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.
In extenuating and unforeseen circumstances or if granted legislative leave by their employer, participants may apply for leave from the Practice Experience Program. Participants may also apply for an extension to the maximum allowable timeframes 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 of leave or extension being 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 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;
- Parental leave as permitted under the National Employment Standards;
- 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 parental, sick and carers leave granted pursuant to the participant’s workplace entitlements under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
- 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.
5.1 Total periods of leave and extension
- The maximum aggregate leave duration participants may be granted is 12 calendar months;
- Participants may not be on leave from the PEP for 12 consecutive months; and
- The maximum program extension (in addition to total aggregate leave time) that may be granted is six calendar months, as per clause 5.5.
5.2 Legislative leave and leave for extenuating and unforeseen circumstances
- Participants who are granted legislative leave by their employer or experience extenuating and unforeseen circumstances may apply for leave from the PEP. The leave application process is detailed in RACGP’s A Guide to Applying for Leave and Extension from the Practice Experience Program.
- Applications for leave may be made at any time during participation in the PEP.
- Subject to clause 5.1, participants may apply for leave for durations of between one and 12 calendar months from the PEP. Leave will not be granted for periods of less than one calendar month, nor where the total aggregate leave duration exceeds the clause 5.1 maximums.
- Leave granted for extenuating and unforeseen circumstances is not counted as part of the maximum timeframe during which the participant must complete the pathway requirements.
5.3 Leave outcomes
- Any leave approval is at the RACGP’s discretion.
- Any program components undertaken during periods of approved leave will not count towards program requirements.
- Participants may only apply to extend their period of leave prior to the end of the approved leave.
- Participants who are unable to resume participation in the PEP, or unable to satisfy the program employment requirements, at the end of their approved leave will be withdrawn from the PEP.
5.4 Returning from leave
- Participants may apply for early return from approved leave if:
- they return from legislative leave earlier than planned; or
- the extenuating and unforeseen circumstances resolve.
- Any early return from approved leave is at the RACGP’s discretion.
5.5 Program extensions
- On application, participants may be granted one extension of six calendar months to complete the PEP. The decision to grant an extension is the RACGP’s discretion.
- The extension application process is detailed in RACGP’s A Guide to Applying for Leave and Extension from the Practice Experience Program.
5.6 RACGP membership
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.
All policies and guidance documents related to the Practice Experience Program are available at the policy page.
7.1 Access to published policy
This policy will be available via the RACGP website as detailed in clause 6.
7.2 Promulgation of published policy
Relevant staff members will be provided communications explaining the function and role of this policy.
7.3 Review of this policy
This policy will have a review cycle of one year.