The University of Pennsylvania has specific maternity and parental leave policies with regard to fellowships. See https://almanac.upenn.edu/articles/family-friendly-policies-for-phd-stud... for details.
In addition to Penn’s formal policy vis-à-vis funding, our clinical program also has a policy in place with regards to clinical training, which is typically an unfunded obligation. We abide by the PENDELDOT Suggested Parental Leave Policy for practicum training. This policy is in place for all in-house practica in our department, and we support use of this policy at all external practica, as applicable.
PENDELDOT strongly encourages practicum sites to have a policy in place to support trainees who give birth, are supporting a partner who has given birth, or who adopt a child during their practicum training year. Our recommended policy is as follows.
- Trainees who welcome a new child into their family (via birth or adoption), should be offered three months of parental leave, during which they will have no responsibilities for administrative work or patient care and their practicum training slot will be held for them.
- Trainees who are supporting a partner who is the primary caregiver of a new child should be offered two weeks of parental leave, during which they will have no responsibilities for administrative work or patient care and their practicum training slot will be held for them.
- In family systems in which both partners are providing equal care (i.e. there is no “primary” caregiver) trainees should feel free to identify themselves as a primary care giver for the purposes of parental leave.
In most cases, the training period will simply be reduced by the amount of time taken as leave. Sites may offer various options for extending training, including allowing extra days to accrue hours or extending the practicum beyond the usual end date. These should not be requirements, however, because many trainees will not have the flexibility to add extra clinic days or extend the training period given other commitments and obligations. Similarly, many sites may not be able to accommodate extending training beyond the typical timeframe.
Since asking about parental leave is fraught for trainees, and many will worry that it will prejudice the site against them, sites should explain their parental leave policies during the interview phase to all applicants without waiting to be asked.
Sites may specify how much notice they would like the trainee to give them, if possible, prior to the start of parental leave time.