Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Had lunch today with someone who wants my advice on maternity leave in this place. There wasn't much I could say, really, as the only useful advice I could offer is "good luck".

When I went on maternity leave the first time, as my due date was in the middle of a term, there wasn't much point for me to get back to teaching after 10 weeks of statutory leave, so my dept head at the time let me take the whole term off. When I returned the following term, I had to make up for all the hours I did not the previous term. My second child was born in the summer so there was no issue of any extra leave at all.

She was planning to take no-pay leave for one year. Is that sensible? In my opinion no - because you would be expected to use that leave to produce research output. By deliverables they don't mean no babies, luv!

Now, why did she come to me for advice? Apparently I am the only academic staff here who had the experience of taking maternity leave in recent years. All other female academic staff are either single, childless, or their kids are already in university.

Anyhow, I'm not trying to make a point, just stating the facts. I guess coming from a North American background she was expecting more.

One interesting thing she mentioned, was that when she told HR she wanted to opt for the "top up" plan for maternity benefits, HR told her she cannot do this as she is not married!! It was after a whole lot of wrangling that they finally agreed that it is possible to have a baby legally without getting married first. God bless the human race! Amen!

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