HR - Parental Leave (MPLA) - MA

Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include Massachusetts faculty and staff unless otherwise indicated in 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. 

Under the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (MPLA), eligible employees may take up to eight (8) weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth of their child, adoption of a child under age 18, adoption of a person under age 23 who is mentally or physically disabled, or placement of a child with an employee pursuant to a court order.

Policy Guidelines


Regular full-time faculty employees and staff employees are eligible for MPLA leave upon completion of ninety (90) calendar days of employment.


Faculty employees and staff employees must provide their supervisors and the Human Resources Leave Administrator with two (2) weeks of notice of their expected leave date and the date they intend to return.  Employees are expected to return to work on the date indicated on the leave of absence requests.  If employees wish to seek extensions of their leaves, employees must send written requests to their supervisors and Human Resources two (2) weeks before the expiration of the leave.

Staff Employees - Use of Sick, Personal and Vacation Time

Staff employees have the option of using accrued sick, personal, or vacation time while taking MPLA leave, or they may choose to take the leave as unpaid.

MPLA runs concurrently with FMLA. While the college requires that staff on FMLA use sick time, personal time, and vacation time during FMLA leave, staff employees on MPLA or concurrent MPLA and FMLA have the choice of using sick, personal and/or vacation time. However, leave will be unpaid for staff employees who choose not to use their accrued sick, then personal time and then vacation time and they will not be eligible for the College’s Parental Pay program

Parental Pay

Staff employees who choose to use accrued sick, then personal and then vacation time for the first 14 days of leave may be eligible for Parental Pay under the Short-Term Disability and Parental Pay policy. 


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 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.

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.

Faculty Employees

For foreseeable absences, Faculty must provide the Chair with advance written notice and must receive prior approval when absent for more than two sessions or when a weekly class is missed more than once in order to coordinate coverage or makeup sessions.  In the case of unreported and/or excessive absences, the Chair notifies the Dean.  


Documentation must be provided to Human Resources as part of the leave of absence process. 

Employees may be required to provide proof of birth, adoption, or placement of a child by the courts.

Intermittent Leave

MPLA Leave may not be taken intermittently or as a reduced schedule. If employees are eligible for FMLA, then an intermittent leave or reduced schedule may be taken.

Leave Limits

Under the MPLA, employees may take leave for each birth, adoption, or placement of a child. For example, if an employee gives birth in January and adopts a second child in March, the employee would be entitled to two (2) separate eight-week leaves under the MPLA.

Both Spouses Employed by College

When both spouses work for the College, the spouses are entitled to an aggregate of eight (8) weeks pursuant to the MPLA.  

Other Information

Benefits and Salary Increases during Leave (Paid and Unpaid Leave): See General Information for all FMLA Leaves - MA

Related Policies

Responsible Officer

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

Key Offices to Contact 

Office of Human Resources

Links to Procedures or Forms

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


Not applicable

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:  May 2019