Pregnancy and childbirth are covered under both federal law (FMLA) and state law (Tennessee Maternity Leave Act). The FMLA allows up to 12 weeks in a 12 month period for the birth and care of a newborn; state law allows some birth mothers up to 4 months of leave for pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing a newborn.
The first 12 weeks of a "maternity/parental leave will be considered FMLA leave as described earlier in this chapter.
Tennessee law states that a birth mother is entitled to four months maternity leave without the risk of losing employment provided that:
The faculty or staff member has worked a total of 1000 hours during the year for Cumberland University. |
A three month advance written notice is given of the anticipated date of departure, the length of the maternity leave, and the employee's intention to return to full-time employment after the completion of the leave period. The 3 month advance notice is waived in the case of a medical emergency that necessitates the leave to begin earlier than anticipated |
The faculty or staff member is not using the period of maternity leave to actively pursue other employment opportunities |
The faculty or staff member is not working part-time or full-time for another employer during the period of maternity leaves.|
A copy of the Tennessee Maternity Leave Act follows.
4-21-408. Maternity Leave. -
(a) A female employee who has been employed by the same employer for at least twelve (12) consecutive months as a full-time employee, as determined by the employer at the job site or location, may be absent from such employment for a period not to exceed four (4) months for pregnancy, childbirth and nursing the infant, where applicable (such period to be hereinafter referred to as "maternity leave).
(b)(1) A female employee who gives at least three (3) months' advance notice to her employer of her anticipated date of departure for maternity leave, her length of maternity leave, and her intention to return to full-time employment after maternity leave, shall be restored to her previous or a similar position with the same status, pay, length of service credit and seniority, wherever applicable, as of the date of her leave.
(b)(2) A female employee who is prevented from giving three (3) months' advance notice because of a medical emergency which necessitates that maternity leave begin earlier than originally anticipated shall not forfeit her rights and benefits under this section solely because of her failure to give three (3) months' advance notice.
(c)(1) Maternity leave may be with or without pay at the discretion of the employer. Maternity leave shall not affect the employee's right to receive vacation time, sick leave, bonuses, advancement, seniority, length of service credit, benefits, plans or programs for which she was eligible at the date of her leave, and any other benefits or rights of her employment incident to her employment position; provided, that the employer need not provide for the cost of any benefits, plans or programs during the period of maternity leave unless such employer so provides for all employees on leaves of absence.
(c)(2) If an employee's job position is so unique that the employer cannot, after reasonable efforts, fill that position temporarily, then the employer shall not be liable under this section for failure to reinstate the employee at the end of her maternity leave. (c)(3) The purpose of this section is to provide leave time to female employees for pregnancy, childbirth and nursing the infant, where applicable; therefore, if an employer finds that the female employee has utilized the period of maternity leave to actively pursue other employment opportunities or if the employer finds that the employee has worked part time or full time for another employer during the period of maternity leave, then the employer shall not be liable under this section for failure to reinstate the employee at the end of her maternity leave.
(c)(4) Whenever the employer shall determine that the employee will not be reinstated at the end of her maternity leave because her position cannot be filled temporarily or because she has used maternity leave to pursue employment opportunities or to work for another employer, the employer shall so notify the employee.
(d) Nothing contained within the provisions of this section shall be construed to:
(d)(1) Affect any bargaining agreement or company policy which provides for greater or additional benefits than those required under this section;
(d)(2) Require any employee to provide maternity leave to male employees;
(d)(3) Apply to any employer who employs fewer than one hundred (100) full-time employees on a permanent basis at the job site or location; or
(d)(4) Diminish or restrict the rights of teachers to leave for maternity pursuant to title 49, chapter 5, part 7, or to return or reinstatement after leave.
(e) The provisions of this section shall be included in the next employee handbook published by the employer after passage of this section.