1. In a study of 87 medical schools in the United States, many medical schools have limited to no paid leave for parental leaves
2. Lack of paid parental leave associated with higher rates of physician burnout and work-life integration dissatisfaction
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Physicians are more likely to experience infertility, often delay childbearing, and experience stigmatization and discrimination as parents. Many physicians are also likely to consider adoption and foster care. Unfortunately, physicians who are interested in parenting are often affected by institutional leave policies, increasing the risk of female physicians reducing work hours and leaving clinical practice which further perpetuates the gender gap within the field of medicine. This cross-sectional study investigated the parental leave policies of 87 medical schools in the United States. 72.4% of schools had some paid leave for birth mothers, while only 14.9% offered 12 weeks of fully paid leave. In terms of nonbirth parents, 12.6% offered 12 weeks of fully paid leave, while 43.7% offered no paid leave. 40.2% had no paid leave for adoptive parents, and 74.7% had no paid leave for foster parents. About one-third of schools rely on vacation and sick leave policies to provide birth mothers with leave. Limitations to this study include vaguely written leave policies, as well as physicians taking less than promised leave due to unwritten pressures within the medical community. There are clear benefits to paid leave for parents and newborns and lack of adequate leave policies contributed to burnout and difficulties integrating work life balance. Future studies and guidelines are needed to support the implementation of paid leave for physicians.
Click to read the study in JAMA Network Open
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