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Tennessee Leave of Absence (FMLA): What you need to know

Some states have comprehensive laws that require employers to grant employees time off to care for a family member with a serious illness, but Tennessee does not have such a law. However, most Tennessee employers with 50 or more employees are covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
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Tennessee's Maternity Leave Law provides that all employers, both public and private, with 100 or more full-time employees at one jobsite must allow up to 4 months' maternity leave for pregnancy, childbirth, adoptions, and nursing. The law applies to both male and female employees. To qualify, an employee must have been employed for at least 12 consecutive months as a full-time employee. Maternity leave may be with or without pay, at the discretion of the employer. An employee who gives at least 3 months' advance notice of his or her leave and an intention to return to full-time employment after maternity leave must be restored to his or her previous or a similar position. Employees who are unable to give 3 months' notice because of a medical emergency do not lose their right to reinstatement. Leave will not affect the employee's rights to seniority, promotion, vacation time, sick leave, or other benefits and bonuses for which he or she was eligible at the date of leave (TN Code Sec. 4-21-408).If an employee's job is so unique that the employer cannot, after reasonable efforts, fill that position temporarily, the employer will not be liable for failure to reinstate the employee at the end of her maternity leave period.Note:The state maternity leave law was amended in 2005 to include male employees and to cover leave for adoptions. Employers covered by the law must include these two ...

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