Practice Experience Program Specialist – Leave Policy


Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the leave entitlements available to Participants in the Practice Experience Program Specialist (PEP SP).

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to:

    1. PEP SP Participants, and

    2. RACGP Staff.

2.2 Leave allowances addressed in this policy relate to leave from the Training Program only. Annual/recreational leave and personal leave as agreed between the RACGP-Approved Practice and the Participant in their work contract are not covered in this policy.

2.3 This policy is to be read in conjunction with the PEP SP Participant Handbook - Partially Comparable Stream or the PEP SP Participant Handbook - Substantially Comparable Stream.

2.4 This policy will come into effect as of 01 July 2024.

3. General principles

3.1 The RACGP recognises circumstances may arise that require Participants to take leave from the PEP SP.

3.2 Education and training continuity is important for Participants; therefore, leave must not compromise the Participant’s progression through the Training Program.

3.3 Participants must not use leave allowances for the express purpose of sitting or re-sitting RACGP assessments.

3.4 Participants cannot commence their Training Program while on leave.

3.5 Program components undertaken during periods of leave will not count towards program requirements unless prior approval is granted by RACGP.

3.6 If a Participant’s employment circumstances change during leave, they must provide the RACGP with updated employment information. This may impact their eligibility for a provider number.

3.7 Participants returning from any extended period of leave are responsible to ensure they still fulfill the requirements to practise in Australia, including, but not limited to:

    1. meeting the relevant Medical Board of Australia’s (MBA) Registration Standards, particularly in relation to recency of practice; and

    2. holding a valid visa.

4. Leave requests

4.1 Participants may apply for leave at any time after the Commencement Date of their Training Program.

4.2 All applications for leave must:

    1. be submitted via the RACGP Program Portal using the Change in Circumstances form, and

    2. include the required supporting documentation.

4.3 Approval of any type of leave is at the RACGP’s discretion.

4.4 The RACGP grants leave on a full-time basis regardless of the Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) status of the Participant.

4.5 The RACGP will notify the Participant of its decision to approve or decline the leave request within 10 Business Days of receiving the leave request, and, where applicable, reasons for the request being declined.

4.6 Participants who are unable to resume participation in the Training Program at the end of a period of leave must inform the RACGP in writing within four weeks of the projected leave end date.

4.7 The RACGP may at its discretion withdraw the Participant from the PEP SP, as per the PEP SP Withdrawal Policy, in situations including, but not limited to:

    1. the Participant not returning to the Training Program after a period of leave, or

    2. the period of leave extending beyond a reasonable timeframe for that category of leave.

4.8 Refunds of PEP SP participation fees are not available for leave taken during the Training Program.

5. Leave entitlements

5.1 Standard leave

    1. During their Training Program, Participants are entitled to take three weeks of standard leave comprised of:

      1. 14 calendar days of annual leave, and

      2. seven calendar days of sick or carer’s leave.

    2. Standard leave will not result in extension to the Training Program Time.

    3. Participants are not required to seek approval from, or to notify, the RACGP for standard leave.

5.2 In addition to the standard leave provision, Participants may take leave under the following categories:

    1. Leave from the Training Program (Category 1)

    2. Additional Leave from the Training Program (Category 2)

    3. Special Emergency Leave (Category 5).

5.3 Participants granted leave under Category 1, 2 or 5 will be required to make up missed Supervised Practice time once they return from leave.

5.4 Leave from the Training Program (Category 1)

    1. Leave from the Training Program is available to all Participants and includes, but is not limited to:

      1. maternity and parental leave (with valid birth certificate, foster/adoption papers or permanent care orders),

      2. sick leave (with valid certificate),

      3. carer’s leave (with valid certificate), and

      4. leave due to Training Program administrative constraints.

    2. Participants must apply for Category 1 leave within 10 Business Days of the leave commencing.

    3. Category 1 leave will not be counted towards the Maximum Timeframe.

5.5 Additional leave from the Training Program (Category 2)

    1. Additional leave from the Training Program is available to all Participants and includes, but is not limited to:

      1. leave for personal reasons, and

      2. leave for any other purpose not included under Category 1 leave.

    2. Participants must apply for Category 2 leave within 10 Business Days of the leave commencing.

    3. Category 2 leave will be counted towards the Maximum Timeframe.

    4. In Extenuating and Unforeseen circumstances, Participants may apply for additional leave from the Training Program as per the PEP SP Extenuating and unforeseen circumstances guide.

      1. Where possible, Participants must apply for leave for Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances within one calendar month of the circumstances arising.

        1. The RACGP will not accept leave applications received more than six calendar months after the circumstances have arisen.

      2. The RACGP will consider requests for leave for Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

      3. Leave granted for Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances will not be counted towards the Maximum Timeframe.

5.6 Special emergency leave (Category 5)

    1. The RACGP has the discretion to activate special emergency leave in response to an Emergency Situation.

    2. The RACGP will determine the terms of Category 5 leave in each individual Emergency Situation.

    3. The RACGP will contact the Participant should they be eligible for Category 5 leave at any given time.

    4. Category 5 leave will not be counted towards the Maximum Timeframe.

6. Impact of leave on Provider Number

6.1 The status of a Participant’s provider number during periods of leave depends on the duration of the leave:

    1. Leave of less than six calendar months:

      1.  The Participant’s provider number will remain active, but the Participant must not undertake paid work using their provider number.

      2. The RACGP will audit adherence to clause 6.1.i.a. Failure to adhere will be handled as per the Academic Misconduct Policy.

    2. Leave of more than six calendar months:

      1. The Participant’s provider number will be withdrawn.

7. Amendment of this policy

The Censor-in-Chief (CiC) may, without the consent of the RACGP Board, make Minor, Moderate and Consequential Amendments to this policy at any time.

If the CiC makes amendments, they must advise the RACGP Board of those amendments as soon as practicable.

The RACGP Board may make amendments to this policy at any time.

8. Responsibilities

8.1 Censor-in-Chief

  1. Approving Minor Amendments

  2. Approving Moderate Amendments

  3. Approving Consequential Amendments

8.2 Participant

  1. Applying for leave, including providing all required documentation

  2. Notifying the RACGP of any changes in their employment circumstances during periods of leave

  3. Notifying the RACGP within four weeks of the projected leave end date if they are unable to resume participation in the Program, or unable to satisfy the Program’s clinical work requirements, at the end of their period of leave

8.4 RACGP Board
  1. Approving Major Amendments

8.4 RACGP

  1. Assessing and approving requests for leave

  2. Notifying the participant of the outcome of the leave application

9. Glossary

9.1 Business Day

A day when the RACGP national office is operating.

9.2 Commencement Date

The day the Participant starts work in Australia in an RACGP-Approved Practice.

9.3 Consequential amendment

An amendment that requires urgent implementation as a necessary result of an amendment to another policy or process.

9.4 Emergency Situation

A situation that impacts on Participants, as determined by the RACGP, and that requires additional allowances beyond the usual scope of policy. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. pandemics, and

  2. extreme weather events.

9.5 Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances

Circumstances which are outside the Participant’s control and can reasonably be considered to have been unforeseen, and can be shown to have a direct and significant impact on the Participant. The RACGP considers Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

9.6 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)

A 38-hour working week, over a minimum of four days per week. A minimum of 27 hours must be in face-to-face, rostered, patient consultation time undertaking general practice activities. Work periods of less than three consecutive hours, or less than 4 calendar weeks in any one practice, will not be considered. Hours worked beyond this definition of full time will not be considered.

9.7 Major Amendment

An amendment that materially changes the operation of the policy but is not otherwise a Minor or Moderate Amendment (ie a change to one major clause or policy review).

9.8 Maximum Timeframe

The maximum amount of time a Participant can remain on the PEP SP from the day they start their Training Program to the day they are admitted to Fellowship of the RACGP.

  1. Substantially Comparable stream:
    1. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved practice on a full-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 12 calendar months of starting their training program.
    2. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved practice on a part-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 24 calendar months of starting their training program. Their maximum timeframe will be calculated proportionally to their part-time status.
  2. Partially Comparable stream:
    1. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved Practice on a full-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 24 calendar months of starting their training program.
    2. Participants who are working in their RACGP-approved practice on a part-time basis must be admitted to FRACGP within 48 calendar months of starting their training program. The maximum timeframe will be calculated proportionally to their part-time status.

9.9 Minor Amendment  

An amendment to style, to correct grammatical mistakes, change overall formatting, make updates that do not materially change meaning, or any other amendment, which in the opinion of the Censor-in-Chief, does not materially alter the operation of the policy. 

9.10 Moderate Amendment

An amendment that materially changes the operation of a policy by a limited amount (ie a change to one minor clause, or changes that have a limited impact on the outcome of the policy).

9.11 Participant

A Specialist International Medical Graduate who has been accepted into the PEP SP.

9.12 Practice Experience Program Specialist (PEP SP)

The route to Fellowship available to Specialist International Medical Graduates who have been assessed as Substantially Comparable or Partially Comparable to an Australian-trained specialist general practitioner at the point of admission to Fellowship.

9.13 RACGP-Approved Practice

A practice approved by the RACGP for the placement of PEP SP Participants. The practice must:

  i.        be accredited against the RACGP Standards for general practices,

 ii.        meet the requirements of Comprehensive Australian general practice, and

meet the location requirements as per the Department of Health and Aged Care's General Practice Fellowship Program Placement Guidelines.

9.14 RACGP Staff

Anyone who is an employee or contractor of the RACGP.

9.15 Supervision / Supervised Practice

Supervision in line with the principles of supervision and supervised practice, based upon the prescribed MBA's Supervised Practice of International medical graduates guidelines.

9.16 Training Program

The six-calendar-month period that starts from the day the Participant commences work in Australia in an RACGP-Approved Practice. Participants must complete the program requirements within this six-calendar-month timeframe. 

10. Related Documents, Legislation and Policies

11. Policy Review and Currency

This policy will be reviewed every three calendar years from the last approval date, or when there is a significant change in the intent of the policy. This policy remains valid and applicable notwithstanding if it is overdue for review.

 

Version

Date of effect

Amended by

1

01/07/2024

Education Policy and Guidance Lead

Amendment details

  • Development of policy based on previous Practice Experience Program Specialist Stream Policies.

     

Policy owner:

RACGP Board

Approved by:

RACGP Board

Approved on:

15/09/2023

Next Review Due:

09/2026

   

Enquiries

 1800 626 901

 racgpeducation@racgp.org.au

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