Policy Statement and Reason 

For the purposes of this policy, employees include California 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 need time away from work due to their own serious health conditions. This policy provides specific information about unpaid Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA/Non-CFRA) that may be available to staff employees who do not meet the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) eligibility requirements or who have exhausted their leave under all of the College’s other leave policies (See: FMLA – General Information for All FMLA Leaves and Personal Medical Leave (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act Leave (CFRA)).  

Policy Guidelines


Regular full-time and part-time staff employees working 20 hours or more per week with 90 days of employment. are eligible.  

Leave Purpose and Duration

Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA/Non-CFRA) provides eligible staff employees with up to twelve (12) weeks in a 12-month period (measured backward on a rolling basis) of unpaid time away from work for their own serious health condition. To the extent any other College leave policy may apply, leave under any other policy shall run at the same time as leave under this policy. If an employee becomes eligible for FMLA and/or CFRA leave while out on leave under this policy, the employee’s leave under this policy will run concurrently with leave under the College’s FMLA and/or CFRA policies. To the extent any other College leave policy may apply to all or part of a leave under this policy, leave under any other policy shall run at the same time as leave under this policy. Additionally, if an employee needs additional leave beyond the 12 weeks provided under this policy or any other leave policy, the College will engage in the interactive dialogue to determine reasonable accommodations.  (See: Disability/Reasonable Accommodations).

Serious Health Condition 

A “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves an overnight stay in a medical care facility or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a certain condition that prevents an employee from performing the employee’s job.

Subject to certain conditions, the “continuing treatment” requirement may be met by two (2) visits to a health care provider, or one (1) visit to a health care provider and a regimen of continuing treatment; or incapacity due to pregnancy or a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of “continuing treatment.”  

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Normal pregnancies are not serious health conditions under this policy unless the employee is incapacitated due to pregnancy. However, an employee may request leave under this policy to attend prenatal appointments. Leave for bonding purposes may be covered under other College leave policies.  (See: Parental and Family Care Leave (Non-FMLA)).

Applying for Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA/Non-CFRA) 

  • Employees must provide thirty (30) days advance written notice for foreseeable Non-FMLA and must comply with the College’s Leave of Absence (LOA) procedures.
  • If the need for leave is not foreseeable (e.g., an emergency medical situation), employees must notify the College as soon as practicable and should comply with the College’s normal call-in procedures for an absence or tardiness (see:  Sick Time Policy). To initiate the LOA process employees must notify their supervisors and Human Resources as soon as possible.  
  • Employees must provide an appropriate completed medical certification form as part of the leave of absence process. 
  • These Non-FMLA certification forms must be accurately completed and returned to the Leave Administrator within fifteen (15) days after the College’s request unless it is not practicable for an employee to do so under the circumstances despite the employees diligent, good faith efforts.
  • Employees who fail to submit the required Non-FMLA certification accurately and completely within the 15-day time frame may be denied Non-FMLA unless they provide a reasonable explanation to the College in advance that it is not practicable to provide the completed certification within the 15-day time frame despite their diligent, good faith efforts.  If Non-FMLA is not granted, employees’ absences may not be considered excused, and their employment may be ended. 
  • Employees also may be required to provide a periodic certification and re-certification supporting the need for leave.
  • Employees must provide sufficient information for the College to determine if the leave may qualify for Non-FMLA and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.
  • While out on Non-FMLA leave, employees are required to continue paying their portion of relevant benefit plans on the same terms as if they had continued to work.

Pay During Personal Medical Leave (NON FMLA/CFRA) 

Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA/Non-CFRA) is unpaid.  However, sick time, personal time, vacation time, California Disability Insurance, organ donor and bone marrow pay and Workers’ Compensation are ways in which eligible employees may be paid during such leave.   

Return from Leave 

The College grants Personal Medical Leaves (Non-FMLA/Non-CFRA) to staff employees with the intention of returning them to their positions. However, unless required by applicable law or covered by a concurrent job-protected leave, the job-protections available under FMLA and/or CFRA do not apply to Personal Medical Leaves (Non-FMLA/Non-CFRA), and the College cannot guarantee employees’ positions when they are out on Personal Medical Leave (Non-FMLA/Non-CFRA) only.

Staff employees must notify Human Resources and their supervisors at least one (1) week in advance of their intention to return to work. 

Failure to Return from Leave

Employees are considered to have resigned voluntarily if:

  • They do not return to work on their scheduled return date without a valid excuse or leave extension;  
  • They fail to notify the College that they will not be returning; 
  • They do not return to their original positions or equivalent positions as soon as they are able; or
  • They have accepted other employment during the leave period that renders them unable to return to their previous position.

Note: Staff employees who begin receiving Long-Term Disability (LTD) may be removed from leave status and their employment with the College and may be terminated.  

Coordination of Federal and State Regulations

The College will approve leaves in compliance with Emerson Policy, FMLA, ADA, and other applicable state and federal laws, based on satisfactory documentation and the needs of the college as appropriate and as stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreements. 

Related Polices

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. 


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:  September 2019