HR - Family Care Leave - Non-FMLA - MA

Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include Massachusetts staff only. All provisions of this policy apply, except that for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, this policy does not create any benefits not expressly provided by that collective bargaining agreement and if there are inconsistencies between this policy and the collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern. 

Emerson College recognizes that its staff employees may need time away from work due to the birth, adoption of a child, the placement of foster children with staff employees or to care for staff employees’ children during the first 12 months after birth, adoption or placement of children pursuant to court orders.  In addition, staff employees may need time away from work to tend to the serious health conditions of staff employees’ spouses, children, or parents. 

This policy provides specific information about Family Care Leave (Non-FMLA) that may be available to staff employees who do not meet Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) eligibility requirements or who have exhausted their FMLA time. (See: FMLA – General Information for All FMLA Leaves).

Unless otherwise stipulated by an applicable collective bargaining agreement, the following will apply.

Policy Guidelines


Regular full-time and part-time staff employees working 20 hours or more per week (benefits eligible staff employees) with 90 days of employment.  

Leave Purpose and Duration

Family Care Leave (Non-FMLA) provides eligible staff employees with up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid time away from work in a 12-month period (measured backward on a rolling basis) due to:

  • Birth, adoption or placement of children pursuant to court orders
  • The need to care for staff employees’ children during the first 12 months after birth, adoption or placement of children pursuant to court orders
  • The need to care to the serious health condition of the staff employee’s spouses, children or parents (not parents-in-law) 

When both spouses work for the College, the amount of leave permitted under this policy for child bonding purposes is limited to an aggregate of sixteen (16) weeks.

To the extent, any other College leave policy may apply, leave under any other policy shall run at the same time as leave under this policy. If an employee becomes eligible for FMLA leave while out on leave under this policy, the employee’s leave under this policy will run concurrently with leave under the College’s FMLA policy.

Applying for Family Care Leave (Non-FMLA)

  • Employees must provide thirty (30) days advance written notice for foreseeable Non-FMLA and must comply with the College’s Leave of Absence (LOA) procedures.
  • If the need for leave is not foreseeable (e.g., an emergency medical situation), employees must notify the College as soon as practicable and should comply with the College’s normal call-in procedures for an absence or tardiness (see:  Sick Time Policy). To initiate the LOA process employees must notify their supervisors and Human Resources as soon as possible.  
  • Employees must provide an appropriate completed medical certification form as part of the leave of absence process. 
  • These Non-FMLA certification forms must be accurately completed and returned to the Leave Administrator within fifteen (15) days after the College’s request unless it is not practicable for an employee to do so under the circumstances despite the employees diligent, good faith efforts.
  • Employees who fail to submit the required Non-FMLA certification accurately and completely within the 15-day time frame may be denied Non-FMLA unless they provide a reasonable explanation to the College in advance that it is not practicable to provide the completed certification within the 15-day time frame despite their diligent, good faith efforts.  If Non-FMLA is not granted, employees’ absences may not be considered excused, and their employment may be ended. 
  • Employees also may be required to provide a periodic certification and re-certification supporting the need for leave.
  • Employees must provide sufficient information for the College to determine if the leave may qualify for Non-FMLA and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.
  • While out on Non-FMLA leave, employees are required to continue paying their portion of relevant benefit plans on the same terms as if they had continued to work

Pay During Family Care Leave (Non-FMLA) 

Family Care Leave (Non-FMLA) is unpaid. However, sick time, personal time, and vacation time are ways in which eligible staff employees may be paid during such leave. 

Unless otherwise stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreements, Emerson College provides eligible staff employees with paid time off in the form of sick time, personal time, and vacation time to cover leaves from work. Staff employees on Family Care Leaves (Non-FMLA) must use available paid sick time, if applicable, up to a maximum of seven (7) days, then personal time and then vacation time during the leave. However, employees may hold up to five (5) total days of sick, personal and vacation time in reserve.  

Return from Leave 

The College grants Family Care Leave (Non-FMLA) to staff employees with the intention of returning them to their positions at the conclusion of the leave. However, the job protections available under FMLA do not apply to Family Care Leaves (Non-FMLA) unless required by applicable law, and the College cannot guarantee staff employees’ positions when they are out on Family Care Leave (Non-FMLA).

Staff employees must notify Human Resources and their supervisors at least one (1) week in advance of their intention to return to work.   

Depending on the nature of staff employee’s job and the reasons for which staff employees went on leave, the College may request that staff employee’s health care providers complete fitness for duty forms before staff employees return to work.

Failure to Return from Leave

Staff employees are considered to have resigned voluntarily if:

  • They do not return to work on their scheduled return date without a valid excuse or leave extension;  
  • They fail to notify the College that they will not be returning from a Non-FMLA or other approved leave of absence;  
  • They do not return to their original positions or equivalent positions as soon as they are able; or
  • They have accepted other employment during the leave period that renders them unable to return to their previous position.

Other Information 

NON-FMLA Family Care Leave:  Married Spouses, Domestic Partners or Parents

(both are employed by Emerson but are not married spouses or domestic partners)

Eligible married spouses, domestic partners or parents are each entitled to up to 12 work weeks of unpaid Non-FMLA leave to care for a child, parent or married spouse or domestic partner with a serious health condition.

Benefits and Salary Increases during Leave (Paid and Unpaid Leave)

See: the FMLA – General Information for all FMLA Leaves policy for Massachusetts

Related Polices

Responsible Officer

The AVP/Chief of Human Resources is responsible for this policy

Key Offices to Contact

Please contact the Leave of Absence Administrator (Human Resources) for further information regarding this policy and its implementation.  The Office of Human Resources is responsible for this policy.

Links to Procedures or Forms

Please contact the Leave of Absence Administrator (Human Resources) for assistance. 


Serious Health Condition

For this policy, a “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that prevents the qualified family member from going to work, participating in school or other daily activities.  

Subject to certain conditions, the “continuing treatment” requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive calendar days combined with at least two (2) visits to a health care provider; or one (1) visit to a health care provider and a regimen of continuing treatment; or incapacity due to pregnancy or a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of “continuing treatment.”  


The contents of this policy are informational only and are not conditions of employment. This policy does not create any contractual obligations or alter the at-will employment of the College’s at-will employees. Emerson College reserves the right to modify, revoke, suspend, terminate or change any and all policies and procedures at any time, with or without notice, as consistent with state and federal law.


Policy Effective: September 2019