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Maternity leave - need advice for high income docs in private practice

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  • #16
    Stop looking at the money lost and instead focus on what you will gain with being at home with your newborn. You can't have it both ways. Take the time off and accept the fact that you will lose from a monetary standpoint, but gain from a personal one.

    Sorry, but no group is going to accept doing double duty so you can stay at home with your newborn.

    Take a deep breath!

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    • #17
      My wife joined an academic practice and got 3 months of paid maternity leave. It's an easy transition from residency/fellowship to attending at most institutions and 3 months paid leave is quite a benefit if you think about it. I think that their disability insurance covered parts of it. If you add pslf to paid maternity leave, you can come out pretty far ahead in academic sometimes.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by XGPkidney View Post

        rationally it makes sense.

        it is just disheartening that I put off having a child for a long time for my education and training. I worked as hard as men in my field and I have to take a significant financial set back to have a family. As a trainee, I have not been aware of the huge pay cut I will need to trade for wanting to have a family.

        My male colleagues already have 2-3 children but I have been holding it off because of my training and to reduce burden on my co residents. Now I have to choose to have kids at my own financial loss. It is something that my male colleagues don’t even have to think about.


        Just to play Devil’s advocate here, but would you be ok with covering each of your male partners’ expenses and salary for 3 months if they chose to have paternity leave each time they had a child?

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        • #19
          3 months have been fairly standard for quite awhile. Employed or private practice, that equates to a loss of ~25%. Call it revenue, profit or net income, someone is going to lose. I honestly do not remember if my spouse got paid. To me the important thing was the job was not at risk the inconvenience did not result in any punitive measures. The family friendly attitude needs to extend before or beyond those 12 weeks. Not every pregnancy goes smoothly. I would be more concerned about how to handle a difficult pregnancy. The one thing I know, it was not really the bonding as much as turning over "her newborn" to someone else. That was more of an emotional adjustment. Someone pays for the loss of productivity. Whatever we lost income was simply another cost of having a child. Kids are expensive. 25% of a year is a lot of lost production. I do think it is a little misguided to think colleagues or an employer are going to bear 100% of the costs. A large group it might fly. Small group there will be more push back.In the long run, you will be fine. Just a cost to both you and your husband is the worst case. I guarantee you would do it anyway.

          Yes, the cost would have been less in residency, you weren't as valuable. That has been discussed before. When is the best time to have children. Many factors, just not all of them are financial. To whatever extent possible, focus on your situation, not how much someone else needs to help out. You will be fine.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by XGPkidney View Post

            Group 1 maternity leave policy is unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks when employed for the first two years. They don't know what they will do about it once I become a partner.

            Group 2 maternity leave policy is a reduction of income by a fixed percentage of my annual income.

            Is there anyway I can negotiate for better terms? Does anyone have any advice on how to not have such a significant financial set back while on the leave?

            Thank you for your advice.

            edited to leave out some details. After reading the comments below, I will go with group 1 most likely and just be grateful to have a high paying job.
            work at the VA and every employee gets 3 months paid, not just women. Just a thought. My wife has had 4 kids in 4 years. It’s doable.


            years

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            • #21
              Originally posted by HikingDO View Post

              Just to play Devil’s advocate here, but would you be ok with covering each of your male partners’ expenses and salary for 3 months if they chose to have paternity leave each time they had a child?
              I am not a physician but have for years worked on teams of 4-10 people and many have been in their prime child-bearing years. It takes a team not a person for all of us to do well. So yes, I will and I have taken up the slack when someone goes on leave for 3 months. It's not my favorite thing to do but it makes the person on leave less stressed and also more appreciative of the employer. This whole thread shows how male-dominated PP still is. Most all of the statements are framed like the person going on leave shouldn't look at what they are losing monetarily on an unpaid leave and almost none of the statements are saying that the partners shouldn't look at what they are losing monetarily by paying someone on leave and rather should appreciate that they are leaving positive vibes with an employee

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              • #22
                Originally posted by JBME View Post

                I am not a physician but have for years worked on teams of 4-10 people and many have been in their prime child-bearing years. It takes a team not a person for all of us to do well. So yes, I will and I have taken up the slack when someone goes on leave for 3 months. It's not my favorite thing to do but it makes the person on leave less stressed and also more appreciative of the employer. This whole thread shows how male-dominated PP still is. Most all of the statements are framed like the person going on leave shouldn't look at what they are losing monetarily on an unpaid leave and almost none of the statements are saying that the partners shouldn't look at what they are losing monetarily by paying someone on leave and rather should appreciate that they are leaving positive vibes with an employee
                Were those teams of 4-10 people all co-owners? I think that's what is different here. This isn't a female vs. male issue. It's an owner vs. employee issue. If you're an owner and you don't work and bring in income, don't expect for the other owners to subsidize your leave for any reason.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by JBME View Post

                  I am not a physician but have for years worked on teams of 4-10 people and many have been in their prime child-bearing years. It takes a team not a person for all of us to do well. So yes, I will and I have taken up the slack when someone goes on leave for 3 months. It's not my favorite thing to do but it makes the person on leave less stressed and also more appreciative of the employer. This whole thread shows how male-dominated PP still is. Most all of the statements are framed like the person going on leave shouldn't look at what they are losing monetarily on an unpaid leave and almost none of the statements are saying that the partners shouldn't look at what they are losing monetarily by paying someone on leave and rather should appreciate that they are leaving positive vibes with an employee
                  So how is it male dominated when a man is allowed to have 12 weeks paid leave to be with his newborn child, just like a woman? I guess men should not get time with their children like women do, and just be happy to pay out perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars to a woman partner for 12 weeks in exchange for some positive vibes, huh? My wife is also a physician, and wouldn’t have expected for a second to be paid for 12 weeks to take time off after our children were born, and neither would I. Having children was our choice, not their’s, so exchanging “positive vibes” for 12 weeks of pay and paid expenses never seemed fair, but to each their own.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by JBME View Post

                    This whole thread shows how male-dominated PP still is. Most all of the statements are framed like the person going on leave shouldn't look at what they are losing monetarily on an unpaid leave and almost none of the statements are saying that the partners shouldn't look at what they are losing monetarily by paying someone on leave and rather should appreciate that they are leaving positive vibes with an employee
                    I am curious to know what the maternity policy is in the Ob-GYN PP groups, since it comprises of 80-90% women. Do they offer paid maternity leave. If so, for how long. What do other women docs feel - do they approve since they have had women and used the paid leave, or are likely to use it or are currently using it. Any paternity leave for the lone male OB in that group.

                    Any Ob docs here wanting to comment on PP situation ( not comment on academics or hosp employed since those policies may be different).

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Anne View Post

                      If the male colleagues are married to spouses who also earn an income they certainly do have to think about it—either their spouse’s income will decrease, or they will be hiring lots of help, or sometimes both. If they are married to a spouse who doesn’t earn an income and doesn’t plan to, then they take the economic loss in that form.

                      This is just another example of the cognitive bias of loss aversion.
                      This is the sort of advanced-level reasoning that has become taboo on college campuses these days.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by HikingDO View Post

                        So how is it male dominated when a man is allowed to have 12 weeks paid leave to be with his newborn child, just like a woman? I guess men should not get time with their children like women do, and just be happy to pay out perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars to a woman partner for 12 weeks in exchange for some positive vibes, huh? My wife is also a physician, and wouldn’t have expected for a second to be paid for 12 weeks to take time off after our children were born, and neither would I. Having children was our choice, not their’s, so exchanging “positive vibes” for 12 weeks of pay and paid expenses never seemed fair, but to each their own.
                        I can't tell if this is a deliberate misreading of what I wrote. I said PP is male-dominated, as the majority of PP places are run by men. The exception would be OBGYN and Peds, but in the total world of PP, it's male-dominated owners. Nowhere did I say men shouldn't get the time off like women do. Men should get the time, just as women do. Interesting too that you have a dismissive attitude of the time parents have with newborns. I suppose the basic position should be that women were put on this earth to have children, and if they choose to work as well, they should pop that baby out and if healthy, back in the office within 24-48 hours. Those 24-48 hours off should also be used as their vacation time. Get back to work and make the owner some money!

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by JBME View Post

                          Nowhere did I say men shouldn't get the time off like women do. Men should get the time, just as women do. Interesting too that you have a dismissive attitude of the time parents have with newborns.
                          I am genuinely curious ( no sarcasm or ulterior motive) on your position for men who either choose to not have children or single men and women who have no plans to have children. What would be your leave policy for them (other than the standard vacation / time off / leave that everyone gets) ?

                          I ask this because for along time I was single and have seen the other side of the con. Whenever a child got sick, the mother would take off from work and expect the male colleague ( which included me) to cover or switch call in the last minute rather than ask her husband to take the time off. Whenever there were holidays ( in the summer or winter time) the working mother/father were given first dibs at vacation time and I was expected to get the scraps. I said yes for a long time till it got old and then started saying no. And they were offended!!.

                          In hindsight I should have been saying no from the very beginning and be considered a unhelpful / rude colleague.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by JBME View Post

                            I can't tell if this is a deliberate misreading of what I wrote. I said PP is male-dominated, as the majority of PP places are run by men. The exception would be OBGYN and Peds, but in the total world of PP, it's male-dominated owners. Nowhere did I say men shouldn't get the time off like women do. Men should get the time, just as women do. Interesting too that you have a dismissive attitude of the time parents have with newborns. I suppose the basic position should be that women were put on this earth to have children, and if they choose to work as well, they should pop that baby out and if healthy, back in the office within 24-48 hours. Those 24-48 hours off should also be used as their vacation time. Get back to work and make the owner some money!
                            And when the woman is an owner?

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                            • #29
                              Aren't offers evaluated as compensation plus benefits? Some benefits are more advantageous to one individual than another. It comes down to equal pay for equal work and should gender result in different benefits? This time it's different is one point of view. Work/life decisions are difficult. As an owner or as an employee. Everyone will pick a benefit and there will be two points of view. Some want cash in the paycheck and some want the benefit.

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                              • #30
                                it's really depends on your world view. WCI has a post somewhere I believe about how leaders eat last as it relates to the military and why. This is the same mentality. It's also about paying it forward. Everyone can use help at some point in their life....if you are an owner who doesn't fundamentally believe that parents of newborns should get paid time off, when the owner's mom or dad dies then he/she probably shouldn't be missing any work to grieve either. What a vicious cycle when humans could have chosen to be more caring but decided money was more important.

                                Speaking as a demographer, we have an ongoing demographic issue on our hand where world populations eventually are going to decline because couples aren't having enough children. This already is true among certain groups in the United States and the majority of the case in almost all European countries. That is a big reason why a lot of those countries have such generous leave policies....they need women to have more children! The United States is going that way too so expect financial incentives from the government, beyond what there already is, just like there are financial incentives to be a business owner or invest in real estate. These policies incentivize behavior but that doesn't mean everyone will take advantage. After all, most people here don't take advantage of the tax advantages of real estate. So what should we do for those who choose not to become real estate professionals? I bet you'd say, "nothing." Same idea here...there are incentives for a reason. You are free to take advantage. If you don't, tough.

                                As someone who had plenty of people around me while I was in my 20s having babies and me having none, I just took on the extra work. Didn't get extra pay. Worked extra hard. I had the time to do that extra work. In some ways it paid off (ultimately higher pay) and in other ways it did not (no actual promotion). No bitterness now in my late 30s and with 3 kids of my own. I guess I did it just hoping someone would do the same for my family. That's why it said it takes a community.

                                I'm not sure how your con is a con. You don't know the family dynamics or why the husband couldn't get the sick child rather than the physician wife. I can tell you in my HH 95% of the time I'm the one getting the sick kid b/c I have more flexibility and my wife won't cancel on patients, and I've never been made to feel bad about leaving to get my sick child by anyone at my work. If anyone feels bad, it's me because now I'm behind on my own projects and with my own deadlines. But I push through.

                                As for when the woman is an owner, this is just like any other situation where some advanced planning can go a long way. You've set your practice up for success by having a trusted partner who can hold the fort while you're out. If you feel that 12 weeks is too long, well what is fair? We can frame this just the same way as the people who say "everyone should pay their fair share" in taxes but hardly ever put the number out there for what is fair.
                                Last edited by JBME; 05-19-2021, 01:37 PM.

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