To provide time off to university employees in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act for such reasons as childbirth, adoption, foster care placement, serious illness of a spouse, child, or parent, or serious illness of the employee.
In accordance with federal law, any regular or term employee who has been
employed for at least 12 months, and has at least 1,250 hours of service during
the previous 12-month period, and who provides his or her supervisor with
reasonable notice (30 days when the need for leave is foreseeable) is eligible
for family and medical leave (FML) for childbirth, adoption, foster care placement
of a child, serious illness of a spouse, child or parent, or the employee's
own serious illness. If the leave qualifies as FML, such
leave may extend up to a maximum of 12 work weeks of paid or unpaid leave
during a 12-month period beginning on the date the employee's FML first begins. This 12-week period generally includes holidays and administrative
closing. However, if the university is closed for a week, that period of time
does not count toward the FML entitlement. Employees
may choose to take personal leave or any or all accrued annual and sick leave
(as appropriate) before or after taking an unpaid leave of absence. Qualifying FML shall run concurrently with paid leave (such as sick leave,
annual leave, personal leave day, workers' compensation leave) or any leave of
absence without pay. Other instances of leave, not related to approved qualifying FML does not count during this period.
An employee may request FML or the university may determine
that the employee qualifies for FML and may place him or her on FML by so
notifying the employee. The notification should occur at the earliest possible
date before the employee returns to work and may not be retroactive unless
the employee is notified within two days of the university's knowledge that
the absence qualifies for FML. FML forms must be completed
by the employee or the university and are available from the campus or institute human resources office.
For the purpose of FML, the following definitions apply:
A child is defined as the biological, adopted, or foster child,
stepchild, legal ward, or child of an employee standing in place of a parent,
who is either under 18 years of age, or 18 years of age or older and incapable
of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
A parent is defined as the biological parent of an employee or
an individual who stood in place of a parent to an employee when the employee
was a child. (This definition does not include a parent-in-law.)
A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or
physical or mental condition that involves:
Any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care
(i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential care
A period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three calendar days from work, school, or other regular daily activities that also involves continuing treatment by (or under the supervision of) a health care provider; or
Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care; or
Any period of incapacity (or treatment therefore) due to a chronic serious health condition (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.); or
A period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g., Alzheimer's, stroke, terminal diseases, etc.); or
Any absences to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by, or on referral by, a health care provider for a condition that likely would result in incapacity or more than three consecutive days if left untreated (e.g., chemotherapy, physical therapy, dialysis, etc.).
A spouse is a husband or wife as defined or recognized
under Tennessee laws.
The types of leave that may be taken and any exceptions to the
12-week maximum are listed in the following sections. When state
and federal law differ, the more liberal guidelines apply. However, the
two provisions may not be combined to extend the total time of the leave.
Childbirth and Adoption. Under Tennessee law, a regular full-time
employee who has been employed by the university for at least 12 consecutive months is eligible for up to a maximum of four months leave for pregnancy, childbirth,
and nursing an infant, and adoption. The leave may be accrued sick leave (up to a maximum of 30 days), accrued annual leave, personal leave day, and/or leave without pay. If both parents are university employees, the combined use of sick leave is limited to a total of 30 days, unless medical complications arise that fit the standard rules regarding the use of sick leave. With regard to adoption, the four months leave period begins at the time the employee receives custody of the child.
Under federal law, any parent who meets the FML eligibility
requirements may take up to 12 weeks of accrued annual leave, personal leave,
or leave without pay for childbirth or care of the newborn child. Such leave
must be taken within 12 months after the birth of the child and with supervisory
approval may be taken on a reduced schedule basis following an absence from
work for the purpose of transitioning back to full-time employment. If both
parents work for the university, for purposes of childbirth, care of
a newborn, and adoption, the combined total amount of FML for both employees is limited to 12 weeks. FML may be taken prior to an adoption if the leave is necessary for the placement to proceed. The FML benefit shall run concurrently with the state benefit described above.
Foster Care Placement. An employee who meets the eligibility requirements
for FML may take up to 12 weeks of accrued annual leave,
personal leave day, or leave without pay for foster care placement. FML may be taken prior to a foster care placement if the leave
is necessary for the placement to proceed. Otherwise the leave must be taken within 12 months after foster care placement of the child and may with supervisory
approval be taken on a reduced schedule basis following an absence from
work for the purpose of transitioning back to full-time employment.If both
parents work for the university, the combined total amount of FML for both employees for this purpose is limited to 12 weeks.
Serious Illness of Spouse, Child, or Parent. An employee who meets
the FML eligibility requirements may take up to 12
weeks of accrued sick or annual leave, personal leave, or leave without
pay for serious illness of a spouse, child, or parent. Such leave may be
taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule when medically necessary.
Medical certification may be required. If the university has reason to doubt
the validity of the medical certification, the university may require a
second opinion (to be provided by a health care provider not employed on
a regular basis by the university.) In such cases, the university will pay
for the second opinion.
Serious Illness of Employee. An employee who meets the FML eligibility requirements may take up to 12 weeks of accrued
sick or annual leave, personal leave day, or leave without pay for the employee's
own serious illness. This may include workers' compensation leave. Such
leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule when medically
necessary. Medical certification may be required. If the university has
reason to doubt the validity of the medical certification, the university
may require the employee to obtain a second opinion (to be provided by a
health care provider not employed on a regular basis by the university.)
In such cases, the university will pay for the second opinion. Upon return
from leave, medical certification that the employee is able to resume work
may be required.
Upon return from family leave the employee shall be restored to his or her position or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Basic Group Insurance. While an employee is on
FML without pay, the university will continue to pay
the employer's share of the premium up to 12 weeks as required by federal
law.To continue the medical insurance, the employee must pay in advance
a monthly or quarterly sum equal to his or her share of the premium to the
campus insurance office or the Treasurer's Office. If the employee does
not return from such leave of absence, the university may, with the approval
of the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, require the employee
to reimburse the university's share of the premiums paid.
If the employee does not pay premiums while on family and
medical leave, coverage will lapse. Upon return from
leave, the employee will have 30 days to reinstate prior
coverage without providing evidence of insurability. Such
coverage will apply to pre-existing conditions.
Optional Insurance Plans. During FML
without pay, membership may be continued in any of the group optional insurance
plans to which the employee belongs prior to the leave. To do so, the employee
must pay in advance a monthly or quarterly sum equal to the total of the
premiums due on the plans that he or she wishes to maintain in force to
the campus insurance office or the Treasurer's Office.
Employees on FML who allow
coverage to lapse due to non-payment of premiums have
30 days from the leave return date to initiate reinstatement
of coverage without evidence of insurability.