Leave & Time Off
Trainees may need to take time away from training for a variety of reasons. McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University will work with you to accommodate this as needed. All trainees should be aware that additional time away from training (in addition to the six weeks allotted each academic year for paid time off, education and sick leave) may require an extension of training beyond the originally anticipated completion date in order to comply with certifying ABMS board requirements and ensure satisfaction of ACGME milestone requirements for their specialty. Time on leave cannot count toward training.
It is the responsibility of the program to be knowledgeable of the specialty board’s rules and inform trainees of limits, if any, in allowable absences. While paid time off will not accrue during any needed extension of training, the housestaff member will receive full stipend and benefits. If training is extended to make up for time spent on short-term disability, the stipend provided during the extension will be at the PGY level during which short-term disability was taken.
Trainees must accurately log all duty hours, paid time off, sick leave and other time away from training in New Innovations (NI) at least monthly.
Leave of Absence Requests
Unless otherwise indicated in a specific leave policy or required as a reasonable accommodation for a disability, trainees must provide the program with 14 days’ notice before they intend to take leave.
Pursuant to the applicable leave policy, the program will facilitate scheduling coverage and communicate with other team members, as needed. The program will provide written acknowledgment of a trainee’s request and written approval, if granted.
Trainees must appropriately and accurately log all time away from training in New Innovations in a timely and regular fashion. Trainees with questions about how to log time away from training in New Innovations should contact McGaw and the program for information. Trainees should also communicate with the program regularly during any time away from training, unless unable to do so because of a medical condition. Failure to accurately log time away from training will be considered a breach of professionalism.
Impact of Leave on Program Completion
Leave may impact the timing of a trainee’s completion of all training program requirements and/or their eligibility to sit for exams by certifying boards in a given year. Upon approval of a trainee’s request for leave, the trainee is responsible for conferring with the program to identify the length of a training extension that may be required, if any, to fulfill their program or external board certification or other requirements.
Trainee’s Right to Return to Program after Leave
For leaves less than 12 weeks in a 12-month period, the program will hold open a trainee’s position for their return (“Protection Limitation”). For leaves longer than 12 weeks in a 12-month period, the program has the discretion to remove a trainee from the program.
McGaw will provide all trainees with three weeks of paid time off (“PTO”) in the first year of their program (“appointment year”) and four weeks of PTO in all subsequent appointment years. PTO is available for use on the first day of each appointment year. Unused PTO does not roll over from one appointment year to the next and will expire on the last day of a trainee’s final appointment year. If an appointment year is extended beyond a 12-month period, no additional PTO will be provided. PTO must be scheduled and approved by the program in advance. To encourage wellness and well-being, the program recommends that trainees use all PTO each program year.
This PTO benefit is in addition to the guarantee of six paid weeks of approved medical, caretaker or parental leave, which the trainee is eligible to take once during the training program, as described below. However, trainees will be required to use PTO, except for two weeks of PTO reserved for use at the trainees’ discretion, at the outset of any medical, caretaker or parental leave.
Paid time off taken at the conclusion of one’s program in order to hasten the date of program completion requires written approval of the program and notification of McGaw.
If any domestic or international travel requires quarantine upon return based on hospital, McGaw, CDC or governmental guidelines or regulations, utilization of paid time off may be mandated to cover the time required for quarantine, at the discretion of the program. Trainees must discuss the risks of quarantining and its effect on their program with the program prior to travel.
McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University allows certain observances of religious and secular holidays. Residents and fellows should check with their program offices for program-specific guidelines.
Each program determines housestaff assignments for patient care during holidays. These assignments should be a shared responsibility among all housestaff in the program. The stipend is earned for the holiday regardless of whether or not the housestaff member has been scheduled to work on that day.
Although the practice of religious beliefs, including the observance of religious holidays, is important to many trainees, priority must be given to maintaining adequate patient care. A resident who wishes to observe a religious holiday of short duration (one to two days) should discuss that request well in advance with the program director and try to obtain coverage. Reasonable efforts will be made to honor a resident's request, assuming such request does not impose an unreasonable burden on other residents or on the program. However, any adjustments to a resident's schedule are contingent upon acceptable patient care coverage alternatives and must be cleared with the appropriate training program director. The only way to guarantee time away is to schedule vacation time well in advance of the requested holiday, in accordance with the requirements of the program's vacation policy.
Trainees are eligible for 10 days of sick leave each training year. Trainees may use earned sick leave when they or a family member are ill or injured, receiving professional care, ordered to quarantine, the victim of domestic violence, must stay home to minimize the transmission of a communicable disease or its symptoms, to obey a quarantine or isolation order, or for the birth of a child. If the need for paid sick leave is reasonably foreseeable, trainees must provide seven days’ notice to the program before leave is taken. If the need for paid sick leave is not reasonably foreseeable, trainees must provide notice as soon as practicable. When a trainee is absent for more than three consecutive days, documentation signed by a licensed healthcare provider may be requested to verify the use of paid sick leave was for any authorized purpose. Sick leave does not roll over to following academic years.
Sick days may also be used for bereavement leave.
This sick leave benefit is in addition to the guarantee of six paid weeks of approved medical, caretaker or parental leave, which the trainee is eligible to take once during the training program, as described below. However, trainees will be required to use sick leave for qualifying reasons, if applicable, at the outset of any medical, caretaker or parental leave.
Unauthorized or misuse of sick leave is a basis for denial of sick leave and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination or dismissal.
Any injury or illness incurred as a result of activities directly related to a trainee’s work must be reported promptly to McGaw Payroll & Benefits at 888-449-0016 or firstname.lastname@example.org so that a workers' compensation report may be filed. Disabling injury or illness extending beyond 10 days is covered by disability insurance and/or workers’ compensation.
McGaw will provide trainees paid medical or caregiver leave once during the course of the program, not to exceed six weeks total. Trainees become eligible for this leave on the first day they are required to report to their program. During approved medical or caretaker leave, trainees will retain their health and disability insurance benefits. Trainees must first use any available sick leave, if the leave is for a qualifying sick-leave reason, at the outset of the leave. After sick leave is exhausted, trainees must use any available PTO, except for two weeks of PTO which will be reserved for use at the trainees' discretion. This leave will count towards the 12 weeks in a 12-month protection limitation period and may require an extension of the training program.
Trainees are responsible for notifying their program of their intent to take paid or unpaid leave and also to submit completed appropriate, documentation to McGaw Payroll & Benefits at 888-449-0016 or email@example.com prior to taking leave or a soon as is reasonably possible.
Trainees may take up to six weeks of paid medical leave for a qualifying condition involving the trainee. This qualifying condition must be documented by a treating physician and documentation of the condition must be provided to the program as soon as is possible, preferably at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the leave.
Care of a serious health condition includes inpatient care in a medical care facility, incapacity that requires treatment under the direction of a healthcare provider, or treatment by a healthcare provider that would otherwise likely result in a period of incapacity longer than three days in the absence of treatment. Additional leave beyond six weeks may be available for qualifying reasons, subject to the 12 weeks in a 12-month protection limitation period.
Short-Term Disability Benefits
Trainees who take medical leave, as described in the preceding section, for 10 or more days will be required to apply for short-term disability (STD) benefits. STD benefits, if approved, are paid at 60 percent of a trainee’s pay, but trainees will receive 100 percent of their pay for up to six weeks of leave under this provision. STD benefits require physician certification prior to or as soon as possible following the commencement of a leave.
Trainees must personally arrange for STD benefits with McGaw Payroll & Benefits by calling 888-449-0016 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Failure to personally notify McGaw Payroll & Benefits in a timely fashion will result in having to repay all overpaid funds. Additionally, trainees must personally update McGaw Payroll & Benefits and the program with pending return to training date or the need for additional leave. STD benefits will last a maximum of 90 days, after which the trainee may apply for long-term disability benefits by contacting McGaw Payroll & Benefits.
Trainees may take up to six weeks of paid caretaker leave to address a serious health condition that is impairing their child, spouse or parent. Care of a serious health condition includes inpatient care in a medical care facility, incapacity that requires treatment under the direction of a healthcare provider or treatment by a healthcare provider that would otherwise likely result in a period of incapacity longer than three days in the absence of treatment. This qualifying condition must be documented by a treating physician and documentation must be provided to the program as soon as is possible, preferably at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the leave. Additional leave beyond six weeks may be available for qualifying reasons, subject to the 12 weeks in a 12-month protection limitation period.
Trainees may take up to six weeks of paid leave for the purpose of childrearing after the birth of their child or the placement of their child following an adoption or foster care arrangement. Leaves for childrearing shall be applied equally to trainees, regardless of gender or gender identity.
Trainees in their second or any subsequent year of training are encouraged to present the results of their research/scholarly endeavors at educational meetings and/or conferences. McGaw allows five days of sub/specialty-related medical education leave per academic year for each trainee to attend and/or present at program-approved educational gatherings. Full stipends and benefits are provided during educational meetings. The choice of educational meeting, the content of the presentation and the number of such presentations must be made in consultation with and the approval of the program, and the duration of absence(s) must not impact patient care.
Attendance at educational meetings where the trainee is not making a presentation is permitted at the discretion of the program. To qualify for educational leave, the meeting must be located within the continental United States. Trainees seeking additional days of educational leave may be required to utilize their PTO.
Trainees will be provided with paid time off to fulfill their civic obligation of jury duty. When a trainee is selected for jury duty, they shall provide the program with a copy of the jury summons within 10 days of receiving the summons. Trainees will not be scheduled for night shifts when they have served on a jury during the daytime.
McGaw is committed to supporting trainees seeking to vote or serve as an election judge on Election Day. Trainees are encouraged to utilize early voting or mail-in ballots whenever possible to avoid having to take time off during clinical assignments.
When a trainee’s shift begins less than two hours after polls open and ends less than two hours before polls close, trainees eligible to vote may take up to two hours of paid time off to vote. The two-hour absence for voting may only occur during the times when polls are open. McGaw may determine the specific two-hour window that a trainee may be absent to vote.
Trainees are only eligible for this paid, two-hour absence if they have informed the program of the need for the time to vote prior to the given Election Day. The program requests that trainees provide written notice at least 20 days in advance. The program may require trainees to submit proof of voter eligibility when requesting time off to vote, which can be done by submitting a copy of their voter registration card to the program.
Additionally, McGaw is committed to accommodating trainees who are appointed to serve as an election judge. Trainees who obtain a qualifying appointment are entitled to unpaid time off to serve as an election judge, as long as they provide written notice to the program at least 20 days prior to their date of service. Pursuant to applicable law, McGaw may deny requests for leave if more than a material amount of trainees request election judge leave pursuant to this policy on the same Election Day.
Trainees may take unpaid leave to respond to a lawfully-issued subpoena to testify as a witness in a criminal proceeding.
Trainees must provide the program with a copy of the subpoena or other documentation of the need to attend the legal proceedings as soon as possible to make arrangements for their leave. Trainees are expected to return to work if they are excused from the proceedings during regular working hours.
Trainees are not entitled to leave pursuant to this policy for legal proceedings where the trainee is the defendant in the criminal matter.
Trainees who personally or have a family or household member that are victims of domestic, sexual, gender or other violence may qualify for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period if the trainee or their family/household member:
(a) is experiencing an incident of domestic violence, sexual violence, gender violence or any other crime of violence;
(b) seeking medical attention for, or recovering from, physical or psychological injuries caused by domestic, sexual, gender or any other crime of violence;
(c) obtaining services from a victim services organization;
(d) obtaining psychological or other counseling;
(e) participating in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocating or taking other actions to increase safety from future domestic, sexual, gender or any other crime of violence or ensure economic security; or
(f) seeking legal assistance or remedies to ensure their health and safety, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or derived from domestic, sexual, gender or any other crime of violence.
VESSA leave may be taken on a consecutive or intermittent basis, or trainees may request a reduced work schedule. Trainees shall provide the program with at least 48 hours’ advance notice of the trainee’s intention to take the leave, unless providing such notice is not practicable.
Depending on the qualifying reason for VESSA leave, such leave may be counted toward a trainee’s annual 12 weeks in a 12-month protection limitation period or the VESSA leave may be available in addition to a trainee’s available protection limitation time. Please consult with McGaw for information about specific qualifying reasons and the respective leave entitlements.
The program may require the trainee to provide certification that the trainee or the trainee’s family or household member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, gender violence or any other crime of violence and the leave is for one of the purposes provided under the policy or applicable law. All information provided to the program pursuant to this policy shall be kept strictly confidential to the extent allowed by applicable law, unless disclosure is consented to in writing by trainee.
Trainees may be granted up to eight hours of leave during any school year, no more than four hours of which may be taken on any given day, to attend school conferences, behavioral meetings or academic meetings related to the trainee’s child if the conference or meeting cannot be scheduled during non-working hours. Trainees are only eligible for leave pursuant to this policy if they have exhausted all PTO, other than sick leave.
“Child” means a biological, adopted or foster child, a stepchild or a legal ward of a trainee who is enrolled in a primary or secondary public or private school in Illinois or a state which shares a common boundary with Illinois.
Trainees must provide the program with a written request for leave at least seven days in advance. In emergency situations, 24 hours advanced notice is acceptable.
Trainees may, but are not required to, make up the leave taken under this policy. If a trainee elects to make up the leave taken, that time shall be paid at the same rate as paid for normal working time. McGaw will make a good faith effort to permit trainees to make up the leave taken, if so desired. Trainees shall submit this documentation verifying the school visit to the program upon request.
Trainees may take up to one hour of paid leave every 56 days to donate blood in accordance with appropriate medical standards established by the American Red Cross, America's Blood Centers, the American Association of Blood Banks or other nationally recognized standards. If a trainee’s attempt to donate blood was unsuccessful as determined by the blood bank, the trainee will not forfeit the hour of paid leave.
Trainees must request leave under this policy by submitting to the program: (i) a written request and (ii) written medical documentation of the appointment to donate blood. The written request for leave and written medical documentation of the appointment to donate blood must be submitted as far in advance as possible, but not less than seven days before the leave is scheduled. The program may require trainees to submit verification of the trainee’s blood donation in the form of a written statement from a blood bank confirming that the trainee kept the blood donation appointment.
Trainees are entitled to unpaid leave during periods of military service. Military service includes:
- Service in a federally recognized auxiliary of the United States Armed Forces when performing official duties in support of military or civilian authorities as the result of an emergency;
- Service covered by the Illinois State Guard Act; and
- A period during which service members are absent from employment for medical or dental treatment related to a condition, illness or injury sustained or aggravated during a period of active service.
Trainees shall bring the relevant service orders to McGaw Medical Center as soon as practicable.
Additionally, trainees who have worked 1,250 hours in the prior 12-month period and:
(a) have a spouse, parent, child or grandchild deployed to federal military service or state guard lasting more than 30 days, and exhausted all other paid time off and personal leave, other than sick leave, or
(b) who are members of the civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force, commonly known as the Civil Air Patrol,
may be granted up to 30 days of unpaid leave. Trainees shall provide notice to the program at least 14 days before the leave commences if the requested leave is more than five consecutive workdays. For leave of five days or less, the trainee shall provide notice as soon as practicable. Trainees shall consult with the program to schedule the leave to minimize disruption to the program. The program may require certification from the applicable military authority to verify trainee’s eligibility for leave.
While on leave, all benefits will continue, but trainees will continue to be responsible for their trainee-paid portion at their own expense.
Trainees are entitled to job protection for time while engaged as a volunteer emergency worker. A “volunteer emergency worker” is an individual who volunteers as a member of a fire department of a fire protection district/municipality, an emergency medical technician, an ambulance driver or attendant, a first responder, a member of a county or municipal emergency services and disaster agency, or an auxiliary policeman or deputy and does not work in a full-time capacity for another fire department, fire protection district or governmental entity.
Specifically, McGaw will not terminate any trainee who is a volunteer emergency worker because that trainee, when acting as a volunteer emergency worker, is absent from or late to their work in order to respond to an emergency prior to the time the trainee is to report to work.
McGaw will also not discipline any trainee who is a volunteer emergency worker if the trainee responds to an emergency phone call or text message during work hours that requests the trainee’s volunteer emergency services.
McGaw may deduct, against the trainee’s regular pay, any time that a trainee who is a volunteer emergency worker loses from their work because of the trainee’s response to an emergency in the course of performing their duties as a volunteer emergency worker. The trainee must submit to the program a written statement from their supervisor or acting supervisor of the volunteer fire department or governmental entity stating that the trainee responded to an emergency and stating the time and date of the emergency. The trainee must also make a reasonable effort to notify the program any time they will be absent or late to work.
Trainees who suffer a pregnancy-related or adoption-related loss (described below) or the loss of a covered family member may take up to 10 days of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. Leave pursuant to this policy must be taken within 60 days of the loss. Trainees should give the program 48 hours’ notice, if practicable. The program may request reasonable documentation. Trainees may elect to use paid time off and/or sick leave, if applicable.
Loss of Covered Family Member
“Covered family member” includes a trainee’s child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or stepparent. Under this policy, a “child” includes a son or daughter who is a biological, adopted or foster child; a legal ward; or a child of a person standing in loco parentis.
In the event of the death of more than one covered family member in a 12-month period, a trainee is entitled to up to a total of six weeks of bereavement leave during the 12-month period.
Pregnancy-Related or Adoption-Related Loss
Trainees are entitled to leave pursuant to this policy for specific pregnancy-related or adoption-related events, which include:
a) a miscarriage;
b) an unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or of an assisted reproductive technology procedure (e.g., artificial insemination or embryo transfer);
c) a failed adoption match or an adoption that is not finalized because it is contested by another party;
d) a failed surrogacy agreement;
e) a diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility; or
f) a stillbirth.
If the trainee’s need for leave under this provision would otherwise qualify as medical or caretaker leave, this leave may be counted toward the trainee’s annual 12 weeks in a 12-month protection limitation period.