Chapter 4: Changes to enrolment

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4.1 Types of leave

4.1.1 Issues for you to consider before you apply for leave

1. You must consult with your supervisor/s, Graduate Research Coordinator and/or academic unit prior to submitting an application for either leave of absence or parental/maternity/adoption leave.

2. Consultation is particularly important where you are on an externally funded project or student visa, or undertaking research in a laboratory-based environment where there are other dependencies. (For example, welfare of animals to consider etc.).

3. You will also need to consider the impact of the planned leave on your ability to meet the academic requirements of your course. (Assessment of any coursework in which you are enrolled is subject to the Assessment in Coursework Units Policy and accompanying procedures).

4. Some doctoral and research master's degrees require students to complete coursework and/or professional development training as a pre-requisite to a milestone such as Confirmation, the Progress Review / Mid Candidature Review or the Final Review / Pre-Submission Seminar. Some coursework units may also have pre-requisite or co-requisite conditions.

5. It is your responsibility to seek advice from your faculty prior to lodging your application if you are enrolled in a coursework unit/s, so that you are aware of any implications of leave, including any academic and financial penalties as well as impact on your ability to meet the requirements of your course. Information regarding census date and teaching period is available on the University’s Census date and teaching periods website.

6. It is your responsibility to ensure that where required, you attach satisfactory evidence to your application. (Refer to section 4.1.4 What is meant by satisfactory evidence below).

7. Failure to provide satisfactory evidence (where required) or submitting an incomplete application will mean that your application cannot be endorsed, and you will be required to resubmit a revised or new application.

8. Special leave of absence and parental/maternity and adoption provisions apply for students who are on central scholarships (such as an RTP Stipend, MGS, MIRA, MES, Monash Silver Jubilee Postgraduate Scholarship, Sir James McNeill Postgraduate Research Scholarship or the Maxwell King PhD Scholarship). See Table 2 for details.

9. If you are staff member of Monash, ensure you separately apply for leave via ESS if required.

4.1.2 Restrictions on taking leave of absence

10. Leave of absence (intermission) in the first or last six months of enrolment in your course is not permitted unless exceptional circumstances apply.

11. Examples of exceptional circumstances include (but are not limited to): if you are experiencing family violence; evidence that you have experienced (or are experiencing) illness or incapacity which impacts on your capacity to meet your obligations as a student of the University. (For example, you are unable to meet attendance requirements, enrolment conditions or progress milestones as required of you under Parts 5 or 6 of the Monash University (Academic Board) Regulations); evidence that you require carer’s leave because of illness, injury or an unexpected emergency is affecting a family member.

12. International students on Australian student visas: A request for leave can only be approved on compassionate or compelling grounds and may affect your visa. It is your responsibility to seek advice from Monash Connect prior to submitting your application, ensuring you attach satisfactory evidence to the application. (Refer to section 4.1.4 What is meant by satisfactory evidence? below).

4.1.3 Types of leave available

4.1.3.1 Annual leave

13. You are entitled to take annual leave while enrolled in your course.

14. If you are a full-time student, you are entitled to a maximum of 20 working days per annum.

15. If you are a part-time student, your maximum entitlement is 10 working days per annum.

16. You do not apply for annual leave via the Graduate Research Committee (GRC) or Monash Graduate Research Office. Rather, you arrange annual leave with your main supervisor.

17. If you are in receipt of a scholarship subject to the provisions of the RTP Scholarship Procedures, you will automatically receive scholarship payments while on annual leave.

4.1.3.2 Leave of absence

18. You can apply for leave of absence where you wish to take leave from your studies for a period of 10 working days or more. A maximum of 12 months leave of absence in total may be approved throughout the duration of your course.

19. Leave of absence includes:

  • leave for personal and professional commitments
  • sick leave or carer’s leave
  • defence reserve service leave
  • jury service (for a period longer than 5 working days)
  • firefighting and emergency assistance
  • family violence leave.

20. If you are applying for sick or carer’s leave, you will need to ensure you attach satisfactory evidence to your application. (Refer to section 4.1.4 What is meant by satisfactory evidence? below).

21. If you are applying for jury duty, ensure you speak to your main supervisor about the implications for your research of taking jury leave prior to accepting a call for jury service.

22. Carer’s leave cannot be used for parental, maternity or adoption leave, as there are separate provisions that apply in these circumstances. (See section 4.1.3.3 below). Carer’s leave can be used to cover illness, injury or an unexpected emergency affecting a family member.

4.1.3.3 Parental, maternity and adoption leave

23. In addition to the entitlements outlined under section 4.1.3.2 (Leave of absence), you may apply for parental leave (that is, spouse/domestic partner leave), maternity leave, or adoption leave of up to 12 months during your enrolment for each birth or adoption where you are the primary carer of the child.

24. In the case of parental and maternity leave, leave is to commence no earlier than six weeks prior to the expected date of delivery of the child, unless medical evidence recommends otherwise.

25. In the case of adoption leave, leave can only be taken from the date the child is permanently placed with the student for adoption.

4.1.3.4 Family violence leave

26. Prior to applying for leave of absence based on family violence grounds, please contact a Family Violence Contact Officer in the Safer Community Unit who has expertise in family violence and privacy issues.

27. Applications are to be submitted in accordance with section 4.1.5.

4.1.3.5 Extended period of leave in exceptional circumstances

28. Requests for leave beyond the maximum entitlements specified under paragraph 18 and 23 will only be considered by the Graduate Research Committee in exceptional circumstances and must be accompanied by satisfactory evidence.

4.1.4 What is meant by satisfactory evidence?

29. Satisfactory evidence must be provided in English.

30. Applications for parentalmaternity or adoption leave need to be accompanied by a valid medical certificate stating the expected date of birth of the child or, in the case of adoption, documentary evidence of the date of placement of the child with you.

31. If you are applying for jury duty leave, supporting evidence means providing a statement from the Office of the Juries Commissioner (OJC) specifying the number of days and period when you were a member of the jury. (This information is provided on the payment slip prepared by the OJC).

32. If you are applying for sick or carer’s leave, your application for leave must be accompanied by a valid medical certificate.

33. For guidance on what constitutes a valid medical certificate, please refer to the Australian Medical Association’s AMA Guidelines on Medical Certificates 2011. Revised 2016.pdf

34. Where your leave application is accompanied by a certificate issued by a registered health professional other than a registered medical practitioner, the following information assists in the assessment of the application:

  • The length of time that the student is unable to (or likely to be unable to) undertake their studies;
  • Any comments (where relevant) on the student’s ability or capacity to resume their studies;
  • Any information or assessment of the student’s capacity or ability moving forward to complete the approved research project while also meeting attendance requirements, enrolment conditions and progress milestones as required of the student under Parts 5 and 6 of the Monash University (Academic Board) Regulations.

35. In circumstances where you request repeated instances of sick leave, the Graduate Research Committee may request for further information if the Committee has concerns about your capacity to undertake the agreed research project and/or your capacity to meet attendance requirements, enrolment conditions and/or progress milestones under Parts 5 and 6 of the Monash University (Academic Board) Regulations.

36. If you are applying for leave based on exceptional circumstances under section 4.1.3.5 (including compassionate or compelling circumstances in the case of international students on an Australian student visa), your application for leave must be accompanied by a valid medical certificate and/or, at the discretion of the Graduate Research Committee, a statutory declaration or other evidence deemed satisfactory by the Graduate Research Committee, such as a certificate from a registered health professional.

4.1.5 Applying for leave of absence or parental/maternity/adoption leave

37. To apply for all types of leave (other than annual leave), please complete the Leave from enrolment/scholarship form (online form).

4.1.6 If your leave is approved

38. While on approved leave, you are not permitted to:

  • continue research towards, or to work on, your thesis; and
  • undertake any other activities that form part of your program, including undertaking coursework units or professional development training.

39. Your supervisors should avoid contacting you during a period of approved leave unless there are compelling reasons to do so. 

40. Examples of compelling reasons include but are not limited to:

  • your supervisor/s needing to contact you where you have not validated your return to study, and confirmation is required regarding your intention to resume your studies; or where they have concerns about your welfare or well-being.
  • you have failed to re-enrol while on leave, and confirmation is being sought on whether you wish to continue your course etc.

41. While on approved leave, you are still considered a student of the University, and in order to maintain your enrolment, you must observe the scheduled re-enrolment dates for the following year, and maintain current address details at all times via the my.monash portal.

4.1.7 Returning from approved leave

42. If you are on approved leave, you must verify your return to study once leave period has expired. Failure to do so may result in your enrolment being terminated under Section 2 of the Graduate Research Termination Procedures.

43. If you are an international student on an Australian student visa, you will be issued with a new Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE) once your Return to Study has been processed.

4.1.8 Backdating changes to enrolment / scholarship

44. The Monash Graduate Research Office (MGRO) will not approve backdated variation requests.

45. It is your responsibility to ensure you apply for leave prior to the date when the proposed change/s are to take effect.

46. Where this is not possible – for example, you are unable to submit an application due to illness or other exceptional personal circumstance – your academic unit (either through your main supervisor or Graduate Research Coordinator/Program Director) must notify the Monash Graduate Research Office (MGRO) within 10 working days of receipt of notification of your circumstances to ensure appropriate action is taken and where appropriate, you are provided with support.

4.1.9 Support services available to you as a Monash student

47. Monash provides you with a range of support services, including but not limited to medical, counselling, dental, mindfulness, mental health and well-being support.

48. You can visit the University’s Health and Wellbeing website for details and contacts on how to access these services.

49. Counselling support to you and your immediate family is also available from the University Counselling Services.

50. For emergency and after hours contacts, please refer to https://www.monash.edu/health/medical-services/emergency-contacts

51. For mental health emergencies, including after-hours services and 24 hour free phone counselling, please refer to https://www.monash.edu/health/mental-health/resources/emergency-after-hours-contacts.