The ABR continues to gather input from our stakeholder groups, especially trainees and program faculty, regarding our residency leave policy that is under development. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has mandated that the individual specialty boards, including the ABR, establish clear limits on how much time away from training is permissible before training must be extended beyond the anticipated graduation date.
The goal of the policy is to address the balance between adequacy of training and the need for residents to have reasonable time off to attend to personal and family obligations. The ABR recognizes that individual programs and institutions will not be bound by ABR policy (and may choose to grant more or less time off per year). We also have no way to require whether any leave is paid or unpaid. Instead, we are defining the maximal amount of time that an individual may be absent from training and still graduate on time (typically, June 30 of the final year of training).
Recent discussions, both with external stakeholders and within the Board, have supported an increase above our historic limit of 30 workdays per year (to include vacation and other leave). A specific option that has received broad support is seven work weeks (35 workdays) per year, averaged over the length of a four-year residency. This would be the equivalent of four weeks of vacation per year, plus 12 weeks for parental, caregiver, and medical leave as outlined in the ABMS policy.