(Reuters Health) – Physicians at a few of the nation’s most elite medical schools don’t obtain three months of paid parental leave that medical doctors advocate for the well being of moms and infants, a U.S. examine has discovered.
“Despite the strong evidence base supporting the beneficial effects of at least 12 weeks of paid childbearing leave for the physical and mental health of mother and child, we are surprised that the average paid leave across schools was only about 8 weeks,” mentioned senior examine writer Dr. Christina Mangurian of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.
“Most policies were also really hard to understand and are at the discretion of the supervisor – both of which put women faculty at a disadvantage at getting leave they deserve,” Mangurian mentioned by e mail.
The American Academy of Pediatrics helps three months of paid household leave, researchers notice in JAMA. Among different issues, this helps breastfeeding and makes it extra seemingly that newborns will get all of their essential vaccinations and well-baby checkups.
For the examine, researchers examined leave insurance policies at 12 medical schools that had been ranked extremely by U.S. News & World Report for each teachers and funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers looked for particulars on the length of parental leave, eligibility and pay insurance policies on the web sites for every college.
Overall, the schools provided a mean of eight.6 weeks of leave at full pay, with insurance policies starting from six to 16 weeks, the examine discovered. Four schools offered greater than eight weeks of paid help.
Counting paid and unpaid break day, the typical size of household leave was virtually 18 weeks, and ranged from 2 to 52 weeks.
Most household leave insurance policies got here with quite a lot of caveats, together with three schools that permitted this solely with permission from a supervisor and 5 schools that provided it just for a main caregiver.
Some particulars additionally had been obscure. For instance, three schools had ambiguous wording in regards to the length of leave, and most left it unclear who was eligible to use.
Beyond its small measurement and concentrate on solely a dozen schools, different limitations of the evaluation embrace the potential that up-to-date insurance policies weren’t posted on-line and the shortage of information on how completely different leave insurance policies may affect school retention.
It’s attainable, nevertheless, that an insufficient leave coverage could also be a missed alternative to maintain extra younger physicians within the career, mentioned Dr. Anupam Jena, a researcher at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“Medicine is already at an all-time high in terms of ‘burnout’ and given how difficult the first months of parenthood is to parents, this is a critical time where additional preparation to young mothers and fathers of balancing work and family life would be useful,” Jena, who wasn’t concerned within the examine, mentioned by e mail.
“That would seem to be an excellent time for employers to ‘step up’ to support their employees,” Jena added. “Shortchanging this time helps no one.”
Inadequate parental leave insurance policies can even contribute to gender disparities in pay development within the medical career, mentioned Dr. Constance Guille, a researcher on the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
“Parenthood has been associated with reduced work hours for female physicians, but not male physicians, resulting in a reduction in pay as well as decreased opportunities for promotion or leadership positions for women,” Guille, who wasn’t concerned within the examine, mentioned by e mail.
“Until we can create policies and a culture that allows both men and women to be both parents and physicians, we are unlikely to close the gap in physician salaries and retain and advance women in medicine,” Guille added.
SOURCE: bit.ly/2o3zcB6 JAMA, on-line February 13, 2018.