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Supports for Parents and Carers

UCD recognises that life can be demanding and we always strive to support employees who have family obligations or who may be preparing to become a parent and may be going on or returning from family-related leave. This is particularly true for the situation that employees now find themselves in as a result of Covid-19. 

We may be facing some challenges associated with caring responsibilities, working remotely and being unable to socialise and interact in person with colleagues, friends and family. It is important to mind your mental health and well-being and seek support if needed.

UCD's Parent Buddy Programme is available to employees while working from home. Further details on the Programme, how to contact a Parent Buddy and additional useful resources for Parents and UCD family related-leave policies can be found on this page.

Parent Buddy Programme

Welcome to the Parent Buddy Programme. The Parent Buddy Programme facilitates UCD employees preparing to be parents, going on and/or returning from maternity, adoption, paternity leave, parental leave or with children of any age to connect with a Parent Buddy who is an employee and a parent in UCD.

The Buddy programme is an informal arrangement connecting you with employees to give advice and tips on preparing for parenthood and balancing parenting with your career.

Buddies support colleagues in the following ways:

  • Share your experience and useful tips
  • Connect employees with other supports and resources
  • Sign-post employees to information sources and services as appropriate

The role of a buddy is to be a confidential informal support for the employee. Buddies are not a replacement for professional services and supports. Buddies should refer employees to HR and University policies to ensure consistent, up-to-date and accurate information. 

This support could take the form of meeting for a coffee, an email or a call and during the Covid-19 period will take the form of a Zoom call. Employees may have questions for Buddies about preparing to go on leave, transitioning back into the workplace, being a new parent and balancing workload, childcare arrangements, etc.

Buddies are available for up to a year or for as long as both employees and Buddy consent to continuing the relationship.

For further information on the role of a Buddy, see the Buddy Programme Code of Practice and Supplementary Covid19 Guidelines

Profiles and contact details to get in touch with a UCD Parent Buddy are below:

11:00-11:45am, Monday 6 April

Working at home whilst caring for others 

Trying to work from during Covid-19  and look after children or elderly relatives can be challenging. Under normal circumstances, 90% of parents say that they find balancing parenting with work stressful!  Right now we’re trying to fulfil the roles of employee/parent/teacher/carer/entertainer – not an easy task.  

In this Webinar you’ll discover it's not just you that’s finding it challenging. We’ll create a safe space for you to share how you’re getting on.  We’ll also look at practical ways in which you can manage:

  • your workload
  • those you care for
  • how to look after yourself 

Follow this link to register for this session via InfoHub: https://sisweb.ucd.ie/usis/W_HU_MENU.P_PUBLISH?p_tag=EDIEVNTS

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Parent Buddies: 

Vikram Pakrashi

Name: Vikram Pakrashi

Role: Assistant Professor

Location: School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering,

Children: 1 child

Contact me about: Work/life balance, bilingual household, Lived in both Cork and Dublin for a number of years before my child was born and when he was growing up (till he was 3 years old).  

Contact details: vikram.pakrashi@ucd.ie

Jessica Bramham

Name: Jessica Bramham

Role: Professor, School of Psychology

Children: 4 children

Contact me about: Managing maternity leaves, working part-time, parental leave, sustaining an academic career as a parent of small children.

Contact details: jessica.bramham@ucd.ie

Rainer Melzer

Name: Rainer Melzer

Role: Assistant Professor

Location: School of Biology and Environmental Science, Science Centre West

Children: 2 children

Contact me about: Parenting, work-life balance, having a family as an expat in Ireland, just to talk?

Contact details: rainer.melzer@ucd.ie

Sharon ORourke

Name: Sharon O’Rourke

Role:  Assistant Professor, School of Biosystems and Food Engineering

Children: 2 children

Contact me about: Returning to work in UCD following a (unintentional) career break

Contact details: sharon.orourke@ucd.ie

Rory Carey

Name: Rory Carey

Role: Director of Culture and Engagement, Human Resources

Children: 3 children

Contact me about: work-life balance; juggling everything; living in Dublin; extra-curricular activities with kids

Contact details: rory.carey@ucd,ie

Lilian Genaro Motti

Name:  Lilian Genaro Motti Ader

Role: Post-Doctoral Researcher, School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

Children: 1 child

Contact me about: positive parenting, travel with kids, living abroad with kids, multicultural experience, environmental-responsible lifestyle, pregnancy during PhD, breastfeeding support, career break.

Contact details: lilian.mottiader@ucd.ie

Suad Taimur

Name: Suad Taimur Inam

Role: Research Administrator

Location: UCD Research

Children: 2 children

Contact me about:  Motherhood, Relocation to a new country with kids, Post-partum depression, Balancing work-life commitments, Time management, Raising kids abroad with no family support, Multicultural and Multi-lingual parents, Career-Break.

Contact details: suad.taimur@ucd.ie

Douglas Carson 

Name:  Douglas Carson

Role: Design Fellow in the School of Architecture

Children: 3 children incl. twins

Contact me about: Twins, work/life balance, (I tutor and lecture half of my working week during term time.) I also run an architectural practice with my wife. Local knowledge about being a parent in Rathmines/Ranelagh.

Contact details: douglas.carson@ucd.ie

Clare Hayes Brady 

Name: Clare Hayes-Brady

Role: Assistant Professor, School of English, Drama and Film

Children: 2 children

Contact me about: Multicultural, ethnically diverse, bilingual co-parenting; managing the transition back to work; childcare; travelling with kids; balancing work commitments with children; co-parenting with both parents in employment 

Contact details: clare.hayes-brady@ucd.ie

 
Cathy Gibson 

Name:  Cathy Gibson

Role:  HR Partner, College of Business

Children:  3 children

Contact me about:  Support, balancing work and family commitments; Pre & Post-maternity leave or any other family-related leave; part-time working

Contact details: cathy.gibson@ucd.ie

Marina Milic 

Name: Marina Milic

Role: Post-doctoral Researcher, School of Archaeology

Children: 2 children

Contact me about: managing small children and research, transitioning from PhD student to Post-Doctoral Researcher and parenting, relocation.

Contact details: marina.milic@ucd.ie

Debra Heeney 

Name:  Debra Heeney

Role:  Programme Manager, College of Engineering and Architecture

Children: 2 children

Contact me about:  balancing work and family commitments, being an older parent, local supports.

Contact details: debra.heeney@ucd.ie 

Emer Beesley 

Name: Emer Beesly

Role: Marketing and Communications Manager, College of Arts and Humanities

Children: 3 children

Contact me about: Birthing, hypnobirthing, returning to work after maternity leave, living abroad with children, relocating with children, work/life balance, child-care, school system.

Contact details: emer.beesley@ucd.ie 

    

Become a Parent Buddy

Are you a parent working at UCD? Why not become a buddy and support employees who are expectant parents or parents who have recently returned to work at UCD?

What is the Buddy programme?

The Buddy programme connects employees going on and/or returning from maternity, adoption, paternity leave, parental leave or with children of any age with employees who are parents in UCD.

The Buddy programme is an informal arrangement connecting you with employees to give advice and tips on preparing for parenthood and balancing parenting with your career.

What will my role be as a Buddy?

The role of a buddy is to be a confidential informal support for the employee. Buddies are not a replacement for professional services and supports. A briefing on the role of a Buddy will be provided. Buddies should refer employees to HR and University policies to ensure consistent, up-to-date and accurate information. 

You can support colleagues in the following ways:

  • Share your experience and useful tips
  • Connect employees with other supports and resources
  • Sign-post employees to information sources and services as appropriate

This support could take the form of meeting for a coffee, an email or a call. Employees may have questions for Buddies about preparing to go on leave, transitioning back into the workplace, being a new parent and balancing workload, childcare arrangements, etc.

Time Commitment

You are available to be a Buddy for a year or for as long as both employees and Buddy consent to continuing the relationship.

A lunchtime briefing will be organised for buddies in advance of launching the programme.

How do I become a Buddy?

Please fill out the expression of interest form and email it to edi@ucd.ie.

We welcome and encourage diverse employees of all genders who are parents to register as a Buddy. 

Please read the Code of Practice prior to filling out the expression of interest.

UCD Family-Related Policies

UCD has a range of family friendly policies to support those with caring responsibilities. Employees should make themselves familiar with these policies so that they consider all of the options that may support them in their role as parents and carers. It is also important that managers are aware of these policies so that they can support their employees and inform them of their options.

The following is a list of policies that employees may avail of in UCD that support them to balance their work and family life. Managers and employees should familiarise themselves with the conditions and procedures applying to leaves (e.g. 'Maternity Leave Procedures') on the HR website.   

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UCD Family-related Policies

Support for Employees taking Family-Related Leave Policy and Guidelines

This policy and guidelines provide support for managers and employees to navigate the period before, during and after family-related leave. Managers can also find guidance so that they can provide a high standard of support to employees during this time.

Employees should familiarise themselves with the policy and guidelines to understand the types of support available.

Academics who are returning from maternity, adoptive or carers leave are entitled to 50% teaching buy-out over two semesters on return from leave to re-establish their research career. As a research-intensive university, UCD is committed to support those returning from maternity, adoptive and carers leave. 

The below policy and guidelines should be read in conjunction with UCD Family-Friendly Policies: 

Parenting and Caring Collection in UCD Library

Parenting and Caring Collection was curated in James Joyce Library for UCD employees and students that covers the personal challenges you may encounter at different points of your working career. The collection is made up of e-books ad books which include:

  • Parenting - Aspects of parenting from IVF, pregnancy, baby care, kids emotions, to caring for your teenager, step parenting and even parental well being
  • Retirement - Preparing for retirement, looking after yourself - Ageing well
  • Caregivers - Support if you are caring for a loved one outside of work; Dementia, Parkinsons, Alzheimers etc.
  • Grief - If you have lost a significant person in your life from suicide, illness, miscarriage etc.

Resources