Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include Massachusetts faculty and staff employees.  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. 

Under the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (MPLA), eligible employees may take up to eight (8) weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave 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. 


Regular full-time faculty employees and staff employees are eligible for MPLA leave upon completion of ninety (90) calendar days of employment. If, however, an employee is eligible for and takes MA Paid Family and Medical Leave (“MA PFML”) for child bonding, then the ninety (90) day employment eligibility requirement for MPLA is waived and leave under both laws will run concurrently.


Faculty employees and staff employees must provide their supervisors and the Human Resources Leave Administrator with two (2) weeks of notice of their expected leave date and the date they intend to return.  Employees are expected to return to work on the date indicated on the leave of absence requests.  If employees wish to seek extensions of their leaves, employees must send written requests to their supervisors and Human Resources two (2) weeks before the expiration of the leave. 

Use of Sick, Personal and Vacation Time During MPLA

Staff employees have the option of using accrued sick, personal or vacation time while taking MPLA leave or they may choose to take the leave as unpaid.

Short-Term Disability Pay 

Staff employees may be eligible for pay under the Short-Term Disability (“STD”) policy while out on MPLA leave. Please see the STD policy for complete policy information.

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.  

Intermittent Leave 

MPLA Leave may not be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule. 

Leave Limits 

Under the MPLA, employees may take a leave for each birth, adoption or placement of a child. For example, if an employee gives birth in January and adopts a second child in March, the employee would be entitled to two (2) separate eight-week leaves under the MPLA. 

When both parents work for the College, the parents are entitled to an aggregate of eight (8) weeks pursuant to the MPLA.  

Return to Work

At the end of the leave, eligible employees are entitled to return to their previous or similar position, without detriment in pay, hours, status, length of service credit or seniority, unless other employees of equal service time and status in the same or similar positions have been laid off due to reduction in force. If at the end of the leave, an employee wishes to take additional time as unpaid, she may submit the request in writing to the Leave Administrator.

Coordination With Other Leave Laws

To the extent that an employee is eligible for MPLA and for leave under other laws at the same time (such as FMLA, MA PFML), such leaves will run concurrently to the greatest extent possible under the laws. In addition, to the extent an employee chooses to take MPLA for a reason covered by MA PFML, an employee’s entitlement to MA PFML benefits shall run concurrently, regardless of whether the employee has applied for MA PFML benefits.

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.

Updated May 2021