Family Leave for Researchers at LERU Universities

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This paper examines the complex and intertwined issues relating to family leave and caring responsibilities and the impact that they have on gender equality in academia. It explores the differing attitudes towards women and men as carers, issues relating to the management of family leave and the potential impact of family leave on research outcomes and women’s careers. 

While recognising that national (and in some cases regional) legislation and local norms differ by country, the paper explores the commonalities of experience across LERU universities and identifies examples of good practice. It proposes measures that universities can put in place to support researchers and minimise negative impacts, drawing on the experience of LERU universities and other actors in higher education. 

Above all, the paper seeks to emphasise that becoming a parent is a positive and normal life event – around four in five people will become parents during their working lives. Putting in place policies and procedures to support parents to achieve a healthy work-life balance will not only address the issues that this paper identifies but also help our universities become attractive employers, and have a positive impact on recruitment, retention and productivity.

Year of publication:
Jun 2020
Type of paper:
Advice paper
  • Adrienne Hopkins (University of Oxford)