I've followed PGF throughout my PhD but never posted, so decided I've give it a try. Hope someone can help!
My husband and I have been trying for a baby for about a year now. From a financial perspective, we'd hoped to have been pregnant by now as I would have been eligible for maternity pay under Research Council (as a PhD student). I've nearly finished my PhD so, even if we were to get pregnant now, I would have already come to the end of my studentship before the baby was born - so obviously no maternity pay!
My question is about the minefield of maternity pay as a post-doc. I want to continue doing research - I love working in science - but we also desperately want to start a family. We're both a bit older, so aware that biology will be against us if we wait too much longer. I want to be able to spend the first few months of our newborn's life at home, but we cannot live solely on my husband's income. Once the little-one is a little older, I'd hope to return to work with a view to working from home some of the time (hubby works shifts so can share child-care).
Does anyone know how it works - do postdocs get maternity pay? If we were to get pregnant any time soon, as far as I understand, I wouldn't be eligible for statutory maternity pay as a postdoc. I know it's complicated as benefits will vary depending on funding, but my supervisors have suggested putting me on one of their grants (not sure who with yet), so wondering how this would work. My expectation is that any maternity leave I took would be unpaid.
I don't want to talk to anyone in the dept because if they get wind that we're trying, I might jepordise my chances of getting a postdoc. Whilst we both really want a family, until we actually conceive, it would be foolish to close the doors on any postdoc opp. I feel really stuck as to how to find out what the options are, so I'd be really appreciative of any advice. Like I say, I appreciate there's not one answer, but to know of other people who've been in this situation would be a great start.
I think you would be entitled to maternity allowance as long as you can prove you worked (either PhD or post-doc) for a proportion of the time before you had the baby? Not 100% sure but i don't think you would receive nothing at all. Maybe have a look on the direct gov website?
I have JUST gone through my Viva and I am coming up to six months pregnant (and 40 years old, so left it right on the wire!). I have some corrections to do but am trying to negotiate some post doc work at the moment. I am NOT entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or any other government scheme as I have been a student and not working nor unemployed. (And even if I claimed job seekers allowance from today I'm not sure I would be entitled to anything as even if I got a job in industry (highly unlikely with the size of my stomach) I would not have worked enough weeks on birth to qualify).
What I have found out though is that if you can find out where any funding for a post doc job is coming from, you can read their details regarding maternity pay. For example, EU funding generally would pay what a unversity would pay for a full time member of staff. Whatever your university staff get, you would be entitled to too. Otherwise it falls under discrimination which obviously they are not allowd to do. So essentially you have to try and negotiate a post doc position if you can.
My circumstances are particularly difficult, becaused I already am pregnant and fell pregnant immediately after submitting my thesis! I was 39 at the time and we had not done anything to attempt to stop it from happening for 19 months. Time was running out so we were very grateful it happened when it did. It is only now we have the headache of how we will manage, but in all honesty I don't care because it had got to the point where we thought it wasn't going to happen for us, so we WILL manage it. Don't know how. But we will.
What I would say is the last couple of months of write up are VERY stressful and I almost certainly don't think I'd have managed it with a baby to care for at the same time. Also the lead up to my viva again was horrid, and I did fear for what my anxiety levels were doing to my unborn child. Thankfully that is now over and I feel great. ......just some things to think about.
Good Luck with it. :-)
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