HR - Parental Leave - FMLA - MA

Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include Massachusetts faculty and staff unless otherwise indicated in the sections below. 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 employees may need time away from work due to the birth or adoption of a child, the placement of a foster child with the employee, or to care for the employee's child during the first 12 months after birth, adoption or placement. This policy provides information about Parental (FMLA). 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. 

One type of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Care Leave Act, and what, if any, pay continuation options may be available to eligible staff employees during this otherwise unpaid time away.

Refer to “FMLA – General Information for all FMLA Leaves,” for full information regarding FMLA leaves including:

  • Types of FMLA Leave
  • Definitions
  • Eligibility 
  • Pay Continuation 
  • Use of FMLA
  • Extended Leaves
  • Both Spouses Employed by the College
  • Employee Responsibilities
  • Employer Responsibilities 
  • Benefits and Salary Increases during Leave (Paid & Unpaid Leave)
  • Return from Leave and Failure to Return from Leave 
  • Coordination of Federal and State Regulations
  • Protections

Definitions 

The following definitions will apply to the administration of this policy:

Child

A biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild or legal ward who is under eighteen years of age, or eighteen or older and incapable of self-care because of mental or physical disability, at the time that leave commences. 

Elimination Period

An elimination period is the length of time between when an employee stops working and STD/Parental Pay benefits begin.

Primary Caregiver

The person who has primary responsibility for the care of a child immediately following the birth or the coming of the child into the custody, care, and control of the parent for the first time. This definition applies to both births and adoptions. 

Rolling 12-Month Period Measured Backward 

Rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. Under the ‘‘rolling’’ 12-month period, each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the remaining leave entitlement would be the balance of the 12 work weeks which has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months. Example 1: Michael requests three work weeks of FMLA leave to begin on July 31st. The employer looks back 12 months (from July 31st back to the previous August 1st) to see if any FMLA leave had been used. Michael had not taken any previous FMLA leave, so he is entitled to the three work weeks he requested and has nine more work weeks available

Salary Continuation

Ways in which employees are paid while on leave of absence from work, i.e., sick time, personal time, vacation time, short-term disability, parental pay or Workers’ Compensation.

Spouse (FMLA definition)

Spouse, as defined by FMLA, means a husband or wife as defined or recognized in the state where the individual was married, including in a common law marriage or same-sex marriage. Spouse also includes a husband or wife in a marriage that was validly entered into outside the United States, if the marriage could have been entered into in at least one state. 

Policy Guidelines

Eligibility

An employee is eligible for FMLA if he or she has (1) been employed by Emerson College for at least 12 months; (2) has actually worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12-month period (inclusive of time the employee has spent in military service during that period); and (3) works in a location within 75 miles of at least 50 employees of Emerson College.

Parental Leave (FMLA)

One category of leave for which eligible employees may be entitled is Parental Leave (FMLA) Parental Leave may be taken for the birth or adoption of a child, the placement of a foster child with the employee or to care for the employee's child during the first 12 months after birth, adoption or placement of the child.  

FMLA leaves provide eligible employees with a combined total of 12 work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for all FMLA leave types in a 12-month period (measured backward on a rolling basis), except that Military Caregiver Leave, which provides a combined total of 26 work weeks for all FMLA leaves in a 12-month period.  

NOTE: Emerson College includes childbirth under Parental Leave. However, all protections and aspects afforded Under FMLA’s Personal Medical Leave for childbirth are unaffected. See Parental Leave (FMLA) for pay continuation information during unpaid Parental Leave).

Pay Continuation for Faculty Employees

Parental Leaves under the FMLA are “unpaid” periods of time eligible faculty employees may take from work for the reasons described above. 

For information about any applicable pay continuation for faculty employees, please see the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Pay Continuation for Staff Employees

Unless otherwise stipulated by an applicable collective bargaining agreement, sick time, personal time, vacation time, and Parental Pay are ways in which eligible staff employees may be paid during such leaves. 

Parental Pay Highlights

See the Short-Term Disability (STD) & Parental Pay policy for complete policy information, including the STD & Parental Pay policy when spouses, domestic partners, or parents both work at the college.

Eligibility 

After ninety (90) calendar days of employment, regular full-time and part-time staff employees working twenty (20) or more hours per week (benefits eligible employees) may qualify for Parental Pay. 

Staff employees are eligible for Parental Pay for each occurrence of birth, adoption, or foster care within a rolling twelve (12)-month period.

Fourteen (14) calendar day elimination period

Staff employees must satisfy a consecutive fourteen (14) calendar day elimination period before Parental Pay begins:

  • Benefits begin on the first scheduled workday of absence following the elimination period. 
  • Accrued unused sick, then personal and then vacation time must be used during the elimination period; however, employees may hold up to five (5) total days of sick, personal and vacation time in reserve during the elimination period.  
  • Staff employees who have exhausted their sick, personal and vacation time or staff employees who wish to hold up to five (5) total days of such time in reserve and cannot cover the full fourteen (14) day elimination period will be unpaid during this period.  
  • Following a staff employee’s exhaustion of sick time, personal time, and vacation time (if they wish, employees may hold five (5) days in reserve), employees’ leave will be unpaid.  
  • Parental Pay will begin after the elimination period is satisfied.
Parental Pay Benefits Specifics

Eligible staff employees who satisfy the fourteen (14) day elimination period may receive 60% of their base salary as Parental Pay for a maximum of ten (10) consecutive work weeks.

Supplementing Parental Pay

Staff employees may use sick, personal, and vacation time to supplement the unpaid portion of their base salary while receiving Parental Pay.

Full-time Appointments working less than twelve (12)-months  

Full-time appointments working less than twelve (12)-months, such as a nine (9)-or ten (10)-month appointment, are not eligible for Parental Pay plans during periods in which they are not scheduled to work.

Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leave 

When supported by satisfactory documentation, Parental Leaves may be scheduled on an intermittent basis or as a reduced work schedule. Staff employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule intermittent time away so as not to unduly disrupt College operations. Staff employees on intermittent or reduced schedule leave are not eligible for Parental Pay unless both spouses work at Emerson and are sharing intermittent parental leave. Staff employees on intermittent Parental Leave must use available personal and vacation time during the leave.

Both Spouses, Domestic Partners, or Parents Employed by the College 

This policy may vary when spouses, domestic partners, or parents are employed by the college. See: General Information for all FMLA Leaves Policy.

Other Information 

Related Policies

Responsible Officer

The 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.  

Links to Procedures or Forms

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

 

Policy Effective: September 2019