It is not uncommon that the postgraduate study period coincides with parenthood and parental leave. Doctoral candidates are, of course, able to take parental leave but there are some special circumstances it is good to be aware of.
To consider prior to parental leave
The individual employee decides when to tell their employer that they are going to become a parent, however this must be no later than two months before the commencement of the leave. One advantage to telling the employer early on is that the candidate and supervisor have longer to plan and prepare for this leave.
SULF recommends planning interviews with supervisors prior to parental leave in order to plan the period away and to discuss how to arrange the return to work. There are some universities who offer automatic extra extension of employment after parental leave in order to enable startup after absence from thesis work. Ask your supervisor and your local SULF association about what applies at your university.
Entitlement to parental leave
According to the Parental Leave Act, you are entitled to stay home to look after children while you receive parental benefit or temporary parental benefit. Even if you are not receiving parental benefit you are entitled to stay home from work until the child is 18 months old.
As public sector employees, doctoral candidates enjoy the same entitlement to parental benefit as other employees. As a doctoral candidate with full study grant you are not entitled to parental benefit but retain all study grants during parental leave. However, problems may unfortunately occur in the transition between study grant and employment as a doctoral candidate.
If you are a SULF member – log in to the My pages and read more in the SULF parental leave manual (in Swedish only).