RACS congratulates the NSW Government for its recent decision to formally recognise the parental leave entitlements for surgical Trainees returning to NSW, after completing a rotation of their training elsewhere in Australia or New Zealand.
RACS has been a long-term advocate on this issue. Many of the smaller surgical specialties require interstate and even trans-Tasman moves for broad exposure during surgical training. At present, New Zealand and each state and territory have separate policies determining eligibility for paid parental leave, mostly requiring 12 months’ continuous service in that jurisdiction. This means that if these Trainees have to move interstate while pregnant, the Trainee is no longer eligible for paid parental leave. This issue is one of many factors identified about surgical training that discourages women choosing surgery as a career.
The NSW decision is a good sign of progress being made on this issue, and RACS will continue to advocate for formal leave recognition arrangements across Australia and New Zealand.