Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose 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 wish to take time away from work for compelling personal reasons not covered by other leaves (e.g., Personal Medical Leave, Family Care Leave, Military Leave). The College may grant unpaid Personal Leaves to eligible staff employees on a case-by-case basis for reasons such as: 

  • Loss of property (house fire, flood or similar issue)
  • Long-term management of domestic violence concerns and/or issues as victims of crime
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Other compelling personal reasons

Policy Guidelines


Regular full-time and part-time staff employees working 20 hours or more with one (1) year of continuous employment.

Duration and Continuous Leave

Personal Leaves provide eligible staff employees with up to twelve (12) weeks of continuous time away from work. Intermittent and/or reduced scheduled Personal Leaves are not permitted.

Applying for Personal Leave and Considerations

  • Staff employees must provide their supervisors and Human Resources with thirty-(30) days advance written request for Personal Leaves
  • If the leaves are unforeseeable (house fire, etc.), staff employees must provide their requests with as much written notice as practicable
  • Staff employees must provide timely and sufficient information and/or certification (as requested by the College) to determine if the leave may qualify for Personal Leave and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. Staff employees on Personal Leave may be required to provide periodic recertification supporting the need for leave.
  • Personal leaves are granted at the complete discretion of the College on a case-by-case basis. Several factors may be considered such as:
    • Reasons for leaves
    • Length of time staff employees will be away
    • In supervisors’ judgment, the impact Personal Leaves will have on the ability of departments and co-workers to carry out responsibilities
    • Consequences to staff employees if leaves are not granted
    • Options for meeting staff employees’ needs other than granting leaves
    • Staff employees’ performance and standing prior to the submission of the request

Supervisors and Human Resources must discuss requests for Personal Leaves before notifying staff employees of decisions to grant or deny such leaves.

Job Protection

Personal Leaves are granted to staff employees with the intention of returning them to their positions. However, job-protection does not apply to Personal Leaves.

Pay Continuation

Personal leaves are “unpaid” periods of time that eligible staff employees may take from work. Staff employees must use available personal and vacation time while on leave; once exhausted, the remaining leave will be unpaid.

Health Plan Payments While on Leave

While on Personal Leave, staff employees are required to continue paying their portion of relevant benefit plans on the same terms as if they had continued to work. 

Return from Leave

Staff employees must notify Human Resources and their supervisors at least two (2) weeks in advance of their intention to return to work. The College provides Personal Leave to staff employees with the intention of returning them to their positions at the conclusion of the leave.  Unless otherwise required under state or federal laws, the College cannot guarantee staff employees’ positions when they are on Personal Leave. This is not job-protected leave.

Failure to Return from Leave

Staff employees must return to work on the designated date of return. Staff employees who fail to do so without reasons satisfactory to the College will be considered to have resigned from the College and will be terminated.  

Other Information

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

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 Effective Date:  May 2019