Studying during maternity or parental leave
If parenthood slows down your studies considerably or prevents you from studying, you should stop taking out your student financial aid. Apply for benefits for families with children instead.
Yes, you can. When you know the start date of your maternity leave, register as absent in your educational institution on the basis of the birth of a child. Absences due to maternity, paternity or parental leave do not count against the length of your studies. They are also not included in the maximum number of absences.
If you would like to change the method of completing your studies, tell your teacher about your pregnancy well in advance.
For example, if dangerous chemicals or other harmful agents are handled in your educational institution, the institution has an obligation to organise your studies so that you are not exposed to them.
Universities and universities of applied sciences do not have an obligation to plan their courses so that special arrangements are made for students who are expecting or have a family. However, the institution can be flexible and allow you to complete courses independently or remotely.
Vocational institutions allow you to complete your studies and progress in your studies flexibly. The adjustments are recorded in the personal competence development plan (HOKS) that is drawn up for each student. You update it with the responsible teacher or some other tutor.
You can study at a university of applied sciences or at a university during your maternity leave. You are allowed to bring your child to the lectures but use your discretion. Take into consideration the baby’s coping and make sure other students and the teacher can work in peace.
If your baby is ill or cries easily, you should not bring the baby to the lessons or lectures. If you breastfeed, you can ask for special arrangements to be able to breastfeed during studies or during an exam.
If having a family makes it difficult to study during the day, educational institutions may have facilities in which you can study independently in the evening.
Vocational students can study while pregnant and on maternity leave. You should tell your teachers, workplace instructors and guidance counsellor about your pregnancy as early as possible. Remember to update your personal competence development plan so that it takes into account your pregnancy and maternity leave.
If your studies are physically very demanding or may somehow risk your own or your child’s health, the educational institution will organise instruction for you safely during your pregnancy.
Plan your studies during the maternity leave well in advance with the guidance counsellor. It is often possible to tailor contact and remote teaching and on-the-job learning in a way that makes it possible for you to progress in your studies also during the maternity leave.
If you decide to interrupt your studies for the duration of the maternity leave, plan your return to studies with your teachers and guidance counsellor in advance. This way it is easy for you to continue your studies after the family leave.
If you cannot progress in your studies normally because of parenthood, you should stop taking out student financial aid and apply for the benefits for families with children. Inform Kela of the interruption of your studies or student financial aid. When you receive family benefits, you can study according to what you can cope with and what is possible for you.
It is not a good idea to use your student financial aid if your studies do not progress normally. The maximum period of eligibility for financial aid for higher education students cannot be extended because of parenthood and parenthood is not an acceptable reason for insufficient progress in studies. However, the maximum length of studies entitling to student loan compensation can be extended because of parenthood. Only the time during which you have received maternity, paternity or parental allowance will entitle to the extension.
It is possible for you to have more time for completing your studies. In some study modules, study attainments expire within a certain time. You should consider this when you register as absent.
Current legislation does not determine target times for completing a qualification in vocational education and training. The methods of completing the qualification and the study times are agreed on separately in the personal competence development plan (HOKS).