Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include California 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. 

The College will provide unpaid time off for employees to participate in drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs. The leave may be provided as “reasonable accommodation” on a case-by-case basis provided the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the College. This policy complies with California law.

Policy Guidelines


Regular full-time, regular part-time and temporary employees who have a drug or alcohol problem that has not resulted in and is not the immediate subject of disciplinary action, may request approval to take unpaid time off to participate in a rehabilitation or treatment program unless otherwise stipulated by an applicable collective bargaining agreement. Employees are immediately eligible. Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Leave may also be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) if the employee is otherwise eligible and has a serious health condition. Employees who are eligible for FMLA/CFRA leave will be granted such leave.

Staff Employees - Use of Sick, Personal and Vacation Time

  • Non-Exempt: Non-exempt staff employees must use available sick time, personal time and vacation time for Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Leave. Non-exempt staff employees may take Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Leave as unpaid if they have no available sick, personal and/or vacation time.
  • Exempt: Exempt staff employees are paid a salary and receive the same amount of pay every pay period, regardless of how many hours they work. They do not receive overtime pay. When not working for more than half a day, exempt staff employees must use available sick time, personal time and vacation time. Exempt staff employees may take Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Leave as unpaid if they have no available sick, personal and/or vacation time.
  • 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.  

Confidentiality and Documentation

Employees may be required to submit appropriate documentation in accordance with the College’s policy on Reasonable Accommodations (Disabilities/Serious Medical Conditions). The College will make reasonable efforts to safeguard the privacy of employees with respect to enrollment in any drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.

Other Information

Related Policies

Key Offices to Contact 

Please contact Human Resources for further information regarding this policy and its implementation.       

Links to Procedures or Forms

Not applicable


  • Reasonable accommodation: Assistance or changes to a position or workplace that will enable an employee to do his or her job despite having a disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.
  • Undue hardship: An action that requires "significant difficulty or expense" in relation to the size of the employer, the resources available and the nature of the operation. The concept of undue hardship includes any action that is unduly costly, extensive, substantial, disruptive or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the College or the relevant department. Accordingly, whether a particular accommodation will impose an undue hardship must always be determined on a case-by-case basis.



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 Date:  May 2019