Residency

Addressing leaves of absence in resident contracts

Residency Program Insider, December 30, 2008

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Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from The Graduate Medical Education Committee Handbook.

Among several other terms and conditions of employment, the resident contract must cover leaves of absence. The contract should set for the terms for leave time, such as:

  • Vacation
  • Sick
  • Meetings, such as those hosted by national or specialty associations
  • Bereavement
  • Civil, family, and military leave


Of all of those categories, residents care most about the time available for vacation, sick, and meeting leave. The document should clearly outline the amount of time granted for all of those instances.

Additionally, the contract should describe what happens if a resident—by choice or otherwise—takes more time away from the training program than allowed by the specialty board requirements or program requirements. This time away will undoubtedly have an impact on the resident’s completion of the education program. In fact, the institution must also have a written policy regarding the impact of this leave and how it affects future board certification.

During resident orientation, it is a good idea to explain these policies to new residents and discuss how taking time away from the program can affect board eligibility. If the residents have any additional questions, instruct them to check directly with their specialty boards.



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