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Supreme Court Rules Residents Should Be Considered Employees

AMSA applauds high court decision

The American Medical Student Association applauds the Supreme Court for this week's unanimous ruling that medical residents should be considered employees when it comes to collecting Social Security taxes.

AMSA, along with the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare, filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court back in October. As the nation's largest, independent medical student organization, AMSA advocated against taking away resident's benefits, such as social security disability and survivor benefits, the Family Medical Leave Act, access to employer health insurance plans, workers compensation protection against injury on the job, and the right to collectively bargain with the administration over salary, benefits and the conditions of employment.

"It is important to define the role of resident physicians," says John Brockman, AMSA National President. "Resident physicians are underpaid for all the hours they work and the - often irreplaceable - services they provide. Residents are now entitled to all of the benefits and protections afforded to employees throughout the nation."

More than 100,000 resident physicians - doctors who have graduated medical school and received their M.D. or D.O. degree -- are working in teaching hospitals across the country as they acquire the on-the-job training required for certification in their medical specialty. Resident physicians are known for their extremely long work hours (including 80 hour work weeks and on-call shifts of 24-30 consecutive hours) and for the round-the-clock services they provide to patients.

In Mayo Foundation v. United States of America, the Mayo Clinic disputed the IRS rule, claiming that all hospital employers and resident physicians should be exempt from paying into the Social Security and Medicare systems.

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