UMRS/ UDRS Employee Vacation and Leaves of Absence Policy

Summary

Description of resident/fellow paid benefit time and medical, parental and caregiver leaves of absence, including qualifying criteria and request/approval process. 

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo Office of Graduation Medical Education (UB GME) provides paid benefit time (e.g., vacation, sick time) and leaves of absence to employees (residents/fellows) of University Medical Resident Services (UMRS) and University Dental Resident Services (UDRS). This policy describes the process for resident/fellow vacation/sick time and leaves of absence, consistent with applicable laws and requirements (e.g., ACGME, ABMS, CODA, NYS, etc.). This policy is published on the UB GME website and is available for review by residents/fellows at all times.

Residents/fellows may require leaves of absence (LOA) throughout the course of training and may qualify for Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), New York State Short-Term Disability Leave of Absence, New York State Paid Family Leave of Absence (PFL), Emergency Medical Crisis Leave of Absence (EMC), Short Term Family Illness or Bereavement Leave of Absence, Parental Leave, and/or Unpaid Leave of Absence, based on the criteria delineated in this policy. Residents/fellows, program directors and administrators must comply with this policy, including timely provision of accurate and complete information as requested by UB GME to facilitate resident/fellow leaves of absence and return to work.

UB GME provides residents/fellows in ACGME-accredited programs with:

  • 20 paid vacation days and 20 paid sick days (8 weeks total) per year of training
  • A minimum of six weeks of approved medical, parental, and caregiver leave(s) of absence for qualifying reasons that are consistent with applicable laws at least once, at any time during an ACGME-accredited program, starting the first day the resident/fellow is required to report;
    • Qualifying Reason(s): Birth/adoption/care for child; physical/psychological care of seriously ill spouse, child, parent; placement of foster child; serious health condition that makes the resident/fellow unable to perform the essential functions of their job.
    • Paid vacation and sick benefit time should provide 100% of salary for most qualifying six-week leaves of absence, plus at least one week of paid vacation in reserve. In rare cases where accrued benefit time does not cover 100% salary for a resident’s/fellow’s first six weeks of qualifying leave plus one week of vacation, the difference in salary will be covered by UMRS.
  • Continuation of health and disability insurance benefits for residents/fellows and their eligible dependents during any approved medical, parental, or caregiver leave(s) of absence.

Vacation, Sick and Holiday Benefit Time

Residents/fellows are provided paid vacation, sick and holiday benefit time.Monetary reimbursement will not be given for unused benefit time under any circumstance. Program directors and administrators are responsible for tracking their residents’/fellows’ accrued/used/unused vacation and sick benefit time.

Residents/fellows in ACGME-accredited programs are provided paid benefit time as follows:

  • Vacation Benefit Time
    • All vacations shall be taken upon reasonable prior notice as approved by the program director.
    • 20 vacation days are provided on the first day of each academic year for use throughout that same academic year.
    • Unused vacation days do not carry over to the next academic year.
  • Sick Benefit Time
    • 20 sick days are provided on the first day of each academic year
    • Accrued, unused sick days carry over from one academic year to the next and accumulate for a maximum of one hundred-twenty (140) days.
  • Holiday Benefit Time
    • Residents/fellows may be provided up to ten (10) paid holidays per academic year in addition to vacation and sick benefit time, to be scheduled at the discretion of the program director.
      • Program directors are encouraged to rotate national holidays (i.e., Christmas and New Year's) among residents/fellows equitably.
    • Holiday time does not accumulate.  

UDRS-employed residents in CODA-accredited programs may be allowed less paid benefit time than shown above, as delineated in individual program policies (per CODA requirements).

Process for submitting and approving requests for leaves of absence

1.      Resident/fellow notifies program director of anticipated leave of absence (including anticipated length of leave) as soon as possible; program approves leave if applicable

2.      Resident submits completed Employee Request for Leave of Absence Form to UB GME through UB GME website to notify UB GME of anticipated leave.

  • Leave requests should be submitted as early as possible
    • At least 30 days in advance for foreseeable leave requests (e.g., extended maternity leave, scheduled surgeries, etc.)
    • As soon as possible under the facts and circumstances when not foreseeable.

3.      Program consults relevant ACGME or CODA program-specific requirements, resident rotations, and certifying board eligibility requirements to determine whether an extension of training is needed. The program director may need to reach out to a representative of the certifying board via email to inquire about a resident’s/fellow’s leave in order to determine whether an extension of training is needed.

  • Employees who utilize leave of absence benefits must satisfy all training guidelines prior to graduation. Certifying Board, ACGME, and/or CODA requirements may necessitate an extension of training. If a leave will result in an extension of training, program directors must notify the employee in writing (e.g., email), with a copy to UB GME, outlining the educational ramifications of the leave (e.g., delay in graduation, repeat of rotation(s), etc.).

4.      Program director or administrator notifies UB GME of the resident’s available accrued sick/vacation time and whether an extension of training is needed.

5.      UB GME contacts resident/fellow to confirm leave eligibility, schedule consultation and provide required documents. UB GME completes portions of documents as appropriate.

  • If resident/fellow chooses not to participate in consultation, confirmation of leave eligibility and required documents are both emailed and mailed to resident/fellow.

6.      Resident/fellow completes and submits required documents to UB GME.

7.      If applicable, UB GME prepares contract amendment for extension of training period

  • All contract extensions must be made in the training year in which the leave was taken.

8.      Resident/fellow provides return to work notice from appropriate physician (depending on type of leave) before returning to training.

  • UB GME provides required form(s)

Types of Leave

The following information is intended to provide key details on the various types of leave for which a resident/fellow may qualify. UB GME ensures compliance with applicable laws and requirements through the consultation process described in the “Process for submitting and approving requests for leaves of absence” section, above. For additional information on relevant laws, see links provided.

Resident/fellow benefits are maintained during qualifying leaves of absence as if the resident/fellow is actively employed (except for unpaid leaves, in which case benefits are terminated according to standard practices). Residents/fellows may be required to use accrued sick and/or vacation benefit time to receive full pay during a qualifying leave. All required documents requested by UB GME must be completed by the resident/fellow in an accurate, complete and timely manner in order to receive leave benefits.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) “entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave” (U.S. Department of Labor).

  • Qualifying Reason(s): Birth/adoption/care for child; physical/psychological care of seriously ill spouse, child, parent; placement of foster child; serious health condition that makes the resident/fellow unable to perform the essential functions of their job.
  • Eligibility: Employed for 12 Months and worked 1,250 hours in the preceding 12 months
    • The Designated Institutional Official (DIO) for GME/designee may grant a waiver for up to twelve (12) weeks of leave per academic year with continuation of health benefits for a resident/fellow who is not yet eligible.
  • Length of leave: Up to 12 weeks in a rolling 12-month period; can be used intermittently
    • Up to 26 weeks to care for spouse, child, parent, next of kin who is a member of the Armed Forces (incl. National Guard or Reserves) undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.
  • UB GME may designate an employee’s leave as FMLA if a resident/fellow qualifies regardless of whether the resident/fellow has requested such leave.

New York State Short-Term Disability Leave of Absence: “New York is one of a handful of states that require employers to provide disability benefits coverage to employees for an off-the-job injury or illness. The Disability and Paid Family Leave Benefits Law provides weekly cash benefits to replace, in part, wages lost due to injuries or illnesses that do not arise out of or in the course of employment” (NYS Workers’ Compensation Board).

  • Eligibility: Employee must be under care of physician, chiropractor, dentist or certified nurse midwife
  • Length of leave: Up to 26 weeks after 7-day waiting period; up to $170 maximum benefit/week
  • Under no circumstance may a resident/fellow start their training on disability leave.

New York State Paid Family Leave (PFL): “Paid Family Leave provides eligible employees job-protected, paid time off to: bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or assist loved ones when a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent is deployed abroad on active military service. Paid Family Leave may also be available in some situations when an employee or their minor, dependent child is under an order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Paid Family Leave also provides: job protection, continued health insurance, and protection from discrimination or retaliation” (NYS Paid Family Leave).

  • Eligibility: Employed 26 consecutive weeks and worked >20 hrs/wk, or employed 175 Days and worked <20 hrs/wk
  • Length of leave: Up to 12 weeks

Employee Emergency Medical Crisis (EMC) Leave of Absence (provided by UB GME): Effective July 1, 2018, residents/fellows in their first year of employment with UMRS/UDRS are eligible for Emergency Medical Crisis (EMC) leave of absence, in the specific instance of their own mental health medical crisis. The new employee must be under the care of a medical provider and unable to work due to the mental health medical condition, including in-patient hospitalization. The EMC leave of absence period will not exceed a maximum of twelve (12) weeks, during which job protection is provided and health insurance benefits are maintained.

  • The EMC leave of absence will be granted at the discretion of the program director after consultation with UB GME.
  • The new employee must maintain routine contact with the program director and the Lead Physician for Employee Health Services or designee; who will update UB GME as appropriate in regards to employment status during the EMC leave of absence.

Short Term Family Illness or Bereavement Leave of Absence (provided by UB GME): Residents/fellows may use up to fifteen (15) days (three (3) weeks) of accumulated sick benefit time per year for illness or death in the immediate family. Immediate family is defined as: spouse, domestic partner, parents, children, siblings, or grandparents.

  • Granted at the discretion of the program director, but authorization should not be unreasonably denied.
  • Rare exceptions to the definition of “immediate family” (above) may be made at the discretion of the program director.

Parental Leave (provided by UB GME): Residents/fellows may use their accrued and unused sick or vacation benefit time for parental leave.

  • Granted at the discretion of the program director, but authorization should not be unreasonably denied.

Unpaid Leave (provided by UB GME): Program directors may, at their discretion, approve a resident’s/fellow’s request for leave without pay. Leave without pay will result in termination of employee benefits according to standard practice for termination of benefits (see Employee Compensation and Benefits Policy). Residents/fellows have the option to continue health benefits under the appropriate COBRA requirements, and solely at the employee’s expense.

Contact Information

Contact UB GME HR with questions or requests for copies of employee rights pertaining to leaves of absence at. UBGMEHR@buffalo.edu

Applicable Laws and Requirments

ACGME Institutional Requirements effective 7/1/2022 (applicable to UMRS employees (e.g. residents/fellows in ACGME-accredited programs)):

Vacation and Leaves of Absence (IV.H. - IV.H.1.g))

  • The Sponsoring Institution must have a policy for vacation and leaves of absence, consistent with applicable laws. This policy must: (Core)
    • provide residents/fellows with a minimum of six weeks of approved medical, parental, and caregiver leave(s) of absence for qualifying reasons that are consistent with applicable laws at least once and at any time during an ACGME-accredited program, starting the day the resident/fellow is required to report; (Core)
    • provide residents/fellows with at least the equivalent of 100 percent of their salary for the first six weeks of the first approved medical, parental, or caregiver leave(s) of absence taken; (Core)
    • provide residents/fellows with a minimum of one week of paid time off reserved for use outside of the first six weeks of the first approved medical, parental, or caregiver leave(s) of absence taken; (Core)
    • ensure the continuation of health and disability insurance benefits for residents/fellows and their eligible dependents during any approved medical, parental, or caregiver leave(s) of absence; (Core)
    • describe the process for submitting and approving requests for leaves of absence; (Core)
    • be available for review by residents/fellows at all times; and, (Core)
    • ensure that each of its ACGME-accredited programs provides its residents/fellows with accurate information regarding the impact of an extended leave of absence upon the criteria for satisfactory completion of the program and upon a resident’s/fellow’s eligibility to participate in examinations by the relevant certifying board(s). (Core)

CODA Standards for Advanced Education in General Dentistry effective 2020 (applicable to UDRS employees (e.g., residents/fellows in CODA-accredited programs)):

Due Process

There must be specific written due process policies and procedures for adjudication of academic and disciplinary complaints that parallel those established by the sponsoring institution.

Intent: Adjudication procedures should include institutional policy that provides due process for all individuals who may be potentially involved when actions are contemplated or initiated that could result in dismissal of a resident. Residents should be provided with written information that affirms their obligations and responsibilities to the institution, the program and the faculty. The program information provided to the residents should include, but not necessarily be limited to, information about tuition, stipend or other compensation, vacation and sick leave, practice privileges and other activity outside the educational program, professional liability coverage, due process policy, and current accreditation status of the program.

New York Paid Sick Leave

U.S. Department of Labor – Family and Medical Leave Act

New York State Workers’ Compensation Board – Workers Disability Benefits

New York State Paid Family Leave

NYS Standard Average Weekly Wage (SAWW)

 

Established:  1994
GMEC Approved Date:  May 17, 2022