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Sick Leave - Unpaid

Amended date: 12/01/2018

The University recognizes the need for work/life balance, and as such, provides a generous vacation time award for all employees who meet benefit eligibility. These banked accruals can be used throughout the year, which allows paid time off for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.


Provided an employee satisfies the eligibility requirements listed below, the employee is eligible for up to twelve (12) work weeks of Unpaid Medical Leave to allow employees to care for the employee’s own serious health condition. Unpaid Medical Leave runs currently with other paid leave to which the employee is entitled.  

A serious health condition includes 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 employee from performing the essential functions of the employee’s job.  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 to a health care provider and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy or a chronic medical condition. Other conditions may also meet the definition of continuing treatment.

Eligibility for Unpaid Medical Leave

An employee is eligible for Unpaid Medical Leave if as of the start date of the requested leave the employee:

  • Has worked at least one thousand two hundred and fifty (1,250) hours in the preceding twelve (12) months;
  • Has worked twelve (12) months; and,
  • Has used less than twelve (12) weeks of Unpaid Medical Leave within the preceding twelve (12) months.

Applying for Leave

Employees requesting Paid Sick Leave for less than three (3) days should notify their supervisor. Employees in need of Paid Sick Leave greater than three (3) days, Unpaid Medical Leave, or Nonexempt Extended Sick Leave should notify the employee’s supervisor and Human Resources at

Return from Leave

Upon return from Sick or Medical Leave, most employees will be returned to their original or equivalent position with equivalent pay and benefits.   Employees returning from their own Sick Leave may be asked to provide medical certification of their ability to return to work with or without reasonable accommodation(s). 

Retaliation and Discrimination Prohibited

It is prohibited to retaliate or discriminate against an employee for having exercised their rights under this policy.   For more information regarding state and federal laws upon which this policy was based, please see:

Federal Family and Medical Leave Act

Massachusetts Parental Leave Act

Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Act

Massachusetts Small Necessities Leave Act


Staff: any benefits-eligible employee who has standard hours of 17.5 hours/week or more and is not otherwise covered by a collective bargaining agreement.  Postdoctoral scholars’ hiring practices are outlined in the postdoc handbook. Faculty should refer to the by-laws of their primary school affiliation for guidance.

Related Links and Resources:

Postdoctoral Scholars’ Handbook:


This Sick Leave - Unpaid Statement is part of the HR Employee Policies and Procedures that can be found at here.

Disclaimer: Changes to this policy and the handbook in which it is maintained may be made at any time, at the sole discretion of the University and is not a contract. Employment by the University is at will and either the employee or the University may end the employment relationship at any time. 

Provided by Human Resources