Parental leave and family building experiences among head and neck surgeons in the United States: Career impact and opportunities for improvement

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Head & neck




burnout; family leave; head and neck surgery; maternity leave; wellness


BACKGROUND: The availability of paid parental leave is an important factor for retention and wellness. The experiences of head and neck surgeons with parental leave have never been reported. METHODS: A survey was electronically distributed to head and neck subspecialty surgeons in the United States. Responses were collected and analyzed. RESULTS: Male surgeons had more children and took significantly less parental leave than women. Thirty percent of respondents reported that parental leave negatively impacted compensation, and 14% reported a delay in promotion due to leave, which impacted women more than men. The vast majority reported they are happy or neutral about covering those on leave. Most respondents utilized paid childcare, and approximately one quarter of respondents spending 11%-20% of their income on childcare. CONCLUSIONS: This study illuminates the current disparities regarding parental leave-taking within the subspecialty of head and neck surgery in the United States. Women surgeons are more likely to be impacted professionally and financially.