studying towards their PhD for less than one year, then the College Fund will pay 90% of their funded stipend, or the SMP equivalent, whichever is less, for 39 weeks
5) If the leave is taken as part of Shared Parental Leave, then the College Fund will pay as per the above on a pro-rated basis.

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Home and EU fee status students (limited to EU, EEA and Swiss students commencing prior to 1 August 2021). Funding is only available where residency rights in the UK allow.
  2. PhD study level, full time & part time students (payments pro-rata)
  3. Scholarship provider or sponsor does not provide funds for parental (including maternity) paid leave, or the parental paid leave is for less than 39 weeks or the paid leave is less than SMP.
  4. You have completed 26 weeks continuous study with the College by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth
  5. Payments will only be made whilst a student’s status is on Interruption of Studies
  6. For shared parental leave, the student must be sharing the care of their child between the two parents during the year following the birth or placement of their child. And be one of:
    • the birth parent;
    • the primary adopter;
    • the spouse, civil partner or partner of the birth parent / primary adopter;

An application for an interruption of studies for maternity, adoptive or parental leave must be made to Registry via the student's academic department in advance of any application for funding.

To apply for funding please complete the online Parental Leave Fund application form. Required documentation, as listed in the form includes an uploaded copy of your MATB1 form, letter of scholarship/sponsorship (if applicable), external documentation of funding for partner (for shared parental leave) and correspondence from the acadmic department confirming that funding isn't available. We will also contact the personal tutor for confirmation of progression.

International students

If you are an International student holding a tier 4 visa and planning to take maternity leave this may have an impact on your visa status. Depending on the circumstances, you may be required to leave the UK during this period of absence. If you are in this situation we would urge you to contact the International Student Support Team as soon as possible to discuss your options. International students holding a scholarship should also inform their funder of their pregnancy or planned interruption and comply with any requirements made by that body.

Help with childcare costs

Government funding for undergraduate students

Full time undergraduate students may be eligible to a Childcare Grant which provides help paying for childcare. Further infomation is available on the government student finance webpage.

College funding for undergraduate students

The Student Support Fund replaces the The College's Early Years Education Centre Subvention Fund and the Access to Learning Fund and can be used to help students pay childcare costs.

Applying for the Student Support Fund

Please read the guidelines carefully and then use the online application available on our Student Support Fund page.

Please contact student.funding@imperial.ac.uk if you have any further queries.