Message from the President: Changes to Covid-19 leave for graduate researchers

GSA President Jeremy Waite welcomes the University of Melbourne’s announcement on COVID-19 leave for graduate researchers, but additional clarification and support is needed on some issues.

The University of Melbourne has broadened criteria for Covid-19 leave and reopened its paid Covid-19 leave scheme to eligible graduate researchers. Students across campus have felt the impacts of Covid-19, and so we are pleased to see these changes to the University’s Covid-19 support.

However, there are several questions that have yet to be addressed:

  • What paid leave is available for graduate researchers who have already used the maximum 12 weeks last year, and who require additional Covid-19 leave this year?
  • How will the 20% capacity be determined?
  • For graduate researchers on leave but who are working at a 20% or less capacity, will their candidature duration be pro-rated according to their capacity?
  • Will any other Covid-19 related financial support be offered to graduate researchers?
  • Are research masters students included in the paid Covid-19 leave scheme?

GSA is currently seeking further information in answer to these questions, and we look forward to providing students with clarification as soon as possible.

While there is plenty more that needs to be done to support graduate researchers, we welcome any actions that support our students’ academic pursuits. We will continue our ongoing lobbying on behalf of graduate students, to ensure better outcomes for all graduate researchers.

Graduate researchers are encouraged to contact the Policy and Advocacy team at GSA with any feedback or concerns around the Covid-19 leave policy. Please email your comments to

For further information on the University of Melbourne’s Covid-19 leave, please visit: