Per your signed Parkland contract, residents are granted 25 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) from July 1 to June 30th. This comes from our central Parkland Graduate Medical Education office. It is derived from the American Board of Internal Medicine, which allows up to 3 months of time away from formal training (you must finish 33/36 months to be eligible for board certification).

Up to one month per academic year is permitted for time away from training, which includes vacation, illness, parental or family leave, or pregnancy-related disabilities. Training must be extended to make up any absences exceeding one month per year of training. Vacation leave is essential and should not be forfeited or postponed in any year of training and cannot be used to reduce the total required training period. ABIM recognizes that leave policies vary from institution to institution and expects the program director to apply his/her local requirements within these guidelines to ensure trainees have completed the requisite period of training


PTO Days

IMPORTANT: PTO includes vacation time and does not include weekends. As a UTSW resident employed by Parkland, you have 15 days of vacation (3 weeks) per year. This leaves 10 PTO days for each academic year (25-15 = 10 days). However, as of 7/1/2020, all UTSW IM residents will be assigned 5 days of remote study. During this time, residents will not be assigned to clinical duties. This means that as of 7/1/2020 all UTSW IM residents will have only 5 unassigned discretionary days. If you wish to forego the 5 days of remote study to leave your 10 days of PTO unassigned, please email . Please note, PTO is a bit of a misnomer. As we all accept the same salary per year, these days do not have a monetary value. Instead, they represent days that you are able to spend away from residency training per academic year. These discretionary days do not recycle each year and are managed by Parkland’s Graduate Medical Education office.

Using Discretionary Days

What should a resident do if they have a social event, interview, or planned testing date where they know they would:

  1. prefer not to come to their scheduled work
  2. know they will not be able to come to work?

ANSWER: The resident must obtain coverage.

What is the most optimal way to obtain coverage?

Review Amion to identify residents who are available to provide coverage (scheduled day off, study day, elective rotations) and coordinate with them individually to obtain coverage. We discourage mass emails to entire resident classes as this contributes to email bloat and has a lower likelihood of receiving a favorable response. When obtaining coverage, we will not utilize a resident's PTO day if there is a reciprocal switch (reciprocal coverage arranged at the same time). Coverage must also be fair and even (ICU for ICU, inpatient for inpatient, clinic for clinic); however, as long as the educational requirements and ACGME limitations are not threatened, the chiefs will not interfere with trade agreements between residents.

  • Example: Resident 1 wants to attend a wedding. Months in advance, he reaches out to Resident 2 who is willing to “cover” Resident 1’s clinical responsibilities. In response, Resident 1 will then cover Resident 2’s clinical responsibilities in the future. The swap includes details of the exact rotation and shift that are being swapped. No PTO is utilized for either resident.

However, sometimes residents agree to cover another resident with the understanding that they owe a favor to the other resident. In order to stay compliant with GME rules, however, we will utilize the absentee resident’s PTO.

  • Example: Resident 1 has Step 3 scheduled for November 1. Resident 1 obtains coverage for November 1, and the covering resident, Resident 2, does not have coverage needs at this time. We will utilize one of Resident 1’s PTO days, because they are being paid for a day for which they were scheduled to work and will no longer be working. However, if Resident 2 needs coverage in the same academic year and Resident 1 is able to cover, we will give Resident 1 this PTO day back as it turns into a reciprocal swap.  

What is the purpose of a PTO day?

PTO days should not be thought of as additional days to take vacation. As we state above, ABIM mandates that residents not be away from training for greater than 3 months in 3 years, which Parkland has set as 25 days per academic year. Residents are currently provided many study half-days during clinic weeks and hybrids that, in total, often exceed the days of PTO that are allotted for you. However, in order to foster a sense of wellbeing and promote academic and professional development, we as a program do not currently utilize residents PTO days for study half-days. We also do not utilize PTO days for attending conferences or if reciprocal swaps are made for interview coverage. 

PTO represents days in which a resident is able to step away from clinical responsibilities to due unforeseen events, family emergencies, or medical illness. Residents sometimes do utilize their maximum PTO days in a given year due to unforeseen events. In these situations, we as a program work with residents on a case-by-case basis to identify and meet their needs. However, in the past, residents have had to continue training past July of their PGY3 year per ABIM rules.

  • Example: Resident 1 had a medical illness that required a prolonged hospital stay of 7 days. Seven PTO days are utilized. Resident 1 will continue to receive his normal salary and will be away from training for those days.
  • Example: Resident 2 has a family emergency that requires him to be away from training for 4 days. Four of Resident 2’s PTO days are utilized.
  • Example: Resident 3 has not had any emergencies through residency. No PTO days are utilized and will start the following year with all of their allowable PTO.
  • Example: Resident 4 has a medical illness and needs more than the maximum allotted unassigned days away from work. The Chiefs will work with this Resident to decide next steps as this Resident has run out of PTO days. 

Religious Holidays

If a resident needs to step away from work for a religious holiday, we ask that these holidays be mentioned in the schedule preference form. If Christmas is a day that you will strongly prefer for vacation, please indicate so in your scheduling preference form. We can plan ahead for these holidays during schedule creation. 

Activities/days, that do not require the utilization of PTO days:

  • Jury Duty
  • Academic Conferences (unless a resident fails to arrange coverage)
  • Holidays for which the clinic you are assigned is closed
  • Holidays for which your assigned rotation permits you to be out that day
  • Fellowship interviews in which you have obtained your own coverage with a resident who is not otherwise assigned to clinical duties (elective, normal scheduled day off)
  • Step 3, ITE, Board exams
  • Bereavement (up to 3 days)

Activities that require PTO utilization:

  • Leaving residency early to travel to fellowship
  • Sick days
  • Unexpected and unplanned absences
  • Bereavement (over 3 days). The IM program is here to support residents and can work with you on a case by case basis
  • Family emergency
  • Fellowship interview for which coverage was obtained through EROC
  • Any anticipated absence for which the resident did not arrange adequate coverage 

Frequently asked questions: