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Know Your Employment Contract When Taking Time Off

Leave of absence, time away from training when ill; what it means for you.

Taking a leave of absence (LOA) can either be paid or unpaid, depending on the circumstance. The Collective Bargaining Agreement's Article on Paid Leave outlines the different benefits. A house officer taking a maternity leave is entitled to 6 weeks of paid time off. The vacation benefit for all house officers is 4 weeks of paid time off. As separately negotiated benefits, substituting maternity leave for vacation time to satisfy your accrediting board's requirements would mean giving up paid time off.

Typically, time-based accrediting boards have some language where by your program director can attest to your competency if the deficit is less than one month, or assign required research time to coincide with your maternity leave. The maximum amount of time away from training for any combination of child care leave (paid and unpaid) is 5 months.

Paid time off for illness is also available. House Officers who are ill - contagious, dehydrated, vomiting, diarrhea - are encouraged not to report for duty. However, excessive absenteeism may result in a corrective action.  It is considered serious when a house officer is unable to work for more than one week due to a single incident or disabling illness or injury. The criteria established under the Family Medical Leave Act will be used to define Serious Illness. No other definition will be applied when making a determination for paid time off under Section A of the contract.