Parental Leave Supplement for Doctoral Students
Effective September 1, 2012
The supplement will be available to doctoral students who take a temporary leave from graduate studies to become the primary care giver of a child after a birth or adoption. It is intended that the per-term supplement (calculated at 55% of annual student funding per term), together with any other Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or continuing support will provide a minimum funding of $500 to a maximum of $2,500 during each term of leave to a maximum of three terms.
It is expected that students take leave based on university term timetables so as to not interrupt courses and other responsibilities such as Teaching Assistantships (TAs) and Research Assistantships (RAs). If a parental leave is required, students should inform their departments prior to signing TA or RA contracts to allow departments to accommodate the absence. Students must also inform their advisors and program graduate co-ordinator of their intended leave. Students are expected to continue graduate studies following the leave.
Doctoral students wishing to apply for the Parental Supplement are required to contact the Graduate Admissions & Records officer for their program for documentation.
Students who become parents may take up to three terms of uninterrupted parental leave during the first year of birth or placement. This leave can be taken regardless of the application for or receiving of a parental leave supplement (see General Regulations – Registration Status information in the Graduate Calendar for the WLU policy). Full-time doctoral students will be eligible to receive a parental leave supplement during a parental leave provided that they have been registered as a full-time doctoral student at WLU for at least one academic year (3 terms) but not more than 4 academic years (12 terms) prior to the start of the leave. Students remain eligible for the supplement only within their normal period of eligibility for financial support.
Only students in good academic standing with no outstanding fees will be eligible the supplement. Students are only eligible for the supplement if they are the primary caregiver for the child (i.e. if the other parent takes a leave from work or studies or is otherwise at home to care for the child, then the student is not eligible for the supplement). If both parents are WLU students, they can share the parental leave supplement (i.e. one partner can take two terms and the other can take one term) but both parents cannot receive the supplement at the same time. Each partner must fill in a separate supplement application and leave must be taken within twelve months of the date of birth or custody. Graduate students can apply for this supplement for each incident of birth or adoption during their graduate studies, in accordance with the eligibility criteria outlined above.
Students are expected to provide as much notice as possible regarding their intention to take a parental leave, notifying both their supervisor and graduate officer. Students must complete the supplement application at least two months prior to the start of the term for which the parental leave is sought. The application must be accompanied by appropriate documentation confirming the expected date of birth or custody. The application form includes a declaration of the intention to continue full time graduate studies following the parental leave. Students are expected to confirm their return giving at least four weeks’ notice in advance of the term in which they intend to return to continue with their graduate studies.
Students who are receiving scholarship or award funding are eligible for the supplement only after they have exhausted the birth and/or parental leave benefits available to scholarship or award winners through the awarding agencies. Students should refer to these agencies for more information on birth and/or parental leave for scholarship and award holders. Students who are or expect to be employed or receiving Employment Insurance (EI) including maternity, parental or sickness benefits during the parental leave must include these payments as continuing support in the Calculations for Supplement Amount (see box below).
The parental leave supplement, together with any other continuing support is intended to maintain income at around the 55% average level received by funded graduate students during the three previous academic terms, minus tuition fees, to a maximum of $2,500 per term. Students who do not return to their studies after their leave (barring any medical complication or serious illness which, on a physician’s recommendation, prevents the return to studies) must repay supplement monies.
To calculate the supplement amount, information is required from the student’s last three terms prior to the leave on the average income per term from the university (I) (including internal and external scholarships, Graduate Teaching Assistantships, Studentship Awards, Research Assistantships); the average term amount of awards (A) (scholarship, and/or award support); and the average tuition fees paid per term (T). The supplement will be reduced by the amount of continuing support from employment, Employment Insurance (EI) including maternity, parental or sickness benefits, TAs, RAs, scholarships, and other bursaries and awards during the period that the parental supplement is being paid.
The payment of the supplement for the first term will commence within two months after the date of birth or adoption. Payment for subsequent two terms will be paid at the beginning of each term. The supplement for each term will be payable as a lump sum and may be subject to applicable statutory deductions. Payments will be automatically deposited into the students’ bank accounts. Monies will be released only after the birth or custody of the child (which may differ from the commencement of the leave) and upon provision to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of confirmation of birth or custody.