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School of Chemical Sciences

Pregnancy, Maternity and Paternity: Guidance for Students

About this Guide

The University of Auckland and the School of Chemical Sciences are committed to making as many accomodations as possible to ensure that the impact on your studies/career will be minimised during pregnancy and for the duration of maternity or paternity leave.

This guide provides information to assist students with the steps that should be taken, when pregnant or supporting a partner who is pregnant, during the course of your studies. It also indicates the support that you can expect from staff in the School of Chemical Sciences and in the wider University before, during and after having children.




Liaise with

For more information 

If you become pregnant

Initial Communication

You are strongly encouraged to inform your supervisor and school of your pregnancy as soon as possible

Arrange an appointment with your GP, Students’ health service or a midwife as soon as possible

Research Supervisor(s)

School of Chemical Sciences Equity Representative

Erin Leitao

Student Health Services and Counselling

Student Equity Information  


Health and Safety


Complete a work-place risk assessment
Compile a list of chemicals and substances that you may handle during your research and acquire the safety information (MSDSs)

  • Using the GHS Hazard Statements identify those that have a  specific risk for pregnancy, fertility or breastfeeding.
  • Identify those that are highly toxic, carcinogenic, teratogenic, etc.
  • Look at compiled list of common chemicals to double check

Discuss potential workplace exposures with medical specialist

Your Supervisor will assist you to develop strategies to eliminate exposure to any chemicals and substances that have been flagged (e.g.):

  • Review and reinforce safety equipment and handling protocols
  • Modify your project to avoid exposure
  • Find a safer place to execute your experiments temporarily
  • Use extreme precaution; for example wearing a respirator

Discuss potential research issues with research group and other lab mates

Research Supervisor(s)

Health and Safety Committee

Contact School of Chemical Sciences Technical manager Michael Wadsworth


Risk assessment

GHS Hazard Statements

  International Students

If you require a visa to remain in NZ during your period of study, you must inform the International Students Office

You may be required to suspend your studies. If the period is longer than 3 months, your visa may be canceled and you will have to apply for a new visa to return to NZ

Graduate office


International Student Information Centre

Student Visas


  Postgraduate Research Students on Scholarship

If you are a recipient of a University, School or Faculty Scholarship or funding from a research council or other external body you should refer to the terms and conditions relating to your award

Students funded from University grants are entitled to take unpaid maternity leave (suspension)

Funding body

Scholarships office
09 373 7599 extn 87494


Information concerning your pregnancy should be treated sensitively and should only be passed on with your consent, unless strictly necessary and on a need-to-know basis

During Pregnancy Time to attend healthcare appointments

Consult with your research supervisor(s) and follow the usual procedures for reporting absences

  Pregnancy-related absence

Consult with your research supervisor(s) and follow the usual procedures for reporting absences

Consideration will have to be given to the potential impact of any pregnancy-related absence on your academic progress


  Placements, field trips and study abroad

If you are due to complete any placements, fieldwork or study abroad your school will need to confirm with all relevant parties (e.g. collaborators, airlines, insurance companies) that any travel is to go ahead as planned

Undertake a health and safety risk assessment on the activity where necessary

You may be required to provide a fitness to travel declaration from your doctor

Under some circumstances, you may not be able to complete that particular compenent of your programme as planned, so alternatives will have to be explored



  Examinations and assessments

Where alternative examination arrangments are required due to your pregnancy, you should apply for these in the usual way according to your school’s procedure around this

In situations where your pregnancy or maternity may have an impact on your ability to complete examinations or other assessments in the usual way, your school should consider alternative methods of assessment that will test the same learning outcomes



School of Graduate Studies 

School of Graduate Studies
Maternity-Related Absence  

You are strongly recommended to request a period of maternity-related absence following the birth of your child

Inform your school as soon as possible on your intentions related to a period of maternity-related absence


Head of School


Postgraduate Suspension Forms
Return to Study  

You should agree your return to study date with your supervisor(s) and school prior to commencing the period of maternity-related absence

You are responsible for informing your school of any intended change to the agreed date of return

Consult available resources for parents and carers

Head of School


Financial Support Services:

  • AUSA Food Bank
  • AUSA Textbook Grants
  • AUSA and UOA Staff Giving Circle Childcare Grants
  • Student Emergency Fund
  • AUSA Alpers Dental Grant

Legal Issues call 09 309 0789 extn 202 or

University Counselling


Parenting Support and Childcare

Hardship Support

Textbook Grants

Dental Grants

Student Health Services and Counselling

Paternity  Time off study for attending prescribed antenatal appointments, assisting with medical complications and paternity leave

Consult with your research supervisor(s) and follow the usual procedures for reporting absences

Inform your school if you would like to request a period of paternity-related absence

Any requests for a paternity-related suspension will be considered in accordance with your current faculty procedure on suspension of studies (and may have financial implications)


Postgraduate Suspension Forms