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Office of Graduate Medical Education



Specific details of leave benefits vary according to pay source, but are considered in establishing compensation comparability. However, at minimum, residents are afforded 20 working days of annual vacation time and up to 15 days of sick leave per year.


A leave of absence, which is defined as an excused absence without pay, is a privilege that may be granted to SUNY-DOWNSTATE residents at the discretion of the program director.

Reasons for a Leave of Absence: A leave of absence may be granted for personal reasons such as dependent or elder care, or community service. Dependent care is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act, in the case of serious health conditions.

Length of Leave: A leave of absence may be granted for not more than 12 months. A specific date of return to duty must be established. Leaves granted for less than 12 months may be extended, if requested prior to expiration, for up to a total absence of 12 months.

Return from Leave: A resident granted leave is assured of their position at the conclusion of the leave. The resident must keep the program appraised of his/her plans periodically, and in a timely fashion so as not to interfere with the scheduling of rotation assignments.

When a date of return is known, the resident must notify the Program Director to confirm arrangements for return to active status. Required length of notice may vary widely by program and it is the responsibility of the resident to provide notice in accordance with individual program requirements. A minimum notice of one month is desirable and is requested if feasible. A resident's failure to return from a leave will result in termination of employment.

It is up to the individual programs to determine if any portion of an extended leave of absence must be made up, either in accordance with the RRC or ABMS specialty board requirements of that discipline or at the program director's discretion. The availability of a salaried position to make up time taken during leave is not guaranteed.

Leave Application: The resident will present to the Program Director in writing a formal request for a leave of absence no less than thirty (30) days prior to the beginning date of the leave. In the case of an emergency, this time period may be waived. This request will include reason for leave, dates of leave, and expected return date. The Program Director, acting for the Department/training program, will decide and notify the resident in writing as to whether or not the request has been approved and if approved any potential impact of the leave on resident fulfillment of training requests.


Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) a resident may be entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for any of the following reasons: to care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care; to care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his/her job. Requests for FMLA must be processed through the residents’ pay source

The program director will consider the applicable ACGME and RRC Requirements in determining whether such leave may be granted. It is possible that additional training after such leave may be needed for board certification requirements. However, no assurances can be given that the resident will be entitled to compensation during this additional period.

Revisions approved by GMEC 6/16/10