Policy on Maternity, Paternity and Adoptive Leave

Introduction

In 2016 the Higher Education Authority (HEA) published a National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). An area of concern that was seen as a major impediment to Gender Equality in HEIs was the lack of support from research funders for the cost of maternity, paternity and adoptive leave.

To address this and support HEIs on the island of Ireland, the EPA introduced a policy to provide supplementary funding for maternity, paternity and adoptive leave for qualifying staff working on projects that are fully funded by the EPA Research Programme (NB: Green Enterprise Programme/Innovation & Demonstration Programme projects are excluded from this policy).

In general, those wishing to avail of maternity, paternity or adoptive leave will fall into two broad categories:

A. Salaried staff of HEIs with the relevant PRSI eligibility
B. Post-graduate students and salaried staff of HEIs without PRSI eligibility

Salaried Staff with the Relevant PRSI Eligibility

The EPA will consider applications for supplementary funding for the duration of the statutory period of maternity, paternity and adoptive leave (the statutory period applicable is determined by the HEI’s location). The supplementary funding will represent the difference between the employee’s social welfare entitlement and the salary stipulated for the employee in their contract of employment.

To be eligible for consideration the host institution must be able to clearly demonstrate that:

  • The employee is dedicated for 100% of their working time to a project which is fully funded by the EPA Research Programme (NB: Green Enterprise Programme/Innovation & Demonstration Programme projects are excluded from this policy)
  • The staff member meets the criteria laid down in the host institution’s internal policies and procedures to qualify for payment of salary whilst on maternity, paternity or adoptive leave
  • The host institution will assume responsibility for determining the eligibility or otherwise of an employee for social welfare
  • The employee will assume responsibility for ensuring that the relevant social welfare benefit is claimed in a timely manner

Post-graduate Students and Salaried Staff Without PRSI Eligibility

Where a post-graduate student or employee does not meet the criteria to qualify for social welfare benefit in respect of maternity, paternity or adoptive leave, the EPA will consider applications for supplementary funding for a period of leave up to a maximum of the statutory period of leave (the statutory period applicable is determined by the HEI’s location). The supplementary funding will be equivalent to the salary stipulated for the employee in their contract of employment.

To be eligible for consideration the host institution must be able to clearly demonstrate that:

  • The employee or student is dedicated for 100% of their working time to a project which is fully funded by the EPA Research Programme (NB: Green Enterprise Programme/Innovation & Demonstration Programme projects are excluded from this policy)
  • The staff member or post graduate student meets the criteria laid down in the Host Institutions internal policies and procedures to qualify for payment of salary whilst on maternity, paternity or adoptive leave
  • The host institution will assume responsibility for verifying the ineligibility or otherwise of the employee or student for social welfare benefit

Application Process

Applications for supplementary funding for maternity, paternity or adoptive leave must be submitted via the EPA's Grant Management and Application Portal. All applications must be made at least two months before the planned start date of leave.

Payment of Supplementary Funding

Claims for payment of supplementary funding will be made at the end of the leave period subject to the certification (by the EPA’s Financial Consultants) of a completed Cost Statement. The Cost Statement must be accompanied by a written declaration from the Host Institution that the employee has taken and completed the period of leave and that the cost of that leave is in accordance with the accompanying cost statement.

Project Time Extension Requests

Applications for a project time extension in the event of maternity or adoptive leave will be considered on a case by case basis – time extensions for paternity leave are not available. The EPA will determine at its sole discretion whether such an extension is warranted to ensure that all deliverables of the project are met.