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ABS Announces More Flexible Family Leave Policy for General and Vascular Surgery Trainees

Oct. 20, 2021 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney, 215-568-4000

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) is pleased to announce a more flexible family leave policy for residents completing a general surgery or vascular surgery training program.

The ABS acknowledges the need to take at least six weeks away from training for certain significant life events. Effective immediately, as of the 2021-2022 academic year and thereafter, as allowed by their programs, general surgery and vascular surgery trainees in primary certificate programs may take documented leave to care for a new child, whether for the birth, the adoption, or placement of a child in foster care; to care for a seriously ill family member (partner, child, or parent); to grieve the loss of a family member (partner, child, or parent); or to recover from the resident's own serious illness.

Similar changes to ABS secondary specialty leave policies (pediatric surgery, complex general surgical oncology, surgical critical care, and vascular surgery independent and early specialization programs) are currently being evaluated. Additional information regarding family leave for these programs is forthcoming.

General Surgery and Vascular Surgery Primary Certificates

The ABS requires 48 weeks of full-time clinical activity in each year of training. The remaining four weeks of the year are considered non-clinical time that may be used for any purpose, such as vacation, conferences, interviews, etc.

Residents may take an additional four weeks off once during the first three years of residency, and once during the last two years of residency. This allows for six weeks of leave for significant life events while preserving two additional weeks for vacation or other uses, as approved by the residency program.

General surgery residents are expected to complete a minimum of 48 weeks of Chief Resident rotations.

For information on specialty-specific additional leave options, please see our General Surgery Leave Policy and/or our Vascular Surgery Leave Policy.

Please note that these are ABS policies only and should not be confused with family leave as permitted by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). No approval is needed for these options if taken as outlined. These policies are not retroactive and do not apply to leave taken prior to the 2021-2022 academic year.