What Proportion of Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Programs Have Accessible Parental Leave Policies, and How Generous are They?

Breana R Siljander, Sara S Van Nortwick, Jessica C Flakne, Ann E Van Heest, Deborah C Bohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Parental leave during graduate medical education is a component of wellness in the workplace. Although every graduate medical education program is required by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to have a leave policy, individual programs can create their own policies. The ACGME stipulates that "the sponsoring institution must provide a written policy on resident vacation and other leaves of absence (with or without pay) to include parental and sick leave to all applicants." To our knowledge, a review of parental leave policies of all orthopaedic surgery residency programs has not been performed. QUESTION/PURPOSES: (1) What proportion of orthopaedic surgery residency programs have accessible parental (maternity, paternity, and adoption) leave policies? (2) If a policy exists, what financial support is provided and what allotment of time is allowed?

METHODS: All ACGME-accredited orthopaedic surgery residency programs in 2017 and 2018 were identified. One hundred sixty-six ACGME-accredited allopathic orthopaedic surgery residency programs were identified and reviewed by two observers. Reviewers determined if a program had written parental leave policy, including maternity, paternity, or adoption leave. Ten percent of programs were contacted to verify reviewer findings. The search was sequentially conducted starting with the orthopaedic surgery residency program's website. If the information was not found, the graduate medical education (GME) website was searched. If the information was not found on either website, the program was contacted directly via email and phone. Parental leave policies were classified as to whether they provided dedicated parental leave pay, provided sick leave pay, or deferred to unpaid Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policies. The number of weeks of maternity, paternity, and adoption leave allowed was collected.

RESULTS: Our results showed that 3% (5 of 166) of orthopaedic surgery residency programs had a clearly stated policy on their program website. Overall, 81% (134 of 166) had policy information on the institution's GME website; 7% (12 of 166) of programs required direct communication with program coordinators to obtain policy information. Further, 9% (15 of 166) of programs were deemed to not have an available written policy as mandated by the ACGME. A total of 21% of programs (35 of 166) offered designated parental leave pay, 29% (48 of 166) compensated through sick leave pay, and 50% (83 of166) deferred to federal law (FMLA) requiring up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

CONCLUSIONS: Although 91% of programs meet the ACGME requirement of written parental leave policies, current parental leave policies in orthopaedic surgery are not easily accessible for prospective residents, and they do not provide clear compensation and length of leave information. Only 3% (5 of 166) of orthopaedic surgery residency programs had a clearly stated leave policy accessible on the program's website. Substantial improvements would be gained if every orthopaedic residency program clearly outlined the parental leave policy on their residency program website, including compensation and length of leave, particularly in light of the 2019 American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery changes allowing time away to be averaged over the 5 years of training.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Parental leave policies are increasingly relevant to today's trainees [18]. Applicants to orthopaedic surgery today value work/life balance including protected parental leave [16].

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 21 2019

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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