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Annual Leave Policy

Page history last edited by Dolores L. Garcia 5 months, 1 week ago

I. CIR/UNM Leave Policy

  1. Residents are entitled to 3 weeks of vacation (21 days).  The previous required breakdown of 15 weekdays and 6 weekend days no longer applies.
  2. Any vacation request for more than 7 consecutive days off requires program director approval.  Additionally, service, clinic and RRC requirements will be taken into account when those are requested (i.e. for Family Medicine meeting the FM RRC “weeks in clinic” yearly clinic requirement will need to be taken into account). 
  3. Vacation does not carry forward from one academic year to another.

The UNM FM residency has traditionally allowed some vacation to be taken in less than one week increments, and would like to preserve some flexibility while also understanding that having residents take 21 weekdays of vacation is not the intent of the new collectively bargained policy. 

Additional important concepts:

  • Many rotations have the potential need for residents to work on weekend days, and to guarantee that the weekend is off residents need to request those days off.
  • Requesting vacation later in the year will limit what days will be possible for you to take off.
  • Rotations are only required to grant a total amount of vacation days to a resident cohort commensurate with the amount of time residents from the program work on the rotation.  For example, a rotation must grant 21 days vacation per year if they have the equivalent of one full FTE of resident time, or 1 resident rotating through at all times.  An example is that the Santa Rosa rural rotation will only grant an amount of vacation total per year commensurate with the amount of people rotating there that year. (i.e. they won't grant 3 total weeks if they only have rotators 8 of 13 blocks).
  • There are, at times, limitations on when vacation can be taken due to either RRC requirements or rotation staffing needs that supersede vacation requests. 
  • If, through no fault of their own, days of the 21 annual paid vacation are unused, the resident shall be reimbursed for up to seven (7) days of unused annual paid vacation by the department.


The following will be the UNM FM residency policy and procedure, which fits within the guidelines of the negotiated UNM GME policy but offers 4 additional days of vacation if the resident so chooses, and is able to get vacation requests to the residency office in a timely manner.  This policy creates a potential total of 25 days of annual leave, which puts our program in a very favorable position nationally[1].


II. Vacation Request Procedure


  1. All UNM FM residents will be entitled to a minimum of 21 days of vacation, levels PGY1 through PGY3
  2. 2 of the 3 weeks must be taken in 1 week (consecutive 7 day) increments, not more or less.
  3. 1 of the 3 weeks may be broken into 4/3 day increments, or 5/2 day increments (but no other manner).  If a resident chose to do this, it would in effect give them 4 more days than the previous rules, since they could choose weekdays as "days off" and pair them with a weekend they might otherwise have been scheduled for call. 
  4. In order to qualify to break the 3rd week into the 4/3 or 5/2 increments as per above, the resident must have vacation requests finalized by the following dates:
    • PGY1: April 15 prior to starting intern year
    • PGY2/3: May 1st  for the new academic year.  Calls for vacation requests will begin mid-March for current PGY1's and PGY2. 
  1. Since some vacation requests occasionally do not work (i.e. the rotation has given all the FTE's of vacation they are required to allow), we recommend submitting vacation requests 4-6 weeks prior to the final deadline, i.e. as soon as you can after you are first notified by the residency office that vacation requests are being collected.  That will give you the best chance at getting the specific days off you are hoping for.
  2. If a resident fails to meet these deadlines, they will need to take all of their required vacation in 1 week (consecutive 7 day) increments.  If residents do not submit vacation requests, the residency office will work with the resident as possible to help schedule the vacation time.  This may lead to choices that are more limited than if the resident is prompt with requests.


III. Specific Concerns by Year


The PGY1 schedule is significantly more challenging to arrange vacation given the higher amount of inpatient rotations which count on their presence.  As such, the program will work closely with the intern to try to accommodate their requests as much as possible but there are limitations on 2 of the 3 weeks:

  • 1 of the PGY1 weeks of vacation must occur during the 6 week ER block.  The office will work with the intern to choose the preferred week during that block.
  • The residency office will try to arrange the master PGY1 schedule templates to accommodate vacation requests prior to the start of intern year. 
  • PGY1's rotate on many off service rotations who still have the ability to deny rotation requests depending on their own safe coverage needs (see problematic rotations list).
  • Some off-service rotations (such as pediatrics) require vacation be taken in 1 week/consecutive 7 day blocks.  An exception is the Christmas and New Year holiday rotations: residents will only be allowed to take 5 days of leave during that time, as is also the case for pediatrics residents.
  • No vacation is allowed during block 10 on pediatric wards.  This is due to patient volume increases associated with RSV season.


  • 1 week of vacation will be the first week of PGY2.  While we recognize that this limits flexibility, we have put in a lot of effort to the Population Health and Scholarly Activity schedule and curriculum, and it would be problematic if some took vacation during the block and others didn't. 


  • PGY3 has fewer restrictions, other than specific rotations that are problematic (see below list)


IV. Problematic Rotations for Vacation

For many years, the resident handbook has stated that "No rotation should be off limits for vacation."  It has also conversely stated "Leave requests may be denied if it places undue burden on the service." 

This has created a challenging potential for conflict, since for many rotations one resident leaving necessitates calling in another for adequate and safe patient care.  As a result, some inpatient services, including ours, do not allow vacation to be taken during rotations that would cause a different resident to have to be called in. 

On the other hand, the residency office can sometimes help choose schedule templates that put upper level residents on rotations where they can choose vacation: provided the vacation requests are received in a timely manner.  Another variable is that coverage for major holidays needs to be equitable.

Below lists the rotations where vacation requests are problematic:

  •  Inpatient Wards: vacation typically not allowed except in unusual circumstances
  • MCH: vacation typically not allowed except in unusual circumstances
  • Night float rotations (including MCH Junior Night Float): typically not allowed except in unusual circumstances
  • ICN3: We no longer allow vacation on ICN, since it by default creates difficult work schedules for the pediatrics resident. Also their program does not allow them to take vacation on this rotation. 
  • Newborn Nursery: no vacation allowed on this important but only 2 week experience.
  • Inpatient Pediatrics: vacation must be in 7 consecutive days, except for the block containing Christmas and New Year holidays no vacation is allowed. No Leave block 9-11
  • NICU: Vacation not allowed on this Santa Fe intern experience.
  • Cardiology: Upper level residents are not able to take vacation on cardiology.  This was the negotiation made by our department with Cardiology so that our residents would not need to work weekends on the rotation and thus would be available for call on our own services.
  •  Geriatrics:  Limit of 5 days total leave which includes Annual Leave/CME/Wellness/Holiday Comp
  • 2 week rotations not on this list: generally vacation is allowed but please be mindful of taking vacation on Sports Medicine, it is a high quality experience desired by many students and residents of other departments. Additionally, the available time is limited.  When our residents take vacation on the rotation it prohibits others from using that time that then is unused.  Also, it’s perceived as a high-value experience and a clinical area of weakness for many of our residents. 
  • Pediatric ER: vacation is not allowed.  The rationale is that if a resident takes vacation they will not obtain the required RRC number of Peds ER patients and there is no time that could be made up due to amount of learners on that rotation.
  • ED3:  No Leave Allowed
  • Pediatric Clinic UNMH -No vacation rotations 9-11.  60 days’ notice required for any type leave.




V. Wellness 1/2 days

  • UNM provides a 1/2 day of paid wellness every 3 months to every resident, for the purpose of attending to personal health and well-being.  Some examples of such activities include medical and dental appointments, physical therapy and counseling.  
  • A quarter’s accrual may be saved up to an additional quarter, to use in conjunction with the next quarter’s accrual for a total of 1 full day every 6 months.  The idea is that this is additional time during the week for residents to get things done, especially beneficial for residencies that don’t allow for vacation to be taken in increments less than 7 days.
  • We treat wellness half days like vacation, with limitations about when they can be taken being the same as in section IV.  We ask for 90 days lead time to cancel clinic, 30 days for other rotation experiences. If an appointment needs to be made within 7 days, we ask sick leave be taken.  These days will be tracked by the residency office.


VI. Educational Leave

Our interruption of the Educational Leave Policy is that you can’t take time to study for exams, you can take in person study courses but not on-line courses.  Below is the Houseofficer’s Manual Policy:


“Educational activities including but not limited to presenting papers, taking state and national examinations, or attending educational seminars may be allowed, with pay, with advance approval of a Houseofficer’s Program Director. The annual educational leave allowance shall be five (5) days. At the discretion of the Program Director, Houseofficers shall be permitted to split educational leave time or use it as a whole unit. Educational leave cannot be carried over from one academic year to another. Educational leave should not be used for conducting CIR business.”

  • 90 days notice to cancel clinic, 30 days for other rotation experiences


VII. Holiday Comp Leave

Holiday Comp Time is earned when you work a holiday and are not given time off during the rotation.   Holidays include 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Memorial Day (7 total).  During your FM Wards, MCH, Pediatric Rotations and Emergency Medicine you are given additional time off during that rotation when it happens during the Christmas/NY holiday so you do not earn holiday time off.  The residency office tracks this time off from the duty hours that you log into New Innovations.  If it is not logged in New Innovations, you will not receive credit.  Holiday time carries over from year to year and you must follow the same guidelines as Annual Leave when requesting the time off.


VIII. Conclusion

The vacation policy is always dynamic and a work in progress. We will continue to iron out concerns that arise in a way that is equitable and fair to all, our ultimate goal.


[1] table 31, https://www.aamc.org/download/412558/data/2014stipendsurveyreportfinal.pdf


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