Parental Leave Policy in Radiology Residency Programs: Current Status

J Am Coll Radiol. 2020 Sep;17(9):1163-1171. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2019.12.032. Epub 2020 Apr 7.


Purpose: To explore the current status and determine the uniformity of parental leave policies among US radiology residency programs.

Methods: An electronic survey was developed and sent to 222 radiology residency program directors (PDs) in June 2019 to assess their policies and attitudes toward parental leave. The survey was administered via the Internet Qualtrics Research Suite (Qualtrics, Provo, Utah) format with four reminders sent over the course of 2 months before closing the data collection.

Results: In all, 74 PDs responded to the survey. Of those, 88% claimed to have a maternal leave policy (88% explicitly written and 77% paid); 80% had a paternal leave policy (88% explicitly written and 75% paid). The average length of maternal and paternal leaves was 7.4 ± 3.9 and 3.7 ± 3.7 weeks, respectively. Parental leaves were allocated at least every other year in over 70% of programs. Approximately 60% of the PDs required residents to make up call rotations for parental leaves. About 92% of responsive programs adjusted angiography and fluoroscopy rotations for trainees throughout the pregnancy or according to the trainee's request. Policies did not generally address issues of breastfeeding and nontraditional parenthood.

Conclusion: The proportion of radiology programs with explicit maternal leave policies remained constant compared with previous surveys during the last two decades. However, there was a dramatic rise in the adoption of paternal leave policies. Overall, there was a lack of national uniformity in radiology residency programs' policies concerning parental leave, leaving open the possibility of national guidance in addressing the issue.

Keywords: Graduate medical education; maternal leave; paternal leave; policy; radiology; residency.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Parental Leave*
  • Parents
  • Policy
  • Pregnancy
  • Radiology* / education
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Utah