Maternity Leave Policy for Research Staff

Policy Owner
Human Resources
Document Type
Document Approval Date




The DCU Maternity Leave Policy applies to all DCU Research Staff.   Information on the Policy can be found on the Benefits – Leave at DCU webpage.

Given the nature of externally funded research posts in DCU, the following conditions will specifically apply when Research Staff apply for maternity leave from the University.   

  • Payment During Maternity Leave
  • Replacement of Staff on Maternity Leave 


Payment during Maternity Leave

Research Staff will receive normal pay less the State Maternity Benefit.  The top-up on the State Maternity Benefit to full pay will be covered by the PI/Research Programme from the respective external research grant where allowable under the grants terms and conditions.   In the event that this in an ineligible expense under the research grants terms and conditions and/or there is no money/insufficient resources are available to fund the maternity pay top-up, the PI will submit a proposal to the University seeking funding to cover the arrangement (please see below – Guidelines on Submitting a Proposal). 


Replacing Staff on Maternity Leave

In line with the DCU Maternity Leave policy there is no guarantee that the University and/or Research Centre can replace staff members who go on maternity leave.   Each case will be assessed on its own merits with a view to facilitating a replacement if financial considerations allow for this.

It is the responsibility in the first instance of the PI / Research Programme to identify funding for replacing staff.   In the event that there is insufficient funding for a replacement  the PI will submit a proposal to the University seeking funding to cover a replacement (please see below – Guidelines on Submitting a Proposal).  


Principles of Requesting University Funding  

As stated above if there are insufficient funds available for either the maternity top up or the maternity replacement the PI may submit a proposal to the University seeking funding for one of the arrangements, but not both. The general principles regarding funding requests are as follows:

  • The PI / Research Programme must exhaust every funding possibility before seeking University support;
  • If a proposal is for maternity pay top up there will be no maternity cover provided for this post; &
  • If the proposal is for a maternity replacement all options regarding cover should be considered, i.e. replacing at a lower level, shorter duration of cover, and the possibility of installing cover on a part-time basis.

It should be noted that the University may decide not to fund either maternity pay top or cover. If the University does decide to provide funding, it will only pay for the lesser of the two maternity arrangements, i.e. pay top up or the replacement. 


Guidelines on Submitting a Proposal

The PI is required to discuss the maternity leave payment and replacement options with the relevant HR Officer in advance of submitting the proposal. If after consultation it is deemed necessary to submit a proposal it should be noted that:

  • All proposals must be submitted to the Human Resources Manager a minimum of eight weeks prior to the commencement of the maternity leave.
  • The Human Resources Manager will circulate the proposal to the Research Finance Officer, and the Director of the OVPR.

The proposal will then be considered by all three parties. The proposal should clearly outline the following:

  • The key/critical activities for Summary of the role and the maternity leave dates (job description should be attached);
  • Confirmation of whether the Research Centre/PI is seeking University funding in respect of the maternity pay top-up or for the replacement of the staff member. (Details of the costs associated with the maternity pay top up and the replacement should be included); &
  • Details as to why the Research Centre/PI cannot fund the maternity arrangement.
  • In the event that funding for a replacement is being sought the research Centre/PI should outline the following:
    • - which cover is essential during the maternity leave period and the reasons for same;
    • - details of the activities which can be covered from existing resources; &
    • - details (following discussion with the relevant HR Officer) of all the options that have been considered in relation to cover i.e. the level of cover required, the duration and whether it is necessary on full-time or part-time basis etc. 


Approval of Applications for Funding

The PI will be notified whether the funding has been approved by the University no less than four weeks prior to the commencement of the maternity leave.