entitlement to statutory maternity pay


My husband and I would like to start a family, and I am on a BBSRC studentship where I receive a non-taxable stipend. I have asked everyone I know, and various admin people at uni and the BBSRC, citizens advice and no-one can tell me if I am entitled to statutory maternity pay. Basically we want to have a baby after I finish next September.

Does anyone know if I would be entitled to statutory maternity pay, or where I could find out?

Much appreciated,


======= Date Modified 20 Nov 2011 19:47:30 =======
Umm... I can't imagine that you would be entitled to it because you're not an employee (I'm presuming you're doing a full-time PhD).

Your studentship might have a provision for maternity pay while it's still active, though. I could be wrong about all of this though :p


A friend of mine had paid maternity leave while she was doing her PhD. I think she was funded by the MRC. I think anyone on a studentship funded by one of the main research councils will be entitled to it. I'm not 100% sure though. I am surprised no one at the BBSRC can offer any more information about this.



======= Date Modified 21 Nov 2011 10:40:50 =======
Had a similar situation. Received a non-taxable and ( more importantly non -NI ) studentship. UNfortunately I was not entitled to anything as it was not a wage, no statutory maternity pay, or even the maternity allowance. I asked at citizens advice, uni, and also used the benefits tool on direct.gov.
Was trying so hard to submit thesis whilst preggers before baba arrived. Maternity leave policy for PGRs was non-existant at uni until I asked, then they seemingly quickly wrote a draft policy.

Unfortunately we seem to be in alimbo, not a standard student and neither an employee. Now spending every penny on childcare trying to finish thesis, when I would much prefer to be playing with my 9 month-old son!

Having a family is amazing, and hard work. If you can wait til after you've finished your thesis it will be a bit easier, but don't get stressed out trying to finish thesis before "Trying" ah-hem". ( remember there is never a perfect time for having a baby, you will cope)

Sorry its not a more positive reply
Best of luck


Thanks for the quick reponses guys. We were hoping to have one about a month after I finish, but as it doesn't look like I'll be entitled to maternity pay it looks like we'll have to put it off about 6 months so I can get a job of some description to get the statutory maternity pay. Unfortunately we can't afford to have one without that!



I looked into this for exactly the same reasons a few months ago, though I'm not exactly in the same boat as you, as I'm on a teaching studentship funded by my university. However, in doing some research I found that the ESRC gave 6 months maternity pay at stipend level as an extension to the award - and did a quick check for you - http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ris/pgr/scholarships/bbsrc - under the maternity/paternity/adoption leave section near the bottom - if your baby is due during your award period you would be entitled to this.

Avatar for DrCorinne

Hi Rachel,

I was funded by the AHRC and I had a paid maternity leave for 9 months. At that time the AHRC handled the money and I had to apply to them to get it. Now it's a bit different, because universities handle the lump sum they bid for and decide what to do with it.

Beware that if you get the ML paid for by your research council, you might be considered registered as full time student in that period (I was), and thus it will count as working time even if you shouldn't be working!

Anyway, good luck with it!



I think my problem is the fact that I want to wait until I've finished next september. If I got pregnant before then I know I can get 6months paid time off...but if its after I've finished I don't think I can even qualify for maternity allowance!


While I'm pretty sure research councils will give you maternity pay *during* your PhD I very much doubt they would grant it right at the end. I mean, the point of it is to enable you to return to the position you were holding previously, so if you're not returning to that position, why should they fund you for that period? Same would be true of a fixed term contract job I assume.