SIR issues position statement encouraging paid parental leave

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The Society of Interventional Radiology and its Women in Interventional Radiology section have issued a position statement to support interventional radiologists who choose to become parents. The statement was published in the July issue of SIR’s Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (JVIR). 

“The choice to become a parent should not prevent an interventional radiologist from having a successful career, nor should a successful career in IR preclude parenthood,” said Meridith J Englander, chair of SIR’s Women in Interventional Radiology section.

To support interventional radiologists with families, SIR encourages institutions and practices that employ IRs to craft policies that provide paid parental leave for new parents, and include the maintenance of full benefits and 100 percent of pay, for at least six weeks.

“Paid leave has clear benefits for both the family and the IR practice,” said Englander, an interventional radiologist at Albany Medical Center in New York, USA, and co-author of the position paper. “By allowing new parents time off to care for their children, paid parental leave reduces infant mortality and improves the health of mother and child. At the same time, it boosts worker morale and increases retention and productivity by encouraging the physician to return to work.”

In this new guidance, SIR advises IR practices to:

  • Include parental leave policies in all employment contracts.
  • Exclude from consideration the past or potential use of parental leave when making     decisions about employment, benefits, promotion or tenure.
  • Allow for scheduling flexibility to accommodate prenatal care appointments for the       IR or an IR’s  spouse or partner.
  • Keep parental leave separate from vacation time and sick leave.
  • Not require physicians on parental leave to make up missed call time.

At minimum, adhere to Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allowances for protected unpaid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, even if the practice is exempt from FMLA requirements.

“This statement confirms SIR’s strong support for parental leave policies that foster healthy families and a healthy work-life balance,” said SIR president Suresh Vedantham, professor of Radiology and Surgery at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at the Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis. “Becoming a parent does not make physicians less committed to their professions and parents should not face discrimination as a result.”

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