University of Nebraska Medical Center

Vacation and Leave Policy

Standard Vacation Guidelines

Residents are given 20 weekdays of vacation in four one-week blocks. Vacations are scheduled in the spring of the preceding year. Scheduling preferences are given in descending order of seniority. 

Submitting Vacation Requests

  • Residents will be asked to submit their top four week choices in spring of the preceding year. Residents will be informed of their approved vacation weeks before the beginning of the new academic year. The program will work to grant the highest ranked vacation choices to each resident. Requests will be accommodated based on the seniority of the resident, date of submission and the educational needs of the entire program. 
  • Vacations will not be granted in June, July and in the last week of January for the ABSITE exam.
  • Residents will not be allowed to take time off during their night float rotation. 
  • Some residents may elect to take vacation in a two-week block to allow for extended travel. In this case, the residents should submit the request as the last week of a service and the first week of the succeeding service. This requires special approval by the program director and should be addressed with the program director prior to submitting vacation requests.
  • Residents who plan to attend interviews or leave early for fellowships should be aware of the leave policy as stated by the American Board of Surgery. Time taken for attending interviews, leaving early for fellowships or absence due to visa issues will be counted towards vacation time.
  • Maternity leave is typically six weeks (considered family medical leave) or based upon physician recommendation and resident is still eligible for another 10 days of vacation during that year.
  • Paternity leave of 5 days is allowed (considered family medical leave) and resident is still be eligible for another 20 days of vacation during that year.

American Board of Surgery

Applicants for general surgery certification must acquire no fewer than 48 weeks of full-time experience in each residency year. This is required regardless of the amount of operative experience obtained. All vacation and leave time taken during residency must be accounted for on the application for certification, including time taken for interviews, visa issues, early departures for fellowships, and time taken to attend meetings/conferences requiring greater than 48 hours of absence from clinical duties. 

Residents should plan on applying for vacation at the appropriate time of the year to maximize the potential to attend interviews. As stated above, all such days cannot affect the 48 weeks of full-time training per year that is mandatory. Any change requests to the vacation schedule must be approved by the program director.

Absence for Health Reasons Policy

ACGME Common Program Requirements:

VI.C.1.d.(1): Resident must be given the opportunity to attend medical, mental health and dental care appointments, including those scheduled during their working hours.

  • Residents will be permitted to take time off for attending medical, mental health, or dental care appointments including those scheduled during working hours.
  • Residents are advised to inform the program director/program coordinator with as much advance notice as possible to make alternative arrangements.
  • Residents can assist but are not responsible for finding coverage during their absence.
  • Residents can use the accrued sick days as per UNMC policy.
  • If all sick days are used up, alternative arrangements will be made by the program to permit the resident to attend to their health care appointments.

VI.C.2: There are circumstances in which residents may be unable to attend work, including but not limited to fatigue, illness, and family emergencies. Each program must have policies and procedures in place that ensure coverage of patient care in the event that a resident may be unable to perform their patient care responsibilities. These policies must be implemented without fear of negative consequences for the resident who is unable to provide the clinical work.

  • Sick leave accrues 1 day per month you are at UNMC until you’ve been employed for 2 years (after two consecutive years, you receive 6 months of sick leave).
  • If the resident is unable to perform their duties due to fatigue, illness or family emergency, the program will permit the resident to attend to that emergency.
  • Residents are advised to inform the program director/program coordinator to make alternative arrangements.
  • Residents are not responsible for finding coverage during their absence.
  • Residents may use the accrued sick days as per UNMC policy.
  • If all sick days are used up, alternative arrangements will be made by the program to permit the resident to attend to their health care emergency commitments/appointments.

Family Medical Leave 

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 entitles each eligible employee to a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons in a 12-month period. UNMC complies with this act and expands its coverage to include all regular employees with an full-time equivalent of 0.50 or greater. Other employees, including temporary employees and graduate students, are covered with at least 1,250 hours of service for the year preceding the leave.

The expressed intent of the Board of Regents is that employees have a right to family/medical leaves of absence. Timing or other considerations surrounding a family/medical leave will be the issues negotiated with the employee by the immediate supervisor, dean, director, or human resources/employee relations.


UNMC will grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid family/medical leave for any of the following reasons:

  • The employee's own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of the job.
  • A serious health condition of the employee's spouse, child or parent.
  • Maternal/paternal concerns related to the birth and first year care of a child or adoption of a child, or the placement of a child with the employee for foster care.
  • A death in the immediate family.
  • Qualifying exigency leave.

FMLA — Request for Family Medical Leave Form

FMLA — Certification of Health Care Provider for Employees Serious Health Condition

FMLA — Certification for Health Care Provider for Family Members Serious Health Condition


If a resident is nursing, we ask that they discuss this with program director who will contact the rotation director on their behalf to ensure that appropriate accommodations are made.

Break time for nursing mothers

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, UNMC is required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk." UNMC is also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express milk.”

Time and location of breaks

UNMC is required to provide “a reasonable amount of break time to express milk as frequently as needed by the nursing mother. The frequency of breaks needed to express milk as well as the duration of each break will likely vary." UNMC and Nebraska Medicine join together in providing facilities and assistance for nursing mothers. Certified lactation consultants can be contacted through Nebraska Medicine at 402-559-6363.