HR - Personal Medical 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 their own serious health conditions. This policy provides information about Personal Medical Leaves (FMLA), 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 employees during this otherwise unpaid time away.

Refer to “General Information for all FMLA Leaves - MA” 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:        

Elimination Period: The elimination period is the length of time between when an employee stops working and STD benefits begin.

Health Care Provider: A physician, podiatrist, dentist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, chiropractor (for certain treatments), Christian Science practitioner, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife that is performing within the scope of practice as defined under state and federal regulations.

Long-Term Disability Benefits: an insured disability benefit provided by the College to eligible staff members unable to work for an extended period due to disability.

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: 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 workweeks 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.

Serious Health Condition: For purposes of 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 either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job or prevents the qualified family member from 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 and a regimen of continuing treatment; or incapacity due to pregnancy; or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of “continuing treatment.”  

Short-Term Disability Benefits: STD is a type of financial benefit, in addition to sick time, that pays a percentage of an employee's salary for a specified amount of time, if they are ill or injured, and cannot perform the duties of their job.

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.

Personal Medical Leave (FMLA)

One category of unpaid leave for which eligible employees are entitled under FMLA is Personal Medical Leave. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for this purpose where there is a “serious health condition” of an employee that causes the employee to be unable to perform the functions of his or her position, including incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or childbirth.

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).  

For purposes of 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 employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job. 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 and a regimen of continuing treatment; or incapacity due to pregnancy; or incapacity due to a chronic condition.  Other conditions may meet the definition of “continuing treatment.”

FMLA leaves provide eligible employees with a combined total of 12 work weeks 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 unless otherwise stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Additionally, if an employee needs additional leave beyond the 12 work weeks provided under this policy or any other leave policy, the College will engage in the interactive dialogue to determine reasonable accommodations.  (See: Disability/Reasonable Accommodations).

Any employee who is disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition may take unpaid medical leave.  In addition, an employee who is affected by pregnancy or a related medical condition is eligible for reasonable accommodation. 

Pay Continuation for Faculty Employees

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

Unless otherwise stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreement, Short-Term Disability, and Long-Term Disability are ways in which eligible faculty employees may be paid during such leaves.  Faculty employees on Personal Medical Leave for work-related illnesses, or injuries may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation.

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

Pay Continuation for Staff Employees

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

Unless otherwise stipulated by an applicable collective bargaining agreement, sick time, personal time, vacation time, Short-Term Disability, and Long-Term Disability are ways in which eligible staff employees may be paid during such leaves. Employees on Personal Medical Leave for work-related illnesses, or injuries may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation.

Short-Term Disability (STD) Highlights  

See the Short-Term Disability (STD) & Parental Pay policy for complete policy information.

Eligibility

Staff employees must be on an authorized Personal Medical Leave from the College.

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 STD.

STD Elimination Period and Benefit:

Eligible staff employees will receive STD as follows:

  • Fourteen (14) calendar day elimination period: Staff employees must satisfy a consecutive fourteen (14) calendar day elimination period before STD benefits begin
    • Eligible staff employees must be continuously disabled for the entire elimination period to be eligible for STD benefits under this policy 
    • STD begins on the first scheduled workday of absence following the elimination period
    • Accrued unused sick, then personal, then vacation time must be used during the elimination period in order to be eligible for STD; however, staff employees may hold up to five (5) total days of sick, personal and/or  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) calendar day elimination period, will be unpaid during this period
    • STD will begin after the elimination period is satisfied
  • STD Benefit Specifics: Eligible staff employees who satisfy the consecutive fourteen (14) calendar day elimination period may receive sixty percent (60%) of their base salary and may continue on STD for a maximum of one hundred and eighty (180) consecutive calendar days.  Staff employees are not eligible for retroactive STD payments. 
  • Supplementing STD: Staff employees may use sick, personal, and vacation time to supplement the unpaid portion of their base salary while receiving STD.

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

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

STD Eligibility following Return from Leave

Staff employees who return to work from leave before exhausting their STD benefit and go out again for the same condition within thirty (30)-calendar days of their return, may be eligible to continue STD coverage (with no additional waiting period) subject to review and approval from Human Resources.

Workers’ Compensation

Employees on authorized Personal Medical Leaves for work-related illnesses or injuries may be eligible for Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation during such leaves.

Long-Term Disability

Staff employees may be eligible for continued benefits under the College’s Long-Term Disability (LTD) plan if their illness or injury continues beyond one hundred and eighty (180) consecutive calendar days unless otherwise stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreement. Refer to the Long-Term Disability (LTD) policy for additional information.

Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leave

When supported by satisfactory documentation, 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 STD or LTD.  Staff employees on intermittent Personal Medical Leave must use available sick, time personal time, and vacation time during the leave.

Both Spouses Employed by the College

Eligible spouses are each entitled to up to 12 workweeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period, without regard to the amount of leave their spouses use, for their own serious health condition.

Other Information

Related Policies

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.

 

 

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