Dr Stacy Robertson
Published: 1 November 2022
Athena swan initiatives, signposting, and advice are great and was very helpful as I have navigated maternity leaves, hybrid working, the inevitable need for unexpected carers leave, and to balance work, childcare and family-life.
Dr Stacy Robertson - Project Manager
Like most Post-docs I have only ever had short-term contracts. I have been fortunate to never have any gap in employment, and I’ve always had fantastic support from my managers and taken advantage of the local networks in SCMH (formally ICAMS) to find my next position. Naturally though, these contracts lead to uncertainty, stress, and make it hard to ‘plan’ life events.
When I was pregnant with my oldest (Fraser, now 5) my funding and contract were due to finish just as I was due to start maternity leave. Together with my PI (Prof Stuart Nicklin) we sought advice from the Athena Swan Committee, and other PIs in the Institute to determine what, if any, options there were. Stuart managed to successfully request a no-cost extension to his grant, which allowed the University to extend my contract to cover my maternity leave and allow me to return after my leave and work the final 1 month of the grant. This wasn’t a great gain from a research perspective, but from a personal perspective it was huge; I was able to receive maternity pay I was entitled too; I could enjoy the baby bubble knowing I was still employed and then, towards the end of maternity leave when I was better placed to find a new job (as opposed to 7+ months pregnant!), I was able to secure a new post with Prof Eleanor Davies, also in SCMH. Having invested, knowledgeable and approachable people in Athena Swam Committee really helped me navigate a very stressful period.
Returning to work after having Fraser I was supported in my request to work a reduced working week, firstly using accrued annual leave, and then formally changing my contract. As I transitioned to a career away from the lab, I split my time over two roles and again I was well supported through a complex maternity leave process when we completed our family with the addition of Hazel (now 1).
Athena Swan initiatives, signposting, and advice are great and were very helpful as I have navigated both maternity leaves, hybrid working, the inevitable need for unexpected leave to cover childcare and to balance work, childcare and family-life. This has meant I have been present and enjoyed so much more time with Fraser and Hazel and been there for them when they need me most.
First published: 1 November 2022