As Garrett writes: "Early-career researchers (e.g. graduate students, postdoctoral fellows) tend to belong to the age group in which many people have their first child. As such, they may have to navigate the difficulties of parental leave and childcare without the standard benefits that apply to "typical" full-time employees. My partner and I will be having a baby in November. What follows are some of my thoughts on parental leave, based on my experiences as a postdoctoral fellow. I hope other early-career researchers might find the information useful.
|Gorgeous jasmine from the back deck! :)|
You should inform your supervisor of your plans several months ahead of time. For many graduate students, this will be a fairly simple request, unless your research is heavily integrated with that of someone else in your lab. You will generally need to get approval from both your university and anyone else that may be paying you. Check with your corresponding union to see if there are any particular provisions or procedures you should be aware of. By the way, it is a good idea for men to take some parental leave, since it helps break down the stereotype that only women make career sacrifices for their family. The far more complicated factor is parental benefits, which means getting paid while you are on parental leave, since you obviously cannot accept your normal stipend or scholarship while you are off work.
|Mystery flower down in Cadboro Bay.|
Although you should definitely look into these various avenues, your best chance of parental benefits is probably through employment insurance and the federal government. For information, head to the "Having a Baby" section of the Canada Service website (http://www.servicecanada.gc.
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In reality, I think a lot of early-career researchers make do without parental benefits. Aside from the financial implications, it can actually be a pretty good time to have a child, given its flexibility. The best thing you can do is make sure you know what options are available to you. In short, check with your union, your funding, and the government. Finally, it's never too early to start thinking about childcare options, which are often available on university campuses if you put your name on the waiting list early enough."
|A very cool looking but very dead bug on the sidewalk that ants were fighting over.|
As a grad student, you can also apply to live in family housing right on campus, which is pretty great. There's both apartment or townhouse style accommodation available.
UVic's Residences Services Family Resources page also provides information on public schools that are close by to campus (one elementary, two secondary, and one French immersion elementary school), and the Family Centre also provides information for a variety of things, including to health care resources on campus, connecting with the Family Centre, their programs, and fun things like their Welcome Back barbecue.
Wishing all those out there planning families and with families under way lots of love! You have supports you can draw on, and I hope this post can help illuminate a few you may not have know about right off the bat.
**Quick note: My next post will be covering my time at the Effective Altruism Global Conference in Berkeley, California this weekend. Keep your eyes open for it! :)