Parental Leave During Residency Training
1. Any parental leave plan utilized by a family
medicine residency program
a. Safeguard the health of the parent
b. Assure that the resident fulfills all
educational requirements, and
c. Assure that the patient care is uninterrupted by the resident's
2. There are a number of factors which will affect the specific provisions in
a parental leave plan, and which must be taken into consideration in
developing the plan. The factors include:
a. Compliance with Certifying Boards. The American Board of Family
Medicine (ABFM) has established requirements with respect to the
amount of time a resident may be absent from his or her training
program in any 12-month period and still retain eligibility to make
application for the ABFM examination. The ABFM's most current
version of these requirements may be found at
https://www.theabfm.org/cert/absence.aspx(www.theabfm.org). The American
Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians’ (AOBFP) requirements
may be different than those of the ABFM and have varied over time.
The AOBFM staff should be consulted to ensure compliance with
the relevant current requirements. https://www.aobfp.org(www.aobfp.org).
b. Some residency programs may be subject to various federal and
state laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
These laws may impose certain requirements on parental leave
plans utilized by family medicine residency programs and may
guarantee certain rights for residency programs and for residents
taking parental leave.
3. Subject to applicable law, the AAFP recommends that the following be
incorporated in residency programs parental leave plans:
a. Expectant mothers must be allowed the same sick leave or disability
benefits as other residents.
i. Expectant partners and adoptive parents should be allowed the
same leave or disability benefits as other residents.
b. The category of leave credited (sick, vacation, parental, short-term)
should be specified.
c. Whether leave is paid or unpaid should be specified.
d. The minimum duration of parental leave for residents should be
based on the written recommendations of the physician(s) caring for
the resident and infant and/or state and federal laws. The resident
should be encouraged to take the longest leave that is feasible for
the resident and the program to enhance parent-infant bonding and
facilitate breastfeeding initiation.
e. Residency programs are encouraged to allow residents to design
home-study or reading electives which should comply with Review
Committee - Family Medicine (RC-FM) requirements, for use around
the estimated delivery date (EDD) or adoption and after delivery to
minimize the time needed away from the residency. Such home
study electives would be likely to include some Family Medicine
Center (FMC) time weekly in order to meet RC-FM continuity
requirements for the FMC.
f. The expectant or adoptive parent should notify the program director
and those responsible for scheduling of rotations and call as soon
as pregnancy or adoption is confirmed. Coverage of responsibilities
during the leave should be arranged as early as possible.
g. Efforts should be made to schedule the most demanding rotations
earlier in the pregnancy, allowing for the least strenuous rotations to
be performed around the time of the resident's EDD.
h. The rotation performed around the time of the EDD or adoption
should be one in which the resident is not essential to the service
and which would allow time off without jeopardizing patient care or
disadvantaging the other residents in the program.
i. The expectant or adoptive parent's call schedule should be
arranged to have no call around the time of EDD or adoption and
while on leave. The resident is expected to make up call before or
after the leave, so other residents aren't disadvantaged.
j. Residents taking parental leave must be able to return to the
residency within a reasonable period of time without loss of training
k. Provision for the continuation of the resident's insurance benefits
during the leave should be made and who pays for the premiums
should be specified.
l. Communication to each resident should be made regarding how the
leave will impact the resident's graduation and ability to sit for the
American Board of Family Medicine exam.
m. The mechanisms available for making up time, or extending or
delaying training should be verified.
n. It should be verified if the extended training or make-up time will be
o. The expectant or adoptive parent(s) should notify the program
director and covering residents when labor and/or FMLA time
(2000) (2016 December BOD)