1. Practice Experience Program Leave and Extensions Policy
1.1 Policy number: CO-E-0049.0
1.2 Category: Education
1.3 Approval date: September 2018
1.4 Revision due date: September 2019
1.5 Unit responsible: Education Services
The RACGP Practice Experience Program (PEP) has been developed to provide non-vocationally recognised doctors with a route to Fellowship grounded in individualised learning and workplace based assessment.
Participants may apply for leave from the Practice Experience Program. Participants may also apply for extension to complete program requirements.
This policy aims to explain the circumstances under which leave and extensions from the Practice Experience Program will be granted, and the conditions under which leave or extension will be granted.
This policy applies to all participants in the Practice Experience Program.
For the purposes of this policy:
- Approved leave means a period of leave in excess of five weeks per 12-month period approved by the RACGP under this policy.
- Extenuating and unforeseen circumstances mean such circumstances are considered on a case by case basis, but must relate to circumstances which were unforeseen, outside the participant’s control and which can be shown to have a direct and significant impact on the participant’s ability to complete the PEP requirements, including:
- ill-health (other than minor illnesses) with valid certificates;
- carer’s leave with valid certificates;
- acute personal/emotional circumstances;
- illness of an immediate family member;
- Australian Defence Force deployment leave; or
- Other circumstances involving significant changes to a participant’s personal circumstances.
- Full time general practice experience comprises a 38-hour minimum working week, over a minimum of four days per week, of which 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 of less than one month in any one practice, will not be considered. Hours worked beyond this definition of full time will not be considered.
- Legislative leave includes both:
- Parental, sick and carers leave granted pursuant to the participant’s workplace entitlements under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), and any other form of leave as permitted under the National Employment Standards.
- Leave taken which meets the definition above where the participant is a contractor or otherwise not covered by the NES.
- Maximum program timeframe means the timeframe for program completion outlined in the participant’s program agreement (i.e. 6, 12 or 18 months).
- Part time general practice experience is calculated pro-rata against the definition of full time general practice experience. Part time general practice must comprise a 14.5-hour minimum working week, over a minimum of two days per week, of which a minimum of 10.5 hours must be in face-to-face, rostered, patient consultation time undertaking general practice activities. Work periods of less than three consecutive hours, or of less than one month in any one practice, will not be considered.
- Participant means a medical practitioner enrolled in the Practice Experience Program.
- Personal leave means any leave requested for purposes other than those described in Cluses 4.b and 4.d above.
5.1 Participants on the PEP are entitled to apply for leave for personal purposes, for legislative purposes, or in the event of extenuating and unforeseen circumstances.
5.2 Applications for leave may be made at any time during participation in the PEP.
5.3 All leave applications for leave must be made via the Change in Circumstances form, available here.
5.4 Any leave approval is at the RACGP’s discretion.
5.5 Refunds on PEP participation fees are not available for leave taken during an active term.
6. Legislative leave and leave for extenuating and unforeseen circumstances
6.1 For the purposes of legislative leave or leave for extenuating and unforeseen circumstances, participants may apply for leave of equal duration to that permitted by their place of work.
6.2 Leave granted under this clause is not counted as part of the participant's maximum program timeframe.
7.1 Participants are entitled to take personal leave from the program while they are taking personal leave from their clinical positions.
7.2 For the purposes of personal leave, the total maximum leave participants may apply for is 12 months.
7.3 Participants are not required to inform the RACGP where personal leave of less than five weeks is taken cumulatively over any 12-month period.
7.4 Participants must apply to the RACGP if they are requesting leave durations of between five weeks and 12 months. Leave will not be granted where total personal leave exceeds twelve months (see clause 7.2).
7.5 Leave under this clause is counted towards the maximum timeframe during which the participant must complete the program requirements.
8.1 Program components undertaken during periods of approved leave will not count towards program requirements unless specific approval is given.
8.2 Participants may only apply to extend their period of leave prior to the end of the approved leave.
8.3 Participants must not undertake paid work using their PEP provider number while on leave unless prior permission has been sought and given by the RACGP.
8.4 Participants who are unable to resume participation in the PEP, or unable to satisfy the program’s clinical work requirements, at the end of their approved leave must notify the RACGP. Participants will then be withdrawn from the PEP.
9.1 Participants may apply for early return from approved leave if:
- they return from leave earlier than planned; or
- the extenuating and unforseen circumstances resolve.
Any early return from approved leave is at the RACGP's discretion.
9.2 If the length of leave may affect a participant’s ability to reach the standards of competency required to complete the PEP, within prescribed timeframes, the participant may be required to undertake a return to work assessment.
10.1 On application, participants who have taken a period of approved personal leave may be granted one extension of three calendar months to complete the PEP.
10.2 On application, participants who have taken a period of approved legislative leave or leave for extenuating and unforeseen circumstances may be granted extension to complete the PEP.
10.3 The decision to grant an extension is at the RACGP’s discretion.
10.4 Fees may apply for any approved period of extension.
Participants may suspend RACGP membership during approved leave of three months or greater, on provision of appropriate supporting evidence. If a participant chooses to suspend their RACGP membership, access to all RACGP member benefits will also be suspended, including access to PEP learning units and the PEP portal.
12. Related policies, documents and legislation
All policies and guidance documents related to the Practice Experience Program are available at the policy page.
13.1 Access to published policy
This policy will be available via the RACGP website as detailed in clause 6.
13.2 Promulgation of published policy
Relevant staff members will be provided communications explaining the function and role of this policy.
13.3 Review of this policy
This policy will have a review cycle of one year.