Maternity Leave Policy for Graduate Students

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 men in support of their spouses or partners during childbirth.

Eligibility:

A student anticipating childbirth is eligible for paid leave, hereafter called "Childbirth Accommodation"

The accommodation period normally begins on the date specified in a petition filed with and approved by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education; or in cases wherein childbirth occurs prior to filing the petition, on the actual date of childbirth.

A form for filing the petition is online at http://odge.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Childbirth_Form.pdf.

benefits:

The School of Science grants two months of paid leave.  However the Physics Department also grants an additional one month of paid leave.  Thus, a graduate student can get up to three months of leave. 

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 regards to assignments due, reports anticipated, or other class and research related requirements, including TA duties. Students who will be temporarily leaving TA assignments are permitted to consider some limited ongoing duties (e.g., grading, preparing course materials, or other non-intensive duties).

A student's access to on-campus medical facilities 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 residing on campus and approved for Childbirth Accommodation can remain in the residence hall, as appropriate.

Planning for childbirth accommodation:

To begin planning for the accommodation period, the student is strongly encouraged to initiate conversations with advisors and departmental administrators approximately five months prior to the anticipated childbirth. This planning period will permit the department and the student to consider together:

  • The advisability of and alternatives for a TA assignment in the term anticipated for delivery
  • Plans for time-sensitive research presentations or reports
  • Other issues of importance (e.g., field work, doctoral qualifying examinations, publication deadlines, or other milestones in the student's program)

The Office of the Dean for Graduate Education administers the policy through the petition process. This petition does not require departmental approval but is reviewed and approved by the Dean for Graduate Education.

Childbirth Accommodation will stop the academic and research clocks with regard to assignments due, reports anticipated, or other class and research related requirements. Departments should take appropriate steps to support students with regard to assignments and program milestones. Faculty are expected and encouraged to make arrangements with the student to submit work for completion of requirements when the student returns. Where appropriate, "O" and "OX" grades can be assigned. In most cases, grades of "Incomplete" would not be appropriate.

Departments should be sensitive to the potential impact of the period on the visa status of international students, and should consult with the International Students Office when working with a student who is planning an accommodation period due to childbirth.

Approval:

Every School of Science doctoral student who is eligible for leave associated with childbirth accommodation will be approved for paid leave and other benefits.

To receive this support, eligible female graduate students should submit a petition to the Dean for Graduate Education, and appropriate documentation of anticipated childbirth date (consisting of a brief statement by the student's medical service provider, with a best estimate of the delivery date). A petition may also be submitted after delivery. Formal approval of Childbirth Accommodation is granted by the Dean for Graduate Education, after appropriate consultation with the department, who will be notify relevant department and central administrative offices that Childbirth Accommodation has been approved, and the dates for which the period has been granted. For the third month, the student simply needs to inform the Physics Department of their desire to take this leave.  All notification should go through the Academic Programs office. 

sources of funding:

Students supported by an RA or TA appointment will receive a stipend that is paid from the MIT Childbirth Accommodation Fund (and the Physics Department for the third month).

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 Physics Department and Dean for the School of Science.

For the period of accommodation, stipend payments for supported students will be made from the Childbirth Accommodation Fund, at an approved rate to be set annually by the Institute.

For full policy details and provisions, please visit: http://web.mit.edu/odge/gpp/registration/changes.html#4.