Analysis of current maternity leave policies for doctors in training

Publication Name

Australian Health Review


Objective: This study reviewed the maternity leave policies in Australian general practice speciality training and compared them to hospital-based speciality training policies. Methods: Nine general practice regional training organisations' maternity leave policies were audited and compared to 11 Australian hospital speciality training maternity leave policies. Data pertaining to each component of Cheung's health policy analysis tool were reviewed. Results: Across all specialities there was a lack of evidence-informed policy design and evidence-based goal setting. Compared with other specialities, general practice was the only speciality where trainees did not receive paid maternity leave. Conclusions: This study highlights the need to improve maternity leave policies in line with evidence and best practice for both general practice and hospital-based speciality registrars. What is known about the topic?: There is an increasing number of females graduating from medical degrees and planning parenting and speciality medical training simultaneously. The balance of these two roles is dependent on the policies and protocols of the training providers, who need to ensure that parenting and a medical career are compatible. What does this paper add?: This paper reports on the findings of an audit of the current maternity leave policies for general practice and hospital-based medical registrar trainees in Australia. It identifies key areas within the policies that need to be addressed. What are the implications for practitioners?: This paper identifies that all policies lack evidence of being evidence based in their design. This audit has demonstrated that most policies do not meet the World Health Organization's recommendations for maternity leave. Specifically, general practice trainees are the only doctors who do not have a policy that requires paid maternity leave. However, as the training of general practice registrars moves towards being undertaken by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, there is an opportunity for a review of this policy so that it becomes aligned with other Australian medical registrar training policies.

Open Access Status

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