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  • Less than 1 day off for birth of child for resident

    Just curious to ask around about this. My wife and I are having our third child in April. I'm a PGY-4 and finishing residency in June. I received an email today from one of the chief residents that "we can allow you to use a sick day on the day of your baby's birth while inpatient. The next day you would be expected to be at work." No compassion shown or thought given to the fact that this is a new baby we're talking about. Not to mention that I asked 6 months in advance for careful consideration of my schedule so that I could have 3 to 4 days off at least to help with the process, the transition home, and helping with the other kids at home. I also love how they're "allowing" me to use a sick day so I can see the birth of my child. No family of ours is local either just FYI. Am I way off here or is this just crazy?

  • #2
    Ya, that sucks. We basically gave our Residents two weeks off and picked up the slack and gaps in coverage. They didn't need to take off any official time.

    Obviously being ortho, majority of us were guys. I don't recall any girls having kids until they graduated.

    Comment


    • #3
      Would take issue to program director.  Most jobs would allow for sick leave to be used for at least a week of paternity leave as long as you've given enough advance notice to allow for coverage to be arranged.  Optics as you've described them don't look good for chief residents.

      Comment


      • #4




        Just curious to ask around about this. My wife and I are having our third child in April. I’m a PGY-4 and finishing residency in June. I received an email today from one of the chief residents that “we can allow you to use a sick day on the day of your baby’s birth while inpatient. The next day you would be expected to be at work.” No compassion shown or thought given to the fact that this is a new baby we’re talking about. Not to mention that I asked 6 months in advance for careful consideration of my schedule so that I could have 3 to 4 days off at least to help with the process, the transition home, and helping with the other kids at home. I also love how they’re “allowing” me to use a sick day so I can see the birth of my child. No family of ours is local either just FYI. Am I way off here or is this just crazy?
        Click to expand...


        Sounds like my first three kids (one in residency, two in military.) I think I had two days with my fourth one before I worked another shift.

        The good news? I was there for every birth (and was the only doctor present for two of them.)

        The bad news? We needed to rely on friends and family for assistance with the other kids while we were at the hospital. But it's not like I was taking them to L&D anyway.

        At any rate, I think most would agree that paternity leave would be really nice, it's hard to put it on the same pedestal as maternity leave. And neither are free. If you want it, the money has to come from somewhere and the work has to be done by somebody else. Maybe you get a lower salary for it. Maybe you pay higher taxes for it. Maybe the doctors who don't have kids are forced to give it to you. But it isn't free.

        Actually, now that I think about it, I was given a week of paternity leave by the military for one of those kids. We saved it up and used it for a vacation when the kid was 6-8 weeks old. We didn't think burning it on paternity leave right after birth (especially when MIL was going to be there) was the best use of it.
        Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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        • #5
          I’m really curious what specialty this is.

          Different as an attending. Someone has to do the work. But as a trainee that just can’t be the case. Shame on that chief and program.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm guessing you're in a surgical residency, because it isn't that hard for a medical speciality to find coverage for a few days.  Most medical residencies have a backup system that would get you a few days, and if you planned in advance for a non-call rotation around this time it should have been easy.

            While it's true that anytime one person isn't working, in theory another person has to pick up the slack, the fact is all work is not created equal, nor is it equally expensive to cover.  Replacing a cardiothoracic surgery fellow at a trauma center for a week is more expensive/difficult than replacing a pediatrics intern on a development rotation.

            While I get that some programs have a more difficult time providing coverage, I also think they're just sticking their head in the sand if they think that trainees will blindly accept this type of policy forever. Paternity leave isn't free, but neither is vacation.  I'm not clear why you can't just use "vacation" time if you asked for this in advance.

            You don't want to poison your relationships in the program, but I think it's okay to push back a little.
            An alt-brown look at medicine, money, faith, & family
            www.RogueDadMD.com

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            • #7
              I'm floored that no one has thought of the actual law here; medicine isn't some cult exempt from federal regulations. Insane.

              If you are at a civilian residency, you are eligible for FMLA under federal law, albeit UNPAID. Fill out the paperwork, and take as long as you want (UNPAID) up to twelve weeks. It's the law. Your residency knows it. The EEOC knows it. The hospital knows it. They could lose all their GME and other federal funding, accreditation etc if they don't allow you. Save those emails either way. I'm shocked at the nerve of the chiefs. They could be in serious trouble, as could your residency. I'm actually wondering if they misunderstood your email- if they thought you were asking for a favor, not invoking FMLA, a federal right.

              If you take longer than six weeks, you may have to make up the six weeks at the end of residency, but you are still allowed twelve weeks. I'm shocked no one has suggested this. People should know the law.

              Send an email asking if you can take FMLA leave. They will have no choice but to say yes. Request a meeting with GME and your program director. State that you know there must have been some misunderstanding, but that you want them to know you are asking for fewer weeks than allowed by law. And contact an employment attorney to advise you further. Take notes. Record all conversations if legal in your state.

              People worry too much about "poisoning" relationships in residency over silly things like this. The law is so clear on this, and they are not above the law, and they know it. They are just trying (badly) to pull a fast one on you. The higher ups know the law. Their lawyers know the law.

              https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/

              Comment


              • #8




                I’m really curious what specialty this is.

                Different as an attending. Someone has to do the work. But as a trainee that just can’t be the case. Shame on that chief and program.
                Click to expand...


                Not different if you are an attending and employed. Same law. Same rules. I don't know why doctors always think there is some fancy exception. There's not.

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                • #9







                  Just curious to ask around about this. My wife and I are having our third child in April. I’m a PGY-4 and finishing residency in June. I received an email today from one of the chief residents that “we can allow you to use a sick day on the day of your baby’s birth while inpatient. The next day you would be expected to be at work.” No compassion shown or thought given to the fact that this is a new baby we’re talking about. Not to mention that I asked 6 months in advance for careful consideration of my schedule so that I could have 3 to 4 days off at least to help with the process, the transition home, and helping with the other kids at home. I also love how they’re “allowing” me to use a sick day so I can see the birth of my child. No family of ours is local either just FYI. Am I way off here or is this just crazy?
                  Click to expand…


                  Sounds like my first three kids (one in residency, two in military.) I think I had two days with my fourth one before I worked another shift.

                  The good news? I was there for every birth (and was the only doctor present for two of them.)

                  The bad news? We needed to rely on friends and family for assistance with the other kids while we were at the hospital. But it’s not like I was taking them to L&D anyway.

                  At any rate, I think most would agree that paternity leave would be really nice, it’s hard to put it on the same pedestal as maternity leave. And neither are free. If you want it, the money has to come from somewhere and the work has to be done by somebody else. Maybe you get a lower salary for it. Maybe you pay higher taxes for it. Maybe the doctors who don’t have kids are forced to give it to you. But it isn’t free.

                  Actually, now that I think about it, I was given a week of paternity leave by the military for one of those kids. We saved it up and used it for a vacation when the kid was 6-8 weeks old. We didn’t think burning it on paternity leave right after birth (especially when MIL was going to be there) was the best use of it.
                  Click to expand...


                  The law views paternity and maternity leave exactly the same way for civilians. Some states have stronger laws, but the basic federal law is the same, no matter what one's personal view of maternity vs paternity leave.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    PGY4 on the last year of residency so it must be ophto, anesthesia, gyn, derm, neurology, path, psych, PM&R. In any case, 3-4 days off would be nice to watch the other kids while your wife is in the hospital and help her transition home. Just go straight to program director and clarify things. What another resident says means jack squat. What has been done in the past for other male residents in the program? What aren't you telling us? Are you on probation for other things? Did you pick up the load in the past when other people were in need? Just wondering because usually when this kind of things happen there is more to it. Congrats on the kid, best thing ever.

                    Comment


                    • #11




                      PGY4 on the last year of residency so it must be ophto, anesthesia, gyn, derm, neurology, path, psych, PM&R. In any case, 3-4 days off would be nice to watch the other kids while your wife is in the hospital and help her transition home. Just go straight to program director and clarify things. What another resident says means jack squat. What has been done in the past for other male residents in the program? What aren’t you telling us? Are you on probation for other things? Did you pick up the load in the past when other people were in need? Just wondering because usually when this kind of things happen there is more to it. Congrats on the kid, best thing ever.
                      Click to expand...


                      I really urge OP to look at this as a legal issue/misunderstanding, not a gender issue (irrelevant),  nor an issue of "not picking up the load." This is a very simple legal question that all programs are aware of. Agreed that what another resident says is irrelevant and meaningless.

                      OP could also be EM or med/peds, among other residencies FWIW.

                       

                      Comment


                      • #12










                        Just curious to ask around about this. My wife and I are having our third child in April. I’m a PGY-4 and finishing residency in June. I received an email today from one of the chief residents that “we can allow you to use a sick day on the day of your baby’s birth while inpatient. The next day you would be expected to be at work.” No compassion shown or thought given to the fact that this is a new baby we’re talking about. Not to mention that I asked 6 months in advance for careful consideration of my schedule so that I could have 3 to 4 days off at least to help with the process, the transition home, and helping with the other kids at home. I also love how they’re “allowing” me to use a sick day so I can see the birth of my child. No family of ours is local either just FYI. Am I way off here or is this just crazy?
                        Click to expand…


                        Sounds like my first three kids (one in residency, two in military.) I think I had two days with my fourth one before I worked another shift.

                        The good news? I was there for every birth (and was the only doctor present for two of them.)

                        The bad news? We needed to rely on friends and family for assistance with the other kids while we were at the hospital. But it’s not like I was taking them to L&D anyway.

                        At any rate, I think most would agree that paternity leave would be really nice, it’s hard to put it on the same pedestal as maternity leave. And neither are free. If you want it, the money has to come from somewhere and the work has to be done by somebody else. Maybe you get a lower salary for it. Maybe you pay higher taxes for it. Maybe the doctors who don’t have kids are forced to give it to you. But it isn’t free.

                        Actually, now that I think about it, I was given a week of paternity leave by the military for one of those kids. We saved it up and used it for a vacation when the kid was 6-8 weeks old. We didn’t think burning it on paternity leave right after birth (especially when MIL was going to be there) was the best use of it.
                        Click to expand…


                        The law views paternity and maternity leave exactly the same way for civilians. Some states have stronger laws, but the basic federal law is the same.
                        Click to expand...


                        True. However, specialty boards have strict policies as far as time away from training. Once you take out the standard 3 weeks of vacation a year, there is little wiggle room. Lengthening of residency training, along with prior written permission (if possible) from the specialty board is often required. Not to mention the extra load you are placing on your co-workers. You are having a child, not them. I say this form the standpoint of a father who had a child in residency. Usually though people just expect a little flexibility and are happy to have just a few days off.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The point about extending training is excellent. Extending training is certainly a headache, and but every specialty has a policy that makes it possible, although it's true OP should have asked ahead since its not his or her own serious medical conditon. . It's not OP's issue whether s/he is placing an extra load on his/her coworkers, though. I'm sure OP feels guilty, but we all place burdens on each other. Some people just suck or are lazy. We deal. This is a training program, not a job.  If OP were giving birth or hit by a car, they'd figure it out. They can figure this out.

                          I can't speak for all residencies, but many programs (like all of New York City, due to the CIR contract) guarantee four weeks of vacation a year without extending training. No specialty requires more than 48 weeks of training a year.  If OP has not used four weeks of vacation, s/he can take four weeks of FMLA leave with no extension of training, regardless of specialty. It sounds like OP would be more than happy with this. So OP should have no problem getting sufficient time off without extending training.

                          My guess is that OP asked this as a favor, not as FMLA or vacation, and that s/he did not talk with GME or the PD about this.

                          The big problem I see here is that both the chiefs and OP (and many posters) are looking at this as a personal favor bestowed by the godly chiefs, not something about which there are robust rules and regulations for this very situation, which are well thought out and legally binding. If you both just follow the rules, it will be fine.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the replies everyone. Specialty is med/peds. I'm in a civilian (non military) residency. You are right, I am just asking for a favor of 3 to 4 days to help with transitioning home, not FMLA (but I was pretty much unaware of the rules so thanks a lot for this snowcanyon!). To answer your questions dreamgiver, no I'm not on probation for anything and there's nothing more going on than I am telling you. Not sure why those assumptions were made.

                            I've never taken a sick day in my residency. I'm not under any discipline. I'm a top performer on our in training exams and have received glowing commendations on feedback forms from the beginning. When I was an intern we had our second child and I was given a week off (was on the IM side... and on medicine wards no less) without any questions asked. This time I'm on our inpatient peds ward and there will be no issues with coverage as there's already another senior resident on the schedule who will be around to supervise the interns. Trust me I have pushed back hard today and am awaiting a reply. My PD is very reasonable but this may be out of her hands as it's the department of peds who is pushing this on me.

                             

                            Comment


                            • #15




                              Thanks for the replies everyone. Specialty is med/peds. I’m in a civilian (non military) residency. You are right, I am just asking for a favor of 3 to 4 days to help with transitioning home, not FMLA (but I was pretty much unaware of the rules so thanks a lot for this snowcanyon!). To answer your questions dreamgiver, no I’m not on probation for anything and there’s nothing more going on than I am telling you. Not sure why those assumptions were made.

                              I’ve never taken a sick day in my residency. I’m not under any discipline. I’m a top performer on our in training exams and have received glowing commendations on feedback forms from the beginning. When I was an intern we had our first child and I was given a week off (was on the IM side… and on medicine wards no less) without any questions asked. This time I’m on our inpatient peds ward and there will be no issues with coverage as there’s already another senior resident on the schedule who will be around to supervise the interns. Trust me I have pushed back hard today and am awaiting a reply. My PD is very reasonable but this may be out of her hands as it’s the department of peds who is pushing this on me.

                               
                              Click to expand...


                              Ha! Peds training programs, IME, can be particularly petty about this, and very nasty in general. You may have to throw the book at them, and you should. If this is happening next week, you kind of screwed up, and I think you have to live with whatever their response is.  If this is a few months away still, this is what I think you should do:

                              1. Call an attorney so that you know how to word things, and so you have back up. This doesn't mean you are spoiling for a fight, it means you want all your duckies in a row.

                              2. Download whatever FMLA paperwork your employer has (I guarantee it's on the website).

                              3. Fill out said paperwork with the exact number of days you want off, which sounds like an eminently reasonable number.

                              4. Email the paperwork to chiefs, GME, residency director, and whoever else you are supposed to send it to with a sweet as peaches note.

                              5. Sit back and watch them jump. Formal apology may be coming your way. Boring meetings and re-trainings maybe coming their way lol. They are lucky you are nice. The chiefs and PD could be in serious trouble.

                              Congrats, and best of luck. And let us, or at least me,  know how it goes.

                              And keep this along with the FMLA doohickey. I can't find one for Med-Peds. But you are asking for ONE WEEK. Jeez. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/2/387

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