MSCA-IF paternity leave in the UK

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bjfar
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:01 pm

MSCA-IF paternity leave in the UK

Post by bjfar » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:17 pm

So I just started my IF back in January at Imperial College London. My partner is pregnant and expecting in August, however now HR are telling me that I am entitled to absolutely zero paid parental leave, because I had to be working there for like 26 weeks before she was 15 weeks pregnant.

Are things really this shit in the UK? I am a bit shocked, honestly. Doesn't the MSCA-IF agreement force the UK to be less shit than that? I can't find the right part of the agreement related to this though, does anyone know it? I think I can pause the grant for as long as I like, but of course that is pointless if I don't actually get any paid parental leave. I think it was only two weeks they would have offered anyway, which I find to be shockingly little to start with, and astonishingly cheap for them to withhold.

My partner is in a better but still fairly shit position. She is a postdoc at UCL, and has actually been there for a shorter time than I have been at Imperial, but she gets 4 months paid parental leave from UCL, which is something but still pretty piss poor. We get nothing from the UK government it seems. I guess they don't give a shit about postdoctoral researchers who want children and have just moved to a different country and have zero support network to help them take care of a newborn.

To top it off, most childcare places don't even take 4 month old babies, so she paradoxically has to go back to work before we can even put the kid in childcare. Awesome.

Does anyone else in the UK have experience with this? If this is how it is then I can only advise any possible MSCA-IF applicants to avoid the UK like the plague if you are thinking of having kids. It is apparently not friendly to academics with families.

CountZ
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Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:14 pm

Re: MSCA-IF paternity leave in the UK

Post by CountZ » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:12 pm

First of all, congratulations to both of you for securing funding for postdoctoral research. I know it seems ironic, but at least you have that! And congratulations on the pregnancy!

I won't comment on specifics about child care or paternity leave in the UK (as I'm not qualified to do so), but I would say that I share your opinion about the deficiencies of social protections in the UK versus continental European countries. Sorry that you're in that situation!

What I will suggest is that you contact the following to get as much information you can about your rights:

1. I would first consult the HR at Imperial AND at UCL to get information about this.
2. I would simultaneously contact the UK Research Office
3. I would contact your home country social services to find out what can be done in your situation from back home

Please do come back and tell us what happens in the end - the UK isn't looking that great at the moment for MSCA applications... many reasons. Best of luck!

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