Skip Navigation

Section 4: Leave Time

This section outlines general information concerning leave time. Specific questions regarding leave should be directed to the resident's Program Director. Each Program Director is responsible for maintaining accurate records of the amount of leave time his/her residents have used.

4.01 Paid Leave:

Emory University School of Medicine provides three weeks of paid vacation/holiday leave during an annual academic contract period to each resident receiving a stipend in the Graduate Medical Education Program.  More restrictive Board requirements override university permitted leaves. Those registered in the training program without a stipend are NOT eligible for any paid vacation/holiday leave time. A resident's unused vacation/holiday leave during one annual contract period does NOT transfer to the following appointment year. A resident shall not be paid for unused vacation/holiday leave if the resident voluntarily or involuntarily leaves the program during the contract period. Residents MUST follow the policies of their training program in requesting and scheduling vacation/holiday leave. Failure to follow departmental policies may result in the request being rejected. In general, each resident must submit a leave request in writing to his/her Program Director. Program Directors, or their designees, have the final authority to approve or reject leave time requests.

4.02 Paid Sick Leave

The School of Medicine provides paid sick leave to residents who are enrolled in training programs and who receive a stipend. This paid sick leave is intended for residents who are unable to complete their duties for a short period of time due to health-related issues. Most programs have specific times by which residents are required to notify the Program Director or Chief Resident of absence or tardiness prior to reporting to work. It is the responsibility of each resident to know and understand his/her program's notification procedures.

Residents have up to twelve (12) calendar days of paid sick leave during the academic year contract period. More restrictive Board requirements override university permitted leaves. Residents participating in the program on less than a full time schedule have their sick leave determined on a pro rata basis. Unused sick leave does NOT transfer to a resident's appointment for additional training year(s). Residents shall not be compensated for unused sick leave balances upon voluntary or involuntary removal from the program, either during a contract period or at the end of the contract period. It is the responsibility of the resident to follow the policies of their department in using sick leave. The resident will be expected to provide evidence of the need for sick leave as required by his/her Program Director.

4.03 Funeral Leave

Paid funeral leave is provided to residents to attend funeral services for relatives, same-sex domestic partner, or close personal friends. A resident's Program Director may approve up to five (5) days for funeral leave per occurrence. A resident should notify his/her Program Director as soon as possible of the need for funeral leave so that appropriate scheduling may occur. During individual departmental orientation, each resident will be informed of any other departmental requirements in completing the funeral leave request.

4.04 Paid Medical Leave

Paid medical leave is to be used by eligible (i.e., those receiving a stipend) residents who are unable to complete their responsibilities for a prolonged period of time due to serious illness, injury, or pregnancy. This leave is to be used in conjunction with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA sub-section 4.05). When a resident qualifies for FMLA leave, the paid medical leave provisions described in this sub-section are used concurrently with the FMLA leave, so that approved time away from the residency training program is credited against a resident's maximum amount of paid medical leave and FMLA leave. A FMLA qualifying resident must apply for FMLA leave when seeking paid medical leave described in this sub-section.

In the event of pregnancy, a disabling illness or injury, an eligible resident may receive up to six weeks paid medical leave for the purposes of recuperation or convalescence. The resident's personal physician must document the condition necessitating leave. The documentation must include (a) a statement that the resident temporarily cannot perform the responsibilities of the training program, (b) an explanation for the resident's needed leave, and (c) the expected length of time before the resident can resume his/her duties. The six weeks of paid medical leave includes the resident's use of all available paid sick leave, followed by the use of two of the three weeks of the resident's vacation/holiday leave (if needed and available). If a resident needs to exhaust vacation/holiday leave for medical reasons, the resident will be granted one week of vacation time after returning from leave if he/she had one or more weeks of vacation/holiday time when the leave began. If the resident has exhausted his/her vacation/holiday time before beginning medical leave, the resident will not have any vacation/holiday leave available when returning from leave. Before returning from leave, the resident must provide documentation from a treating physician verifying that the resident is medically fit to resume responsibilities in the training program. This documentation must be addressed to the resident's Program Director.

4.05 Family and Medical Leave

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is intended to promote the well-being of residents and their families by allowing eligible residents an unpaid leave of absence for the birth of a child, to care for a new child, seriously ill family member, or for their own recuperation or convalescence.

Residents are eligible for (FMLA) leave if they have been in the residency training program for at least twelve (12) months and have worked in the program at least 1,250 hours during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the leave.

Subject to the requirements set forth below, eligible residents may request and receive up to twelve (12) workweeks of leave during a 12-month period (measured backward from the date on which the leave begins) for any of the following reasons:

General Provisions

An eligible resident is entitled to up to twelve (12) work weeks of leave during a 12-month period for a qualifying reason. If a resident's spouse is also a resident or employee at Emory, the resident and spouse are limited to a combined total of twelve (12) workweeks of FMLA leave during the period if the reason for the leave is the birth and care of a newborn child, the foster care placement or adoption of a child, or the care of a parent or child with a serious health condition. However, for the purpose listed above, if one of the spouses has a serious health condition, each is entitled to twelve (12) workweeks of FMLA leave.

FMLA leave for the birth/care of a newborn child or for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care must be taken and conclude within twelve (12) months of the birth or placement. Unless specifically permitted, FMLA leave for these purposes cannot be taken on an intermittent basis or reduced leave schedule.

Payment Provisions and Use of Paid Leave

Residents who are granted FMLA leave must use any accrued paid leave beginning with the effective date of the leave. Specifically, in conjunction with the Paid Medical Leave described above, the first six weeks of FMLA leave may run concurrently with any available paid leave. As detailed in the Paid Medical Leave sub-section, the six weeks of paid leave include all accrued, available sick leave and two of the three weeks of vacation/holiday leave, if available. Upon exhaustion of any applicable paid leave, the remainder of any FMLA leave during the academic year will be unpaid. The combination of paid and unpaid leave may not exceed twelve (12) workweeks in the 12-month period.

Required Documentation from the Resident

A resident who foresees that he/she will need a leave for the birth and care of a newborn child or for the foster care placement or adoption of a child must notify his/her Program Director in writing and provide a completed healthcare provider's statement not less than thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the start of the leave, or generally within two (2) working days of learning of the need for leave. If not foreseeable, the resident must provide as much written notice as is practicable under the circumstances. A certification from a healthcare provider is required for leave requests related to the birth and care of a newborn child. Appropriate supporting court documents are required for leave requests related to the foster care placement or adoption of a child.

A resident who foresees that he/she will need a leave due to his/her planned medical treatment or to care for his/her spouse, same-sex domestic partner, child or parent with a serious health condition must notify his/her Program Director in writing as early as possible so that the absence can be scheduled at a time least disruptive to the training program. Such notice should be at least thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the start of leave, unless impracticable, in which case the resident must provide written notice, as early as circumstances permit, generally within two (2) working days of learning of the need for leave. A completed certification of the necessity of the leave from a health care provider is required. Preliminary designation of FMLA leave may be made pending receipt of this certification.

Subject to the limitation and certifications allowed by the FMLA, leaves taken to care for a spouse, same-sex domestic partner, child, parent or for the resident's own illness, may be taken on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule when medically necessary, provided a health care provider certifies the expected duration and schedule of such leave. The resident may be required to transfer temporarily to an available alternative position for which the resident is qualified but has equivalent pay and benefits and better accommodates recurring periods of leave than the resident's regular position.

A resident must inform his/her Program Director every thirty (30) days regarding his/her status and intent to return to the training program upon conclusion of the leave. A resident is required to submit to his/her Program Director a Return-to-work Certification from a health care provider before returning to the training program. Where there is reason to doubt the validity of the health care provider's statement of certification for leaves taken to care for a spouse, same-sex domestic partner, child, parent, or for the resident's illness, Emory may, at its own expense, require second and third opinions, as specified by the FMLA to resolve the issue.


A resident on FMLA leave may elect to continue participation in his/her health, dental, and Beneflex and other benefit plans for the duration of the FMLA leave. In that circumstance, the resident will be responsible for paying his/her share of the benefits contributions as if he/she was actively performing in the training program, and Emory will continue to provide the benefits and pay the portion of premiums it provides for the resident when actively participating in the program. Emory will continue to provide its premium contributions and benefits throughout the FMLA leave, whether such leave is paid or unpaid.

While on paid leave, the resident's contributions (if any) will be deducted from his/her stipend check. While on an unpaid leave, the resident will be responsible for submitting his/her premium contributions on or before the date specified by the Human Resources Department. If a resident does not pay the required premium contributions, coverage will be canceled. However, the resident will be given fifteen (15) days notice before coverage is canceled. When a resident returns from FMLA leave, Emory may elect to recover the resident's share of contributions paid by Emory for maintaining coverage(s) for the resident while on FMLA leave.

Residents who elect not to continue benefits' participation while on FMLA leave, must notify Human Resources to cancel the coverage. If the resident returns to the program work in an eligible status, the resident has thirty-one (31) days from that date to reinstate coverage.

4.06 Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence

A leave of absence without compensation is intended for those residents who need an extended period of time away from their training program but have no vacation/holiday leave balance and do not qualify for or have expended their sick leave, Paid Medical Leave, and FMLA leave balances. An unpaid personal leave of absence may be requested and granted for compelling personal reasons. Requests for this leave must be submitted, in writing, to the resident's Program Director for his/her consideration. The duration of the unpaid personal leave of absence is limited to the time approved by the Program Director, but in no event longer than 120 days.

During an unpaid personal leave of absence, health care coverage, dental, and life insurance shall be continued ONLY if full payment for this coverage is made by the resident each month while on leave. It is the sole responsibility of the resident to assure that premium payments are made on a timely basis. Coverage arrangements must be made with the Benefits Department of Emory University's Human Resources Division, which may be reached at 404.727.7613.

4.07 Leave for Jury/Witness Duty

Jury/Witness duty leave is provided to residents who are subpoenaed to serve on a jury or as a witness in a litigation proceeding. Each resident must notify his/her Program Director of jury/witness duty by submitting a copy of the subpoena. Jury/witness fees received by the resident for jury/witness duty may be retained by the resident. Time served on jury/witness duty will not count against the resident's vacation/holiday time.

4.08 Leave for Military Duty

Residents will be granted an unpaid military leave of absence to serve or train in the Armed Forces, the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, or the commissioned corps of the Public Health Services, as required by the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and state law. Residents may elect to use available paid leave to receive compensation during their military leave until such pay entitlement expires. The resident may be entitled to continue health insurance coverage for a period of time. Residents MUST notify their Program Director as soon as is practicable when military leave will be required, and must provide their Program Director with appropriate documentation of their military service.

4.09 Effect of Leave of Absence on Board Eligibility

To meet the training requirements of various certifying Boards, residents may be required to spend additional time in training to make up training time lost while on a prolonged leave of absence. The residents' Program Director determines if and how much additional residency training time is required in each prolonged leave of absence circumstance.

Boards vary in their requirements regarding board eligibility and certification. Residents are strongly advised to access the specific relevant information from their certifying boards which can be found at the following website:

4.10 Reinstatement after Leave

A resident who obtains a Family Leave of Absence or Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence will be reinstated to the same or equivalent position within the same academic year, except where there has been a reduction in the number of positions during the leave period due to lack of funding, a reduction of, or reorganization in, the clinical service. Reinstatement in the following academic year will require a new letter of appointment.