PROV-028: Financial Childbirth Accommodations for Graduate Students on Assistantship

Date: 09/18/2014 Status: Final
Policy Type: Executive Vice President & Provost
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Provost
Applies To: Academic Division.
Reason for Policy:

Defines eligibility and financial accommodations available to graduate students who experience the birth of a child while enrolled full-time and serving as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), Graduate Research Assistant (GRA), or a Graduate Administrative Assistant (GAA).

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Financial Accommodation:

    Provision of continued financial support during a temporary absence.

Policy Statement:

The university provides financial accommodations for graduate students who give birth to a child while enrolled as full-time students in a graduate degree program. The University offers six weeks of financial accommodations to graduate students who meet the eligibility criteria defined below and give birth to a child while appointed to service as a graduate teaching assistant (GTA), graduate research assistant (GRA), or a graduate administrative assistant (GAA). For more information regarding graduate assistantships, see policy PROV-001, Graduate Assistantships.

  1. Eligibility:
    A student who anticipates the birth of a child and who meets the following criteria is eligible for the financial accommodation benefits associated with this policy:
    1. Is enrolled as a full-time student in a graduate degree program at the University of Virginia for a minimum of one academic semester (including summer);
    2. Is in good academic standing as defined by the policies in the school of enrollment; and,
    3. Is earning financial support through a graduate assistantship (GTA, GRA, or GAA).

    Individuals who meet these eligibility requirements shall receive the full wages associated with their support for a period of six weeks to allow for preparation for and recovery from birth, with release from the duties associated with such support. The distribution of the six-week accommodation period is at the discretion of the eligible individual (e.g., one week prior to and five weeks after childbirth, etc.), but all leave must be completed within six weeks of the birth. Individuals shall maintain their status as a full-time student during the release period.

    Students who receive stipend support from external fellowship sources such as NSF or NIH should consult the guidelines provided by those agencies.

  2. Sources of Support for Financial Accommodation:
    • Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA): GRAs who are supported by grant funding shall continue to be paid by the grant, if allowed by the sponsoring agency, during the financial accommodation period. In such cases, childbirth accommodation funding supplied in equal shares by the Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) and the school in which the student is enrolled will either (1) reimburse the grant for the financial support paid during the leave period, or (2) provide financial support for a temporary replacement.   If the sponsoring agency does not permit such financial accommodation, the eligible student shall receive financial support directly, and in equal shares, from VPR and the school in which the student is enrolled.
       
    • Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) or Graduate Administrative Assistantship (GAA): During the semester in which financial accommodation applies, financial support shall be paid by the original school or unit-based (i.e. department) funding source. For the accommodation period, VPR and the school in which the student is enrolled will partner equally to either (1) reimburse the unit-based funding source for the financial support paid during the leave period, or (2) provide the financial support necessary to hire a temporary replacement.
Procedures:

Eligible students who anticipate the birth of a child should communicate their need for accommodations with an appropriate faculty member or members (committee chair, advisor, PI, director of graduate studies, dean, or department chair) at the earliest opportunity.

Departments that anticipate a need for the accommodation funding outlined in this policy should contact both their Graduate Dean’s or Director’s Office, and the Office of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (gradstudies@virginia.edu) no less than six weeks in advance of the anticipated leave to confirm their plans for replacement/substitution, and request the allocation of funds.

Related Information:

PROV-001, Graduate Assistantships

Major Category: Executive Vice President & Provost Policies
Next Scheduled Review: 09/18/2017
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President and Provost, 09/18/2014
Revision History: This is the first version of this policy.