Family Care Leave (FMLA) Policy
For the purpose of this policy, employees include California 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 employees may need time away from work to tend to the serious health condition of the employee’s spouse, child, or parent (including step relationships). This policy provides information about Family Care 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 staff employees during this otherwise unpaid time away.
Refer to “FMLA – General Information for all FMLA Leaves,” for full information regarding FMLA leaves including:
- Types of FMLA Leave
- 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
The following definitions will apply to the administration of this policy:
A biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild or legal ward who is under eighteen years of age, or eighteen or older and incapable of self-care because of mental or physical disability, at the time that leave commences.
Domestic Partner or Partnership (FMLA definition)
A domestic partner is an unrelated and unmarried person who shares common living quarters with an employee and lives in a committed, intimate relationship that is not legally defined as marriage by the state in which the partners reside. The partnership consists of two people, either of the same or opposite gender who share the same emotional, physical, and financial commitment that legally sanctioned marriage provides. Some states, such as California, require domestic partners to register their partnership for various protections under family law.
Health Care Provider
A physician, podiatrist, dentist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, chiropractor (for certain treatments), Christian Science practitioner, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife performing within the scope of practice as defined under state and federal regulations.
Immediate Family Member
The staff member’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent (including step relationships). A child is any child under the age of eighteen (18) who is the biological child of the employee, who is adopted by the employee, or whom the employee supervises on a day-to-day basis and for whom the employee is financially responsible. A child is also a child over the age of eighteen (18) who is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
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
Rolling 12-month 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 weeks which has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months. Example 1: Michael requests three weeks 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 weeks he requested and has nine more weeks available.
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.”
Spouse (FMLA definition)
Spouse, as defined by FMLA, means a husband or wife as defined or recognized in the state where the individual was married, including in a common law marriage or same-sex marriage. Spouse also includes a husband or wife in a marriage that was validly entered into outside the United States, if the marriage could have been entered into in at least one state.
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.
Family Care Leave (FMLA)
One category of leave for which eligible employees are entitled is Family Care Leave (FMLA). Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for this purpose where there is a “serious health condition” of an employee’s spouse, child, or parent. 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 qualified family member from going to work, 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.”
For this policy, a spouse and child are defined as follows. The employee’s spouse includes a domestic partner. A child is any child under the age of eighteen (18) who is the biological child of the employee, who is adopted by the employee, or whom the employee supervises on a day-to-day basis and for whom the employee is financially responsible. A child is also a child over the age of eighteen (18) who is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
FMLA leaves provide eligible employees with a combined total of 12 weeks of 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, provides a combined total of 26 weeks for all FMLA leaves in a 12-month period.
Pay Continuation for Faculty Employees
Family Care Leaves under the FMLA are “unpaid” periods of time eligible faculty employees may take from work for the reasons described above.
For information about any applicable pay continuation for faculty employees, please see the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
Also see: California Paid Family Leave policy
Pay Continuation for Staff Employees
Family Care Leaves are “unpaid” periods of time eligible employees may take from work for the reasons described above.
Unless otherwise stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreement, Emerson College also 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 Family Care Leave must use available paid sick time, up half of their annual accrual, and then use any available personal time and vacation time when not receiving income replacement by the state. However, employees may hold up to five (5) total days of sick, personal and vacation time in reserve.
Use of sick time, personal time, and/or vacation is optional, not required, during periods the employee is receiving any kind of income replacement benefits, such as workers’ compensation, state disability or paid family leave benefits.
Also see: California Paid Family Leave policy
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.
Sick, personal, and vacation time must be used during intermittent Family Care Leave.
Both Spouses, Domestic Partners, or Parents Employed by the College
This policy may vary when spouses, domestic partners, or parents are employed by the college. See: General Information for all FMLA Leaves Policy.
- FMLA – General Information for all FMLA Leaves
- California Family Rights Act (CFRA) Leave
- California Paid Family Leave
- Shared Sick Bank Program
- Sick Time
- Personal Time
- Vacation Time
The Chief of Human Resources is responsible for this policy.
Key Offices to Contact
Please contact 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.
Policy Effective: September 2019