I am starting GP training next year. If I become pregnant can I access maternity leave? Is it paid leave, or unpaid leave.

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From a training perspective, you are able to take parental leave as Category 1 Leave from the training program, according to the AGPT Program Leave Policy 2020. This leave will not contribute towards your Training Time and as such it will not be counted within your training time cap.

In terms of employment, maternity leave is dependent on your employment contract. If you are doing a hospital term, you are likely employed in a public hospital under a medical officer award (different awards apply in different states) and generally, you will be entitled to some employer-paid maternity leave under that award.

Once you move into community GP placements you are generally employed as per the National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars (NTCER), which is not an award but is a required minimum standard of employment for AGPT registrars.

Employer-paid maternity leave is NOT mandated by the NTCER and most GP registrars in practice will not have access to paid leave (except for the Government’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme via Centrelink). Theoretically, it is possible to negotiate paid maternity leave as part of your individual employment contract, but GPRA is not aware of any registrars who have successfully won such a clause, or of how any training practice would be in a position to fund such an arrangement.

In summary, if you are in a hospital job you likely will have some paid maternity leave (from the hospital) but if you are in community placements you will likely not have any paid maternity leave from your practice (although you may qualify for the government paid parental leave).