Residency Program Leave Policy | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Leave and Coverage Rules


Paid Time Off (PTO)

PGY 1-3:  30 days of paid time off (PTO) is allowed by the program each year. In general, PTO can be used for vacation, sickness, wellness or approved terminal leave. PTO is not allowed on core rotations. No more than 14 calendar days can be used during any single elective/selective rotation. Leave time does not carry over from year to year. If additional time is needed, the resident is encouraged to seek guidance from program leadership.

Sick leave –
These days are deducted from your PTO balance. Residents must notify Chief Residents, Program Administrator, service Attending and any other team members with whom they are working at the earliest possible time. If the resident is ill for more than three (3) days, he/she could be requested to provide a doctor’s certificate or other written statement which is acceptable to the Program Director.
Funeral leave –
A resident may be granted PTO on the death of an immediate family member or immediate family member of the fellow’s spouse. The total time allowed shall not generally exceed three (3) days.  

Parental, Caregiver, Medical Leave

Maternity/Paternity leave time can be used from the allotted leave allowances with the above-mentioned parameters regarding paid leave, unpaid leave, and extensions of training. If additional time is needed, the resident is encouraged to seek guidance from program leadership as well as the GME office.

Educational Leave

Educational leave does not count towards time away from program or PTO leave balances per ABIM leave policies. Educational days cannot be carried over from year to year. If resident exhausts educational days or exceeds the allotted educational days, excess leave must be taken from Resident’s PTO balance. Educational days are highly encouraged to be taken on elective/non-essential rotations. All educational days requested during non-elective/essential rotations will be reviewed by program leadership on a case-by-case basis before approval is granted. Rotation coverage should be found by the requesting resident with a documented plan for coverage on the electronic leave form.

                  a.      PGY-1 residents receive five educational days.

                  b.      PGY-2 residents receive ten educational days.

                  c.       PGY-3 residents receive ten educational days.  

        Residents may use educational days for the following (30 days notice required):

                  a.       Essential examinations, such as Step III of the USMLE/COMLEX (test dates only)

                  b.       Board reviews

                  c.       Conferences in which a resident is presenting. If on elective/selection no other restrictions other than leave day balance. If on a core rotation, coverage must be obtained by the resident presenting (absence will be granted only for the time required to present).

                  d.       Fellowship interviews

Guidelines For Requesting Leave

        Up to one month 35 per academic year is permitted for time away from training (Parental, caregiver, illness etc.) per the ABIM. Training must be extended to make up any absences exceeding 30 days per year of training (ABIM Polices and Procedure).

        Residents in Internal Medicine will take their vacations on their selective/elective rotations only. Residents are required to turn in a leave form at least 30 days in advance of the leave. If 30 days’ notice is not given, clinics will need to be covered by a peer (arranged by the requesting resident with the covering resident not violating duty hours). If the resident does not submit a leave request form in the mandatory 30-day time frame, the leave could be denied.

        In general PTO will not be allowed on the following service blocks: Covenant, Neurology, VA rotation, MICU, General Medicine Floor, Consults, CICU, Ambulatory 1, Ambulatory 2, Gen. Med Ambulatory, Jeopardy, or Emergency Medicine.

        Any time a resident requests PTO, scholarly activity, or educational leave, the proper leave request should be submitted regardless of whether leave allowances are being used. Pager, clinics, conference, didactic presentation, and clinic message coverage should be arranged by the requesting resident and noted in the leave form.

        If a leave request requires cross coverage, it is the resident’s responsibility to arrange the needed coverage without using Jeopardy resident (i.e. someone who is not on a core rotation). The Jeopardy resident will only be assigned to cover services by chief residents or program leadership only.

        The resident requesting leave is solely responsible for arranging needed coverage and completing the leave and coverage form. Subsequently, program leadership will review the coverage plan for approval.  If the resident is having difficulty arranging coverage, they should seek the guidance of the chief residents and/or program coordinator.

        Monitor your leave balances to ensure you have appropriate balances for requested leave file located in the BOX and updated monthly. You must manage your educational/vacation days effectively. Please be responsible and make sure you have planned well. Please note if you are a graduating resident your will have to reserve PTO to be able to leave at the end of training. It is the responsibility of the resident to notify their future employer or fellowship director that their start date will not commence before July 1st unless they have PTO available for use.

        Residents that will be performing coverage for an absent resident should not agree to any coverage that will violate duty hours, be on leave during the coverage time agreed upon, or impede their assigned rotational or clinical duties.


All clinic cancellations must be completed at least 30 days in advance.