HR - Personal Medical Leave - Non-FMLA - MA

Policy Statement and Reason

For the purposes 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. 

Staff employees may need time away from work due to their own serious health conditions. This policy provides specific information about unpaid Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA) that may be available to staff employees who do not meet the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) eligibility requirements or who have exhausted their leave under the College’s FMLA policy (See: FMLA – General Information for All FMLA Leaves and Personal Medical Leave (FMLA)).

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

Policy Guidelines


Regular full-time and part-time staff employees working twenty (20) hours or more per week who have worked a minimum of ninety (90) calendar days.

Leave Purpose and Duration

Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA) provides eligible staff employees with up to twelve (12) weeks in a 12-month period (measured backward on a rolling basis) of unpaid time away from work for their own serious health condition. 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. To the extent any other College leave policy may apply to all or part of a leave under this policy, leave under any other policy shall run at the same time as leave under this policy. Additionally, if an employee needs additional leave beyond the 12 weeks provided under this policy or any other leave policy, the College will engage in the interactive dialogue to determine if a reasonable accommodation is possible. (See: Disability/Reasonable Accommodations Policy).

Serious Health Condition

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 certain condition that prevents an employee from performing 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 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.”  

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Normal pregnancies are not serious health conditions under this policy unless the employee is incapacitated due to pregnancy. However, an employee may request leave under this policy to attend prenatal appointments. Leave for bonding purposes may be covered under other College leave policies.  (See: Parental and Family Care Leave (Non-FMLA) Policy, Massachusetts Parental Leave Policy).

Applying for Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA)

  • Requests for leave under this policy should be made to Human Resources.
  • Staff employees must provide thirty (30) days advance written notice of the need to take Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA) unless the need for leave is unforeseeable, in which case employees must provide as much notice (in writing) as practicable.
  • Staff employees requesting Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA) as blocks of time, scheduled intermittent time away or reduced scheduled leave must comply with the College’s  Leave of Absence procedures.
  • Staff employees must provide timely and sufficient information (including but not limited to the anticipated timing and duration of the leave) and/or certification (if requested by the College) concerning the proposed leave so the College can determine if the leave qualifies for Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA). Staff employees may be required to provide periodic recertification supporting the need for leave.
  • Staff employees’ failure to comply with the College’s leave procedures can be grounds for delaying or denying requests for Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA).

Pay during Personal Medical Leave (NON-FMLA)

Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA) is unpaid.  However, sick time, personal time, vacation time, Short-Term Disability (see:  Short-Term Disability and Parental Pay Policy) and Workers’ Compensation (see: Workers’ Compensation Policy) 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 Personal Medical (Non-FMLA) Leaves must use available paid sick time, then personal time and then vacation time during the leave or, if eligible, in accordance with the Short-Term Disability and Parental Pay Policy or Workers’ Compensation Policy as applicable. However, employees may hold up to five (5) total days of sick, personal and vacation time in reserve. 

Return from Leave

The College grants Personal Medical Leaves (Non-FMLA) to staff employees with the intention of returning them to their positions. However, unless required by applicable law or covered by a concurrent job-protected leave, the job-protections available under FMLA do not apply to Personal Medical Leaves (Non-FMLA), and the College cannot guarantee staff employees’ positions when they are out on Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA) only.

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

Note: Staff employees who begin receiving Long-Term Disability (LTD) may be removed from leave status and their employment with the College and may be terminated. 

Other Information

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

See: General Information for all FMLA Leaves Policy for Massachusetts.

Related Policies

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.


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 Information

Policy Name

Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA)



Policy Owner

Shari Stier,  Sr. Associate VP/CHRO


Human Resources

Date Approved

April 15, 2019