HR - Short-Term Disability and Parental Pay - MA

Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include Massachusetts 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. 

Faculty employees should refer to their applicable collective bargaining agreement for information about Short-Term Disability.

Emerson College provides eligible staff employees with Short-Term Disability (STD) pay if they are unable to work due to non-work related illnesses or injuries. The College also provides Parental Pay to eligible staff employees 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.

The College’s STD and Parental Pay policy works with eligible staff employees’ accrued unused sick, personal and/or vacation time as set forth below. STD and Parental Pay are provided and administered by the College.

Eligibility

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

Staff employees must be on authorized full-time medical and/or parental leave with the College to be eligible for STD and/or Parental Pay.  Staff employees are ineligible for STD and/or Parental Pay while on intermittent leave. 

In order to receive STD or Parental Pay, all required leave certification forms must be accurately completed and received by the Leave Administrator within 15 days of the initial leave request/notification to the Leave Administration. If the required certification forms are not accurately completed and/or submitted within the required time frame, or if the College determines that the documentation submitted is not sufficient to approve STD or Parental Pay, the College may discontinue all STD and Parental Pay. As a reminder, STD and Parental Pay are considered income replacement policies and do not guarantee job protection while receiving such benefits unless the leave is otherwise covered by another College policy or applicable law that provides for such job protection.

STD, Parental Pay, and Leaves of Absence

Certain leaves of absence, such as leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (MPLA), are unpaid periods of time eligible staff employees (as defined in those policies) may take from work to tend to medical or parenting needs. STD and Parental Pay are ways in which eligible staff employees may be paid during such leaves. Other methods of salary continuation for eligible staff employees may include sick time, personal time, vacation time.

Initiating STD and Parental Pay

Human Resources will initiate STD and Parental Pay, as applicable, upon notification from staff employees as part of Human Resources’ leave of absence process, i.e., FMLA, Massachusetts Parental Leave, Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA), etc.

STD Benefit Amount and Duration

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 
    • Benefits begin 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 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
  • Benefit Specifics: Eligible staff employees who satisfy the consecutive fourteen (14)-calendar day elimination period may receive sixty percent (60%) of their base salary.  Eligible staff employees 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 or retroactive Parental Pay. 
  • Supplementing STD: Staff employees may use sick, personal and vacation time to supplement some or all of the unpaid portion of their base salary while receiving STD.
  • Holidays: 
    • Eligible staff employees will be paid College designated holidays at 100% of their regular rate of pay during the consecutive fourteen (14)-calendar day elimination period.
    • Eligible staff employees will be paid College designated holidays, at their current leave rate of pay (STD rate), that fall during paid leaves of absence. Holidays are counted toward the one hundred and eighty (180) consecutive calendar days of Short-Term Disability and the total amount of Parental Pay
  • Winter Break: 
    • Eligible staff employees will receive Winter Break pay, at their current leave rate of pay (STD rate), if they are on an HR authorized paid leave that falls during Winter Break.
    • Winter Break days are counted toward the one hundred and eighty (180) consecutive days of Short-Term Disability and the total amount of Parental Pay.
  • Full-time staff 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.  
  • 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.

Parental Pay      

Eligible staff employees will receive Parental Pay as follows:

  • 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, staff 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 
    • Parental Pay will begin after the elimination period is satisfied
  • Benefits Specifics: Eligible staff employees who satisfy the consecutive fourteen (14)-calendar day elimination period may receive 60% of their base salary.  Eligible staff employees are entitled to Parental Pay for a maximum of ten (10)-consecutive weeks.
  • Supplementing Parental Pay: Staff employees may use sick, personal and vacation time to supplement some or all of the unpaid portion of their base salary while receiving Parental Pay.
  • Holidays: 
    • Eligible staff employees will be paid College designated holidays at 100% of their regular rate of pay during the consecutive fourteen (14)-calendar day elimination period. 
    • Eligible staff employees will be paid College designated holidays, at their current leave rate of pay (Parental Pay rate), that fall during paid leaves of absence.  Holidays are counted as part of the one hundred and eighty (180)-consecutive calendar days of Short-Term Disability and the total amount of Parental Pay.  
  • Winter Break: 
    • Eligible staff employees will receive Winter Break pay, at their current leave rate of pay (Parental Pay rate), if they are on an HR authorized paid leave that falls during Winter Break.
    • Winter Break is counted as part of the one hundred and eighty (180)-consecutive calendar days of Short-Term disability and the total amount of Parental Pay. 
  • Full-time staff appointments working less than twelve (12)-months, such as a nine (9) or ten (10)-month appointments, are not eligible for Parental Pay during periods in which they are not scheduled to work. 
  • Parental Pay Per Occurrence: Staff employees are eligible for one Parental Pay period within a rolling twelve (12)-month period.

Examples: Family A qualifies for Parental Leave of Absence as follows:

Newborn baby:  January 1, 2018

  • Look back 12 months:  Dec. 31, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018 (rolling 12 months)
  • No Parental Pay during rolling 12 months:  eligible for Parental Pay
  • Eligible: Parental Pay commences January 1, 2018

Foster Child placed: June 1, 2018

  • Look back 12 months:  May 31, 2017 - June 1, 2018 (rolling 12 months)
  • Parental Pay issued during rolling 12 months January 1, 2018
  • Not eligible for Parental Pay

2nd Foster Child placed:  February 1, 2019

  • Look back 12 months:  Jan. 1, 2018 to Jan. 30, 2019 (rolling 12 months)
  • No Parental Pay issued during rolling 12 months
  • Eligible:  Parental Pay commences February 1, 2019

Return to Work and Restrictions

Staff employees on medical leave or parental leave for childbirth/maternity must provide the College with documentation from their healthcare provider clearing them to return to work at least one (1) week before returning.

When staff employees are medically able to return to work with or without medical restrictions, the College will engage in an interactive process with staff employees to identify any reasonable accommodations that may be necessary to return staff employees to work in a job compatible with their medical restrictions. The College reserves the right to conduct an independent assessment of proposed accommodations to determine the extent to which such accommodations would create an undue hardship for the College.

When staff employees can return to work, including a return to work with restrictions, staff employees are no longer eligible for STD or Parental Pay. STD and Parental Pay is not paid when staff employees are on reduced schedules or intermittent time away.

STD Benefits following a Return from Leave 

Staff employees who return to work before exhausting the one hundred and eighty (180) days of STD and go out again for the same disability within thirty (30) calendar days of their return, may be eligible to continue STD (with no additional elimination period) subject to review and approval from Human Resources. This provision does not apply to Parental Pay.

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

Married Spouses

  • FMLA Unpaid Leave and Married Spouses - When both married spouses work for the College, the amount of leave required by law under the FMLA for Parental Leave is limited to an aggregate of twelve (12) work weeks. However, the College will provide married spouses how both work at Emerson with an additional four (4) workweeks of unpaid leave not covered by the FMLA--up to a total of sixteen (16) total work weeks--to use if the eligibility requirements for Parental Leave are met and to be shared between the married spouses. The maximum time away for any one individual spouse is twelve (12) work weeks.
  • Parental Pay Policy and  Married Spouses - Married Spouses who both work at the College may be eligible for the Parental Pay benefit as follows:
  • One married spouse takes up to 12 work weeks of FMLA and takes the full Parental Pay Benefit described above. The other married spouse may take four (4) work weeks.  If the 14-day elimination period was met by the other married spouse, no elimination period is required.
  • Both married spouses share FMLA time away (8 weeks each) and split the Parental Pay Benefit described above. In this instance, the 14 calendar day elimination period would be a 7 calendar day elimination period for each married spouse with a maximum Parental Pay benefit of 7 weeks per spouse.
  • Both married spouses would have to agree in writing to the selected arrangement.

Domestic Partners or Parents (parents who both work at Emerson but are not married spouses or domestic partners)

  • FMLA Unpaid Leave and Domestic Partners or Parents - When both unmarried domestic partners or parents work for the College the amount of leave required by law under the FMLA for Parental Leave is 12 work weeks per domestic partner or parent.
  • Parental Pay Policy and Domestic Partners or Parents - Domestic partners or parents who both work at the College may be eligible for the Parental Pay benefit as follows:
  • One of the employees takes up to 12 workweeks of FMLA and takes the full Parental Pay benefit described above
  • Both employees split the Parental Pay benefit described above. In this instance, the 14-calendar day elimination period would be a 7-calendar day elimination period for each employee with a maximum Parental Pay benefit of 7 weeks per employee
  • Both employees would need to agree in writing to the selected arrangement to be eligible.

Other Information

FMLA:  Both Married Spouses are Employed by the College 

When both married spouses are employed by the College the amount of leave required by law under the FMLA for Parental Leave is limited to an aggregate of twelve (12) work weeks. However, the College will provide married spouses who are both employed by Emerson with an additional four (4) work weeks of unpaid leave not covered by the FMLA--up to a total of sixteen (16) total work weeks--to use if the eligibility requirements for Parental Leave are met and to be shared between the married spouses. The maximum time away for any one individual spouse is twelve (12) work weeks. 

Parental Pay Policy and  Married Spouses

Eligible married spouses may receive up to:

  • 16 weeks of total combined leave weeks
  • A combined total of 12 weeks of the 16 weeks may be FMLA covered (4 are Non-FMLA)
  • 10 weeks combined parental pay at 60%, after meeting the 14-day elimination period
  • Prior to the leave, both married spouses must agree in writing to the distribution of time and pay between the two spouses

FMLA:  Domestic Partners or Parents (both work at Emerson but are not married spouses or domestic partners)

When both unmarried domestic partners or parents are employed by the College the amount of leave required by law under the FMLA for Parental Leave is 12 work weeks per domestic partner or parent.

Parental Pay Policy and Domestic Partners or Parents 

Eligible unmarried domestic partners or parents both employed by the college may receive up to:

  • 12 weeks each of FMLA covered leave
  • 10 weeks combined parental pay at 60%, after meeting the 14-day elimination period
  • Prior to the leave, both employees must agree in writing to the distribution of time and pay between them

NON-FMLA:  Married Spouses, Domestic Partners or Parents

(both are employed by Emerson but are not married spouses or domestic partners)

When married spouses, unmarried domestic partners or parents are both employed by the College the amount of leave under NON-FMLA parental leave is 12 work weeks each. 

Parental Pay Policy

Eligible married spouses, unmarried domestic partners or parents both employed by the college may receive up to:

  • 12 weeks each of Non-FMLA covered leave
  • 10 weeks combined parental pay at 60%, after meeting the 14-day elimination period
  • Prior to the leave, both employees must agree in writing to the distribution of time and pay between them

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.

Definitions

Current Leave Rate of Pay
The current leave rate of pay equals the amount of STD or Parental Pay the employee is being paid during leave. The current leave rate excludes any sick time, vacation time, or personal time the employee may be using to offset STD or Parental Pay.

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