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Leave Policy


Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the leave entitlements available to Registrars.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to:

    1. all Registrars enrolled in the:

      1. Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program, and

      2. Fellowship Support Program (FSP), and

    2. RACGP Staff.

2.2 This policy is to be read in conjunction with the relevant Registrar handbooks and Staff training manuals.

2.3 This policy replaces the previous AGPT Program Leave Policy and related regional training organisation policies and will come into effect on the first day of the first term of the Training Program in 2023. For the avoidance of doubt, to the extent that there is any inconsistency between the previous policies and this policy, the terms of this policy apply.

3. General principles

3.1 The RACGP recognises circumstances may arise that require the Registrar to take leave from their Training Program.

3.2 Education and training continuity is important for Registrars. Therefore, leave must not compromise the Registrar’s progression through training or their Education and Training Requirements.

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

3.4 Leave allowances granted by the RACGP relate to leave from the Training Programs only. Annual/recreational leave and personal leave as agreed between the Training Site and the Registrar in their work contract are not covered in this policy.

4. Requests for leave

4.1 Registrars can request leave from their Training Program under the following categories:

    1. Leave from the program,

    2. Additional leave from the program,

    3. Australian Defence Force (ADF) leave,

    4. Deferral of Commencement of Training, and

    5. Special emergency leave.

4.2 The RACGP grants leave on a full-time basis regardless of the Full-Time Equivalence (FTE) status of the Registrar. 

4.3 Generally, the RACGP will approve leave in periods of up to 26 calendar weeks.

4.4 If the RACGP approves a period of leave of 52 calendar weeks or more, the RACGP will develop a return-to-work plan with the Registrar.

4.5 The RACGP has the discretion to withdraw the Registrar from their Training Program as per the Withdrawal Policy should the period of leave extend beyond a reasonable timeframe for that category of leave.

4.6 Registrars who are training towards Dual Fellowship are not entitled to additional leave beyond the allowances specified in this policy.

5. Categories of leave

5.1 Category 1 – Leave from the Training Program

    1. This leave is available to all Registrars 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 certificates,

      3. carer’s leave with valid certificates, and

      4. Training Program administrative constraints.

    2. The Registrar may commence their Training Program on Category 1 leave.

    3. Category 1 leave does not contribute towards the Registrar’s Program Time and will not be counted in the Registrar’s Program Time cap as per the Training Program Requirements Policy.

5.2 Category 2 – Additional leave from the Training Program

    1. This leave is available to all Registrars and includes leave:

      1. for personal reasons,

      2. granted when the RACGP is unable to match the Registrar to an appropriate Training Site and all alternative options have been exhausted, including transfers between Training Regions, or

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

    2. Category 2 leave can only be accessed after the Commencement of Training.

    3. Category 2 leave can only be granted for 26 calendar weeks at a time, up to a maximum of 52 calendar weeks.

      1. For AGPT, following an initial 26 calendar weeks of Category 2 leave, the Registrar can submit a request for an additional period of up to 26 calendar weeks for consideration.

        1. Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Registrars are not automatically entitled to this additional 26 calendar weeks of leave.

      2. For FSP, following an initial 26 calendar weeks of Category 2 leave, in Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances, the Registrar can submit a request for an additional period of up to 26 calendar weeks for consideration.

        1. Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Registrars are not automatically entitled to this additional 26 calendar weeks of leave

    4. The Registrar cannot commence their Training Program on Category 2 leave.

    5. Category 2 leave contributes to the Registrar’s Program Time and will be counted in the Registrar’s Program Time cap as per the Training Program Requirements Policy.

      1. Registrars training towards a Rural Generalist Fellowship have access to an additional 52 calendar weeks, which may be a combination of Category 2 leave and extensions for training and assessment purposes as per the Extensions of Program Time Policy.

5.3 Category 3 – Australian Defence Force (ADF) service leave

    1. This leave is available to Registrars who are also training with the ADF and are required to:

      1. take leave from their Training Program to meet ADF service requirements, and

      2. defer their Commencement of Training to meet ADF service requirements.

    2. When applying for ADF service leave, ADF Registrars must attach a copy of their posting orders (or equivalent documentation) in support of their application.

    3. ADF Registrars are able to commence the AGPT program on Category 3 leave.

    4. ADF service leave will not contribute towards the Registrar’s Program Time and will not be counted in the Registrar’s Program Time cap as per the Training Program Requirements Policy.

5.4 Category 4 – Deferral of Commencement of Training

    1. Deferral of Commencement of Training will only be considered:

      1. in Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances,

      2. if the RACGP is unable to match the Registrar to an appropriate Training Site, or

      3. if a Medicare provider number is not issued in time for Commencement of Training.

    2. The Registrar may apply to defer their Commencement of Training as follows:

      1. For an initial period of up to 26 calendar weeks, and

      2. In Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances, the Registrar may submit a request for an additional period of up to 26 calendar weeks.

        1. Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Registrars are not automatically entitled to this additional 26 calendar weeks of deferral.

      3. Registrars deferring their Commencement of Training for the purposes of Category 1 Leave can apply for longer than 26 calendar weeks initially, provided the requested period of deferral reflects the state and territory leave entitlements relevant to the Training Region in which the Registrar is enrolled.

    3. If, after deferring their Commencement of Training for a maximum of 52 calendar weeks, the Registrar is still unable to commence their Training Program, the RACGP may withdraw them as per the Withdrawal Policy.

    4. Category 4 leave will not count towards the Registrar’s Category 2 leave allowance or their Program Time cap as per the Training Program Requirements Policy. As such, the Program Time cap will commence once the Registrar begins training on their Training Program.

5.5 Category 5 leave – Special emergency leave

    1. The RACGP has the discretion to activate Category 5 leave in response to Emergency Situations.

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

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

    4. Category 5 leave will not contribute towards the Registrar’s Program Time and will not be counted in the Registrar’s Program Time cap as per the Training Program Requirements Policy.

6. 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.

7. Responsibilities

7.1 Censor-in-Chief

  1. Approving Minor Amendments
  2. Approving Moderate Amendments
  3. Approving Consequential Amendments

7.2 RACGP

  1. Assessing and approving requests for leave, where appropriate
  2. Enacting Category 5 leave
  3. Notifying the Registrar of the outcome of the leave application within a reasonable time period for the category of leave.

7.3 RACGP Board

  1. Approving Major Amendments

7.4 Registrars

  1. Applying for all categories of leave within a reasonable time period for the category of leave.


8. Glossary

8.1 Commencement of Training

The first day on which the Registrar begins their RACGP-Approved Program.

8.2 Consequential Amendment           

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

8.3 Dual Fellowship

Fellowship with both the RACGP and the Australian College of Rural and Remote
Medicine (ACRRM).

8.4 Education and Training Requirements

The mandatory components of the Registrars RACGP-Approved Program as defined in the relevant Registrar handbook.

8.5 Emergency Situations

A situation the RACGP determines impacts a certain cohort of Registrar that requires additional allowances beyond the usual scope of policy. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. pandemics, and
  2. extreme weather events.

8.6 Extenuating and Unforeseen Circumstances

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

8.7 Fellowship

Admittance to either:

  1. Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP), or
  2. FRACGP and Rural Generalist Fellowship (FRACGP-RG).

8.8 Full-Time Equivalence

The RACGP determines FTE to mean 38 hours per week and includes all practice time, education, and Training Program activities – the composition of which will vary depending upon the Registrar’s stage of training.

8.9 General Practice College

Either the:

  1. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), or
  2. Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).

8.10 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).

8.11 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. 

8.12 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).

8.13 Program Time

The length of time required to complete an RACGP-Approved Program.

8.14 RACGP-Approved Program

An education or Training Program approved by the RACGP as a suitable avenue to Fellowship, including the:

  1. Australian General Practice Training Program,
  2. Remote Vocational Training Scheme,
  3. Fellowship Support Program,
  4. Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream
  5. Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Partially Comparable

Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Substantially Comparable specified programs listed in Division 6 of the Health Insurance Regulations 2018 (Cwlth).

8.15 RACGP Staff

Anyone who is an employee or contractor of the RACGP.

8.16 Registrar

The medical practitioner enrolled in the:

  1. Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program, 
  2. Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS), or
  3. Fellowship Support Program (FSP).

8.17 Significant Family Relations

Anyone with whom the Registrar has close familial relations. This may include, but is not limited to, a parent, sibling, spouse/partner/de facto/fiancé(e), child, grandparent and community member.

8.18 Training Program

Either the:

  1. Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program, or
  2. Fellowship Support Program (FSP).

8.19 Training Region

An area in which the RACGP delivers general practice training as defined by the relevant Training Program.

8.20 Training Site

A health service accredited by the RACGP where the Registrar may undertake their general practice training. For AGPT Registrars, this excludes the mandatory hospital training time.


9. Related documents, legislation and policies

10. 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

3

16/02/2024

Education Policy and Guidance Lead
Amendment details
  • Clause 4.6 reworded for clarity
  • Clause 5.2.iii updated to clarify rules applying to AGPT and FSP registrars
  • Reponsibilities of the Censor In Chief updated for accuracy
  • Definition of Dual Fellowship added to Glossary

2

02/05/2023

Education Policy and Guidance Lead

Amendment details

  • Update to policy title in 5.2.vi.a – Extensions of Program Time Policy

1

The start date of the first term of the Training Program in 2023

Education Policy and Guidance Lead

Amendment details

  • Generally, leave will be granted in up to 26 calendar week periods 
  • The leave allowance accommodated in the AGPT Program COVID-19 Support Policy has been transferred to Category 5 leave – Special emergency leave, to allow for situations where the RACGP may need to provide additional leave to Registrars affected by emergency situations 
  • Registrars can commence their Training Program on Category 1 leave. Category 4 leave is reserved for other circumstances that may defer Commencement of Training 
  • The RACGP may withdraw a Registrar if their period of leave extends beyond reasonable timeframes 

Policy owner:

RACGP Board

Approved by:

RACGP Board

Approved on:

23/06/2022

Next review due:

06/2025

 

 

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