HR - Parental Leave - Non-FMLA - MA

Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include 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 Parental Leave (Non-FMLA) that may be available to staff employees who do not meet 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

Parental 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

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 Parental 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., emergency placement of a child for foster care), 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 documentation part of the Parental Leave of absence process. 
  • These Non-FMLA documentation 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.
  • Employee who fail to submit the required Non-FMLA documentation 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 documentation 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 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.


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.

Return from Leave 

The College grants Parental 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 Parental Leaves (Non-FMLA) unless required by applicable law and the College cannot guarantee staff employees’ positions when they are out on Parental 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 an 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 Parental Leave and 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 for the birth and/or care of a newborn or newly adopted child or child placed for foster care. 

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. 



A “spouse” includes same sex-spouses as well as domestic partners. 


“Child” means any child under the age of eighteen (18) years-old who is the biological child of an employee, who has been adopted by an employee or who is placed with the employee pursuant to a court order. “Child” also includes any child over the age of eighteen (18) years- old who is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability. 

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.