Information for Stipend Holders
The University's stipend rates are set at UKRI rates:
- 2021/22 £15,609
- 2022/23 £15,840
Awards are normally tenable for three years of a full-time PhD degree programme, subject to annual review and renewal. You will receive:
- fees equivalent to the standard postgraduate UK rate
- a maintenance stipend (amounts per annum) for full-time study
- enhanced training and skills development from LJMU’s Researcher Development Programme (including the “Brilliant Club” scholars programme)
Funded Postgraduate Research Student Leave of Absence Policy
Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible environment which enables all students to reach their potential. A wide range of provision is available to support students including specialist support, support through academic faculties, departments and schools, and appropriate policies and procedures.
The University recognises the additional responsibilities and challenges that are likely to be faced by students in its postgraduate cohort having regard to their personal commitments and the different funding mechanisms available. This policy outlines how LJMU supports students in receipt of LJMU-administered postgraduate research degree awards during periods of absence, whether they be enforced or otherwise. The University’s leave of absence policy has been harmonised with the Research Council framework to ensure consistency of approach irrespective of the source of funding. In the event that UKRI alters entitlements under its Terms and Conditions after the publication of this policy, it will be at the discretion of the University as to whether it makes corresponding changes to the entitlements of students whom it funds and this policy will be updated as appropriate.
This policy is intended to set out the extent of the entitlement of postgraduate students to continued payment of stipends where their studies are interrupted by ill-health or on the grounds of maternity, paternity or adoption. In addition, it contains guidance on the following issues that are likely to be affected by interruptions arising from such periods of absence:
- advising on the timing of leave and assisting them to make applications for leaves of absence;
- preparing for return to study;
- advising students on possible adjustments to mode of study.
This policy also provides for an annual leave allowance in order to enable students to maintain an appropriate work/life balance.
3.1 This policy applies to all postgraduate students in receipt of a funded studentship irrespective of whether it is funded by the University or an external body. In the case of externally-funded awards, the rules of the Funding Agency/Sponsor take precedence over those of the University. Students in receipt of an externally-funded award (or an award funded jointly by an external body) should also be sure to familiarise themselves with the Funding Agency’s terms and conditions.
3.2 This policy does not form part of the funding agreement between the University and PhD students and its provisions may be varied by the University at any time.
3.3 Nothing in this policy is intended to confer employment status or rights of any kind on postgraduate students whose relationship with the University will continue to be as set out in the stipend agreement and student contract.
4. Maternity Leave
4.1 Students should notify their Lead Supervisor of their pregnancy as soon as possible, and preferably no later than the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. Earlier notification may be required in certain cases, for example where a student works in a potentially hazardous environment. If this is the case, the department in question must ensure that it takes steps to draw students’ attention to the provisions of this policy.
4.2 Risk assessments must be made where the work environment (e.g. laboratory, clinic) might pose a threat to a pregnant student. The University Occupational Health Service can also assist with health queries relating to pregnancy and breastfeeding at work.
4.3 The student’s Lead Supervisor should consider drawing up a student support plan in conjunction with the student, to be reviewed at key stages during pregnancy and maternity. This could include scheduling contact, updates on departmental matters etc. and will help coordinate support and ensure students’ needs are met during pregnancy, following the birth and on their return to their studies.
Funding for Maternity Leave
4.4 Students who give birth during their period of registration for a postgraduate research degree are automatically entitled to suspend their studies and take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave.
4.5 The University aims to provide a period of funded maternity leave, and in some cases funded shared parental leave (see below), for holders of all studentships funded or administered by the University where the expected week of childbirth falls within the period of the award.
4.6 Prior to receiving funded maternity leave or funded shared parental leave from the University, students are required to state their intention to return to their studies after taking the leave. Students who do not return to their studies for at least one term after taking funded leave may be required to pay back in full all monies received during the period of leave.
4.7 Research Council funded students are entitled to receive funded maternity leave as follows: the first 26 weeks would normally be paid at full stipend, the following 13 weeks at a level commensurate with statutory maternity pay and the final 13 weeks unpaid. In some circumstances it may be possible for some of this funded leave to be taken as shared parental leave. Students in receipt of LJMU-administered awards are entitled to receive the same amounts.
Returning to Study
4.8 Whilst on maternity leave, postgraduate students will retain their LJMU ID cards and access to the University’s IT systems, email, online resources and libraries. However, for the period that their studies are suspended while on maternity leave, they have no entitlement to teaching, supervision or other academic resources.
4.9 It is important that students and their supervisors maintain contact during the period of maternity leave to ensure that the necessary arrangements can be made for a smooth resumption of the programme of study. Some limited academic guidance and preparation is to be expected in advance of a return to study, as appropriate to individual circumstances.
4.10 Timely arrangements should be made to facilitate students’ return to study after maternity leave, including a full assessment of their requirements in relation to e.g. training, updating, monitoring and additional learning support. Typically this assessment would be carried out by a college tutor, supervisors or other relevant academic staff.
5. Adjustments to Mode of Study
5.1 A student whose programme of study is available on both a full-time and a part- time basis may apply to change their mode of study to part-time. Applications require the support of the student’s supervisor. Approval of the application will be the responsibility of the Doctoral Academy.
5.2 If a student’s programme of study is not normally available part-time, but it is agreed that the course can successfully be studied on a part-time basis, and the proposal is endorsed by both the Supervisor team and the Faculty or School, the Doctoral Academy may grant dispensation for the student to transfer from full-time to part-time status. Where necessary, approval must also be granted by the student’s funding body, and visa requirements must be met. Where permission has been granted, students will be charged fees at the part-time rate and their submission deadlines will be recalculated. (N.B. Some UKRI-funded students are not allowed to alter their mode of study more than once without consultation with the Research Council.)
6. Paternity Leave
6.1 Postgraduate research student fathers may take up to 2 weeks’ (10 working days) leave at any time during a partner’s pregnancy or within 3 months of the birth (paternity leave). In line with the policy adopted by the Research Councils, this leave is not taken as a suspension of status and the submission date is not adjusted.
6.2 In cases which do not fit the criteria for adoption leave set out in section 7 below, the student who gives birth to the child will be eligible to take maternity leave while their partner will be eligible to take paternity, extended paternity and/or shared parental leave. (In this section, the term ‘father’ refers to the member of the couple who takes paternity leave.)
7. Adoption Leave
7.1 Arrangements for adoption leave will usually mirror those for maternity and paternity leave; the main carer takes ‘maternity leave’, regardless of gender, and the carer’s partner takes ‘paternity’ leave.
7.2 The child’s main carer will be eligible to suspend their studies in line with maternity leave provisions (see section 3 above). Adoption leave may commence at any point after the student has been notified that they have been matched with a child.
7.3 A student who is the partner of an adopting parent will be eligible for leave in line with the extant model for paternity leave (see section 6 above). Blocks of adoption leave do not have to be taken consecutively when using additional parental leave (see section 8 below), but do have to be taken within 12 months of the adoption and any unused blocks may not be taken at a later date.
8. Unpaid Parental Leave
Partners are also entitled to an extended period of unpaid parental leave, up to a maximum of 50 weeks, with their studentship extended accordingly. Unpaid parental leave must be completed within 12 months of the birth of the child. This leave may be taken in up to three blocks of leave or all at once.
9. Sick Leave
9.1 Subject to fulfilling the criteria set out below, students in receipt of LJMU-administered maintenance stipends will be entitled to continued payment for a maximum of 3 months in any rolling 12-month period.
9.2 Postgraduate research students in receipt of annual maintenance stipend funding from the following sources are eligible to receive stipend payments under this policy:
- Students who receive Research Council funded maintenance stipends
- Students who receive LJMU-funded maintenance stipends
9.3 Students are eligible:
- Whether registered on a full-time or part-time basis
- From the point of initial registration on their programme
- To receive stipend payments under this policy on multiple occasions subject to the terms below
9.4 Students who are funded from external sources administered by LJMU, may be eligible for some or all of the above type of payment subject to their Funders’ terms and conditions, which will take precedence in the event of any conflict with this policy.
9.5 The following groups of students are not eligible for stipend payments from the University:
- Self-funded students
- Postgraduate research students who receive an externally funded stipend directly from an external organisation. These students must follow the regulations of their funder. If the funder does not provide additional funds, the University is not liable to provide any payments under this policy. As such students are advised to carefully check the terms and conditions attached to their funding prior to accepting that funding, and to refer back to those terms and conditions as necessary
- Students in receipt of bursaries or awards covering tuition fees only
- Students who have been in receipt of funding (as specified in 9.1(a) and 9.1(b) above), but who are or will be outside of the period of their award at the point at which their period of sickness absence would commence
Reporting and medical evidence
9.6 Students must inform their lead supervisor of any period of absence due to illness, injury or accident. Absences of up to 7 days can be self-certified but longer periods of absence must be supported by a medical certificate obtained from the student’s GP. Students will not normally be permitted to resume their studies before the date specified by the doctor on the medical certificate.
9.7 Where periods of absence are likely to exceed more than 4 weeks, the University may, at its discretion, require the student to take leave of absence and return to their programme of study at a future point more conducive to its successful completion.
9.8 Subject to the approval of their Lead Supervisor, a student may voluntarily interrupt their studies for a maximum of 12 months. Any application for an interruption of studies due to sickness is granted at the discretion of the University and must be accompanied by a medical certificate or other acceptable evidence as defined in the relevant policies.
Returning to study after sickness absence
9.9 Students must keep their lead supervisor and appropriate School or Faculty informed of any changes in their circumstances that may result in them returning to their studies earlier or later than originally stated. Students who have applied for a leave of absence and want to return to their studies later than originally stated (subject to the maximum 12 months) must apply for an extension to their interruption and provide a new medical certificate.
9.10 The Student Welfare team should be consulted if additional support needs are required for students returning from long-term sick leave. Where appropriate, students may be referred to Occupational Health before being allowed to return to study.
10. Annual Leave
10.1 Postgraduate research students are encouraged to take time out from their studies for a break in order to maintain an appropriate work/life balance. Periods of study for research degrees are calculated with an allowance for periods of annual leave during the registration period. As such, taking a period of annual leave does not alter the end date of research projects.
10.2 Research students are expected to manage their workload to ensure the satisfactory progress of their research and should ensure that any annual leave requests are approved by their lead supervisor.
10.3 Up to 30 days’ funded annual leave may be taken with no more than 3 weeks allowed to be taken at any one time, unless, exceptionally, permission for a longer period is granted.